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Live Reporting

Marc Higginson, Justin Goulding and Jack Skelton

All times stated are UK

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  1. Over and out

    I'll be honest, there's not much else for me to add. Hashim Amla's finished me off too.

    We'll dust ourselves down again tomorrow though, for day four. In the meantime, check out today's match report here.

    Until next time... night!

  2. Not the first time...

    England's Steven Finn on part-time off-spinner Alex Hales, who bowled three overs for two runs: "Me and Al opened the bowling together for Hertfordshire Under-12s. Hopefully we never get to a situation where we see him bowl again."

  3. Are you watching, Graeme Swann?

  4. More cricket on the BBC

    James Faulkner

    Want more cricket? Then tune in to BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 23:05 GMT for ball-by-ball coverage of the third day of the third Test between Australia and West Indies in Sydney.

    The tourists, 2-0 down in a one-sided series, will resume on 248-7 after rain allowed only 68 balls on day two.

  5. 'We're still chipper in the dressing room'

    Steven Finn on England's three dropped catches in the match: "It's very difficult to see at this ground. The one at mid-on, I didn't pick it up until it was halfway towards me. Sometimes people drop catches and that happens in cricket."

    On the state of play: "We're still 276 runs ahead, which is a long way. I don't think you can just throw a load of slips in there. We're going to have to come back and put even more pressure on South Africa tomorrow. We're still very upbeat and chipper in the dressing room."

  6. Get Involved


    Michael Ly: Someone give me a stick of rhubarb and I'll make a daddy hundred on this pitch.

  7. 'We bowled pretty well'

    England's Steven Finn, who ended the day with figures of 1-82 off 26 overs, on Sky Sports: "I thought we bowled pretty well. We never let them really get away from us. We created pressure and those little chances. Unfortunately we didn't take them.

    "It's been a long, hard slog but everyone has put the effort in today. If there's no swing or sideways movement, you have to play with your change of pace, your angles, and we did that well today. We just didn't get the reward."

  8. What a difference a day makes...

    Runs scored graphic
  9. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It has been so difficult for England on this pitch, a great swing bowler like Anderson hasn't swung a ball, it hasn't reversed, nothing for the spinner and yet it just shows if England had caught their catches South Africa would have been in a mess." 

  10. Post update

    The chances of a result are looking slimmer by the day. South Africa still trail by 276, so England will think they can still press home their advantage if they can bowl out the Proteas in the morning. Doubtful, though.

  11. BBC coverage

  12. Remembering Matthew Hobden

  13. Get Involved


    Howard Horner: Small point but why has Broad bowled noticeably less today than any other seamer? Thought he was the leader of the attack?

    Here are the England bowling figures: Anderson 24-8-53-0, Broad 20-4-54-0, Moeen 31-9-80-0,  Finn 26-3-82-1, Root 5-2-12-0, Stokes 21-3-67-1, Hales 3-1-2-0.

  14. Amla - a return to form

    Hashim Amla graphic
  15. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Amla needed a score desperately and he looked the best of all the batsmen. He was fantastic in defence; his footwork was brilliant. He isn’t a striker like Stokes; he caresses the ball. 

    "When he caressed the ball it was like the old Amla. He didn’t do it very often but when he did it worked."

  16. Post update

    The day belongs to Hashim Amla though. Not for the first time, he remorselessly ground England into the dirt. He has now scored 157 runs in 371 balls, with 293 dot balls amongst that tally. A rock.

  17. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Alastair Cook tried everything: different field playing and unorthodox fielding places. He tried Hales and tried Joe Root. What else can the lad do? Don't blame the captain of England. He couldn't do any more.

    "It's not over but England need to bowl them out by lunch so they've a smidgen of a chance of winning."

  18. From the press box

  19. Post update

    It's to England's credit that AB de Villiers had some uncomfortable moments. Steven Finn worked him over with some short stuff, but England should have had him caught at slip this morning. James Anderson was the culprit, off Joe Root's bowling, while Nick Compton shelled Hashim Amla at backward point. Costly in the extreme.

