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CAP­TAIN Joe Root led from the front as ruth­less Eng­land took 10 wick­ets yes­ter­day to move to the brink of vic­tory in the third Test with South Africa reel­ing on 102/6 in their sec­ond in­nings.

Root claimed Test-best fig­ures of 4/31 and was ably as­sisted by Stu­art Broad and Mark Wood as South Africa ended the fourth day still 188 runs adrift.

Eng­land need four more wick­ets to win their 500th over­seas Test and take a 2-1 lead in the four-match se­ries, while the be­lea­guered home team will need to bat out the en­tire day, a task that looks near im­pos­si­ble given they have run out of recog­nised bats­men.


Ver­non Phi­lan­der (13) and Ke­shav Ma­haraj (5) re­sume to­day.

Eng­land started the day with im­me­di­ate suc­cess and kept up the stran­gle­hold de­spite a lengthy de­lay for rain, em­pha­sis­ing the dom­i­nance they have en­joyed since day one.

South Africa were in deep trou­ble when they re­sumed on 208/6 in their first in­nings, still 291 be­hind Eng­land’s mam­moth 499/9 de­clared.

Any hopes of a de­fi­ant stand crum­bled im­me­di­ately as Eng­land, in­spired by Broad, took four wick­ets for the ad­di­tion of one run to end the in­nings in­side the open­ing half-hour.

South Africa were made to fol­low-on and were 15-0 when the rain came but once the skies cleared, Wood quickly re­moved opener Dean El­gar (15) and the strug­gling Zubayr Hamza for two.

Root came on for a long spell dur­ing which he trapped Pi­eter Malan lbw for 12 and Rassie van der Dussen, who sur­vived sev­eral scares, for 10, with Ol­lie Pope at short leg tak­ing a su­perb one­handed catch.

The contest was ef­fec­tively over when Quin­ton de Kock went cheaply, mis­judg­ing his stroke and be­ing ac­ro­bat­i­cally caught by Wood as Root snagged his third wicket, fol­lowed by the all-im­por­tant scalp of un­der-pres­sure skip­per Faf du Plessis, who edged one onto his pad and into Pope’s safe hands for 36.

Root, a part-time off-spin­ner spin­ner, had not taken more than two wick­ets in a Test in­nings but the way he ran through the top or­der should lead to sig­nif­i­cant

South African soul-search­ing.

The hosts won the first Test in Pre­to­ria by 107 runs but were out­played by Eng­land in the sec­ond in Cape Town.

The last Test starts in Jo­han­nes­burg on Fri­day.

Pic­ture: Deryck Fos­ter Back­pagepix

Joe Root (left) cap­tain of Eng­land and team­mates cel­e­brate the dis­missal of Quin­ton de Kock of the Proteas on day four of the third Test of the In­ter­na­tional Test Se­ries 2019/20 be­tween South Africa and Eng­land at St Ge­orges Park in Port El­iz­a­beth yes­ter­day.

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