South African bowlers brought England on the mat on Day 4 © Getty Images
South African bowlers brought England on the mat at lunch on Day 4 © Getty Images

The sun was out. South Africa had only one plan, that is, run through England‘s tall batting line-up. England, on the other hand, survived a short yet deadly spell from Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel, at stumps on Day Three. The intensity of the pace duo remained the same on Monday morning at Trent Bridge. Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook had work to do, but the former could not survive more than 6 overs. Gary Ballance came in at No. 3. His shaky stay in the middle lasted for only 15 balls, thereby adding to England’s miseries. Just when Joe Root and Cook were on course to steady the innings, the England captain was bowled off a yorker. England collapsed further as Cook departed for 42, leaving hosts reeling at 79 for 4 and needing 395 runs behind the target.

Jennings poor form continued in the series. He was cleaned up by a peach off a delivery by Philander. The South African bowled a few outside off and brought one slightly inside to rattle the left-hander with adequate gap between bat and pad. Ballance followed suit. The ball kept low, similar to Faf du Plessis’ dismissal yesterday. Ballance’s bat came down late and was hit on the pads. The on-field umpire was not interested, but du Plessis entrusted his bowler and took the decision upstairs. As a result, Philander got his second scalp.

Cook and Root missed a few, played half-hearted strokes, edged but tried to keep the scoreboard ticking. The partnership stood at 27 runs when Root was send back. Chris Morris outfoxed the English skipper courtesy a brilliant yorker. It was right in the blockhole and left Root perplexed. Next in line was Cook. The former skipper faced a barrage of short deliveries, but succumbed to the ploy off Morris.

The ball is turning. Pacers have been right on the money. Philander’s 30 out of 36 deliveries in this innings have pitched in line with the stumps. This sums up tourists’ intensity and hosts need a miracle to last the day.

Brief scores:

South Africa 335 all-out & 343 for 9 decl. (Dean Elgar 80, Hashim Amla 87, Faf du Plessis 63; Moeen Ali 4 for 78, James Anderson 2 for 45) lead England 205 all-out & 79 for 4 (Alastair Cook 42, Jonny Bairstow 12*, Vernon Philander 2 for 16,  Chris Morris 2 for 7) by 395 runs.