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Root misses double ton, England in control

Root misses double ton, England in control”

The left-handed batsman took care of the first part of the "double" by extending his overnight 61 not out into a dashing 87 in England's first innings 458. By then the cricket had assumed the more traditional qualities of a Test match with South Africa fighting for survival after England had posted 458. De Bruyn offered good support until he was caught behind after carelessly pushing away from his body at Anderson. Yet often, the off-spinner has been England's lone frontline slow bowler, expected to play the role that Graeme Swann did so successfully; namely, contain and take hatfuls of wickets.

Other records to Smith's name include being the fastest South African cricketer to reach 1,000 Test runs and most Test runs as captain, a record that stands at 8,659.

To complete that double in just 38 games put him right up there with some of Test cricket's greatest all-rounders. But Bavuma, unafraid to drive Ali down the ground, counter-attacked. Dawson was targeted, Bavuma eased the ball through the off side and De Bruyn scored of his pads. He can struggle with the short ball at times but is working hard to improve - the day before this Test he underwent a long net session with England's coaches hurling balls halfway down the pitch at him - which means a top order berth is unsuitable. Elgar attacked him early on, forcing him out of the attack after four overs for 29, although an exploratory second spell later in the day was marginally more successful.

Dean Elgar, captaining South Africa in Faf du Plessis' absence, made fifty but was also sent packing by Moeen, who had passed 2,000 Test runs earlier in the day.

It was a relatively predictable tactic from South Africa's skipper, and although he almost perished attempting a second expansive lofted shot in the same Dawson over, he was taken out of the attack having gone at over five runs per over. I've probably bowled a bit safe the past year or so, and today's the first day I went back to an attacking mindset. Now they are 244 runs behind with five wickets in hand. Only former England captain Tony Greig, who did it in 36, was quicker than Moeen.

When Broad broached JP Duminy's defences South Africa were 104 for four and in trouble. They lost their discipline.

Luck, though, was on Root's side as he was reprieved twice inside the first 20 overs. "To be delayed by 30 minutes with the scoreboard ticking over are big moments".

Moeen's travails with the ball during England's last series in India late previous year, where he failed to take advantage of helpful conditions and was outperformed convincingly by teammate and leg-spinner Adil Rashid, appears to have convinced Bayliss that this is a player who should be regarded from now on mainly as a batsman. There's been loads of ups and downs. "I'm going to have bad days, I know that, but I was really happy with the way I bowled today".



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