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Summary

  1. England - set 382 to win - close on 52-3
  2. Hales, Cook & Compton fall cheaply
  3. England must bat out final day to draw
  4. SA 248-5 dec: Amla 96, Bavuma 78*
  5. England lead 2-0 in four-Test series

Live Reporting

By Stephan Shemilt

All times stated are UK

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And that's that. England's Test winter is almost done. Tomorrow is their final day. Will it end on a sour note? Join us to find out.

But will AB be the one smiling tomorrow night? Unless the South African skies open, the smart money suggests that he will be.

England bowler James Anderson, speaking to Sky Sports, on removing AB de Villiers, who suggested Anderson had lost pace: "We don't need any extra motivation, but it was mentioned when he got a pair today. It is one of those things. You have to be careful what you say in the media, because it can bite you on the backside."

Just one thought. England did survive by the skin of their teeth on this ground in 2009-10. Is it too late to send for Graham Onions?

England bowler Jimmy Anderson, speaking to Sky Sports: "I felt like I've bowled alright throughout the series, but not quite had the rewards I could have had." 

On Stuart Broad topping the ICC Test bowling rankings: "He's been brilliant for years now, and I'm really enjoying our partnership. For him to get to number one is a fantastic achievement. A lot of hard work is starting to pay off."  

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Gary Ballance
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Andy Clarke: Just saying, but Gary Ballance has still got more Test 100s than our whole top 7 here minus Cook & Root. Oh and a 46+ Test ave.

England bowler Jimmy Anderson, speaking to Sky Sports: "It was good conditions to bowl. We knew there was a bit of variable bounce and tried to bowl as straight as we could. After three early wickets we thought we were in a good position but couldn't capitalise on that."

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Canojuice: Lest we forget the series is won.

Justin in Brighton:  I think some people have forgotten that we have won a series in South Africa. Lot's of fickle fans about today. Get behind the lads, plenty of batting (and rain) to come!

James Anderson
AP

England bowler Jimmy Anderson, speaking to Sky Sports: "We’re going to try and look at things positively. The guys we've got left know how to go about things, a few of us have been here, even at this same ground, in the same situation and have managed to come away with something."

Only 8 times in Test history has a side batted through a whole final day when starting 3 wickets down #bbccricket

Only 8 times in Test history has a side batted through a whole final day when starting 3 wickets down #bbccricket

James Anderson is just talking to TV. Apparently AB de Villiers' pre-match comments were "mentioned" when the skipper bagged a pair.

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Surrey's Rory Burns
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Michael Shaw: Why is nobody mentioning Rory Burns as Cook's partner, solid and technically correct and good f/c stats?

Close-of-play scorecard

England 52-3 (21 overs) - chasing 382 to win

Batsmen: Root 19*, Taylor 19*

Fall of wickets: 2-1 (Hales 1), 8-2 (Cook 5), 18-3 (Compton 6)

Bowling figures: Morkel 6-4-12-1, Rabda 6-2-15-2, Abbott 1-0-6-0, Piedt 5-2-7-0, Elgar 2-1-8-0, Duminy 1-0-2-0

SA first innings 475: De Kock 129*, S Cook 115, Amla 109; Stokes 4-86

England first innings 342: Cook 76, Root 76, Moeen 61; Rabada 7-112

SA second innings 248-5 dec: Amla 96, Bavuma 78*

Full scorecard

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"Compton played a shocking shot. Two wickets down, he went for an extravagant off-drive. Stay in and survive, that is what you have to do. And to make it worse they even went for a DRS when he'd clearly nicked it."

Alastair Cook lobbed one back for Morne Morkel to take a blinding caught and bowled, Nick Compton played a horrible waft and used an even worse review. 18-3. Limp to 52-3 by the close, rain and probably a bit of luck needed tomorrow.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

Alex Hales
AP

"Do I have to talk about England's batting? The pitch was a handful but Hales failed the test again. Sorry, but we found nothing out about him that we didn't know before the start of the series. He is not good enough to open." 

After a hokey-cokey over a declaration, it took some rain for AB de Villiers to be persuaded enough was enough.

Could England get through the last hour or so? Could Alex Hales nail a place at the top of the order. A Kagiso Rabada shooter said that he could not.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"Amla came in and played beautifully, and Duminy played sensibly with a 29. Bavuma came in to join Amla and he looks good. 

