Joe Root takes four wickets in Port Elizabeth

Monitoring Desk

PORT ELIZABETH: Captain Joe Root took four wickets to push England closer to victory on the fourth day of the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

Root’s best figures in Test cricket left the home side 102-6 following on in their second innings, still 188 short of making England bat again.

In all, the tourists took 10-103 across the day, a superb bowling performance which began with taking the final four wickets of the South Africa first innings in the first 28 deliveries of the morning session.

Stuart Broad took three wickets without conceding a run as the home side played some awful strokes to add only one to their overnight 208-6.

Following a three-hour rain delay, South Africa showed some resistance, albeit with the scoreboard barely advancing.

After Mark Wood struck twice, captain Faf du Plessis at least survived 123 balls for his 36.

He would ultimately become the fourth victim of Root’s off-spin, the England skipper putting his side on the brink of going 2-1 up with one Test to play.

Their main obstacle to securing the series lead seems to be the weather, with more rain forecast for Monday.

The first day of the this match was evenly contested, but since then England have been in control, their dominance never more complete than a Sunday on which South Africa almost surrendered.

From 291 behind overnight, South Africa had a realistic chance of avoiding the follow-on. If they had, given the weather, their chances of escaping with a draw would have greatly enhanced. Instead, their batting veered from reckless in the morning to virtually shotless for the rest of the day.

In damp, grey and windy conditions, Broad and Sam Curran first used the second new ball to run through the lower order. It meant England enforced the follow-on for the first time since defeating West Indies at Edgbaston in 2017.

After Root’s haul, England may have been able to take the extra half-hour had either Dom Sibley held an incredible attempt or Ben Stokes taken a much more straightforward chance to catch Vernon Philander, both off Wood. (BBC)