  20. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's very clear they had to look to bat all day. They had to be cautious and careful and concern themselves with occupying the crease after bad defeats and their confidence shot.

    "They have two great players in Amla and De Villiers. De Villiers is the best strokeplayer in the world but he came in to do a job, and seemed to get caught in two minds. He was wanting to play shots."

  21. Get Involved


    Toby Bird: Today's play was more boring than my revision! I was hoping for more entertainment so I could procrastinate.

  22. Post update

    Let's review the day then. To be honest, it was one-way traffic. If England were racing down the one-way street at 100mph, smashing everything in their path yesterday, then South Africa were mindful of the speed limit today.

    They went at their own pace and barely offered England a chance all day as Hashim Amla finished on 157 not out and AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis scored fifties.

  23. Leading from the front

    Hashim Amla graphic
  24. Post update

    It took until the close of play for Hashim Amla to show any emotion. When he did, it was a sigh of relief.

    He still didn't look like he had broken sweat, mind. As cool as they come.

  25. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "A really good day for South Africa, in particular a captain that has been under pressure. He occupied the crease with a presence we have seen for so many years. He has looked controlled. It is a good pitch but when you have been under the pressure he has, the mentality has been immense.

    "England dropped catches which at this level should have been taken and if they had taken them they would have been in a really strong position."

  26. Post update

  27. From the press box

  28. Post update

    There's a lot of respect from the players on both sides as they shake hands at the end of a hard-fought day.

    Just another mention for Ben Stokes, who bowled as fast as anybody has all day in that final over. He wasn't leaving anything on the field, peppering Faf du Plessis with some short stuff and then almost deceiving the batsman with a double bluff with his final delivery.

    The boy's good.

  29. Close of play - SA 353-3

    Final over of the day and Ben Stokes is charging in, Freddie Flintoff style, and bowling at the ribs of Faf du Plessis. The batsman defends one in front of him, then gathers the ball for the fielder. James Taylor, at short leg, jokingly appeals for a wicket (handled ball). He laughs, the batsman laughs and the bowler laughs. Frivolity at the end of a long, hot day.

  30. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Neil Warner in Spain: A young 16-year-old forced to do his first stint of umpiring ever, and only trusted to do square-leg both ends. Got sidetracked watching a butterfly, when there was an almighty appeal for a stumping of our star batsman and most vocal player. 

    Needless to say, I had not seen a thing but raised the finger anyway. We lost the match and the star player gave me a lift home. I was not asked to umpire for the rest of the season.

  31. SA 353-3 (trail by 276)

    Faf du Plessis looks more at ease against fast bowling than he did against spin in the first Test. He's happy to take on the short stuff from Steven Finn, taking a single to fine leg and then asking the umpire what time the close is like an enthusiastic youngster asking his mother what time his fish fingers will be ready.

  32. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Chris Shaw: Playing for Woodham Mortimer CC in Essex about 15 years ago I had what can only be described as a stinker of a day in the field. despite normally being quite a safe pair of hands I dropped five catches including one that was so literally "down my throat" that when it went through my hands it hit me in the Adam's apple.

  33. Post update

    Simon Mann

    BBC Test Match Special

    "I think it has got to the stage where both sides would be happy to walk off."

  34. SA 352-3

    The light is fading and the floodlights are coming on. Faf du Plessis is aware of this fact when he has a word with the umpires, who are ignoring him for now.

  35. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Martin Dwight: Backpeddling to take a catch off my own bowling in a league match, hands got in an awful muddle, wore it on the noggin’ to the hysterics of both my team-mates and the batsmen…..mortified.

  36. 50 for Faf Du Plessis (off 104 balls)

    SA 352-3

    An eighth Test half-century for Faf du Plessis is brought up with a single. Well played.

  37. SA 351-3

    Shot, Faf! He again takes on the short ball and clubs Ben Stokes to the boundary. The burly all-rounder responds with a throat-seeking bouncer which the batsman fends off.

  38. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Amla knows it's so important for his team that he's there at the end. And Du Plessis looks a different player from the last Test."

