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Bairstow gets England back in contention

Bairstow gets England back in contention

South Africa's desire to pick someone as important as Philander was understandable, but it does not matter how good a player is if he is unable to play his best due to illness (or other reasons like injury or mental state). On Bairstow's watch, England had added 102 runs to their overnight 260 for 4 to turn a dicey position into a dominant one.

Nightwatchman Roland-Jones poked a mistimed drive on the up straight into the hands of point off Rabada, and Moeen fell to the same bowler, edging low to second slip on the back foot - before the deserving Morkel picked up his second wicket by bowling Broad off-stump.

His fitness has left skipper Faf du Plessis unsure about the balance of the team. With fizzing full-length discipline, allied to a threat of movement and a short ball up his sleeve, Anderson ensured that South Africa's only instinct remained survival.

Out came Moeen at nine, not for the first time, and for 15 minutes he was magisterial, unfurling three silky boundaries way beyond the capabilities of a proper No9.

De Bruyn edged and Keaton Jennings could not hang onto a leaping effort in the gully off Anderson and then de Kock was spilled at slip by Stokes off Moeen.

Dawid Malan could be excused for the loss of his wickets at The Oval where he got a pearler in the first innings and was out as England threw the bat in the second innings.

The England captain did not have it easy, twice surviving loud lbw shouts from Rabada and squirting a thick edge wide of third slip immediately after a 12-minute delay caused by a spectator taking ill in the members' area behind the bowler's arm.

Bavuma might have been run out on 23, but Moeen failed in his attempt to take the stumps, while two hard chances were dropped in successive balls.

While he has struggled badly this season, averaging just 19 in first class cricket since returning from a broken finger in India last winter if he scores runs for Lancashire against Hampshire in Southampton tomorrow, the solution will seem obvious. The second saw Bairstow muscle the next delivery over long-off for six.

England even dropped a couple of catches in successive overs.

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace: "I thought it's been a really tough day for the batters".

Moeen became the first England spinner to achieve a hat-trick in 79 years by dismissing centurion Dean Elgar, Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel soon after lunch in a dramatic end to the match. He planted his foot outside off stump, but not far enough to satisfy Dharmasena, whose on-field verdict was upheld on review with the edge of the ball just satisfying the parameters of DRS.

Each of England's top six made starts, including the captain Joe Root, who went past 5000 runs in the course of his 52 - an innings which also equalled John Edrich's England record of ten consecutive matches with at least a half-century.