Vernon Philander recovers from bug as South Africa look to bounce back

Vernon Philander recovers from bug as South Africa look to bounce back

Vernon Philander recovers from bug as South Africa look to bounce back

England skipper Root was again the prize wicket for South Africa after a let-off allowed him to reach his fourth score of 50 or more in seven innings this series, and pass 5000 test runs.

Root made a courageous decision at the start of the day, choosing to bat after winning the toss with the knowledge that there's been rain in Manchester this week and the pitch was likely to give early help to the bowlers.

In view of England's fluctuating Test form, the need for consistency among the bowlers has been a topic of conversation in the England group. Maharaj, who would occupy the Brian Statham End all afternoon and most of the evening, had Cook caught behind for 46. Opting to bat first, hosts England at stumps on day one were 260/6 with Jonny Bairstow and Toby Roland-Jones unbeaten on 38 and zero respectively.

"It's tough, and that's why it's called Test cricket, it can be a very hard thing to break into", said Root.

"We'll do everything we can to try to win this Test match - we're not going to try to draw it", he said.

But the danger is that softer runs against a weaker West Indies side in the three Tests which follow (and act as the final auditions) will be of limited value as an examination of character and temperament. His most productive scoring area, unusually for the first morning of a Test match, was straight down the ground, where he twice placed fractionally overpitched deliveries from Morkel and Olivier with dead-eyed timing.

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And when the same over saw South Africa captain Faf du Plessis fall for 27 via an inside edge onto his stumps, Anderson had taken two for one in three balls to reduce the visitors to 132 for five.

England captain Joe Root believes Keaton Jennings' calm approach will stand him in good stead as he battles to come through a tricky period in his fledgeling Test career. Cook was gone for 46 from 103 balls, an innings that nearly precisely represented both his career average (46.18) and strike rate (46.77).

However, Root's was a poor dismissal; he was lbw to Olivier, a bowler who declines to tuck his shirt in (how numerous great ones have done that?).

The 27-year-old farmed the strike expertly, regularly orchestrating a single off the last ball of each over to protect number 11 Anderson, while finding the gaps in the field with an array of deft cuts and firm drives, as he raced first to a half-century and then closed in on a ton.

Despite losing Malan and Root, England fought back through Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow's 65-run partnership, during which Stokes surpassed his fifty.

At the other end Kagiso Rabada came close to seeing off Jennings in just four balls, narrowly failing to gather a return catch after the opener contrived to loop a chance off bat and pad.

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