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Friday, Aug 23rd

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England, having taken a lead of 97 runs on the first innings, had stretched that lead to 216 by the close of the third day of the first Test match against the Standard Bank Proteas at Lord’s in London on Saturday.

With 9 wickets still in hand, including Alastair Cook currently unbeaten on 59, they hold a very strong hand with the spinners becoming increasingly dominant in the game and the pitch getting lower and slower.

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Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn, two of the least experienced men in the Standard Bank Proteas top order produced a fightback of skill and good temperament to revive their side from a potential collapse on the second day of the first Test match against England at Lord’s in London on Friday.

Their stand of 99 for the fifth wicket which was broken 10 minutes before stumps when De Bruyn was dismissed by Jimmy Anderson mirrored the similar stand of 114 for the same wicket between Joe Root and Ben Stokes to launch a similar England revival the previous day.

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Joe Root celebrated his debut performance as England’s Test match captain with his 12th career century on the opening day of the first Test match against the Standard Bank Proteas at Lord’s in London on Thursday. It was also his second century against South Africa and the higher of his two, beating the 110 he made at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium last year.

England finished the day on 357/5 with Root unbeaten on 184 (227 balls, 26 fours and a six). His performance spearheaded an England fightback after the Proteas had picked up four wickets in the morning session after losing the toss in good batting conditions, thanks in the main to Vernon Philander who picked up three of the wickets. 

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Vernon Philander is fit and ready to lead the Proteas attack in the first Test match against England starting at Lord’s in London on Thursday. Philander has recovered from the ankle injury he sustained earlier this month, and returns to a happy hunting ground which holds fond memories.

His man-of-the-match performance in the 51-run win at the ground in 2012 led the Proteas to a 2-0 series victory and the No.1 Test ranking. The current squad has a completely different look and feel to the class of 2012 – Philander, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Morne Morkel are the only players from that squad - but the objectives and desire remains the same ahead of the series-opener.

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Max Holden and Harry Brook will lead England Under-19s this summer in four-day and one-day series against India.

Holden, the Middlesex opener who has spent an extended loan spell with Northamptonshire this season, will captain the team in the two “Tests” in Chesterfield and Worcester - as he did in India earlier this year, and at home to Sri Lanka last summer.

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Proteas head coach, Russell Domingo, says Dean Elgar will bring a ‘gutsy’ attitude as captain for the first Test match against England starting at Lord’s in London on Thursday. Elgar will stand in for Faf du Plessis - who is unable to lead the side due to family reasons - and will become the 12th player to captain South Africa’s Test team since readmission.

The 30-year-old has become an established member of the Test side since his debut in 2012, and has grown into a tenacious rock at the top of the order. He has scored seven centuries and six half-centuries (at an average of 39.25) in his 35-match Test career, innings’ that have been characterised by unrelenting fight and determination.   

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South Africa received a thorough workout in the drawn three-day match against the England Lions at New Road in Worcester on Saturday. The home team finished on 266/4 declared after 80 overs, in response to the Proteas’ first innings total of 382/6 declared.

The bowlers all managed to run in for three spells, with Morne Morkel (1/49) and Chris Morris (1/35) the most successful and economical of the pacemen. Keshav Maharaj, the only frontline spinner in the squad, was equally impressive as an effective holding option in his 18 overs.  

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