South Africa vs England 2017: 4th Test day 1, 5 talking points
England managed to survive a hostile Rabada spell to finish on 260/6.
The game see-sawed between the two sides on day 1 at Old Trafford after England won the toss and opted to bat first. They ended the day on 260/6, a fairly good position considering the movement on offer on this track. Alastair Cook and Tom Westley departed in quick succession to leave England in a spot of bother but Root and Stokes compiled half-centuries only to be dismissed soon after.
The Proteas attack lacked bite in the absence of Vernon Philander, but Morkel hit his straps early on. Rabada came into his own after a dull opening spell and caused several problems, especially to Root. His battle with the England skipper turned out to be an exciting period of play.
Stokes stroked a fine half-century before Rabada uprooted his stumps with a terrific yorker late in the day. Bairstow remained unbeaten on 33 with Roland-Jones at the other end.
Brief Scores: England 260/6 (Stokes 58, Root 52, Rabada 2/52)
Here are the talking points from the day's play.
#5 Philander, Morris out injured as South Africa forced to make changes
The visitors suffered a major setback in their bid to level the series as their strike bowler, Vernon Philander, who had hobbled through the Oval Test, suffered another injury that ruled him out of the match. Chris Morris, the second bowling all-rounder in the Test side, was also ruled out with a lower back strain as South Africa were forced to make changes to their squad.
Theunis de Bruyn, the middle-order batsman who bowls a bit of medium pace, was picked as a seventh batsman while Duanne Olivier, dropped after the Trent Bridge Test, returned to the line-up. Losing Philander was a huge blow to the Proteas, who had banked on him against England's left-heavy top order.