England's Tom Westley in action against the Proteas in the Third Test at the Oval. Photo: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

LONDON - Keaton Jennings, having been fortunate to see of Vernon Philander’s opening spell, along with debutant Tom Westley put England in a powerful position before the rain saw play halted midway through the second session here on Saturday.

When tea was called early, England were 74/1, stretching their lead to 252. 

Jennings, who’d nudged two balls off the inside edge passed the stumps and was dropped on six, all off Philander’s bowling, was not out on 34, while Westley, who looks a very composed no.3 was on 28.

Westley drove the ball beautifully as he quickly asserted himself and he appears to have put himself in front of Gary Ballance who was supposed to return for the final Test in Manchester next week.

Jennings meanwhile, rode his luck and gradually grew in confidence to make 34. He played a delicious square cut off Kagiso Rabada and two balls later hit the same bowler off the backfoot through the covers.

He’s probably done just enough to keep himself in the team for the Manchester Test, though he can expect another examination there form a hopefully fully fit Philander. 

He was released from hospital in the morning having spent the night there on a drip to help him overcome what was later diagnosed as a viral infection.

The only wicket to fall in the session was that of Alastair Cook, who was bowled by a beauty from Morne Morkel for 7, that straightened off the pitch and hit the top of off-stump.

Morkel again bowled a wonderful spell from the Pavilion End, beating Cook on numerous occasions.

It was the 11th time Cook had been dismissed by Morkel, the most by any bowler in Test cricket.


IOL Sport

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