Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes post centuries to put England in charge at Port Elizabeth

Rob Bagchi
England's Ollie Pope makes his maiden Test century on day two of the third Test at Port Elizabeth against South Africa - Getty Images Europe

Ollie Pope's maiden Test century and another from the bat of the irrepressible Ben Stokes put England firmly in charge against South Africa on a dominant second day in Port Elizabeth.

The tourists declared on 499 for nine and closed having reduced the hosts to 60 for two, a commanding position built around two brilliant knocks from men at different stages of their journeys.

Pope announced himself as a worthy recipient of the 'next big thing' tag he has been handed with an wonderful, unbeaten 135 in just his ninth Test innings, while Stokes' 120 continued a remarkable sequence of performances that saw him crowned world player of the year this week.

The pair shared a stand of 203 for the fifth wicket, coming together on the previous evening at 148 for four and shaping the game together. Weighed down by the exertions of 152 overs in the field, South Africa lost Pieter Malan and Zubayr Hamza to Dom Bess' off-spin in just over an hour's play before stumps.

Rain interruptions at both ends of the day saw eight overs lost and further bad weather now seems the likeliest reason to bet against England taking a 2-1 lead with one to play. South Africa's prospects in the decider have already taken a considerable hit, with strike bowler Kagiso Rabada banned as a result of the overzealous send-off that followed his day-one dismissal of Joe Root.

After a 45-minute delay Stokes and Pope resumed on 224 for four - a foundation built around slow and steady runs from the top order and their own late stand of 76.

Ben Stokes brings up his ninth Test century  Credit: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images

The next two hours turned a marginal advantage into a meaningful one, England adding 111 runs without loss. Stokes was responsible for 70 of them as he slipped effortlessly into the kind of groove very few players have access to.

He started one run behind Pope on 38 but was first to 50, standing tall and twice crashing Rabada through midwicket. Keshav Maharaj had bowled with great control on day one but now found himself treated as cannon fodder, slog-swept for six as his first over disappeared for 12.

Stokes saved an even bigger blow for his next trick, clearing the ropes, the grass bank and the ground's perimeter fence in one clean swipe. Another muscular blow saw Stokes pass 4,000 Test runs and on 99 he stroked Dane Paterson for a single, marking his ninth Test ton by removing a glove and bending his middle finger.

That was a nod to his father Ged's amputated digit and a reminder that Stokes senior was watching from a hospital bed in Johannesburg following his emergency admission just before Christmas.

Mark Wood made 42 and hit five sixes in a jaunty ninth-wicket stand of 73 Credit: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Pope overturned an lbw off the very next ball, with his best work to still to come. Stokes' charge was coming to an end, though, slashing Paterson to backward point with 120 to his name.

Having played a sound supporting role Pope was now the senior batsman on 79. Despite his youth and inexperience, he guided the lower order impressively to pile on another 148 at a furious rate.

He was careful to make sure he reached his hundred - and who could blame him - but once he got over the line, forcing an on-drive into the gap for his 14th boundary, he gave a tantalising glimpse of his range.

Relying in equal parts on co-ordination and imagination he leaned into uppercuts and indulged himself with a neat array of ramps that threatened to tip Rabada over the edge. His status as the coming man of English cricket has been touted for some time, but as he walked off after almost six and a half hours of undefeated strokeplay he had replaced big words with big runs.

Dom Bess chips in with two wickets to conform England's dominant position Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images

The stage seemed perfect for Jos Buttler but he was caught and bowled by Maharaj for just one, leaving others to take advantage of a weary attack. Sam Curran did so brilliantly, peppering the boundary before being caught on the ropes for 44.

Less expected was the post-tea assault from the blade of Mark Wood. Having previously hit just eight sixes in his first-class career, the number 10 cleared the ropes five times in quick succession off a punchdrunk Maharaj.

England appeared to declare when Wood skied Rabada on 25, but when replays showed a no-ball Root insisted the happy hitting continue. Wood and Pope eventually added 73 in 52 balls before the former holed out for 42, somewhat incredibly in pursuit of England's fastest Test fifty.

Bess produced the breakthroughs England needed to ram home their position, completing a tame caught and bowled off Malan before Hamza flicked to short leg.

Just as appealing was a brief but rapid burst from Wood, who hit 93mph and struck Dean Elgar on the elbow as a taster of things to come. PA


CLOSE: SA 60/2

Play resumes at 8am on Saturday with the game attractively poised for England after the sensational 203-run fifth-wicket partnership between Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes took the game away from South Africa before Sam Curran and Mark Wood turned the screw with a pair of impressively jaunty forties. Dom Bess's two wickets rounded off a fantastic day for the touring party and the raw and brutal pace of Mark Wood promises more compelling play tomorrow.  


Rain stopped play: SA 60/2

That should be the close. Can't see them getting back out in the remaining 25 minutes. The shower isn't heavy but the skies are filthy. England lead by 439 with SA two wickets down.

Credit: Sky Sports



OVER 17: SA 60/2 (Elgar 32* Nortje 0*)               

Bess didn't trouble the right-handers at all at Caper Town but has bagged two of them here - c Scoreboard pressure b Momentum. Nortje comes in as nightwatchman and faces a leg slip, backward and forward short legs, slip and silly point as Bess comes round the wicket. It's very dark out there but he survives. Ah ... here comes the rain. 



