It was an attrational days of Test cricket between South Africa and England on the first day of 3rd Test match played at ST George Stadium, Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
England captain Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat first. Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley looked solid with their defensive technique and hit the bad balls away for boundaries. Crawley survived a chance as miscued shot went over top of Nortje head. At the end of first hour, England scored 30 for 0.
After the drinks break, Sibley and Crawley continued to thwart the South African bowling line up with good defensive technique. England went into lunch break at 61 for 0.
In the second session immediately, Kagiso Rabada got the breakthrough for South Africa dismissing Sibley with good field placement. Sibley and Crawley added 70 runs. Keshav Maharaj kept a tight line and length putting pressure on Joe Denly who was not able to score. The South African captain Faf du Plessis set up different plans and it worked as Anrich Nortje dismissed Zak Crawley for 44. Denly did not look comfortable against the South African bowlers. Joe Root came to the crease and survived a chance. At tea break, England were 117 for 2.
It was an ideal start for the South African team in the third session as Keshav Maharaj picked the wicket of Joe Denly. The umpire gave it not and South African captain Faf du Plessis decided to review it. The decision was changed to out as the ball hit the pads. Kagiso Rabada produced a beauty to dismiss England captain Joe Root to leave England in trouble at 148 for 4.
Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope led England fightback with good stroke play. Keshav Maharaj kept one end tight. South African captain Faf du Plessis took the 2nd new ball immediately after 80th over. Both England batsmen kept the pacers out and put on 76 runs so far for the 5th wicket. England ended the first day on 224 for 4.
England 224 for 4 in 90 overs ( Zak Crawley 44, Ollie Pope 39*, Ben Stokes 38*, Kagiso Rabada 2/48)