Ben Stokes, Alex Hales and Joe Root all scored half-centuries as England closed day one of the second Test against South Africa in a strong position at 317-5.
It was even-steven when England were 167-4 at Newlands, but Stokes and Jonny Bairstow (39 not out) bullied a weakened Proteas attack in the evening session.
The hosts were missing both Dale Steyn – the number-one ranked seam bowler in the world – and Kyle Abbott. Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris were brought in.
The two combined to end England’s 55-run opening stand as Morris brilliantly dived to his left at third slip to catch captain Alastair Cook for 27 off a sharp Rabada delivery.
Hales and Nick Compton put on another 74 for the second wicket. The Nottinghamshire batsman reached his maiden Test fifty before edging Morne Morkel behind to AB de Villiers for 60.
Rabada picked up two wickets in two balls either side of the tea break. Compton (45) picked out Temba Bavuma with a well-struck pull, and James Taylor nicked off for a golden duck.
But the lack of depth and experience in South Africa’s bowling lineup showed as the day went one, although skipper Hashim Amla could have used senior seamer Morkel more.
Root went through to his second half-century of the series as England rocketed past 200, but he did not add another run before becoming debutant Morris’s first Test victim.
However, the tourists lost none of their momentum as Stokes bludgeoned an unbeaten 74 off 93 balls, hitting 11 fours and a six along the way. Bairstow offered excellent support.
The aggressive pair will hope to kick on in the morning on a belter of a pitch where 400 is the minimum first-innings score required after winning the toss and electing to bat.
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