In what turned out to be an attritional session, South Africa’s batsmen led by Pieter Malan (83*) tried to stonewall England. However, the visitors chipped away by taking a couple of scalps as the home side slipped to 170 for 4, still needing 268 for an unlikely win at the Lunch break.
As the final day commenced, James Anderson continued to find a hint of old-ball swing to put the duo of Malan and nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj under pressure. After a loud appeal for caught behind against Malan was rightly turned down, he dismissed Maharaj with the inswinger. He also troubled Faf du Plessis, the South African skipper, and could have dismissed him in the 67th over LBW. The umpire adjudged it as two runs, but replays suggested it was pad first and the impact was right in the line of off-stump.
Ben Stokes, who replaced Anderson, and Dom Bess, the off-spinner, bowled incisively but Malan, in particular, showed excellent defense and temperament to get through a tricky phase. The way he rocked back and cut Bess in the 75th over gave a glimpse of his ability to use the crease. Unfortunately for the home side, du Plessis lost his concentration and swept Bess straight into the hands of the fielder in front of square on the on-side.
Malan and Rassie van der Dussen then ensured South Africa wouldn’t lose another wicket in the session. With a few cracks around, there is some variable bounce on offer, but the track is still playing reasonably well. So, the home side has a decent chance of eking out a draw.
Brief scores: England 269 (O Pope 61; K Rabada 3-68) and 391/8 decl. (D Sibley 133*, J Root 61; A Nortje 3-61) lead South Africa 223 (D Elgar 88, R Dussen 68; J Anderson 5-40) and 170/4 (P Malan 83*; J Anderson 2-23) by 268 runs.