Port Elizabeth, Jan 18 (IANS) South Africa fought hard on a rain-hit Day 3 of the third Test against England to reduce their first innings deficit to 291 runs at St George's Park here on Saturday. Quinton de Kock will start Day 4 on an overnight score of 63 off 134 balls and has Vernon Philander (27 off 55) to keep company. South Africa are 208/6 at stumps in reply to England's first innings total of 499/9 decl.
The highlight of the day was a resilient knock by nightwatchman Anrich Nortje, who was sent in after the dismissal of Zubayr Hamza on Day 2 and occupied the crease for most of Day 3. He absorbed 136 balls for his 18 before edging to England captain Joe Root at slips off Ben Stokes.
Stokes had a rather wretched day on the field, dropping three chances. All three chances came off the bat of de Kock at slips while Nortje was dropped once by Root early in the day at the same position.
Dom Bess (22) completed his first Test fifer by taking the wickets of Dean Elgar, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis and Rassie Van der Dussen in addition to his Day 2 scalps of Pieter Malan and Hamza.
With rain in forecast for the next two days, England will be looking to go through with the South Africa innings as quickly as possible and enforce a follow on.
Brief scores: England 499/9d (Ollie Pope 135, Ben Stokes 120; Keshav Maharaj 5/180) vs South Africa 208/6 (Quinton de Kock 63 n.o., Dean Elgar 35; Dom Bess 5/51)