LONDON: South Africa were in pole position to win the third and final Test at Lord’s on Monday after reducing England to 120-4 at lunch on the last day.
England, chasing an improbable 346 to square the series at 1-1 and avoid losing top spot in the world rankings to South Africa, lost two wickets in the morning session after resuming on 16-2. Jonathan Trott was 57 not out and Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on 43 after Ian Bell (four) fell without adding to his overnight score and James Taylor (four) was run out.
West Indies, who scored 344-1 in 1984, are the only team to have successfully chased a total beyond 300 in a Lord’s Test. England also need to better their highest fourth-innings run chase of 332-7 against Australia in 1928.
Bairstow’s arrival at the crease added some aggression to the home side’s effort. He has so far faced just 36 deliveries, having struck a fighting 95 in the first innings. Runs were not easy to come by earlier. Trott scored the first boundary of the innings in the 17th over by slashing Vernon Philander over the head of third slip off a thick edge.
When Bell tried to duplicate Trott’s positive intent, having gone 11 balls without scoring, he edged Philander to first slip Graeme Smith who held the catch at the second attempt. That was 34-3 and the total soon became 45-4 when Taylor sprinted for a fourth run that Trott had no interest in. Philander had figures 3-14 in nine overs at lunch.