Bairstow gets England back in contention

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South Africa swing bowler Vernon Philander has been left in doubt for the fourth and final Test against England after suffering a back spasm.

The tourists closed the day on 220 for 9 in response to England's first innings total of 362.

Just as England looked to end the day decent, Rabada came up with a brilliant delivery to castle Stokes in the penultimate over to limit England to 260 for six at stumps. But on Saturday (August 5) he surged to his best figures at Old Trafford with a spell that typified his best traits. Elgar, South Africa's anchorman, lasted just three balls before being pinned on the shin by a trademark Anderson inswinger to the left-hander.

The former England showed excellent judgment in leaving balls outside the off-stump, which forced the South Africans to bowl to his strengths on occasion. Dean Elgar has already played and missed at a ball with something that loosely resembled a cricket shot his first ball.

Heino Kuhn and Keaton Jennings' series so far bear uncanny and undesirable similarities.

Earlier, Roland-Jones, the nightwatchman who didn't actually face a ball the previous evening, soon skewed a catch to point and Moeen was held in the slips.

The hosts stormed to victory at The Oval to take a 2-1 lead in what has been a topsy-turvy series with both sides taking turns to dominate.

Anderson's quartet of scalps came after he helped Jonny Bairstow put on 50 for the tenth wicket in England's first innings - although it should be noted that his contribution was just four not out!

The morning session had been dominated by Bairstow, who fell one run short of his fourth Test century thanks to an excruciatingly tight lbw call from Kumar Dharmasena, but produced an exhibition of ball-striking and strike-farming to turn England's dicey overnight scoreline into something more more imposing in the conditions.

That seemed slightly over par, with Anderson ramming home an advantage that looks set to result in England's first home series win against South Africa since 1998.

South Africa contrived three wickets in the afternoon.

At The Oval Faf du Plessis talked about South Africa's mistakes, here they just replicated them.

Indisputably, despite Bairstow's best efforts, it is Anderson.

Having gone on to fifty in 100 balls, Bairstow scored 49 from his next 45 deliveries before he was cruelly robbed of a deserved hundred, given out LBW to Keshav Maharaj.

To Bairstow's credit he took what was on offer for him at one stage going down on one knee to sweep Duane Olivier to the fine leg fence. Having nearly nicked Morkel behind, the captain then followed the bad example set by his departed team-mates in offering a thick edge of his own, only for De Kock to inexplicably fail to dive. One day the cameraman who pokes his implement at the departing batsman's nose while invading his personal space will get an almighty thump - and not much sympathy.

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