Hamza c Pope b Bess 10  Inside edge on to the pad as he pushed forward at an off-break. Pope dived forward at short leg to scoop the catch at ankle height. FOW 60/2


OVER 16: SA 60/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 10*)              

Wood treats Hamza to a proper working over in the gloom. The first short ball hits high on the splice as he takes his hand off the bat, the next is a rip-snorter at 93.2mph that just misses the gloves as he fenced at it in panic. Four comes off an inside edge as he defends in front of his chest and he gets off strike with a fine stroke, running it off an open face to point. Elgar has two balls left to face and deflects the first off his bat on to his hip that drops it short of leg gully. Despite the sting, he gets right in line to defend the last in front of his sternum. 


OVER 15: SA 55/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 5*)             

Hamza squeezes a single off a thick inside edge into the legside off Bess who has five deliveries to probe the vulnerabilities of  Elgar to the ball turning away from his bat. He defends from the crease. refusing to prop forward and bring the ring of close catchers into play. It does mean that Wood will have a first dart at the right-hander.


OVER 14: SA 54/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 4*)             

Wood racks up a second successive maiden, accelerating up from 89 to 93mph. Elgar keeps him out with bustle and gusto but doesn't look comfortable at all, wearing two on the pads as he hops around. Who would look comfortable? 


OVER 13: SA 54/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 4*)            

Lovely shot from Hamza, creaming a drive through extra for four off Bess but he is beaten all ends up by the next ball that turns in to crash into his front pad but it came in so far that it would have missed leg-stump. England wisely choose not to review it. 

The problem with giving Sam Curran the new ball:



OVER 13: SA 50/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 0*)           

Wood has significantly lengthened his run to try to relieve the pressure on his left leg when he plants it in the delivery stride. He begins with a very rapid maiden, reaching 92mph and hurting Elgar when one bounces up, beats him for pace as he shapes to pull and cannons into his left forearm. On comes the magic spray and ice pack.  


OVER 12: SA 50/1 (Elgar 32* Hamza 0*)          

Having run/stood their legs to stumps for five and a half sessions in the field, South Africa's openers have navigated safe passage to fifty with solid defence, soft hands ... until Dom Bess proves his worth and elicits the mistake from Malan.  

Credit: Sky Sports

 At the fall of the wicket, Root throws the ball to Mark Wood. 



Malan c&b Bess 18 No! The ball hit the ground just before it hit the toe of the bat and spooned back to the bowler. FOW 50/1


Third umpire check

Malan c&b BessWas it a bump ball? 


OVER 11: SA 48/0 (Elgar 32* Malan 16*)         

The PE band are playing the South African national anthem as Curran corrects his length after overpitching, straining for swing that doesn't come and watching with hands on hips, double tea-potting, when Elgar laces a drive through the covers for four. 

Sam Curran opens the bowling for England Credit:  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko



OVER 10: SA 44/0 (Elgar 28* Malan 16*)        

Turn for Bess to the right-hander but no threat - Malan glides two wide of slip off a full face at 135 degrees and drives a single to the point boundary. One ball to bowl at Elgar who drills a drive to long on and walks a single. Pointless having a man there with one shy of 500 on the board. Attack, man! And put your quickest bowler on. 


OVER 9: SA 40/0 (Elgar 27* Malan 13*)       

Curran switches ends. MCJ Nicholas feels Root has missed a trick by not using Wood with the hard ball. Curran bears out that argument with an over of filth - Elgar clipping four fine off his pads and driving two off the back foot through cover before ending with another four steered with a gossamer grip wide of the slips. 


OVER 8: SA 29/0 (Elgar 17* Malan 12*)      

Malan whips a single to long leg off his toes and allows Bess to torment Elgar for five deliveries, one of which grips, turns and bounces past Elgar's bat as he gropes forward. 


OVER 7: SA 28/0 (Elgar 17* Malan 11*)     

Better from Elgar who capitalises on an error in length from Broad to steer four behind point off the back foot. Broad responds with a cutter that sits up sharply and surprises Elgar by hitting the splice and allowing him to steal a single he had little clue about.  Dom Bess has been summoned to replace Sam Curran. Elgar has lost his wicket 30 per cent of the time to spin so definitely worth a punt.  


OVER 6: SA 22/0 (Elgar 12* Malan 10*)    

Curran's problem with the new ball is that every over he allows the right-hander one on his hip and Malan hits it gratefully for four. This time it's with the first ball and allows the batsman, who doesn't have a broad array of attacking strokes, to block or leave the rest. 


OVER 5: SA 18/0 (Elgar 12* Malan 6*)    

Ripper from Broad that angles in and keeps going, flirting with Elgar's edge but not brushing it. Elgar accumulates two with a check-drive to cover and adds four to exasperate Broad, who is bowling well, with the soft hands that turn an outside edge wide of the slips to the boundary. Would have been a chance to gully had there been one. 


