England put itself in firm control of the second Test against South Africa after centuries by England skipper Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes left them with a commanding first innings lead at the close of the second day of the second test.
Stokes declared at 415 for nine, with South Africa trailing by 241 runs at the close after surviving a tricky nine over spell before stumps.
FULL SCORECARD: ENG vs SA 2nd Test, Day 2
The tourists, who lead the three-match series 1-0, reached 23 without loss in their second innings with Sarel Erwee on 12 and Dean Elgar on 11 but they now face a real battle against England’s attack on Saturday.
For all the talk of the ultra-aggressive ‘Bazball’ style introduced under Stokes’ captaincy and the leadership of coach Brendon McCullum, this was an orthodox and disciplined performance as the England captain and wicketkeeper-batsman Foakes put on a 173-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
It was a much needed contribution after South African pacer Anrich Nortje struck twice to remove England’s overnight batsmen - Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley - during an outstanding opening spell in the morning session.
That meant England was on 147-5, still four runs behind South Africa’s first innings total.
After lunch Stokes brought up his half-century. South Africa was unable to get a wicket during the entire afternoon session as the softer ball on the hard Old Trafford surface give little encouragement to their seam attack.
Stokes accelerated to his 12th Test ton, reaching the landmark in 158 balls with the second 50 arriving in 56 balls. Foakes ended on 113 not out after his second career test century and his first on home soil.
It had been a fine knock -- initially playing the inevitable support role to his skipper before taking the lead in the mounting up of England’s tally -- and he looked well satisfied as he walked off unbeaten.
Foakes’ first ton had come on his debut against Sri Lanka in Galle in November 2018 and he was delighted to grab his second against a South Africa attack that had ripped England apart in the first Test at Lords.
“It was a bit of relief. I was overjoyed getting a Test hundred. I’ve had a bit of a wait and I realised how hard they are to come by, so I think I celebrated this one a bit more,” he said.
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