PRETORIA (Reuters) – South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took a career-best 6-101 to leave England on 318 for eight wickets at tea and trailing by 157 runs on the third day of the fourth and final test at Centurion Park on Sunday.
Rabada had decimated the England middle-order before lunch, claiming the big wicket of Ben Stokes (33) during a rain-hit middle session, with the visitors reeling after the Proteas posted 475 in their first innings.
Moeen Ali (45 not out) provided a steady hand in response and along with Stuart Broad (four not out) will look to close the gap on a wicket that was starting to favour the bowlers.
England have already wrapped up the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Stokes looked at his fluent best before he was caught at slip by Hashim Amla shortly after South Africa, who posted a first innings total of 475, had taken the new ball.
Chris Woakes (26) was the only other wicket to fall in the session and could count himself unlucky, an edge off the part-time spin of JP Duminy hitting the thigh of wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and looping to Dean Elgar at slip.
Rabada had removed Joe Root (76), James Taylor (14) and Jonny Bairstow (0) in quick succession in the minutes before lunch.
Root had looked set for a big score but was caught by De Kock having a drive at Rabada after he had brought up his fourth half-century of the series.
Taylor fell to the same combination trying to pull a short ball, before Bairstow got a feather edge through to De Kock.
Rabada is just the second player in history to take six wickets in an innings in both tests and One-Day Internationals before the age of 21, joining Pakistan great Waqar Younis on that short list.
Captain Alastair Cook (76) was the first wicket to fall on day three when he was caught behind by De Kock off the bowling of fast bowler Morne Morkel.
Coming around the wicket to the left-hander, Morkel angled the ball into Cook’s body and induced an edge as it moved away slightly off the wicket.
It left Cook still 41 runs shy of becoming the first England batsman to reach 10,000 test runs after he had put on 99 for the third wicket with Root.
(Reporting by Nick Said. Editing by Patrick Johnston/Alan Baldwin)