  39. SA 347-3 (trail by 282)

    Time to end the day with a tune? Steven Finn delivers some chin music to the batsmen. Faf Du Plessis gets over one, rolls his wrists and picks up the single that leaves Hashim Amla with the onerous task of dealing with the rest of the over. It's fast, hostile and there's some sharp bounce but Amla stands firm.

    He's like a Victorian townhouse - not particularly pretty, but definitely effective and built to last.

  40. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "You look at Jacques Kallis for South Africa over all those years - he'd bowl those overs, average over 50 and take catches at second slip.

    "It's really like having a 12th man and England will hope Ben Stokes can be that for them."

  41. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Steve Taylor: Running in to bowl during a league match in a local derby. My bootlace snapped and the boot flew off over my head and landed in front of me onto the wicket. 

    Paul Barratt: My first game for the village team, age 14. Fielding in the deep, I kneel to take  a hard hit ball, which bounces up to hit me on the forehead, before rolling over the boundary. Somewhat stunned, I see with horror that my mother is running on to the field to administer first aid…!

  42. How's stat?!

    Andrew Samson

    BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "South Africa have now batted for 126 overs. England faced 125 overs in their innings."

  43. SA 346-3 (Stokes 19-2-62-1)

    Ben Stokes ended the last over swearing at the umpire after his bouncer was called a wide. He begins his latest set of six by asking the same umpire if he can change the out of shape ball. I think Bruce Oxenford takes great delight in using his ball shape contraption to prove all is well with the current cherry.

    Faf du Plessis adds to Stokes' frustrations with an easy two into the leg side.

  44. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "The pitch is as flat as you know what. My mum could bat on there in a timeless Test, you would never get her out. Quite frankly it is very difficult to bowl them out. I don't think it is anything to do with England; the pitch is winning. It's not great for cricket. We were lucky to see Stokes and Bairstow yesterday, otherwise it would have been tedious." 

  45. SA 343-3 (Amla 157, Du Plessis 41)

    Steven Finn, with muscles that could crack a nut, throws a few glares around the field when a quick single turns into three because nobody was backing up the throw. 

  46. Embarrassing cricketing moments


    Kando Williams: While diving to stop a certain boundary, slid beyond the ball and disappeared from view into a drainage ditch - very messy.

    Colin Sausage: Edged to 3rd man. Thought it was four so stopped & walked back and watched bemused as they ran me out? Ball had stopped before rope.

    Will Thornton: Joined a new club, turned up hungover, bowled one ball, threw up on the wicket, then dropped a dolly. They still let me stay.

  47. SA 338-3 (trail by 291)

    You wait for a run and you get two at once. Faf du Plessis clearly going into second gear against Ben Stokes here.

    Up in the stands Beefy and Lamby are having a natter. Those two were different gravy back in the day. Knocked the stuffing out of many a bowling attack. 

  48. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Woody: Playing for Harlow 3rd XI as 15-year-old. Misfielded simple stop at square-leg. In anger, chased ball so hard to boundary that I couldn't stop and disappeared into the stinging nettle-filled ditch. Had to leave the field embarrassed and covered in stings. the nickname "Nettles" stuck for some time...

  49. SA 332-3 (last 60 balls: 7 runs)

    Shall we make a deal? I'll tell you when South Africa score a run and you keep me entertained with your embarrassing cricket moments?

    Shake on it?

  50. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Chris Bay: England vs Sri Lanka in the third Test at the Rose Bowl, 2011. I was lucky enough to win hospitality tickets which meant free beer from the bar all day. Nearing the end of the afternoon session, I decided to get up from the balcony to get myself another beer. Cue Ian Bell waving his bat at me angrily and the TV cameras zooming in on my reddening face, which many friends then screen grabbed and plastered all over social media.

  51. SA 332-3 (Anderson 24-8-53-0)

    It's there. Surely. Finally. Thank the L...D'oh!

    Faf du Plessis gets a leading edge off James Anderson but the ball drops just short of a panic-stricken Steven Finn at mid-off. He was slow out of the blocks for that one, but might not have made it anyway.