OVER 4: SA 12/0 (Elgar 6* Malan 6*)   

Malan exploits Curran's one gimme an over to cuff it for four off his hip then treats four deliveries to the maker's name with which we became so familiar at Newlands. Curran's final ball is a beauty, pitched on middle and off before hooping away but Malan has already wisely anticipated it and lets it go through to Buttler.  


OVER 3: SA 8/0 (Elgar 6* Malan 2*)  

Another thick edge when Elgar pushes forward to defend as Broad straightens one on him from round the wicket. Soft hands force the ball to drop a metre or so in front of Stokes at second slip. Maiden for Broad who is looking threatening. 


OVER 2: SA 8/0 (Elgar 6* Malan 2*) 

Curran has three slips, no gully and a cover blocking off the drive for Malan. I would have thought they'd want to encourage him to drive - as they did in the first innings at Cape Town. After four tight deliveries, Curran strays on to Malan's hip and the opener moves off the mark by tucking it round the corner for two. Michael Atherton suggests that Bess's throw from the boundary was perfectly judged, forcing Buttler to take it on an off-spinner's good length. Wicked, wicked ways. 


OVER 1: SA 6/0  (Elgar 6* Malan 0*)

Dean Elgar gets off the mark with a cross-bat clip down to third man for two and immediately signals to Malan that the ball is swinging. A couple of balls later he pushes forward at one that shaped away and it kissed the edge and scuttled between third slip and gully for four.  Broad already managing more bounce and movement that the South Africa attack, an advantage of his height? We'll soon see as diddy Sam Curran is sharing the new ball. 


Stuart Broad has the new ball in his hand

If the light holds they can play until 4.15pm after the delayed start. 


ENG 499/9 declared

Ollie Pope ends on 135 not out after a sparkling maiden Test century, ably supported by terrifically aggressive knocks from Sam Curran and Mark Wood following Ben Stokes' superb century. All suddenly looking good for England's young side with decent contributions also from the callow openers. 



Wood c Nortje b Maharaj 42Another slog sweep, this one not middled, climbs vertically but not sufficiently horizontally and Nortje catches him for a second time. FOW 499/9


OVER 151: ENG 499/9 declared (Pope 133* Wood 42)         

Wood latches on to Maharaj's long hop and clobbers it over midwicket for six. Poor Keshav is into his 58th over and ends it with the wicket of Wood, caught at long on. 


OVER 151: ENG 490/8 (Pope 133* Wood 35*)        

Pope thumps two with another cross-bat shot through the covers, then pulls off his thighpad for six over fine leg. Insult added to injury. KP thinks Root should declare because England have enough and Pope is knackered though he suggests that Pope is playing the old soldier cleverly to get out of fielding.  England's ninth wicket partnership stands at 64 off 46 balls. 


OVER 150: ENG 481/8 (Pope 124* Wood 35*)       

After further treatment for cramp on his right calf, Pope reverse sweeps Maharaj past short third man and hobbles back for two. An orthodox sweep puts Wood on strike and targeting the sixth row of the stand at long-on. He doesn't reach the sixth row but launches it over the rope nonetheless then inspires the dressing room to fits of hysterics with a terrible attempt at a reverse sweep that he misses by a mile and falls over in the crease when the momentum of his bat swing undermines his balance. 


OVER 149: ENG 472/8 (Pope 121* Wood 29*)      

Blimey! Pope reverse ramps a perfectly respectable length ball from Rabada over De Kock for four. Rabada tries to gull him with a slower ball next up and Pope repeats the stroke, diverting it over slip for four more. But after leg-glancing for a single he pulls up with cramp for the second time. Such class and insouciance. Wood is caught off a no ball at wide mid-on, England declare then don't and Wood square cuts the final ball of the over for four. 


No ball

And that means Root, who had declared, reverses his decision and Root sends Wood back out again.

Credit: Sky Sports




Wood c Nortje b Rabada 25


OVER 148: ENG 458/8 (Pope 112* Wood 25*)     

Wood matches his great friend and Durham team-mate Stokes' haul with a second six smashed over long-on off Maharaj. After he sweeps a single, Pope reverse sweeps for one and Wood smites a third six on one knee over wide long-on. England have a proper No10 at last. No wonder Broad is bringing up the rear. 


OVER 147: ENG 443/8 (Pope 110* Wood 12*)    

Rabada is ticking and rightly so after five dot balls when Pope runs a bye after letting a rapid one down the legside through and taking on De Kock's gloved throw.  


OVER 146: ENG 442/8 (Pope 110* Wood 12*)   

Mark Wood drops to one knee to slog sweep the first ball of Maharaj's 55th over for six, then sweeps the following ball crisply round the corner for four. Big shout from the bowler when pinning Wood on the front pad next ball but it turned too much and the umpire shakes his head. Wood finishes the over by slicing a  drive over cover that falls short of Philander and they jog two. The plan is as we thought. Drive SA to despair if they can with some cheeky hitting and devouring of time. SA have been out for five sessions and are more than a little ratty. 

