ICC Cricketer of the Year 2019 Ben Stokes (38*) along with Ollie Pope (39*) shared an unbeaten 76-run stand for the fifth wicket as England ended Day 1 of the third Test of the four-match series against South Africa at 224 for 4 at the St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
Opting to bat first, the visitors were off to a decent start as openers Zak Crawley (44) and Dominic Sibley (36) stitched 70 runs for the first wicket. But just when the duo looked settled in the middle, pacer Kagiso Rabada drew the first blood for the Proteasby sending Sibley back to pavilion in the 31st over.
Crawley along with the next batsman Joe Denly (25) could add only 33 runs before losing his wicket on the ball of pacer Anrich Nortje in the 49th over. England then lost Denly and incoming batsman Joe Root (27) in quick succession as their scorecard read 148 for 4 at one stage. While spinner Keshav Maharaj trapped Denly before the stumps, Rabada clean-bowled the England skipper.
However, Stokes and Pope then dug in their heels to bring the Three Lions back in the game.
Notably, the series is currently tied at 1-1 with South Africa winning the first Test and the guests bagging the second.
Brief scores: England 224 for 4 (Zak Crawley 44, Ollie Pope 39 batting; Kagiso Rabada 2 for 48) vs South Africa