"He had to play carefully and was very secure. Technically correct every time I watch him, he's got perfect footwork and the ball whistles away.I'm impressed with him. He's like a little pocket battleship."

When Anderson was on the charge, it seemed like England had a sniff. Even after Ben Stokes removed JP Duminy, the door was open. It was slammed shut by the brilliance of Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma.

It seems a long time ago that James Anderson took two in an over, doesn't it? Oh how we chuckled when AB de Villiers got a second-ball duck. It looks like AB will be the one with the last laugh.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"It was another wonderful cricket day. In the morning the big surprise for me was seeing Anderson racing in, the Anderson we know. With the hard ball in his hand it zipped through and you think, what was that powder-puff stuff?"

Close of play - Eng 52-3

It is the close, the end of a day where South Africa have moved closer to a consolation win. The declaration was a long time coming, but they made up for it with three wickets in the evening session. As for England, the top order continues to resemble Beal's conjecture.

Eng 44-3

This might be the last over of the day. If I'm honest, I don't know. I realise that's not the sort of indecision you want from your text commentator, so I can only apologise.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

Kagiso Rabada
AP

"One more wicket for Kagiso Rabada and he's got a 10-for. Wow. You don't get too many of them in your career." 

Eng 44-3

Confusion about whether there are three overs or one left after this Kagiso Rabada set. Rabada, who must be nailed on for man of the match, eases in, with Taylor popping up an inside edge. Temba Bavuma would have been interested had he not been so deep at short leg. 

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Essex's Nick Browne
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Nick Browne batting for Essex

Richie Macca: As easy as it is to say Hales' stint is done, I can't see a genuine replacement. We have a lot who have tried and failed.

Andy Barrett: Can we please start talking about Nick Browne now???

Ben in Windsor: Hales out, Compton to open, Root 3, Taylor 4, James Vince 5. Job done. Doesn’t matter if Compton and Cook score slowly as long as they set a platform for the myriad of stroke players we’d have coming after them.

Eng 44-3

Plenty of men in the grabbers, no fewer than four slips for Root. Long shadows, Morkel pounding the middle of the track and causing Root to jack-knife backwards. The Yorkshireman gets through and Dharmasena, like a kid with a new toy, has the lightmeter out again. 

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Nat Phillips: Despite win, more questions than answers. Who can actually bat? Can Bairstow catch? Who did Woakes pay to get selected?

Eng 44-3

Unbelievably, Kumar Dharmasena, who is wearing light-enhancers, has got the lightmeter out. The sun is out, Kumar. He might be the type who needs a weather man to tell him when it's raining. Morne Morkel is on...

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"Morne Morkel is loosening up! He can't wait to get the ball!"

Eng 44-3 (target 382)

De Villiers has seen enough of Elgar's donkey drops and instead asks JP Duminy to bowl some off-breaks. I tell you what, it's really brightened up. The sun is out and Morne Morkel is loosening up. There are five overs left in the day. We're going to get all of those 23 in. I hope the gaffer hasn't been reading.

Jonathan Agnew

BBC Test Match Special

"It was a big miss. It wasn't even close to umpire's call."

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"Joe Root gets away with it but that was a poor shot. The sweep came about because he was a bit fiddly with the other balls. He didn't look comfortable."

not-outEng 42-3

It's missing! It's missing! Hit in line, but spinning down the leg side. Joe Root can take his heart from his mouth and carry on batting. 

South Africa review

Eng 42-3

I don't think height is a problem...

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"I think Root might just get away with it. The ball's got to hit full on for the decision to be overturned."

South Africa review

Eng 42-3

No bat...

South Africa review

Eng 42-3

This is close. Very close. Dane Piedt to Joe Root, on the sweep. Piedt is convinced. Leggy? That's Root's hope.

Geoffrey Boycott

Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

"I think South Africa should go off. You want the ball hard tomorrow morning for the quicks; once it goes softer it hasn't been difficult. Three down and a full day to play?!"

Eng 42-3 (target 382)

If that stat below is correct (and why wouldn't it be?), then England's search for an opener is going backwards. Do we think that Hales will be at the top of the order come May? Elgar serves Taylor a full toss which is sent through the covers for four, with the little man then playing a lovely whip through mid-wicket. If he's playing for his place, he's made a decent start.