Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope leads England in a commanding position on day 2

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Picture Courtsey: Hindustan Times

Thanks to centuries by Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope, England ended the 2nd day of the 3rd Test match at Port Elizabeth in a commanding position on Friday.

After a short rain break, the match started on a positive note with Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope took some time to settle. Stokes looked aggressive against Keshav Maharaj to reach his fifty off 102 balls. After reaching his fifty, Stokes made the batting easier along with Pope who reached his fifty off 93 balls. It was just amazing batting display by Stokes and Pope who kept the scoreboard ticking. Stokes reached his century off 174 balls. Pope survived LBW shout which was upheld. At lunch, England were 335 for 4.

In the 2nd session, Maharaj got the breakthrough for South Africa dismissing the dangerous Stokes for a brilliant 120. Stokes and Pope added 203 runs for the 5th wicket. Jos Buttler produced a return catch to Maharaj to give some hope to South Africa. Sam Curran joined in with Ollie Pope and played with positive intent. Pope reached his maiden century off 190 balls. Curran scored a quick fire 44 off 50 balls. Curran and Pope added 59 runs for the 7th wicket. At the end of tea break, England were 426 for 8.

After the tea break, Mark Wood joined in the party with big shots and made the batting look easy. Pope looked in complete control and gave strike to Wood who created pressure on South African bowlers. Maharaj picked his fifth wicket of the match dismissing Wood for 42 off 23 balls. Wood and Pope added 73 runs for the 9th wicket. England captain Joe Root declared the innings on 499 for 9. Pope remained not out on a superb 135.

In reply to 500, South African openers Dean Elgar and Pieter Malan looked composed with their stroke play against the England pacers. With few overs left in the day, Dom Bess dismissed Malan with a return catch which the England team decided to review. Elgar and Malan added 50 runs for the opening wicket. Bess struck again by getting the wicket of Hamza for 10. South Africa ended the 2nd day on 60 for 2.

South Africa 60 for 2 in 18 overs (Dean Elgar 32*, Dom Bess 2/12) trail England 499 for 9 in 152 overs ( Ollie Pope 135*, Ben Stokes 120, Zak Crawley 44, Keshav Maharaj 5/180, Rabada 2/97) by 439 runs.

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