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Friday, Jan 22nd

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Keshav Maharaj provided the glue that enabled a relatively inexperienced Proteas attack to keep England in check on the opening day of the fourth Test match at Old Trafford in London on Friday.

With both Vernon Philander and Chris Morris ruled out by back injuries the Proteas were forced to revert to a four-man attack as they had employed in the first Test match with Theunis de Bruyn and Duanne Olivier being named as the respective replacements.

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South African captain, Faf du Plessis, says the batsmen must take inspiration from Dean Elgar’s fighting innings in the 239-run loss to England in the third Test match at The Oval on Monday. Elgar copped several blows to the hand and body during a resilient counter attack,  which was the highlight of a disappointing performance in the match.

Elgar’s century is South Africa’s first of the series, and will give a struggling batting unit belief it is possible, despite the challenging conditions and a brilliant England attack.

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Dean Elgar scored his 8th Test century and his 3rd in the current calendar year  to delay the inevitable before England won the third Test match against the Standard Bank Proteas by 239 runs at The Oval in London on Monday with plenty of time and overs to spare.

Elgar is now the leading runs scorer in Test cricket this year (762 at an average of 50.80) and for a long time it looked as though he would emulate his performance against England at home when he carried his bat at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead. 

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Temba Bavuma says he has learnt to embrace the responsibility of batting with the lower order, after his match-changing 52 in the third Test match against England at The Oval on Saturday. His crucial partnerships in ‘difficult’ conditions with Kagiso Rabada (30) and Morne Morkel (17) -which contributed 100 runs -  helped the Proteas avoid the follow-on and an embarrassing first innings total.

Lower-order resolves have become a  speciality for the 27-year-old, a role he has adapted to admirably in his 23- match Test career.  

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Temba Bavuma scored his 1000th Test match run as he and Morne Morkel guided the Standard Bank Proteas past the follow on target on a rain-disrupted third day of the third Test match at The Oval in London on Saturday.

Bavuma (50 off 120 balls, 8 fours) was last man out, having shared key partnerships of 53 with Kagiso Rabada and 47 with Morkel. Vernon Philander batted at No. 11, having been released from hospital, as the Proteas innings ended on 175, giving England a massive lead of 178 on the first innings.

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Toby Roland-Jones celebrated a memorable debut both with bat and ball to send South Africa cartwheeling into a load of trouble on the second day of the third Test match at The Oval in London on Friday.

He first played an important innings of 25 (25 balls, 4 fours and a six) that not only enabled England’s batting hero, Ben Stokes (112 off 153 balls, 9 fours and 4 sixes), to reach his fifth Test match century and his second against the Proteas but also to post an above par total of 353 in the conditions that continued to be overcast rather than the total of less than 300 that seemed more likely at one stage.

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England's Alastair Cook fought an all-day battle with the Standard Bank Proteas five-man attack as the two sides fought for supremacy on the opening day of the third Test match at The Oval in London on Thursday.

On balance, the Proteas could probably claim to hold a slight advantage, particularly after losing the toss, as they restricted England to 171/4 on a rain-shortened opening day on which only 59 overs were possible to be bowled.

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