Joe Root-Ben Stokes counterattack sees England comfortably placed at end of Day 2 of 3rd Test
At stumps on Day 2 of the 3rd Test, which were called early due to fading light, England are 238/5, trailing South Africa by 75 runs. Joe Root, who is unbeaten on 106, will resume his innings alongside Johnny Bairstow on Day 3.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes have been the best performers in the 3rd Test at the Wanderers, on a pitch where batting has been difficult. Before the two combined at the crease from around one hour before tea, England had slumped to 91/4, and the highest score from the match had been Dean Elgar’s gritty 46.
England were in trouble early on, and lost their captain Alastair Cook to the first delivery in international cricket bowled by Hardus Viljoen, who thus sealed his place in a very elite list.
While Stokes tore into the South Africa bowlers like he is becoming increasingly prone to do, Root played what can be called his finest Test innings till date. He reached his 9th Test century in an innings which was the textbook definition of timing, placement and judgement.
Stokes came up with a 54-ball 58 before edging one back to Morne Morkel. He has now scored 368 runs in this series from 334 balls. Root and Stokes’ fifth wicket partnership produced 111 runs from 97 balls only, a startling period of play in what has been a match dominated by bowlers.
The 3rd Test has been an entertaining affair on the first two days, and the Root-Stokes show put on towards the end of the second day has given the match a new direction. The amount of potential England have in these two young players in immensely exciting for them, in terms of this match’s outcome as well as more distant future.
Brief Scores – England 238/5 (Root 106*, Stokes 58, Rabada 2/44, Morkel 2/63) trail South Africa by 75 runs