Faf du Plessis lost his sixth successive toss allowing Joe Root to ask the home team to bowl on Thursday morning. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

PORT ELIZABETH – South Africa endured a frustrating first morning of the third Test as the England openers teased but never relented against the new ball at St George’s Park.

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis lost his sixth successive toss allowing his English counterpart Joe Root to ask the home team to bowl on a featherbed of a pitch.

In a bid to extract any form of seam movement that was prevalent in the surface, Du Plessis turned to Vernon Philander and Test debutant Dane Paterson. The latter was included in the starting XI at the expense of all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius.

Both seamers went past both Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley’s outside edges, with Paterson, in particular, delivering an impressive first spell. However, they did not have the extra zip in pace to actually find it, with Proteas wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock standing up to Philander in the seventh over already.

Du Plessis had no option but to turn to his express merchants Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. With the some of the shine off the ball already, it was easier for Crawley and Sibley to navigate through a testing period.

Both openers showed great patience once again – just like they did at Newlands last week- and appeared to be settling in for a long stay at the crease.

A tough task awaits the Proteas during the middle session with the ball not seaming or swinging under a cloudless Port Elizabeth sky. They will hope that the few half-chances they have created with the ball just evading Nortje running back at mid-on and falling short of Philander becomes genuine chances in the afternoon.

Third Test, Day 1, Lunch

England: 61/0 (Sibley 30*, Crawley 20*)

The teams at St George’s Park:

South Africa: Dean Elgar, Pieter Malan, Zubayr Hamza, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Dane Paterson, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje

England: Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wk), Sam Curran, Dom Bess, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.



IOL Sport

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