  52. Get Involved


    Matt Roberts: Hales getting Bairstow out can’t be as bad as Surrey CCC keeper Rory Burns bowling Captain Cook.

  53. SA 332-3 (trail by 297)

    Time for some Joe Root. Is Alastair Cook racing through the overs so he can get his feet up in the dressing room? This match is going nowhere as both teams close up shop for the day.

  54. Post update

    Graeme Smith

    Ex-South Africa captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "England dropped De Villiers last night and if they had got them four of five down in that evening session it would have been a totally different approach to day three, but De Villiers and Amla have really put a peg in the ground for South Africa."

  55. SA 331-3 (13 overs left in the day)

    Hashim Amla has now batted for 500 minutes. In that time, he could have steamed through the Rambo box set, used up his monthly talk time on his pay as he goes mobile or read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

    Instead he's batting England into submission. Maiden.

    Hashim Amla
  56. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Gareth Davies: T20 Somerset vs Surrey 2014. Clear skies and a packed house at Taunton. I’m donning my Tribute Ale promo hat which entitles me to a year’s supply of free beer if I catch a six. Jason Roy heaves one into the crowd. Where’s it going? It's landing on my head. This is too good to be true! I fumble. And I’m live on Sky Sports.

  57. SA 331-3

    Alex Hales is a tricky customer. One delivery is so slow, Faf du Plessis has time to make a brew before digging it out. The next is fizzed through and gives the batsman the hurry up. Maiden over.

    Faf Du Plessis
  58. Post update

    Graeme Smith

    Ex-South Africa captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'd like Amla to find his tempo again. Andrew told us that since his 150 he has scored three runs in 30-odd balls."

  59. SA 331-3 (trail by 298)

    That's better, Jimmy. The Burnley Express moves away from his wide-of-off-stump line to drag his length back and the ball shapes away from Hashim Amla's flaying outside edge. The batsman was genuinely deceived there. Well bowled.

  60. 'Hales got me out too'


    Peter Walters: "I once faced Alex Hales' bowling as an 11-year-old, he played for Gerrards Cross I played for Chalfont St Peter, he arrived with a reputation and I lost my wicket to him. He also smashed my bowling all over the park. I feel no shame now as Jonny Bairstow faced the same fate."

  61. SA 331-3 (Hales 2-0-2-0)

    Alex Hales is loving this. He bowls a moon ball which almost deceives Hashim Amla before he jabs his bat down. The next few deliveries are a little flatter. It's clear Hales has been told to give the ball as many revolutions as he can. Plenty of effort, but no cigar.

    At least Hales is treated to a rendition of Happy Birthday from the Barmy Army. He was 27 yesterday. Many happy returns.

  62. Embarrassing cricketing moments


    Oliver Gray: My first ever ball in cricket, very wet conditions, overstepped the crease and slipped over, ended up on my knees in the mud.

    David Simpson: I got hit in the ribs by a beamer. Seeking revenge, I hooked at the next delivery and was bowled. Ribs and pride fractured.

    David Knowles: In a particularly intense game of House Cricket I lost my otherwise Amla-esque poise and thick edged to second sofa. The shame.

  63. SA 330-3 (follow-on target: 430)

    Normality is resumed, Anderson plugging away with a ball that is now 35 overs old. Du Plessis blocks a couple, leaves a couple then drives a full toss back past the bowler for four. He had his back foot in the air then. Shades of Kevin Pietersen.

  64. Get Involved


    Jonny Wren: Surprising choice of Alex Hales introduces new tactic of trying to laugh Amla out.

  65. Drinks break - SA 326-3

    This might have been a good move from Alastair Cook. You can see the smiles on the faces of the England fielders as Alex Hales rocks up for a bowl. The bowler gives it a bit of air and tries to give it a rip, but Hashim Amla has seen his type before. Just one from the over. Drinks.

  66. How's stat?!

    Andrew Samson

    BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "Hales has got three first-class wickets at an average of 57. I don't know what Jonny Bairstow is laughing at - he was Hales' maiden first-class wicket."

