MANCHESTER - South Africa lost two wickets in the afternoon session as they sought to atone for a dreadful morning, but they remain firmly under pressure as they seek a miraculous recovery to try and draw this series.
South Africa went to tea on 93/3 trailing England by 269 runs with Temba Bavuma, promoted up the order to no.4 on 30 and captain Faf Du Plessis on 6.
It’s been a difficult day for the South Africans, who were limp in the face of a Jonny Bairstow storm in the first morning that saw England push their total to 362.
Bairstow, dropped by Quinton de Kock on 53, took advantage of some strange field placings from Du Plessis, to get to 99, before he was trapped lbw by Keshav Maharaj attempting to sweep.
South Africa lost Dean Elgar before lunch and then appeared to be making steady progress with a resolute and injured Heino Kuhn sharing a 45-run stand with Hashim Amla for the second wicket. Amla looked in good nick, defending well and playing some lovely drives as he made his way to 30.
But Toby Roland-Jones, replaced Stuart Broad at the Statham End and with his third ball had Amla caught flicking at loose ball down the leg-side with
Bairstow taking a simple catch behind. It’s the third time in a row that Roland-Jones has dismissed Amla.
Kuhn never really looked settled at the other end, he was certainly struggling with his own form, and that was compounded by a tight left hamstring, which had earlier in the day seen him struggling to chase the ball around, what is a large outfield here.
That certainly impacted on his running between the wickets and that largely influenced his the tempo of his partnership with Bavuma, which was sedate.
They added 37 runs in 16 overs, but England would never have felt they were under a great deal of pressure.
Kuhn eventually lost his wicket in a bizarre first over from Moeen Ali, in which Bavuma was almost runout following a mix-up in middle of the pitch. Kuhn then fell over trying to sweep and the next ball he edged to Ben Stokes at first slip.
Kuhn had scored 24 and unless he makes a century in the second innings his Test career will end after four Tests.
Bavuma has been efficient and played some neat strokes in compiling his unbeaten 30, but having been given the chance in the no.4 spot the onus is on him to score a big hundred now. His team certainly needs it.