Ollie Pope
England's Ollie Pope (centre) celebrates taking the catch to dismiss South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen off the bowling of Joe Root (left). Image Credit: REUTERS

Port Elizabeth (South Africa): Captain Joe Root led from the front as ruthless England took 10 wickets on Sunday to move to the brink of victory in the third test with South Africa reeling on 102-6 in their second innings.

Root claimed test-best figures of 4-31 and was ably assisted by Stuart Broad and Mark Wood as South Africa ended the fourth day still 188 runs adrift.

England need four more wickets to win their 500th overseas test and take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series, while the beleaguered home team will need to bat out the entire day, a task that looks near impossible given they have run out of recognised batsmen.

Vernon Philander (13) and Keshav Maharaj (5) resume on Monday.

England started the day with immediate success and kept up the stranglehold despite a lengthy delay for rain, emphasising the dominance they have enjoyed since day one.

South Africa were in deep trouble when they resumed on 208-6 in their first innings, still 291 behind England's mammoth 499 for nine declared.

Any hopes of a defiant stand crumbled immediately as England, inspired by Broad, took four wickets for the addition of one run to end the innings inside the opening half hour.

South Africa were made to follow-on and were 15-0 when the rain came but once the skies cleared, Wood quickly removed opener Dean Elgar (15) and the struggling Zubayr Hamza for two.

Root came on for a long spell during which he trapped Pieter Malan lbw for 12 and Rassie van der Dussen, who survived several scares, for 10, with Ollie Pope at short leg taking a superb one-handed catch.

The contest was effectively over when Quinton de Kock went cheaply, misjudging his stroke and being acrobatically caught by Wood as Root snagged his third wicket, followed by the all-important scalp of under-pressure skipper Faf du Plessis, who edged one onto his pad and into Pope's safe hands for 36.

Root, a part-time off-spinner spinner, had not taken more than two wickets in a test innings but the way he ran through the top order should lead to significant South African soul-searching.

The hosts won the first test in Pretoria by 107 runs but were outplayed by England in the second in Cape Town.

The last test starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

England 1st innings

Zak Crawley c Rassie van der Dussen b Anrich Nortje 44
Dominic Sibley c Dean Elgar b Kagiso Rabada 36
Joe Denly lbw Keshav Maharaj 25
Joe Root b Kagiso Rabada 27
Ben Stokes c Dean Elgar b Dane Paterson 120
Ollie Pope Not Out 135
Jos Buttler c&b Keshav Maharaj 1
Sam Curran c Dean Elgar b Keshav Maharaj 44
Dom Bess c Pieter Malan b Keshav Maharaj 1
Mark Wood c Anrich Nortje b Keshav Maharaj 42
Extras 2b 14lb 4nb 0pen 4w 24
Total: 499 decl (152.0 overs)

Fall of Wickets: 1-70 Sibley, 2-103 Crawley, 3-134 Denly, 4-148 Root, 5-351 Stokes, 6-354 Buttler, 7-413 Curran, 8-426 Bess, 9-499 Wood
Did Not Bat: Broad

Bowling: Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Vernon Philander 16 5 41 0 2.56
Dane Paterson 24 3 62 1 2.58 1w
Kagiso Rabada 28 6 97 2 3.46 2w 4nb
Anrich Nortje 25 4 97 1 3.88 1w
Keshav Maharaj 58 15 180 5 3.10
Dean Elgar 1 0 6 0 6.00

South Africa 1st innings

Dean Elgar c Ollie Pope b Dom Bess 35
Pieter Malan c&b Dom Bess 18
Zubayr Hamza c Ollie Pope b Dom Bess 10
Anrich Nortje c Joe Root b Ben Stokes 18
Faf du Plessis c Ollie Pope b Dom Bess 8
Rassie van der Dussen b Dom Bess 24
Quinton de Kock b Sam Curran 63
Vernon Philander b Stuart Broad 27
Keshav Maharaj b Stuart Broad 0
Kagiso Rabada c Mark Wood b Stuart Broad 1
Dane Paterson Not Out 0
Extras 4b 0lb 0nb 0pen 1w 5
Total: 209 all out (86.4 overs)

Fall of Wickets: 1-50 Malan, 2-60 Hamza, 3-63 Elgar, 4-71 du Plessis, 5-109 van der Dussen, 6-154 Nortje, 7-208 Philander, 8-208 de Kock, 9-208 Maharaj, 10-209 Rabada

Bowling: Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Stuart Broad 13.4 6 30 3 2.20
Sam Curran 11 2 32 1 2.91
Dom Bess 31 12 51 5 1.65
Mark Wood 11 4 31 0 2.82 1w
Joe Denly 4 1 10 0 2.50
Joe Root 11 4 25 0 2.27
Ben Stokes 5 1 26 1 5.20

South Africa 2nd innings

Pieter Malan lbw Joe Root 12
Dean Elgar b Mark Wood 15
Zubayr Hamza c Jos Buttler b Mark Wood 2
Faf du Plessis c Ollie Pope b Joe Root 36
Rassie van der Dussen c Ollie Pope b Joe Root 10
Quinton de Kock c Mark Wood b Joe Root 3
Vernon Philander Not Out 13
Keshav Maharaj Not Out 5
Extras 3b 1lb 1nb 0pen 1w 6
Total: 102-6 (62.0 overs)

Fall of Wickets: 1-18 Elgar, 2-22 Hamza, 3-44 Malan, 4-66 van der Dussen, 5-74 de Kock, 6-83 du Plessis
To Bat: Rabada, Nortje, Paterson

Bowling: Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Stuart Broad 6 3 5 0 0.83 1nb
Sam Curran 3 0 13 0 4.33
Mark Wood 11 3 23 2 2.09 1w
Dom Bess 18 10 17 0 0.94
Ben Stokes 5 2 9 0 1.80
Joe Root 19 11 31 4 1.63