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Summary

  1. Amla 157*, Du Plessis 51*
  2. Amla dropped on 76 & 120
  3. De Villiers 88 - only wicket to fall in day
  4. SA need 430 to avoid follow-on
  5. England lead 1-0 in four-match series

Live Reporting

By Marc Higginson, Justin Goulding and Jack Skelton

All times stated are UK

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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!

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."

Are you watching, Graeme Swann?

@Swannyg66 hey mate hope you're well. Just wondering what your test match economy rate is?

More cricket on the BBC

James Faulkner
Getty Images

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.

'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."

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

'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."

What a difference a day makes...

Runs scored graphic
BBC Sport

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." 

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.

bbc-coverageBBC coverage

Tonight from 9.30pm @5liveSport it's the first "Tuffers & Vaughan" of 2016 #bbccricket
Tonight from 9.30pm @5liveSport it's the first "Tuffers & Vaughan" of 2016 #bbccricket

Tonight from 9.30pm @5liveSport it's the first "Tuffers & Vaughan" of 2016 #bbccricket

Remembering Matthew Hobden

We have today opened a Book of Condolence at Hove for supporters to sign in remembrance of Matthew Hobden #GOSBTS
We have today opened a Book of Condolence at Hove for supporters to sign in remembrance of Matthew Hobden #GOSBTS
We have today opened a Book of Condolence at Hove for supporters to sign in remembrance of Matthew Hobden #GOSBTS

We have today opened a Book of Condolence at Hove for supporters to sign in remembrance of Matthew Hobden #GOSBTS

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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.

Amla - a return to form

Hashim Amla graphic
BBC Sport

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."

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.

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."

From the press box

Great effort by England's bowlers today - not supported by the fielders - and tremendous resilience shown by @amlahash Ice baths beckon..

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.

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."

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

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.

Leading from the front

Hashim Amla graphic
BBC Sport

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.

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."

That was just about as dull a full day of Test cricket you could ever ask to see. Hard task for those compiling tonight's highlights show

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.

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.

Embarrassing cricket moments

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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.

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.

Embarrassing cricket moments

email tms@bbc.co.uk

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.

Simon Mann

BBC Test Match Special

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

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.

Embarrassing cricket moments

email tms@bbc.co.uk

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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."