England close in on victory

Durban, December 29

England’s Steven Finn took three wickets as South Africa, chasing an unlikely 416 for victory, struggled to 136-4 on the fourth day of the first Test on Tuesday.


England snared openers Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl as well out-of-form captain Hashim Amla to give themselves a strong chance of winning the opening match of the four-Test series against the world’s top-ranked side.

They added a key wicket in the penultimate over to boost their hopes greatly when a rising delivery from Finn forced Faf du Plessis to edge a catch to Alastair Cook at slip after a stonewalling innings of nine off 66 balls.

England might have also had the prize wicket of AB de Villiers but wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow missed a chance to stump him off a viciously turning ball from Moeen Ali. De Villiers was 37 not out at the close with nightwatchman Dale Steyn on nought.

South Africa must bat through three sessions and 90 overs on Wednesday to save the test.

They still require 280 runs to win. Ben Stokes bowled Van Zyl for 33 after South Africa had made a positive start in a fluent opening stand of 53.

Amla (12) went cheaply again when he was caught by Bairstow flashing at a short ball from Finn.