  67. SA 325-3 (Amla 152, Du Plessis 29)

    James Anderson mutters to himself between deliveries. Maiden over.

    And what's this? Alex Hales is going to have a bowl...

  68. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "South Africa have batted nicely but they know one lapse of concentration and a real poor hour will turn this match on its head. But England do have to take every opportunity."

  69. SA 325-3

    England are getting desperate now. Moeen Ali gets the ball to hit Hashim Amla's pads but the appeal falls down when I add that it struck the pads about two foot outside off stump. 

  70. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Du Plessis has shown more body language and intent with his batting and I think that was a big thing for him. He has got a start and will want to make it count." 

  71. SA 324-3 (trail by 305)

    Ben Stokes and Alistair Cook

    To to shake the flat pop and hope you can find some fizz. James Anderson is given a chuck and Alastair Cook positions men on either side for the mis-timed drive. Anderson and Broad chat between deliveries: "Did you research that nice seafood restaurant for tonight?"

    Anderson must have spent time with Du Plessis during their time together at Lancashire, but there's little said between the pair after the batsman clips two off his pads.

  72. Embarrassing cricketing moments


    Simon Richardson: I was batting in a high school match, and the bowler got one to turn back in, plum on to my, well, plums. I was instantly sick.

    Tom Hicks: After a bad decision threw my bat onto a grass bank. Spent 20mins looking for it in long grass in front of opposition spectators.  

  73. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "Moeen is bowling nicely, he is getting a bit of dip. He just needs to do something different, maybe change the angle and come round the wicket."

  74. SA 321-3 (Moeen 30-9-79-0)

    "Yes, Mo." "Good, Mo." "Good lad, Mo."

    England's premier spinner is getting plenty of encouragement from a talkative Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps but it's all very staid. Maiden.

  75. Gayle asks journalist on a date during interview

    Melanie McLaughlin & Chris Gayle

    West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has been called "disrespectful" for asking a journalist on a date during a Big Bash League live pitch-side interview.

    Gayle was responding to a question from Ten Sport's Melanie McLaughlin about his aggressive batting style after scoring 41 runs in 15 deliveries.

    He said: "To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don't blush baby."

    BBL statement said the comments were "disrespectful and inappropriate".

  76. SA 321-3 (trail by 308)

    If Les Dennis, in his Family Fortunes days, asked 100 people to name a world-class batsman, I doubt too many would offer up the name of Hashim Amla.

    He's the quiet man of cricket but, when he gets in, he's as flawless as a cashmere sweater. He's brilliant.

  77. How's stat?!

    Andrew Samson

    BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "Amla's seventh score of 150 of more, he has hit 21 boundaries and he has batted for 466 minutes. The 150 equals the amount of runs he has made in his last 10 innings put together."

  78. 150 for Hashim Amla (off 310 balls)

    SA 320-3

    Hashim Amla celebrates 150

    A quick single brings up 150 for the seventh time in Hashim Amla's Test career. He can bat in his sleep this lad. Class.

  79. SA 319-3 (need 430 to avoid follow-on)

    Faf du Plessis owes Hashim Amla an innings here. He's played 14 Tests under each of Amla and Graeme Smith and he's averaging only 31 under Amla compared to 52 while Smith was in charge. Moeen continues to whirl away and is milked for the odd single.

  80. Embarrassing cricketing moments


    Alex Aspinwall: Smashing the umpires windscreen with a finely struck 6.

    Oliver Harris: Not me, but someone on my team went out to bat without a bat once. Only noticed after trying a practice shot.

    Leonard Odicean: After getting run out, tripped on entering the pavilion and knocked over the trestle table with the tea set out on it.  

  81. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "There has not even been a review from England, I don't think they have hit the pads have they?!"

  82. SA 318-3 (trail by 311)

    Hashim Amla

    Everything about Hashim Amla is pristine - from his shot selection, timing and placement to his crisp white shirt, lack of sweat and a well-trimmed beard. He strikes me as the type of guy who orders his kitchen spice rack in alphabetical order. These two continue to bat well, a single bringing up the 50 partnership.

