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Sport England surpass 500,000 Test runs as South Africa stage late fightback

19:35  24 january  2020
19:35  24 january  2020 Source:   performgroup.com

England's Denly has maiden Test century in his sights

  England's Denly has maiden Test century in his sights Joe Denly is yet to hit a Test hundred for England, but the 33-year-old believes it is only a matter of time until he reaches a big score.Denly is yet to reach a ton for England from 23 Test innings, though he has shown consistency with the bat while players around him – such as captain Joe Root – have struggled, and did hit 103 against South Africa A in a warm-up match last month.

a man holding a baseball bat in front of a crowd: England's Zak Crawley celebrates his half-century against South Africa © Getty Images England's Zak Crawley celebrates his half-century against South Africa

England became the first team to score 500,000 Test runs on the first day of the fourth Test with South Africa, which saw the tourists' strong start curtailed by a final-session fightback from the Proteas.

Joe Root's men were dealt a blow before winning the toss with the news that paceman Jofra Archer would be unable to play at the Wanderers because of elbow soreness.

Having seen his side take command of the third Test in Port Elizabeth with a dominant first-innings batting display, Root elected to give his charges the same opportunity, and openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid an excellent foundation.

Jack Leach to fly home as illness continues to blight South Africa tour

  Jack Leach to fly home as illness continues to blight South Africa tour The bespectacled spinner has not bowled for England since November after a nightmare winter in the southern hemisphereLeach, who was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s at the age of 14, was hospitalised in late November during the second Test against New Zealand in Hamilton. At the time, England said he was suffering from gastroenteritis.

Crawley was in fluent form as he scored his first half-century for his country but England slumped to 157-4 after the first-wicket stand of 107 was broken. 

Root (25 not out) and Ollie Pope (22 not out) steadied the ship, the former seeing England to the half-a-million milestone as they reached 192-4 before bad light stopped play.

After falling six runs short of a fifty at St George's Park, Crawley made no mistake in Johannesburg in a stylish innings that featured 11 boundaries, combining with Sibley for England's first century opening stand since December 2016.

Crawley's maiden international 50 was brought up in more fortuitous fashion with a thick edge through point but Sibley, having successfully reviewed an lbw decision and been given a reprieve by a no-ball, was not so lucky.

Stokes follows in Botham's footsteps as he passes 4,000 Test runs

  Stokes follows in Botham's footsteps as he passes 4,000 Test runs England's Ben Stokes made history in Port Elizabeth as the all-rounder joined an exclusive club of Test players.The all-rounder joined compatriot Ian Botham on the list of players to achieve both feats, which now features seven men after Stokes' exploits in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

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A centurion in the second match in Cape Town, Sibley was strangled down the leg side on 44 as Beuran Hendricks claimed a wicket on his Test debut.

Pope notches maiden Test ton

  Pope notches maiden Test ton Ollie Pope scored a maiden Test hundred as England pressed home their advantage over South Africa on day two of the third Test.Ben Stokes (120) too hit a hundred, his ninth in Tests, sharing in a 203-run stand for the fifth wicket with Pope (106no) as South Africa's bowlers toiled.

Vernon Philander then ensured he will end his final Test with a wicket as Crawley presented a simple catch to Rassie van der Dussen, who made another grab at slip to end a difficult 35-ball spell at the crease for Joe Denly (27).

South African hopes of an England collapse were given a significant boost when talisman Ben Stokes fell to Anrich Nortje for just two, the all-rounder's attempt at a drive seeing him send another straight to Van der Dussen.

Stokes was involved in a verbal altercation with a fan as he left the field but, while England will now have to wait to see if he faces any repercussions from that, in terms of the match their position was improved as Root and Pope provided stability.

They did so in confident fashion. Root surpassed 7,500 Test runs with a pull through midwicket for four and his single through the covers took England to the historic 500,000 mark.

The fading light saw the fifth-wicket partnership interrupted on 35 and, though England have plenty of batting to come, Root and Pope will know that stretching their stand well into day two will go a long way to sealing a 3-1 series victory.

Would bowling more help Root's batting?

  Would bowling more help Root's batting? Joe Root took four wickets as England closed in on victory at Port Elizabeth but could his bowling success actually help his batting? The England skipper has not been at his best with the bat over the last year and has managed just one half-century in five innings so far in the series.REPORT | SCORECARD | COMMENTARYHowever, Mark Ramprakash believes that his success with the ball could have a knock-on effect and help the Yorkshireman's batting.

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England cement fourth-Test dominance .
South Africa will need to complete a world-record run chase to avoid defeat in the fourth Test with England.After bowling the hosts out for 183, Mark Wood claiming a five-for, England opted against enforcing the follow-on and instead built on their 217-run first-innings advantage.

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