The hosts will start the second day of the second Test in a strong position having enjoyed the better of day one at Old Trafford. Having lost the toss England hounded out South Africa for just 151, before an unusually stoic Zak Crawley helped them reach stumps just 40 behind on 111 for three.
Despite skittling England cheaply twice in their innings victory at Lord’s, visiting captain Dean Elgar spurned the chance to send them in on a murky morning in Manchester. The Proteas paid the price for that decision, knocked over inside 54 overs as James Anderson and Stuart Broad took three wickets apiece in helpful conditions.
England suffered top-order setbacks of their own, but the under-pressure Crawley, whose place has come under increasing scrutiny over the summer, played against type to help his side.
Subverting his reputation as a dasher, he eked out 17 not out from 77 balls, happily put in the shade by Jonny Bairstow’s sparkier 38 not out, to strengthen England’s grip.
Crawley offered little for the highlights reel but, with a game, a series and perhaps a career up for grabs, his mere survival was an important factor.
Elgar’s miscalculation at the toss allowed Anderson the chance to set the tone on the occasion of his 100th appearance on home soil – the first Test cricketer to reach the landmark – and he obliged with an early breakthrough.
Sarel Erwee was beaten several times in a skittish start and fell for three when Anderson (three for 32) drew one back in, well caught by Ben Foakes off the inside edge. At the other end, Ben Stokes (two for 17 )broke with convention by handing the returning Ollie Robinson the new ball, demoting Broad (three for 37) from his usual duties.
The Sussex seamer hit a decent rhythm on his first outing in seven months and was probably under-served by figures of one for 48 from 14 overs. But he proved his worth on his return as all the bowlers chipped in with wickets to put England in a strong position – one which so far hasn’t been spurned by the hosts’ batsmen.
Stay here for all the action from Manchester as England look to build a healthy first-innings lead.