Cape Town: South Africa’s Anrich Nortje took the vital wickets of captain Joe Root and talisman Ben Stokes as England struggled to 262-9at stumps on the first day of the second Test on Friday.
Pace bowler Nortje, playing his fourth Test, finished with 2-54 off 17 overs as the home side restricted the tourists on a Newlands wicket that was expected to be full of runs.
A late cameo from Ollie Pope, one of three changes to the touring side’s line-up after they lost the first Test by 107 runs, lifted England’s gloom slightly as he defied the second new ball to finish unbeaten on 56.
Pope was caught in the deep in the penultimate over of the day but earned a reprieve when Kagiso Rabada’s delivery proved to be a no-ball.
The rest of England’s top batsmen contrived to get themselves out when they looked set for a lengthy spells at the crease with Stokes dismissed for 47 and Root 35.
Joe Denly contributed 38 and Dom Sibley 34 but it is the home side who will be more satisfied after England won the toss.
They lost Zak Crawley (4) in the third over as he edged Vernon Philander to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
The 21-year-old was making his second Test appearance after being brought in to replace the injured Rory Burns, who hurt his ankle playing football on Thursday in the latest setback for England on a calamity-filled tour.
Meanwhile, England have decided to do away with playing football to warm-up before a training session as a result of the Burns injury.
Scans revealed Burns suffered ligament damage.
In the aftermath of the Burns’ injury, Ashley Giles, England cricket director and head coach Chris Silverwood have decided to ban football as a warm-up activity in training sessions.
Giles has always expressed his disapproval for his side playing football and had said that when he took the job that he was unhappy to see football as part of England’s warm-up. However, he was persuaded by senior players who felt that it was an important part of the bonding process of the squad and therefore, he agreed to review it once the World Cup had finished where England emerged victorious.
The former England left-arm spinner had banned football from Warwickshire when he was director of cricket there.
The misfortune for the left-handed opener - who scored 84 runs in the Centurion Test which England lost by 107 runs -- comes after right-arm pacer Jofra Archer pulled out of bowling practice on Thursday.
England, 0-1 down in the Test series, are already plagued with illness to many of its players.
England 1st innings
Z. Crawley c De Kock b Philander 4
D. Sibley c De Kock b Rabada 34
J. Denly b Maharaj 38
J. Root c De Kock b Nortje 35
B. Stokes c Elgar b Nortje 47
O. Pope Not Out 56
J. Buttler c De Kock b Pretorius 29
S. Curran b Pretorius 9
D. Bess c De Kock b Vernon Philander 0
S. Broad b Rabada 1
J. Anderson Not Out 3
Extras (4b 1lb 1nb) 6
Total 262-9 (89.0 overs)
Fall of Wickets : 1-8 Crawley, 2-63 Sibley, 3-105 Root, 4-127 Denly, 5-185 Stokes, 6-221 Buttler, 7-231 Curran, 8-231 Bess, 9-234 Broad
Bowling: Philander 16-3-46-2, Rabada 18-3-63-2, Nortje 17-2-54-2, Maharaj 27-6-68-1, Pretorius 11-5-26-2