Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

England v South Africa: fourth Test, day three

England could lose their bowling coach Gibson who is reportedly the preferred candidate to take over as South Africa's new head coach England could lose their bowling coach Gibson who is reportedly the preferred candidate to take over as South Africa's new head coach
Spencer Simpson | 07 August, 2017, 01:12

An unbeaten half-century by Moeen Ali cements England's stronghold over South Africa on day three of the final Test at Old Trafford.

England was in control for nearly the whole day, except for a short period at the start when South Africa took three wickets in five overs to have England at 312-9.

The match continued to see-saw between England and South Africa at Manchester as the visiting bowlers fought back to reduce England to 134/6 at one stage before they recovered to a lead of 360 at stumps.

Anderson certainly enjoyed the chance to bowl from the newly-named "James Anderson End" at his home ground - with all of his wickets coming from there.

But Moeen - dropped at slip by Dean Elgar off Keshav Maharaj when just 15 - had other ideas, taking the attack to the tourists to the delight of an increasingly raucous crowd, who took particular pleasure in the left-hander thrice depositing his spin counterpart over the ropes. At lunch, England were 53 for 2, with Keaton Jennings - dropped in the slips on nought - 17 not out.

Alastair Cook went in the seventh over, attempting a cover drive, but his thick edge flew to Theunis de Bruyn, who comfortably pocketed the catch at gully.

However, the England board confirmed that they have not been approached by South Africa until now and any decision will only be taken after the conclusion of the ongoing Test series between the two teams.

A victory would bring England a second straight series win over South Africa after winning in South Africa 18 months ago, but its first at home over the Proteas since the Michael Atherton vs. Allan Donald series of 1998.

England have just three tests against the West Indies in which to settle on their lineup for this winter's Ashes squad, and it is entirely reasonable to say they can be no clearer yet about the staffing of much of their top and middle order.

England's captain fell one run away from his second fifty in the match when he dragged Olivier (3-38) on off the toe-end of his bat as he looked to dab to third man.

"Of course we would not want to lose him", said England assistant coach Paul Farbrace.

Bavuma (46) misjudged by leaving a ball which cut back in to take his off-stump. Olivier struck again, being able to move the ball late to Stokes whose forward defense edged the ball to Faf du Plessis.

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