Ollie Pope makes his maiden Test century Credit: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko



OVER 145: ENG 430/8 (Pope 110* Wood 0*)  

A vicious cross-seam good length ball from Rabada spits up like a cobra and strikes Pope a punishing blow on his right index finger, jamming it against the bat handle. The next one also jumps up and Pope spoons it short of mid-off. Next Pope is struck on the forearm, perhaps the wristband of his glove as he misses out on a hook. SA have burnt their reviews and on replay it shows he should have been given out because it did kiss the elastic. Rabada gives him the hurry up again with another bouncer that he tries and fails to hook but connects with the last ball, pulling it fine off his shoulder for four. 


OVER 144: ENG 426/8 (Pope 105* Wood 0*) 

Mark Wood plays out the rest of Maharaj's over. England will be looking to have a hit and a giggle for an hour if they can. 


TEA: ENG 426/8 (Pope 105*)

With Bess's dismissal after two balls of the 144th over, the players troop off for tea. England have had a an exceptional day and Ollie Pope has batted with style, authority and intelligence. He is so quick to react, with electric reflexes, and is such a graceful young batsman he looks truly to belong to the line running from Gower through Bell and on to him. 



Bess c Malan b Maharaj 1 Squared up by Maharaj he plays around his front pad and the ball turns away to take a leading edge and pop up to silly point. FOW 426/8


OVER 143: ENG 425/7 (Pope 105* Bess 1*)    

Pope ducks Nortje's bouncer then thrusts up his fast hands, eyes firmly on the ball, to ramp it over the keeper's head for four. What a stroke that was.  


OVER 142: ENG 420/7 (Pope 100* Bess 1*)   

Bess plays out Maharaj's maiden adeptly. The ball is turning square. Not sure if Bess can give it such a big rip but Denly and Root are going to be valuable to England's chances of taking 20 wickets. 


Habemus Papam



OVER 141: ENG 420/7 (Pope 100* Bess 1*)  

Elgar's spell is limited to one over and Nortje replaces him. Pope plays a strange front-foot cross-bat shot to slice the ball through point for a single. Bess, who bagged 'em at Newlands, scores his first Test run for almost two years with a leg glance for a single off the slippery Nortje on his Eastern Province home ground. And there it is ...

Pope brings up his maiden Test century with a glorious on-drive for four. One is tempted to write mawkishly 'A Star is Born' but in truth his arrival was marked by his 75 at Hamilton. 


OVER 140: ENG 414/7 (Pope 95* Bess 0*) 

Maharaj switches ends to continue. Curran rocks back to slap four through cover then pummels an off-drive for four past a diving mid-off. But third time unlucky as he tries to collar the spinner a third time, connects with the inside third of his bat which causes him to lose his bottom-hand grip and launches a steepling slog down deep midwicket's throat. 



Curran c Elgar b Maharaj 44  A sparkling cameo of 44 off 50 balls ends with a heave across the line and Curran, in pursuit of a third boundary in four balls, caught at cow corner a couple of yards in from the rope. FOW 413/7


OVER 139: ENG 405/6 (Pope 94* Curran 36*)

And England raise 400 in the first innings for the first time since Perth in December 2017. Dean Elgar with his left-arm darts is cut to point by Pope for the single that takes them to the Promised Land. Curran sweeps for two then really should have been out when he cloths a lofted drive to long off but Rabada loses the flight in the crowd and the ball drops safe. 


OVER 138: ENG 399/6 (Pope 92* Curran 32*)        

As a tip of the crash helmet to Ian Bell, to whom he has been routinely compared, Pope moves into the nineties with a deft dab through gully for two. Far less elegant is a front-foot duck hook for a single. The ump asks him if he was planning on ramping it and he admits he was but had to compromise or risk dental disintegration. The ball was in the air for a while but landed safe at deep backward square. 


OVER 137: ENG 396/6 (Pope 89* Curran 32*)       

Pope shuffles down to Maharaj who throws the ball out wider and has to quickstep in adjustment to get to it and defend. Wasn't quite Gene Kelly but it was artful enough. Pope adds another single with an on-drive while Curran tries the more direct approach by charging the spinner and clubbing him low and flat through long-on for four.  


OVER 136: ENG 391/6 (Pope 88* Curran 28*)      

Nortje replaces Philander and Pope cuts the half-tracker for a single. Curran gives another short one the kitchen sink - taps, waste disposal, plug and all - scything it over the denuded slips cordon for four. Curran is doing what Buttler was picked to do.  

Staff of the Amathole Museum display some of their stuffed animals at the lunch break, hoping to entice some tourists to pay them a visit Credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images



OVER 135: ENG 386/6 (Pope 87* Curran 24*)     

Curran slips on his dancing pumps, chassés towards Maharaj and launches the ball straight back over the bowler's head and into the first tier of the stand housing the commentary box. His first and England's third six of the innings. He works singles off the back foot through cover and midwicket either side of Pope hustling a sharp single to mid-on with nothing more than a sweetly-timed defensive. 

Ollie Pope hustles a single Credit: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko



OVER 134: ENG 376/6 (Pope 86* Curran 15*)    

South Africa have been trying and succeeding in tying Pope down after lunch but he gets away against Philander with a flashing square drive that scoots past covers right hand but is cut off on the rope by the boundary rider. They run two. Fourteen short now. 