  83. Embarrassing cricketing moments


    Andrew Neill: I once broke my toe trying to smash the ball out of the field at school. Needless to say I missed the ball.

    Lee Wales: I dropped an easy catch, fell over, chased after the ball, trousers fell down Team in stitches, umpire (our coach) not impressed.

    Len Morrison: Tried to catch a ball that was in direct sunlight. Ended up getting hit and falling in slow motion. Had to go off injured after.

  84. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I have been amazed at how quick the outfield has been because it's quite furry you know, you could sleep on it."

  85. SA 316-3 (Du Plessis 25 off 46)

    Nice shot from Faf du Plessis, who gives himself room and punches Moeen to the cover boundary. The ball skips off the turf just enough to keep the fielder interested but it was always going to reach the rope. A teaser.

  86. Did England score enough?

    Highest total graphic
  87. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'm predicting a bumper year for Steve Finn. If he can stay fit he is going to have games where he is going to bowl teams out. With this amount of pace, and on pitches offering more, he is going to have some good times in 2016."

  88. SA 311-3 (Amla 147, Du Plessis 20)

    The modern batsman is particularly good at the back foot push into the off side, but Hashim Amla stands above all others when he gets on his toes and punches Steven Finn for two into the off side. He rides the bounce beautifully, almost hanging like Michael Jordan as he waits for the ball to reach the middle of his bat. Elegance personified.

  89. Embarrassing cricket moments


    Joe Harvey: Launching the bat (rather than the ball) at the square leg umpire wasn't my finest moment.

    Daniel Roberts: I made a heroic dive for a ball about 5 yards from the boundary and just fell over in a heap.Ball didn't even reach the ropes.

    Dean Richardson: Split my trousers while keeping wicket. Still managed to hang on to a difficult chance though.

  90. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I'm surprised Anderson hasn't bowled for such a long time."

  91. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "You look at the great players over any era but in modern times Kane Williamson, Steve Smith, Joe Root, they just release the bottom hand so the edges go down."

  92. SA 309-3

    Moeen Ali induces a leading edge from Hashim Amla, but the ball is barely in the air long enough to shout 'catch'. England toiling again.

  93. Get Involved


    Can anybody top Andy for embarrassing cricketing moments?

    AndytheBear: Slipped and fell face first into the stumps when taking a quick single then got whacked in the face by the fielder's throw. Was sore.

  94. How's stat?!

    Andrew Samson

    BBC Test Match Special statistician

    "The first time South Africa have got to 300 in a Test match since the New Year Test at Cape Town last year, seven Test matches."

  95. SA 308-3 (Amla 144, du Plessis 20)

    Steve, I feel for you. If you're an opening batsman who doesn't bowl, it's a long, old day if you get out for a diamond.

    Bar a couple of slips, the field has spread as Alastair Cook tries to preserve his side's healthy lead should a collapse occur. In response, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis score some easy singles.

    Steven Finn finally finds the edge of Amla but the right-hander's soft hands see the cherry drop short and run away to the third man boundary.

    Steven Finn reacts
  96. Get Involved


    What's your most embarrassing cricketing moment? Get in touch and let us know.

    Steve: I still get reminded I was out for a Diamond Duck during a school match. I'm now 34. My mates won't ever let it go.

  97. SA 299-3 (Moeen 26-8-72-0)

    Another chance is missed! It's a hard one, but we've seen them caught before now. Faf du Plessis gets in a big strike to Moeen Ali but the off-spinner gets a little more turn than the batsman expects and an inside edge flies off the pad and past James Taylor at short leg.

  98. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "Amla has footwork, timing and placement. He's in good form, he's got it back again."

  99. SA 298-3 (run-rate 2.92)

    In this sort of form, Hashim Amla is the equivalent of The Wall (also known as Rahul Dravid). He watches the stock deliveries through to the keeper and then pounces on a full toss from Stuart Broad to clatter four through the covers.

  100. Get Involved


    Telkers: Tripped over my own feet and fell over backwards whilst trying to take a catch.

