The day 1 proved fine but ended frustratingly for England as the home side needed to finish off the the remaining South African batting tail early on to ensure their chances of winning the match. However on second day, a few remarkable blows from Philander and Morkel took the tourist’s score above 300, a target that they would have been disappointed with at 11:00am on Thursday, but which they would’ve taken after being 54-4. In reply, England suffered a similar collapse at the hands of Morkel, who bowled fantastically, and briefly stood on 54-4 as well, but a valuable partnership of 124 between Bell and Bairstow, who finished unbeaten on 72, took England out of the mess as they finished on 208-5, still needing another 101 runs to level the scores with the tourists.
Jonny Bairstow hit the highest score of the match to lead an England fightback against South Africa on day two of the third and final Test on Friday, keeping alive their hopes of the win they need to square the series. England were 208 for five at stumps, trailing the tourists’ first innings by 101 runs, after Bairstow’s innings of 72 not out in close on four hours at Lord’s, while Matt Prior was unbeaten on 22. It was Bairstow’s highest Test score in his fourth match.
South Africa were earlier dismissed for 309 before lunch, as number eight Vernon Philander made a test best 61, his maiden Test 50, and the same score JP Duminy registered on Thursday. Steven Finn remained England’s best bowler with 4-75. The game so far seems to be a seesaw contest between the two teams.
Bairstow, who replaced Pietersen as a result of controversial omission, had batted responsibly and with full patience to rescue England after they had slumped to 54 for four after lunch. Ian Bell hit a battling 58 in partnership with Bairstow.
Dale Steyn was South Africa’s best bowler with 2-48, while Morne Morkel claimed 2-53.
England must win to draw the series, following their loss by an innings and 12 runs in the first match at The Oval. South Africa will leapfrog them and take over at the top of the world rankings even if they end match in a draw.
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