England’s openers enjoyed mixed fortunes as they reached 138-2 at close on day two of the fourth Test against South Africa, who have Quinton de Kock to thank for their commanding position.
The wicket-keeper batsman struck his maiden Test century, batting beautifully with the tail to take the Proteas from 336-7 to 475 all out, ending unbeaten on 129 off only 128 deliveries.
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Dane Piedt occupied the crease for over 100 balls in support of De Kock to stifle England’s progress after the tourists had taken a handful of quick wickets in the morning session.
Ben Stokes, who was the pick of England’s bowlers, finishing with figures of 4-86, eventually shifted Piedt and got rid of last man Morne Morkel to end England’s frustration.
But Alastair Cook’s side have already wrapped up the series and so he and Alex Hales could bat with freedom, which initially worked to the advantage of the Nottinghamshire player.
He reached 15 in 14 balls before slicing a tame dive straight to the hands of point. He has now made only one half-century in seven Test innings and might see his place come under threat.
Nick Compton joined Cook and made 19 before getting one which rolled from Kagisho Rabada and struck him on the pads plumb in front. The young seamer impressed and also accounted for Hales.
Cook went past fifty for the first time in the series and ended unbeaten on 67, well set for a big score with Joe Root alongside him on 31 as England aim to eat into their 337-run deficit.
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