Ben Stokes removes Sarel Erwee but South Africa leads by 30 at lunch

England endured a frustrating morning on the penultimate day of the third Test but Ben Stokes made a crucial breakthrough in the luncheon strike after South Africa had a poor lead.

The hosts only added four runs to their overnight total as they lost their last three wickets on 16 legal balls and all went out for 158 in trailing 36.2 – the same length as Proteas’ first innings.

While England led by 40 runs in the first rounds, South African openers Dean Elgar and Sarel Iroy eliminated the deficit within 8.5 hyper despite scrutiny from James Anderson and Ole Robinson, in particular.

South African opener Dean Elgar in play as the Tourists’ second round match against England at Kia Oval (John Walton/PA Images).

(PA wire)

Both edges were challenged, and while South Africa’s opener was up to the task and netted free goals when opportunities came, Stokes beat Erwee at lunch with his third delivery of the match.

One angle across the left hand, Erwee’s hesitant push took the edge that had just passed on to Joe Root, who took a low shot to go ahead on the first slip before the tourist went to lunch at 70-on-one–a 30-by-30.

The day after dropping to 36 for six in this truncated LV = lockout decision on an influential Saturday, Elgar (35 not out) and Erwee (26) showed due caution in the right conditions for the bowler at the Kia Oval.

They had to be vigilant as the ball repeatedly beat off the bat and a couple of edges fell painfully short of slip while Erwee appeared to have escaped being trapped by Robinson by throwing the ball partially off the stem of the leg – one of the reviewers England burnt in a fit discontent.

England’s Ole Robinson walked away after being sent off by South African player Kajisu Rabada from second ball of the day at Kia Oval (John Walton/PA Images).

(PA wire)

With the wicket temporarily drying up for England’s frontline stitching, Stokes brought himself in and made a fuller hand for Erwee even though Elgar, despite being far from fluent, was still there at lunch.

Earlier, England’s innings were concluded within 13 minutes against South Africa, as Marco Janssen celebrated the call-up with a five-for-35 after leading Ben Fox to the hoop to be the last player out.

Robinson meekly hit the second ball of the course to block Kajisu Rabada, who caught Jack Leach after slashing the fastball onto his stumps.

While England were on the rise midway through, they may yet regret not boosting after turning 84 for two years, losing their last 8 wickets to add just 74 points.