OVER 133: ENG 373/6 (Pope 84* Curran 14*)   

Maharaj beats Pope with an arm ball that is speared across the right-hander, clipping the top of his pad. South Africa appeal, more out of habit than conviction. But they do have the opportunity to emit a full-throated roar a couple of balls later when Pope comes down the pitch, the ball spins past his bat and De Kock whips off the bails. They go upstairs but De Kock doesn't look certain - and rightly so as the replay shows Pope's dazzling toes scratching back behind the line. Maiden. Significant turn for Maharaj. 

Credit: Sky Sports



OVER 132: ENG 373/6 (Pope 84* Curran 14*)  

Pope, who has cut far more wholeheartedly than Crawley and Denly, who were falling away to leg and therefore not middling the ball, scythes a single down to the cover point sweeper. Curran uses the same stroke against Philander and applies even more bottom hand to smack it in front of square and past the ring of catchers in the covers for four. On come the drinks. 


OVER 131: ENG 368/6 (Pope 83* Curran 10*) 

Twice Buttler has come in - here and in the second innings at Newlands - when the game has been set up by the top order perfectly for him to do what he is supposed to do best, grind the opposition into the dirt in the Gilchrist fashion from an already dominant position. And twice he has failed. Ed Smith may think him an exceptional cricketer in all formats but the evidence for his red-ball prowess - however much we might want it to be true - isn't convincing.

Curran whips a Maharaj delivery from over the wicket that turns square behind square leg for three and Pope milks a single with a tap-drive to the cover sweeper. 


OVER 130: ENG 364/6 (Pope 82* Curran 7*)

Philander comes round the wicket to Curran with a first slip and fourth. Twice the left-hander takes on the drive - the first is stopped by short cover, the next flies 5ft past his hand as he dives and scuds away for four. Du Plessis calls up a short-extra to plug that gap further.

Maharaj dismisses Jos Buttler all by himself Credit:  REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko



OVER 129: ENG 359/6 (Pope 82* Curran 2*)                      

Curran is tempted into that tickle round the corner by Maharaj but leg slip is too fine and they run two leg-byes to fine leg. Big Vern will replace Paterson from the Duck Pond End. 


OVER 128: ENG 356/6 (Pope 82* Curran 1*)                      

Pope and Curran milk singles off their pads - Paterson bowling to the leg trap field that did for the openers - cuffing them square rather than fine. Paterson, who has a gobful of teeth the Americans would call a testament to English dentistry, gives Pope the hurry-up with one that angles back in to him. He tries to slap it off the back foot but it's quicker to him and closer to the pads than he first thought so can only hastily jab down his bat to save his stumps.  


OVER 127: ENG 354/6 (Pope 81* Curran 0*)                     

One suspects Bairstow and Buttler are going to have another spin through the revolving door if Jos doesn't nail a big score here in the second dig (if he gets the chance) or at the Wanderers. Another hundred runs will add significant scoreboard pressure to England's bowling attack. Maharaj turns the ball back in from outside the left-handed Curran's off-stump and pins him below the knee-roll of his front leg. SA have no reviews in any case and even if they had, the TV umpire would not have reversed the not out decision as the impact was umpire's call even though the ball was going on to hit the dead centre of leg-stump. 




Buttler c&b Maharaj 1  The ball stuck in the pitch and Buttler, trying to drive it off the back foot simply spooned it off the toe of his bat back to the bowler. One brings two. FOW 354/6


OVER 126: ENG 353/5 (Pope 80* Buttler 1*)                    

Good morning ... just.  Paterson continues. His method and action are dead spits for the SA bowling coach Charl Langeveldt. Low bounce tests Buttler's bat speed in defence, but not much else. A third maiden for the debutant in the over following his maiden Test wicket. He's a tidy bowler on an unhelpful pitch. No reverse swing as yet. 


OVER 125: ENG 353/5 (Pope 80* Buttler 1*)                   

Pope goes after a Maharaj delivery, slapping it with venom, with mid-on getting in the way to save the boundary.

Buttler gets off the mark with a prod to the off-side, and I'm handing over to Rob Bagchi, who will take you through the rest of the day's play.


OVER 124: ENG 351/5 (Pope 79* Buttler 0*)                  

South Africa are energised, and Paterson is mirroring that. A good over, good length, making Buttler play.

Buttler's entrance to the pitch looked frosty, incidentally. He was emotionless, and there seemed to be some jibes from the hosts.


WICKET! Stokes c Elgar b Paterson 120

He did seem restless!

Paterson picks up his first wicket in Tests as Stokes could not help himself, launching at a wider delivery, and chipping straight to Elgar who takes a solid catch.

Buttler and Pope to push England on, then? FoW 351/5


OVER 123: ENG 351/4 (Pope 79* Stokes 120*)                 

Stokes toe-ends an attempted reverse-sweep off Maharaj - that was ugly, and Stokes seems a bit restless.

They scurry through for a single, though, after Stokes inside edges to fine-leg attempting to swipe over midwicket.


OVER 122: ENG 350/4 (Pope 79* Stokes 119*)                

A single for Pope from Paterson - an inside edge through midwicket but England scamper through.

