South Africa endured a frustrating morning as England scored at more than five runs an over to take their total beyond 450 and assume total control of the first Test at Lord's on Friday.
England were bowled out for 458 twenty minutes before lunch and in a tricky period before the interval South Africa reached 10/0 in fours overs with debutant Heino Kuhn scoring his first Test run off the first ball he faced with a confident nudge into the covers.
The day had started promisingly for the Proteas who needed to hit back after a lethargic display in the second half of the first day on Thursday. It was Morne Morkel who led the way picking up two wickets in the third over of the morning’s play including - finally as far as the South Africans were concerned - that of the new England captain Joe Root.
Morkel, who operated throughout the session from the Pavilion End, produced a lovely delivery that left Root off the pitch and which the right hander edged through to wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
It was a magnificent innings from Root, but South Africa certainly counted the cost of three missed opportunities to get him on the first day. Rooted batted for over six hours to make 190, the highest score by a player in his first Test as England captain.
The innings included 27 fours and a six with Root sharing century stands with Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali - with the latter he added 177 for the sixth wicket.
Two balls after Roots dismissal Morkel trapped Liam Dawson lbw for nought and at the point South Africa would have harboured hopes of bowling England out for under 400. They didn’t help themselves when they chose not to ask for an umpire’s review when Vernon Philander had Stuart Broad lbw when the batsman had scored four.
It proved a costly misjudgement as Broad, riding his luck smashed his way to 57 not out off just 47 ball with eight fours and a pair of sixes.
South Africa were their own worst enemies particularly when it came to the last wicket as Broad in combination with James Anderson added 45 runs in just over five overs.
Before then Kagiso Rabada had removed Moeen with a beauty that slanted into the left-hander smashing out his off-stump. It ended a lovely innings of 87 from Moeen, that was filled with elegant drives during which he also went passed the 2000-run mark in Test cricket.
Mark Wood lasted just two balls but some brainless cricket from the South Africans allowed Anderson and Broad to score too easily.
Morkel finished as the most successful bowler for the Proteas claiming 4/115 while the remaining wickets were shared between Rabada (3/123) and Philander 3/67.