21 Jan 2020

England win third test by innings and 53 runs

6:41 am on 21 January 2020

England have won the third cricket test against South Africa by an innings and 53 runs in Port Elizabeth to take a 2-1 lead in the four match series.

England captain Joe Root questions the umpire.

Joe Root. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The tourists needed four wickets to complete the triumph and took just 100 minutes to do so, bowling South Africa out for 237 runs despite a record last wicket partnership of 99.

England scored 499 for nine declared in a mammoth first innings knock, to which South Africa replied with 209 and were forced to follow-on.

"I thought it was a brilliant template for us moving forward as a team with big first innings runs and we really drove the game from that point onwards," England captain Joe Root said.

"It was brilliant start by the openers and then the (203-run) partnership between Ollie (Pope) and Ben Stokes, who just continued the magnificent form that he has been in from the start of the series.

"That's great to see but to also see another two youngsters in this game really step up to the plate and make massive contribution is exactly what we are after at the moment in our development as a team.

"It fills the whole group with massive confidence."

Pope, 22, was hailed by Root as "smart" while 22-year-old spinner Dom Bess, who took five wickets in the first innings, also won plaudits.

"We've got a really clear way of how we're trying to play the game, everyone knows what their role is in the side and it's about making sure that when you get your opportunity to effect the game, you go and do it," the skipper said.

"We executed that brilliantly the last two games," he added as England head to the last test in Johannesburg, which starts on Friday, with a 2-1 series lead after also winning in Cape Town.

"This tour we've taken 20 wickets in each test which is something we have struggled with away from home in the past and that's a big step forward for us.

"We managed to make big 100s with the bat too. There are a number of things we've addressed and looked to improve on and we are starting to see some signs of that now.

"By no means are we the finished article but we are heading in the right direction.

"We have a group of players who are willing to learn and we are very clear of the direction we want to take. If it continues we will continue to get the results I'm sure," he added.

South Africa won the first test in Pretoria by 107 runs but the tourists bounced back with a 187-run win in Cape Town in the second test.

The last test starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

- Reuters