Stokes jabs forward off the back foot, once again beating the infield, earning a single through cover.

The 350 up for England now.


OVER 121: ENG 348/4 (Pope 78* Stokes 118*)               

Stokes picks out the easy single down to long-on off Maharaj - easy as you like.

A chance of a run-out, too, for Rabada - a direct hit would have got Pope but he misses!

What's happened here? Stokes heaves down to long-on, in the air, but he doesn't catch it completely as he would have liked. Nortje approaches and drops - he misjudged it completely and gave himself too much to do as the ball began its descent.

200 partnership up for these two, as Pope bags a single to end the over.


OVER 120: ENG 344/4 (Pope 76* Stokes 116*)              

Stokes, off the back foot again, gets the ball past the infield on the on-side to pick up a single at deep cover off Paterson.

Pope does well to keep a straighter one out. Might have kept a little low and a little quicker, but he gets his bat down in the nick of time.


OVER 119: ENG 343/4 (Pope 76* Stokes 115*)             

Maharaj resumes, and Pope looks just as assured with his defence as he did before lunch.

He gets on the back foot to steer the ball to deep cover for a single, before Stokes replies in kind to long-on.

A career best now for Pope, on 76.


OVER 118: ENG 341/4 (Pope 75* Stokes 114*)            

A 7-2 off-side field split for Du Plessis - bizarre!

And, predictably, Paterson begins very wide of off stump.

Stokes is on to him, however, with just the third ball after lunch being biffed to the boundary for four. He shut the face of the bat on a slightly fuller delivery, almost curling the ball back down the pitch to avoid he off-side-heavy field.

England's centurion picks up a couple from the final ball of the over, thrashing to deep mid-wicket.


The players are back out

Can Pope get those elusive 25 runs for a maiden Test hundred?

How big a lead can England build?

Here we go...


Stokes' century

He raised his arm, dedicating his knock to his father, who was seriously unwell just before Christmas.



Stokes' purple patch


Atypical Stokes


Getting heated between Nasser and Michael

It's fair to say that they aren't seeing eye to eye.

Michael Holding: "You don't do things like that. People will lose their cool at times, but you can't keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again."

Nasser Hussain: "I saw a bloke: 33 degree heat, not given the new ball, flat pitch, absolute jaffer, bowling out the England captain - if you take that out of the game, it becomes a bell game. He didn't touch anyone and he didn't swear." 


Michael Vaughan has his say on the Rabada news

Cricket always finds a way to shoot itself in the foot - the Kagiso Rabada ban for celebrating is ridiculous




It was undoubtedly England's morning as the two batsmen who came out at 8.45am GMT - after a delayed start due to rain - left the field for lunch. Both men swiftly reached half-centuries, with Ben Stokes pushing on to finish the morning on 107*.

South Africa look a bit jaded, with a lack of sharpness in the field at times defining their morning.

There was a scare for Pope, however, after he was given out lbw to Paterson, but that decision was overturned by a successful review.


OVER 117: ENG 335/4 (Pope 75* Stokes 108*)           

Maharaj to end the morning session, with Pope immediately pilfering a single to mid-on where there's a bit of a lack of urgency from the hosts.

Stokes never looked troubled for the rest of the over, even pinching a single through square-leg to end the morning's session.


OVER 116: ENG 333/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 107*)          

Paterson has looked increasingly dangerous, and Stokes seems to have misjudged this one, finding an inside edge that yields two behind square - it looked like he played a slightly different line.

England's centurion sees out the rest of the over without issue; both teams seem to be playing for lunch here, which is one over away.


OVER 115: ENG 331/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 104*)         

Gorgeous timing from Stokes against Maharaj, a back-foot cover drive flying off the bat for four.

A feather to fine-leg for a single ends the over.


OVER 114: ENG 326/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 100*)        

An eventful over!

100 for Stokes, and Pope given out the very next ball, only for a successful review to overturn the decision and deprive Paterson of his first Test wicket.

Maharaj to come back on from the other end - how England would love these two to stay in until lunch.


Not out!

A great review and Pope survives

Credit: Sky Sports


Wicket! Pope lbw Paterson 74

Given out...review impending.

A ball after Stokes' century - it looked a little leg-side and was angling...



Stokes drives a back-of-a-length ball through the covers.

His second slowest Test hundred - but a vital one regardless.



OVER 113: ENG 325/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 99*)       

Maharaj continues after a switch of ends, bowling very straight to Pope who deals with it admirably. There's not buckets of turn for Maharaj.

A maiden nonetheless.


OVER 112: ENG 325/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 99*)      

No one told South Africa that Paterson was coming on -  they had set up ready for the return of Maharaj.

Stokes walks down the track to play a forthright defensive shot, happy to just block out Paterson's consistent off-stump line.

And he steals two, slicing one outside off down to third man...that takes him to 99.

Band watch: a jazzed-up arrangement of Sean Kingston's Beautiful Girls rings around St George's Park. Awful tune; nifty arrangement.


Rabada's ban


OVER 111: ENG 323/4 (Pope 74* Stokes 97*)     

Du Plessis now has sweepers everywhere to try and stop this South African rot, as Pope thrashes a Rabada delivery through point for a single,  before both batsmen exchange singles through backward point.

