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February

Cricket

England build lead on day one in Johannesburg

24th January 2020, 17:06 by James Mason

England have a slight advantage over South Africa after day one of the weather-affected fourth Test after reaching 192-4 at stumps.

After play was delayed by more than three hours due to rain, the first day at The Wanderers was reduced to two sessions instead of three as England won the toss and elected to bat.

The tourists, who lead the four-match series 2-1, made a solid start to their innings with Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley posting the country's first century opening stand in more than three years.

England looked comfortable as they reached 107-0 just after tea, only for a flurry of late wickets to allow South Africa back in the game and keep them in with a shout of levelling the series.

Sibley (44) was the first to go as he handed Beuran Hendricks his first Test wicket before Crawley, who made his maiden Test half-century, fell for 66 when becoming Vernon Philander's only victim of the day.

Joe Denly was then dismissed for 27 by Dane Paterson before Ben Stokes, who made only two, appeared to exchange angry words with someone off the field as he departed off the bowling of Anrich Nortje.

Captain Joe Root (25no) and Ollie Pope (22no) managed to steady the tourists, taking them to 192-4 when bad light ended play.

The Proteas will be the happier of the two teams, having looked desperate in the field at one stage, while England, who lost those four wickets for 50 runs, will be disappointed to have not kicked on.

Speaking to Sky Sports after stumps, Crawley opened up on the opening day, saying: "100%, I was eyeing three figures. It is hard not to. I was pretty annoyed but would have taken 66 at the start.

"When your are out there you try hard to keep it out of your head but it is a big thing scoring a hundred for England. It did a bit more after the break, I don't know why.

"There was bit more sideways movement and that explains the four wickets. Late 200s to early 300s would be a pretty good score."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

James Mason grew up in Northumberland so is entrenched in both the football and golf scenes. A low handicap golfer, he also follows Newcastle United and predicts big things under Rafa Benitez.

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