PRETORIA, (Reuters) – South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada struck three times shortly before lunch to leave England teetering on 211 for six wickets on the third day of the fourth test at Centurion Park on Sunday.
Rabada removed England’s rock Joe Root (76), James Taylor (14) and Jonny Bairstow (0) with the tourists trailing by 264 runs after South Africa posted a first innings total of 475 on a wicket that is starting to favour the bowlers.
In-form Ben Stokes (one) and Moeen Ali (zero) will seek to repair the damage after the interval with the first target to score the 65 runs required to avoid the follow-on.
Rabada went to the interval with figures of 5-76, another sign of the rich potential of the 20-year-old who got movement at pace off the wicket to leave his side in control.
Captain Alastair Cook (76) was the first wicket to fall in the opening session of the day when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off the bowling of tall 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.
Root and Taylor moved the score on to 208 before the former was caught by De Kock having a drive at Rabada after he had brought up his fourth half-century of the series.
That wicket started a precession in the minutes before lunch as Taylor fell to the same combination trying to pull a short ball.
South Africa’s successful morning was complete when Bairstow got a feather edge through to De Kock as a rampant Rabada tore through the middle-order.
(Reporting by Nick Said. Editing by Patrick Johnston)