Stokes ends the over by getting on his toes to throw the bat almost over his shoulder at the ball, flinging it through cover for a single.

He'll be on strike, on 97, and Paterson is coming on.


OVER 110: ENG 319/4 (Pope 72* Stokes 95*)    

Stokes does not seem too perturbed by Maharaj, reverse-sweeping him behind square for a couple.

And then...biggy! Stokes blasts a slog-sweep over deep mid-wicket, just one bounce and over the boundary for four. That's Stokes past 4000 runs in Test cricket.


OVER 109: ENG 313/4 (Pope 72* Stokes 89*)   

Stokes flails at a shorter, wider delivery from Rabada, his shot flying to backward point, picking up a single as the fielder collects in the deep.

Before Pope gets over the top of a shorter one, rolling his wrists wonderfully, collecting four at fine leg.

A good over for England.


OVER 108: ENG 308/4 (Pope 68* Stokes 88*)  

Maharaj bowls tidily once again, but Stokes goes after him across the line to pinch a single through the on-side.

Pope finds the gap through cover, with quick feet, opening the face at the last minute to bag four runs.


OVER 107: ENG 303/4 (Pope 64* Stokes 87*) 

A mistake from De Kock tarnishes a better over from Rabada as England pinch a bye. Slightly wider, but in that teasing corridor.

The sun looks to be out, momentarily at least, which is nice.


Good morning for the visitors or a bad one for the hosts? Or both?


OVER 106: ENG 302/4 (Pope 64* Stokes 87*)

Maharaj comes back - is he the man to make the breakthrough for South Africa? They could really do with something.

A maiden, at least, for South Africa, but very little sign of danger for England's men who look well-set.


OVER 105: ENG 302/4 (Pope 64* Stokes 87*)              

Stokes dabs one off his toes to mid-wicket for a single, before Pope just about does enough to keep a pull shot down as it flies to fine-leg, dropping well short of the fielder, for one.

Paul Collingwood is all smiles in the dressing room.


OVER 104: ENG 300/4 (Pope 63* Stokes 86*)             

Pope gets right down the track, trying to smother the spin, with one flying off the bat through square leg.

Stokes tries some back-foot stuff, earning two runs through point and bringing up the 150 partnership. 

Stokes bags another single through long-on for a single, and that's the 300 up for England.


England's morning


OVER 103: ENG 296/4 (Pope 62* Stokes 83*)            

There's a half-hearted appeal from South Africa as Pope leans towards one outside his body on the leg-side, but there's nothing in it. Good job, too, as the hosts have no reviews left.

Pope tickles a full delivery outside off to point for a single to save the maiden.

And that's drinks.


Pope's 50



OVER 102: ENG 295/4 (Pope 61* Stokes 83*)           

Maharaj renews his bout with Stokes, four leg-byes coming as Stokes looks to work him square, the ball just clipping the thigh-pad in the process.

The slog-sweep comes out again and he times this one so sweetly over mid-wicket that it's gone on into the road - new balls please! Hang on...a passer-by has found it. Get that man a medal.

England going at almost six an over so far today - storming.


Stokes celebrates 50



OVER 101: ENG 285/4 (Pope 61* Stokes 77*)          

A mis-field from Malan at mid-on gives Pope a single - emblematic of South Africa's morning really.

Stokes finds a gap at deep mid-wicket and pushes for two, but is told to leave it at one in no uncertain terms by the 21-year-old Pope. Pope's confidence comes to the fore again, as a wide half-volley from Nortje allows him to rocket the ball away for four through point.


OVER 100: ENG 279/4 (Pope 56* Stokes 76*)         

Maharaj is on and it's not the start he would have been looking for.

Stokes goes after him, after stealing two through long leg, Stokes unleashes the slog-sweep, thrashing Maharaj for four through square-leg.

And he ends with a six! Another slog-sweep that flies over the deep mid-wicket boundary.

England's morning so far.


OVER 99: ENG 267/4 (Pope 56* Stokes 64*)        

These two are ticking along delightfully for England, with only a couple of moments - courtesy of Ben Stokes - causing any degree of consternation this morning.

Stokes and Pope trade singles on the leg-side from some Nortje length stuff, before Stokes ends the over with a flick to mid-on for one, from another fuller delivery on off-stump.


Some breaking news

 You can read the full story here.


OVER 98: ENG 264/4 (Pope 55* Stokes 62*)       

Philander opens too full and too straight and Pope swipes it away from his legs into deep mid-wicket for a single.

Stokes works one off his pads, too, to long leg for one, before Pope looks to massage that third-man boundary again, but a super stop by Hamza at fine gully saves the boundary. Stokes clips a shorter ball to mid-wicket for a single.


OVER 97: ENG 260/4 (Pope 53* Stokes 60*)      

Nortje to Stokes, the England man lulling his South African adversary into a false sense of security with some calm defence, before unleashing a rocketing pull to the mid-wicket boundary that is timed wonderfully. Maharaj, via a stumble, just about saves four.

Du Plessis with his hands on his head after Stokes dabs a fuller delivery through cover - it spent a moment in the air before landing safely.

