Alastair Cook misses ton but Stokes takes fight to South Africa

Duminy has struggled for form with the bat on the tour to England

Maharaj's second ball should have caused his downfall at deep midwicket only for South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis to touch the boundary markers as he stretched to take the catch.

That absence was a disciplinary measure for swearing following the dismissal of Ben Stokes in the opener at Lord's.

Stokes hit three consecutive centuries to go past three figures but his most impressive work was done on day one, when he played with patience and control. Stokes eventually holed out off Morkel but the damage had been done.

England resumed on 171 for four, with Alastair Cook 82 not out and Stokes 21 not out. It wasn't the most fluent innings, but it's surely one of the most effective.

Rain was the main victor on the first day of the third test between England and South Africa as England limped to 171-4 in the face of a persistent and disciplined South African seam attack.

Late-order allies slowly departed as he edged towards his century. South Africa, though, will be hoping to do exactly that.

Toby Roland-Jones' spirited 25 from 25 balls on Test debut gave glimpses of why he is viewed in county cricket as one of the game's most unsafe late-order hitters.

As England left the field Stokes stood aside for a beaming Roland-Jones but the little pat on the back from captain Root told its own story. Going to lunch, England have piled up 269 for 6 and will push close to the 350-run mark; a handy score in overcast conditions at The Oval.

Cook did what he does best all day.




That took Cook to 11,178 career runs.

Over 64: England 182-4 (Cook 88, Stokes 26) Philander whistles one past Cook's outside edge and the batsman certainly nibbled at that one.

Like at Trent Bridge, when he got bowled through the gate by Vernon Philander, his technique let him down.

No bowler has now claimed his wicket in Tests more often than Morkel, who dismissed him for a 10th time.

What Philander offers the South African attack is actually something quite complicated, which is why team management continue to label him the bowler they will miss the most if he is unavailable. With England 183 for five, Stokes and Jonny Bairstow counter-attacked, before Bairstow (36) was caught at second slip off Rabada.

With England winning the toss and batting on a quick pitch, they had ideas about taking the game to South Africa.

Philander, South Africa's most risky bowler, had just four overs and was surprisingly not seen again in the morning session despite being the only wicket-taker. It was later reported that Philander had been taken to hospital.

But Rabada felt the benefit as he took the new ball for the first time in the series. The plan almost paid off but after taking a catch at long-on, Du Plessis fell into the boundary rope.

Over 76: England 249-5 (Stokes 58, Bairstow 32) Tidy over from Maharaj with Bairstow scrambling a singleoff the final ball.

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