  101. SA 294-3 (Amla 134 off 279)

    When Faf du Plessis first broke into the South Africa team and quickly became a key player, it took me by surprise. I remember him at Lancashire, where he played 25 first-class games between 2008 and 2009 and scored 984 runs at 28.11 with a best of 86 not out.

    It never struck me as the type of form which would turn heads should he decide to revoke his Kolpak status.

    Moeen sends down another maiden.

  102. Get Involved

    Text 81111

    Milly in High Wycombe: the speed at which Stokes and Bairstow scored their runs yesterday was vital. South Africa have had a very good day thus far but England are still in a strong position to win the match with a few wickets this evening.   

  103. SA 294-3 (Broad 19-4-50-0)

    Stuart Broad looks like he reapplied the zinc across the middle of his face during the tea break. Or war paint as I prefer to call it.

    The rangy fast bowler sends down a wide-ish bouncer to Faf du Plessis which the batsman thinks about hooking before pulling out of the shot.

  104. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "We're beginning to get quite a good side but there is no real pace bowler and they are special. You saw what Mitchell Johnson did to England."

  105. SA 292-3 (Amla 133, Du Plessis 16)

    Did you know that, on his way out to bat for his Test debut, Faf du Plessis tripped over and banged his face? You do now...

    Got me thinking - what's your most embarrassing cricketing moment? Have you ever had your trousers fall down while chasing the ball to the boundary?

    You get the gist. Let me know.

    By the way, Moeen has just delivered a maiden to Faf.

  106. Post update

    Simon Mann

    BBC Test Match Special

    "Exactly the same field for Du Plessis on 15 as for De Villiers, who is on 133."

  107. SA 292-3 (trail by 337)

    Could be a big session this. England have opened up an end with that dismissal of AB de Villiers. It has to be said, however, that Hashim Amla looks like he's booked in for bed and breakfast for the next three days. It's going to take a wrecking ball to dislodge him. Two more added to the score after tea.

  108. SA 290-3

    Shall we play some cricket?

  109. Post update

    Thanks Jack, excellent debut that. AB de Villiers isn't a bad first wicket.

    It got me thinking about my first wicket. I think it was Shane Watson.

    It was probably lbw. He probably reviewed it. I probably laughed.

  110. Post update

    Well, the mid-session drinks certainly perked England up in the last hour and Cook will hoping for more of the same from his troops after tea.I'm off for a brew myself so will pass you back to the experienced hands of Marc Higginson to guide you through the third session.

  111. Day-night Test for England?

    Plenty of pink faces in the Cape Town sunshine but England could also soon be facing the pink ball.

    Pink ball

    Cricket Australia says it is keen on playing a day-night Test using the pink Kookaburra during the winter 2017-18 Ashes against England.

    The first day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand drew impressive crowds in November.

  112. Get Involved

    Text 81111

    Archie in Somerset: In reply to Ned from Somerset (12:44) I completely agree and I personally don't understand why different balls are used in different nations. The duke is by far the superior ball in terms of creating exciting test cricket.  

  113. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "England have tried everything and you need plenty of plans on this sort of surface. The dropped catches are disappointing because England are a good fielding team but they really impressed in the last 40 minutes with Stokes and Finn, the two younger members of the attack. The real promise is Finn is back bowling at the pace we saw a few years ago."

  114. Tea - SA 290-3 (trail by 339)

    Amla 132, Du Plessis 15

    England trying to unsettle Amla and prevent Du Plessis settling as Moeen Ali comes back into the attack. Not much turn there as Moeen's angle over the wicket allows Amla to prod a somewhat fortunate boundary through third man. A sedate final few balls, with South Africa refusing to rush, takes us through to tea.

  115. The waiting game

    AB de Villiers graphic
  116. SA 284-3 (Amla 127, Du Plessis 14)

    A curious half-shot from Du Plessis to another well-directed Finn bumper, as a leading edge falls short of Moeen Ali at fine leg. Finn full of menace - maybe too much as he's called for a wide on height.

  117. Get Involved


    Telkers: A few curious looks in the library as I give a small fist pump at the fall of a wicket.

