South Africa's Kagiso Rabada celebrates the dismissal of England's James Taylor (L) who was caught out by Quinton de Kock during the fourth cricket Test in Centurion on 25 January, 2016.
CENTURION – South Africa were on track for victory as they reduced England to 52/3, in pursuit of a further 330 to win, at stumps on day four of the fourth Test at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, on Monday.
After South Africa declared on 248/5 in their second innings during a rain delay, setting their opponents 382 for victory, Kagiso Rabada picked up two wickets and Morne Morkel the other to leave England reeling with a day left to play.
South Africa will fancy their chances of a consolation win, after England claimed an unassailable 2-0 lead by winning the third Test at the Wanderers.
Rabada first picked up Alex Hales lbw for 1, before Morkel produced a stunning reaction caught and bowled to remove captain Alastair Cook for 5.
The 20-year-old Rabada then stepped up to claim the wicket of Nick Compton for 6, caught behind by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, to leave England in heaps of trouble at 18/3. The strike also took Rabada’s match wicket-tally to 9 after claiming career best figures of 7/122 in the England first innings.
At the wicket at the close of play for England Joe Root and James Taylor were the unbeaten batsmen, both on 19.
Most surprising, though, was Kyle Abbott coming on to bowl an over, after a tight right hamstring had forced him off after bowling 19 overs in England’s first innings.
Management had said it was unlikely Abbott would bowl again, but the player surprised all concerned when he came on to bowl from a shortened run-up.
Earlier, in South Africa’s second innings, Temba Bavuma ended unbeaten on 78 and De Kock on 9 at the other end.
Hashim Amla (96 runs, 199 balls, 11×4) was the only wicket to fall after tea, four short of his second hundred of the match.
(Temba Bavuma and Hashim Amla of South Africa of day 4 of the 4th Test match between South Africa and England at SuperSport Park in Pretoria on January 25 2016. Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix.)
Amla went after a delivery from Stuart Broad offering width and was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow.
The strike brought down the curtain on a 117-run fifth-wicket partnership with Bavuma as South Africa dropped to 223/5.
In morning play, resuming on 42/1 from 17 overs and a 175-run lead overnight, the hosts were almost immediately pegged back by a pumped-up English bowling attack.
First to fall was debutant opener Stephen Cook for 25.
Cook was rooted in the crease as he played a flashing drive off a James Anderson (3/21) delivery, which took the edge and was safely pouched by Bairstow. South Africa were reduced to 49/2.
The massive blow for the Proteas, still on 49, would come two balls later. Anderson produced a magnificent in-swinging delivery that trapped AB de Villiers lbw for a duck, and his first pair in Test cricket.
It was also the third duck in a row for the Proteas captain after also not troubling the scorers in the third Test at the Wanderers, where South Africa lost the match and with it the series. It was the first pair by a South Africa captain for 114 years since Louis Tancred was out for a duck in both innings at the Oval in London in 1912.
Another setback for South Africa came when JP Duminy played a poor shot to be dismissed off the bowling of allrounder Ben Stokes.
The left-handed Proteas batsman went on a wild drive to a wideish delivery moving away and was caught behind by Bairstow to leave South Africa 106/4.