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SA Vs ENG: Pacers give England early advantage

England claimed early honors of the Boxing Day Test as they reduced South Africa to 79 for 3 in Centurion at Lunch on an opening day on Thursday (December 26).

James Anderson, playing his 150th Test, struck with the first ball after England opted to field. Anderson bowled a loosener, down the leg side, and Dean Elgar managed to glove the delivery to the ‘keeper. There wasn’t plenty in the track for the bowlers but just enough to keep them interested. While Stuart Broad kept things tight, Sam Curran too struck in his first over.

In the tenth over, Markram edged the third ball but it fell just short of second slip. Curran then slipped one into the pads and Markram nonchalantly flicked the delivery to midwicket. At 32 for 2, South Africa needed a period of caution. Zubayr Hamza, though, refused to go into his shell and kept finding the boundaries to keep the score moving.

In Jofra Archer’s fourth over, the 17th of the innings, he collected two boundaries to take the team’s score past fifty. While the first one was creamed past cover, the next one has drilled down the ground as Hamza put on an early exhibition of front-foot play. That, however, didn’t last long as he was dismissed by Stuart Broad in the 22nd over of the game. Broad got a length delivery outside off and Hamza poked at that one to be caught at second slip. Faf du Plessis and debutant Rassie van der Dussen saw off the session from thereon.

Brief scores: South Africa 79/3 (Zubayr Hamza 39; Sam Curran 1-8) vs England.

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