London News & Search
|Third Investec Test, The Kia Oval, day three|
|England 353 & 74-1 (21.2 overs): Jennings 34*, Westley 28*|
|South Africa 175 (58.4 overs): Bavuma 52, Roland-Jones 5-57|
|England lead by 252 runs|
Rain halted England’s progress on day three of the third Test against South Africa at The Oval.
The home side had reached 74-1 in their second innings, a lead of 252, when bad weather arrived at 14:45 BST to wipe out the rest of the day.
Under-pressure opener Keaton Jennings was reprieved twice to reach 34 not out.
South Africa were earlier bowled out for 175, with Toby Roland-Jones completing a five-wicket haul on debut.
The Middlesex man, who took four wickets on day two, is the first England pace bowler to take five in an innings on his Test debut since Graham Onions in 2009.
His efforts have helped the hosts take a firm grip on the match, leaving them in a good position to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.
The weather forecast is much better for days four and five, with England captain Joe Root perhaps set for a decision on when to declare on Sunday.
Jennings rides his luck
Durham’s Jennings made a century on his Test debut in India, but has since registered three ducks in eight innings.
With time perhaps running out for the left-hander to secure a place in the England side he came through two scares – first when he was dropped at third slip by Dean Elgar off Vernon Philander and again when he was given out lbw to Kagiso Rabada, only to overturn the decision on review.
In between, he emerged from uncertainty to play some handsome square cuts and has the opportunity to make a telling contribution on the fourth day.
At the other end, Alastair Cook had only seven when he was removed by Morne Morkel, who once again bowled beautifully.
From round the wicket, Morkel angled the ball in to the left-hander, only for it to straighten and hit the top of off stump.
Cook’s replacement, Tom Westley, again looked at home on his Test debut, driving with authority in his unbeaten 28.
Roland-Jones wraps it up
With South Africa eight down on the second evening, England had the chance to conclude their innings because Philander was in hospital with a stomach complaint.
They were denied by Temba Bavuma and Morkel, who, from 126-8, extended their stand to 47 in the best batting conditions of the third day.
The diminutive Bavuma showed touches of class through the off side in his 52, with Morkel occasionally muscling the ball to the leg side.
After Roland-Jones and Stuart Broad initially shared the ball, it needed James Anderson to make the breakthrough, having Morkel caught at first slip for this third wicket.
It was previously thought that Philander, who had been on a drip, would play no part on Saturday. However, he arrived at number 11 to add 14 more runs with Bavuma.
Roland-Jones was not as accurate as his second-day burst, but did get Bavuma to edge behind and once again led England from the field.
When should England declare?
Former England captain Alec Stewart: “Just looking at the forecast for tomorrow and Monday, there’s a fair bit of sun about and therefore it will be a good place to bat.
“The timing of England’s declaration is going to be crucial because – famous last words – you’re not going to roll them over in 40 overs, or at least you shouldn’t do if the sun is out.
“I’d bat proactively on Sunday morning, and then an hour or 50 minutes after lunch play white-ball cricket: smash it around the place and then see if we can bowl South Africa out.
“You’d want a few more than 400 if you can, but 400 is the minimum. If it’s going to be cloudy, 350 should be plenty – but the forecast is saying it won’t be.
“If you go with too small a total and there’s a bit of a partnership, you lose the catching men and therefore the ability to take wickets disappears.”
‘We’ll probably bat until tea’
England’s James Anderson, speaking to BBC Sport: “Hopefully the next couple of days are dry and we can concentrate on batting for a while.
“We might need a day and a session to bowl them out, so batting until tea on Sunday would be the ideal scenario.
“We will play it by ear a little bit tomorrow. We will have to play properly for a while then hopefully speed up towards the end.”
Not even being in the England cricket team prevents you from experiencing travel problems.
With many roads in the capital closed because of Sunday’s RideLondon cycling event, the England players took the tube on Saturday morning…
London News & Search