South Africa v England: Tourists collapse as 15 wickets fall on second day
|First Test, Supersport Park, Centurion (day two of five):|
|South Africa 284 (De Kock 95, Curran 4-58) & 72-4 (Archer 2-37)|
|England 181 (Denly 50, Philander 4-16, Rabada 3-68)|
|South Africa lead by 175|
An England batting collapse gave South Africa the upper hand in the first Test as 15 wickets fell on an entertaining second day in Centurion.
Having bowled South Africa out for 284, England lost their final seven wickets for just 39 runs as they were bowled out for 181, with the superb Vernon Philander taking 4-16.
South Africa were quickly reduced to 29-3 in their second innings and, although they lost Faf du Plessis late on, they ended on 72-4, a lead of 175.
England's bowlers showed admirable fight after a poor display with the bat, but batting last on a pitch already showing signs of uneven bounce will be a difficult task.
They may already have squandered their chance of winning this game.
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Same old story for England
Batting collapses have been a feature of England's Test cricket in the past two years but, having limited South Africa to 284, the tourists would have been hopeful of building a first-innings lead.
There was some uneven bounce on the pitch but England fell to some poor shots, poor technique and the unerring accuracy of Philander.
Having lost openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley cheaply, both caught behind off deliveries that bounced, Joe Denly led the way for England with a painstaking half-century.
At 142-3, with Denly and Ben Stokes sharing a 72-run partnership, England were well set. But Denly's dismissal, caught behind off an inside edge off debutant Dwaine Pretorius, seemed to break the tourists' concentration.
Jonny Bairstow, recalled because of illness in the squad, was bowled playing back to one from Anrich Nortje that kept low, while Stokes was furious after he drove at the same bowler and was caught behind.
Jos Buttler and Sam Curran shepherded England to tea but a cheap ending always felt inevitable. Curran flicked Kagiso Rabada to short leg, where he fell to a low catch by Zubayr Hamza, Buttler was caught behind off a rising Rabada delivery and Stuart Broad was bounced out.
When Jofra Archer fell, bowled by Philander, England had lost their final seven wickets in 94 balls and had given their bowlers just 53.2 overs of respite after a sweltering opening day.
Too little too late for England?
Both Archer and Broad struggled with illness in the build-up to this Test, while James Anderson is still finding his rhythm after four months out with a calf injury.
Their rustiness showed in the first innings but they bowled with better length and discipline, with Anderson striking in the first over to trap Aiden Markram lbw.
Broad and Archer were more fortuitous, with Broad having Hamza caught down the leg side, before Du Plessis hooked Archer to deep backward square-leg.
Archer bowled with hostility, using the extra bounce of the pitch to trouble the batsmen, although he was warned by the umpires after bowling a beamer at nightwatchman Nortje late on.
It was a good response from England, but they have had to rely on their bowlers to cover up for their batsmen's deficiencies all too often.
The decision to bowl first, with the intention of building a large first-innings total, has yet to be justified.
'England are in a right mess'- what they said
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: "I can't offer too many excuses or reasons for this - England are in a right mess.
"Those bowlers yesterday were absolutely exhausted It was a sweltering day up here at 5,000ft, and the one thing they did not want to have to do today was go out and bowl again."
England batsman Joe Denly to BBC 5 live: "They made us work hard for every single run. Losing 7-39 can potentially be a game-changer but I don't think there are too many demons in that wicket.
"It's frustrating. It felt pretty comfortable out there and myself and Ben were starting to get a partnership going."
Former England batsman Jonathan Trott on The Cricket Social: "You have to give credit to South Africa - they bowled very accurately. They created the false shots that England played."
South Africa bowler Vernon Philander on Sky Sports: "The game is in the balance now. If we get 300-plus it would be a good score. We've got to start again tomorrow morning."