And then an edge from Stokes! It evades the slips and charges away for four.


OVER 96: ENG 252/4 (Pope 53* Stokes 52*)     

Stokes pinches a quick single to long leg off Philander, before Pope opens the face, plays it late outside off, and steers it backward of point for four.

And fifty for Pope as he strikes through point again, slicing another for four. His second in this series and the third in his career.


OVER 95: ENG 243/4 (Pope 45* Stokes 51*)    

Pope clips one away square of the wicket for a single, and then...danger!

Back of a length from Nortje, coming over the wicket, getting one to fly across Stokes, a bit of extra bounce, and Stokes can't resist but have a gigantic swipe at it - he gets nothing on it.

Another hairy moment for England, too, as Stoke loops one into the leg-side in the air, but it lands safe.

Philander coming on now.


OVER 94: ENG 241/4 (Pope 44* Stokes 50*)   

An outside edge gives Stokes two, before he stands up and clobbers a shorter Rabada ball for four down to the long-on boundary. That was at a perfect height for Stokes; with this slow pitch, anything short really has to steam out of the bowler's hand.

Stokes does it again - and that's his 50. Another short ball, at waist height, that he treats with contempt, walloping it to the long-on boundary.


OVER 93: ENG 231/4 (Pope 44* Stokes 40*)  

Nortje opens with a teasing ball to Pope, cutting off the track, which the Surrey man guides to gully.

Pope then opens his day's account with a back-foot jab through point for one, before his partner at the crease follows suit with a single through mid-on.

Before a gorgeous shot from Pope as a Nortje delivery spits up off the turf, and Pope gets on top of the bounce, rolling his hands over the ball to guide it four four at third man.,


OVER 92: ENG 225/4 (Pope 39* Stokes 39*) 

Rabada round the wicket to Stokes, peppering with some fuller stuff outside off, but Stokes meets the South African fast bowler with confidence, coming forward with some mini-drives on the off-side. 

A maiden to open from Rabada.


OVER 91: ENG 225/4 (Pope 39* Stokes 39*)

The usual Barmy Army rendition of Jerusalem is over, and we're off with Nortje beginning against Stokes and he watches it well - defending off the back foot. England's 2019 hero then slips one off his hip to square leg to open his account for the day.

Nortje gets one to shoot back into Pope's midriff - to groans from the crowd -

Play can go on until 6.15pm local time if needed.


Here we go

We're getting some cricket!



The covers are off and we could be underway by 8.45am GMT.

Fingers crossed.



The covers are back on - no indication as of yet for when play will restart.

Sorry, folks!


All a bit dreary



A level-headed start from Pope



The covers are back on, and it's unclear at the moment how long that is going to last.

It is very cloudy and humid in Port Elizabeth today; it could be an on/off sort of day.

There's talk of an 8.20am GMT start.


Missed yesterday's action?

Here's Scyld Berry's verdict from Port Elizabeth.

Safari-fan Ollie Pope proves himself a worthy big-game spotter as England end day on top 



Delayed start

There's been a bit of rain in Port Elizabeth, so play will commence at 8.10am GMT.


Good morning!

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the second day of the third Test between South Africa and England, from St George's Park, Port Elizabeth. 

England will look to capitalise on good work from Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope when play resumes today.

Stokes and Pope combined in an unbroken stand of 76 in the evening session, guiding the tourists away from a potentially tricky position to a promising stumps score of 224 for four on day one.

Stokes' ability to take command of a match, with bat or ball, needs no re-stating and Pope looked in wonderful touch as he cashed in against a tiring attack. Together they will look to push England towards 400, leaving their bowlers the safety net they might need on a sluggish pitch in Port Elizabeth.

South Africa, meanwhile, may once again lean on the twin pillars of Keshav Maharaj's spin and Kagiso Rabada's pace as they look to find a foothold in the game.

Stokes has the technique and the muscle to disrupt the rhythm Maharaj built-up on day one, however, and might be tempted by the challenge of hitting him out of the attack. But there is risk as well as reward in that strategy, with the left-arm spinner already subjecting Stokes to a couple of close shaves. Watch this space.

Zak Crawley has so far posted a new Test best score in each of his four innings for England. He started with a low base of one against New Zealand, then made four in his second knock. Things have slowly started to head in a more promising direction, with efforts of 25 and 44 suggesting a growing comfort with life at the highest level.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis must have forgotten what it feels like to choose between batting and bowling, having lost six consecutive tosses in a row. He still has a little way to go before he matches compatriot Graeme Smith's worst run of eight successive losses between 2008-09. Former England skipper Nasser Hussain still holds the unwanted record, though, with 10 in a row from 2000-01.

Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior had a high-profile falling out after some incendiary comments in the former's autobiography. The pair were both rostered on as part of talkSPORT's commentary team for this match and rather than keep away from each other, they met in the middle ahead of play for a long chat and a handshake. Tweets from both proved that ill feelings have finally been left in the past.

Joe Denly has now faced at least 100 balls in nine of his past 13 innings. The 'Dentury' is fast becoming a virtual guarantee but the Kent man is still struggling to match the runs output required of a number three. Here he made 25, lowering his career average to 31.04.