England opener Rory Burns’ valiant knock of unbeaten 77 kept the hopes alive in the visiting camp of completing their highest-ever successful run chase in Test cricket at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. With two days to go, nine wickets in hand – England batters need to show some application and determination against South Africa to mount a stiff task in the first Test.

Chasing 376 to win, England ended the day 3 of Centurion Test on 121/1 after South Africa folded for 272 in their second innings. Playing his first Test, Rassie van der Dussen became the first player to score a half-century in his T20I, ODI and Test debut. He shared a crucial 91-run stand with nightwatchman Anrich Nortje which helped the hosts to add some crucial runs to their total.

South Africa scored 125 runs in the morning session thanks to some ordinary bowling from England which undid the good effort that was put in in the final session of the previous day.

England pacers fluffed their lines and length throughout the first session with the casualties of a virus epidemic that has caught the side claiming two more members in captain Joe Root and Jos Buttler. Root eventually took the field but could do little as South Africa inflated their lead to 376 runs by the end of their innings.

Jofra Archer’s bowling figures were the sole positive for England on an otherwise average day 3. He picked up a five-wicket haul, his first in overseas conditions. Earlier, Archer had a torrid time during the New Zealand series that preceded this one, taking just two wickets over four innings.

In their second outing, the tourists were far more efficient with the bat, however, with Burns ably anchoring the innings thus far. He shared a 92-run opening stand with Dom Sibley who was eventually dismissed on 29 by Keshav Maharaj. At stumps, Joe Denly (10 not out) was partnering Burns.

Brief scores: South Africa 284 & 272 (Rassie Van der Dussen 51, Vernon Philander 46; Jofra Archer 5/102) vs England 181 & 121/1 (Rory Burns 77*., Dom Sibley 29; Keshav Maharaj 1/16)