Anderson and Bairstow shine as England bully South Africa

Anderson and Bairstow shine as England bully South Africa

England recovered magnificently from their Trent Bridge horror show to record a thumping victory at The Oval and take a 2-1 lead in their series against South Africa.

Root made a fearless decision at the start of the day, choosing to bat after winning the toss with the knowledge that there's been rain in Manchester this week and the pitch was likely to give early help to the bowlers. They should have given Duanne Olivier or Andile Phehlukwayo a chance instead.

"It's twice now I have got out in the nineties against South Africa but if you had said I would have got 99 last night when I was out for dinner with the family, I would have snapped your hand off".

Despite winning the toss and opting to bat, the hosts struggled to score in blustery conditions against a visiting eleven that was missing the injured pace duo of Vernon Philander and Chris Morris. Not for the first time it was a meek dismissal for Jennings, a half-hearted push nestling safely in Quinton De Kock's gloves. Up until that point, the game had moved along swiftly but evenly, with three wickets falling for the addition of 62 runs in the opening hour, after England had resumed on 260 for six. The game was really won by the way we batted in the first innings. "I was desperately disappointed not to chalk up another hundred in Test cricket".

"It is a test of character, it's a test of skill". Olivier draws first blood for the visitors.

Moeen Ali was to go soon afterwards to Rabada, edging low to second slip on the back foot - and the deserving Morkel picked up his second wicket by bowling Stuart Broad off-stump.

England fought well both times, first with a 52-run stand between Dawid Malan and Root, and then with late-afternoon resistance from Stokes and Bairstow in a 65-run partnership that almost took the home team to stumps.

De Kock looked to have erred badly when he allowed Root a life on 40, curiously declining to move when an edge sailed comfortably past him, but it cost his side just 12 runs. The England captain still knows he should be doing better.

Anderson's first scalp came with only his third delivery in a moment of incredible drama and the next three arrived in his second spell - including a burst of two in three balls.

Stokes and Jonny Bairstow (33 not out) kept the South African attack at bay with their 65 run stand for the sixth wicket with the Durham all-rounder completing another fine half century.

All of which might mean the series‚ as far as SA are concerned‚ could finish down the drain.

Bairstow, on 4, was given not out, out and not out again by a combination of Kumar Dharmasena and the TV umpire, Joel Wilson, after an inside-edge off Maharaj was adjudged to have fallen millimetres short of Dean Elgar at slip.

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