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England v South Africa: fourth Test, day two – live! – The Guardian

With substantial rather than decisive contributions from the old guard – Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Ben Stokes (yes, he can just about be included in this category now) – England tiptoed towards a serviceable total in the final Test of the series, but no more than that. This trio scored 46, 52 and 58 respectively as England finished an absorbing day on 260 for six.

Yet South Africa were able to leave the field with a smile. They were boosted by the late dismissal of Stokes just before the close and the knowledge that they had hung in there with a depleted attack. Several times England were on the verge of domination, whereupon another wicket fell.

The simple fact is that this England team is far from formidable at present since three of their top five are searching – with varying degrees of success – for ways to leap over the initial barriers that Test cricket presents. The obstacles have several threads: better bowlers, greater scrutiny, which leads to a far more pressurised environment than is experienced in domestic cricket. The newcomers all made a start, supposedly the hard bit, but they could muster only 64 runs between them.

England v South Africa: fourth Test, day two – live! – The Guardian

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