  118. Get Involved

    Evan Byrne: Finally we hold on to one!  And you have your maiden test wicket - well done Jack!

  119. SA 281-3 (trail by 348)

    The short stuff isn't pretty when you get it wrong though. Du Plessis gets onto one from Stokes quickly and pulls through mid-wicket for four. That should be a settler for the new man. And it duly is as Stoke goes too full and Du Plessis strokes him down the ground for another boundary.

    Ben Stokes and Faf du Plessis
  120. Get Involved


  121. SA 272-3 (Finn 18-3-56-1)

    Suddenly England look a team inspired and Finn is leading the charge. New man Faf du Plessis gets a great cherry first up and edges streakily through the slip cordon for four. Anderson's catch looks better at second glance, it was at the limit of his reach and needed a juggle to stick in his palm.

  122. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    James Anderson and Steven Finn celebrate

    "If that catch went down I am not sure what England would have done, but the short stuff has worked - it has got them uncomfortable. It was a good catch - he parried it up and then caught it. In the last hour England have been fantastic."

  123. WICKET

    De Villiers c Anderson b Finn 88 (SA 268-3)

    England celebrate

    Don't you love it when a plan comes together? Finn drops short once again to De Villiers, who pulls straight to Anderson at mid-wicket. The Burnley Express makes amends for dropping Amla earlier to hold on at the second attempt and remove De Villiers 12 short of his century.

  124. Post update

    Michael Vaughan

    Ex-England captain on BBC Test Match Special

    "This is the most threatening England have looked all day."

  125. SA 267-2 (Amla 125, De Villiers 88)

    After a brief flurry of action, the South African pair are looking to quell England's excitement but Stokes has other ideas. A short delivery draws a leading edge from Amla that falls well clear of any fielders before the centurion unconvincingly guides another down to first slip. Plenty of short stuff all round now.

  126. Get Involved

    Text 81111

    Ned in Somerset: I think all nations should play with Duke balls as it would even up the competition between bat and ball and create a more entertaining game on flat wickets such as this one. Just saying!   

  127. SA 265-2 (trail by 364)

    Steven Finn

    A change of approach from England as Finn is clearly targeting De Villiers with the short ball. The Proteas star leans away, rides the bounce and steers down to fine leg for one from three consecutive balls back of a length. A short leg is in for Amla but he also deals with Finn's threat for now.

  128. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "I don't see a collapse coming. These are half chances, it is still a fantastic batting pitch."

  129. SA 264-2 (Stokes 15-2-43-1)

    For all the dropped catches, England's ground fielding has been good this session - James Taylor making a fine diving stop to prevent an Amla drive reaching the fence. Stokes is back on the money for the rest of the over that yields two runs.

  130. SA 262-2 (trail by 367)

    Steven Finn

    Finn really does get things happening. The paceman airs his frustrations at Compton's dropped catch with a well-directed bouncer that De Villiers flashes wildly at to finish the over.

  131. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "If I was Cook I'd say to Amla, 'when you've had enough batting could you just let it hit the stumps because I am not sure we can catch you'. They weren't simple but they are catchable in Test cricket."

  132. Amla dropped on 120

    SA 259-2

    Nick Compton

    Groans all round from England as another one goes down - Nick Compton shelling a sharp chance at backward point as Finn draws Amla into a loose shot.More action since drinks than we had in a whole session this morning. 

  133. Post update

    Geoffrey Boycott

    Ex-England batsman on BBC Test Match Special

    "It's very difficult to know what a captain can do. If you have a Waqar Younis with reverse swing maybe but there are not many of them."

  134. De Villiers survives

    Ben Stokes

    Stokes flashed a rueful grin straight after England's appeal and sure enough the third umpire Rod Tucker confirms a big inside edge to reprieve De Villiers.

    Two reviews in two overs though, England starting to excite.

  135. South Africa review

    Ben Stokes appeals for LBW

    Stokes gets one to slant back into De Villiers' pads and umpire Aleem Dar raises the finger! But De Villiers, on 85, raises his bat to signal a review almost immediately...