South Africa's Pieter Malan plays a shot during day four of the second Test against England at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday. Photo: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

CAPE TOWN – The South African cricket team will be calling on the spirit of the 438 game for inspiration as they began a world-record fourth-innings chase in the second Test against England at Newlands on Monday.

And, so far, so good. An improbable target of 438 for victory looms as large as Table Mountain for the Proteas, after England declared on 391/8 after 111 overs after lunch on day four.

SA openers Pieter Malan (23) and Dean Elgar (21) survived the 22 overs before tea and took their team to 46/0 – still another 392 to go for what would be a monumental triumph.

Of course, they could also try to block out the rest of the match for a draw.

There were one or two nervy moments, with Malan surviving a review by England from Stuart Broad’s bowling.

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena didn’t think an lbw appeal was out, and the replay showed that there had in fact been an inside edge before the ball hit Malan’s pads.

The fourth-day pitch was still in decent shape for batting, with the only real difficulty being the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump at the Wynberg End.

That led to England captain Joe Root introducing part-time leg-spinner Joe Denly for a few overs before the interval, and the No 3 batsman managed to extract significant turn and awkward bounce out of the dark patches, with the ball hitting Elgar on the gloves on a few occasions.

Off-spinner Dominic Bess didn’t make much impact in his five overs either, and the Proteas will hope to continue in the same vein in the final session.

Earlier, Ben Stokes scored a sparkling 72 off 47 balls to help push England’s target beyond the 400 mark.

The England all-rounder took a particular liking to Keshav Maharaj (2/160 in 43 overs), and hit him for three consecutive boundaries in one over.

Opener Dom Sibley completed his maiden Test century, and was at the crease for over eight hours to finish on 133 not out.

Anrich Nortje was the best Proteas bowler with 3/61 in 18 overs.

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