Ollie Pope struck a disciplined half-century to give his side some boost after England batting collapsed once again on the first day of the second Test at Cape Town on Friday.
Pope scored an unbeaten 56 as England reached 262 for 9 after their batsmen failed to capitalize despite getting starts on a fairly decent track. Five of England’s recognized batsmen were dismissed for scores between 29 and 47.
Much of the credit could be given to the opposition bowlers, who consistently exerted pressure which led to fall of wickets. Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Dwaine Pretorius took two wickets each, while left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj kept things under check as he returned with figures of 1 for 68 from 27 overs.
South Africa almost had a perfect day when they had Ollie Pope caught off Rabada’s bowling, but a no-ball check by the umpires revealed the bowler had stepped over the line.
Pope, who had to miss the opening Test at Centurion following an illness, stitched a 58-run partnership with Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes which was getting dangerous for the home side.
Stokes, who struck a career-best 258 at the same venue four years back, was looking comfortable in the middle before getting caught at cover off Nortje’s bowling.
The innings then took a massive turn as Jos Buttler and Sam Curran fell right before the second new ball was taken. Dom Bess and Stuart Broad fell in quick succession off Philander and Rabada’s bowling respectively as soon as the new cherry was brought into play. From 185 for four, England were reduced to 234 for nine.
Earlier, England skipper Joe Root was given a reprieve on 31 when an outside edge off his bat burst through first slip fielder’s hands.
The dropped catch didn’t do much damage as Root ducked under a bouncer two balls later – which kissed his glove and was snaffled easily by the wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock.
Nortje had a decent day with the ball as he looked sharp out of all South African quicks. Quinton de Kock had an excellent day behind the stumps, holding on to five catches.