'It's going to be tough to chase down 438,' says Kallis
Proteas / 6 January 2020, 8:00pm / Zaahier Adams at Newlands
Second Test, Stumps, Day 4 England: 269 & 391/8 declared (Sibley 133*, Stokes 72) South Africa: 223 & 126/2 (Malan 63*, Elgar 34, Anderson 1/18) South Africa require 312 runs for victory
CAPE TOWN – Will South Africa dare to dream? Maybe it has something to do with the target being the magical number "438", but the Proteas will head to bed on Monday with the belief – albeit small – that they can achieve the impossible.
"I have seen strange and crazy things in this game," Proteas batting consultant Jacques Kallis said. "All three results are still possible, but in all honesty it's going to be a tough total to chase down. We will probably have a look at tea time to see where we at. Our plans is to face as many balls as we can."
The confidence would have been greater had James Anderson not managed to brush past Zubayr Hamza's outside edge in the second last over of the day.
At that stage South Africa were 123/1 with the local Cape Cobras batsmen Hamza and Pieter Malan well set at the crease. But Anderson, who claimed a 28th "five-for" in the first innings, ensured it was the visitors who were still the team holding the aces ahead of what is likely to be an absorbing final day.
England certainly deserve their position. They are the team that has made all the running over the course of the four days. The intent with which they started on Monday morning certainly needs to be rewarded.
With Dom Sibley playing the perfect anchor role in pushing on to his maiden Test century after being 88 not out overnight, it allowed the rest of the England batting line-up to express themselves.
Ben Stokes certainly needs no invitation to wield the willow with freedom as he blazed 72 off just 47 balls – his 50 required only 34 balls – as England motored towards a declaration total. Jos Buttler also added 23 off only 18 balls with the visitors adding 157 runs in just 27 overs in the morning session.
Still it was not enough though as England came out after the interval in search of even more runs before eventually closing their innings on 391/8 – a lead of 437.
At least England's morning dominance with the bat showed their South African counterparts that there were no demons in the Newlands surface. Even the famed crack from the Wynberg End had lost its venom.
South Africa did indeed set their stall out much better second time around. And it was all due to their opening partnership finally seeing off the new-ball threat.
Elgar and Malan worked their way towards 71 with the latter utilising the Umpire Review System to survive a couple of scares.
Dean Elgar, though, was not that fortunate when he reviewed on 33 as the television replays found a tiny disruption on ultra-edge off Joe Denly's part-time off-spin.
Fortunately for South Africa, the debutant Malan remain composed and become the second Protea in succession to bring up a half-century in his first Test after Rassie van der Dussen last week at SuperSport Park.
Malan will, though, know his work has only begun, but he has been in this role countless times before in first-class cricket which Kallis believes will stand him and the Proteas in good stead.
"He obviously knows how to switch on and switch off. Very impressed with his mental capabilities. He is also a fighter and that's what is required as an opener at Test match level," Kallis said.
"Obviously it his first Test match, but he played like he had a lot under his belt. Very impressed with his technique. He played the situation perfectly this afternoon."