Zak Crawley’s maiden Test half-century gave England a solid foundation before South Africa struck back on the first day of the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.
Holding an unbeatable 2-1 series lead, England were 192 for four when bad light ended a rain-shortened day.
England’s youthful opening pair of Crawley (66) and Dom Sibley (39) shared England’s first century opening partnership since 2016 and blunted South Africa’s fast bowlers on a pitch which both captains expected to be challenging for batsmen.
Crawley, 21, and Sibley, 24, put on 107 before Sibley was caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to give new cap Beuran Hen-dricks his first Test wicket.
South Africa claimed three more wickets to have England at a slightly pre-carious 157 for four but captain Joe Root and Ollie Pope took the tourists safely through to the close in deteriorating light.
Rain prevented any play before lunch and the South African bowling was surprisingly unthreatening when it did get under way.
England were 100 for no wicket at tea but South Africa changed their tac-tics after the interval, bowling more short-pitched deliveries.
SCORES IN BRIEF
ENGLAND: First innings 192 for 4 (Crawley 66, Sibley 44, Denly 27, Root 25 not out 25, Pope 22 not out; Philander 1-37, Hendricks 1-43)