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England take control of first Test against SA at Lord’s

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Fine drive brings up Cook’s half-century

England took a firm grip on the first Test against South Africa on day three at Lord’s.

From 214-5 overnight, the Proteas were bowled out for 361, with Quinton de Kock making 51 and Vernon Philander 52.

Off-spinner Moeen Ali took two wickets to end with 4-49, while left-arm spinner Liam Dawson claimed 2-67.

England’s first-innings lead was 97, Alastair Cook then compiling 59 not out to leave the home side finished on 119-1, giving them a lead of 216.

It seems likely that England will be able to declare on Sunday, setting up the push for a first Test victory at Lord’s in four attempts.

They will be aided by a surface showing increasing turn – the efforts of Moeen and Dawson make this only the second time since 1969 that England have taken six wickets with spin in the first innings of a Test on this ground.

More Moeen magic

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Moeen edges Bavuma to Stokes

Moeen registered both his 2,000th run and 100th wicket in Test cricket on the second day and once again impressed with the ball on a sun-kissed Saturday.

Overlooked at the beginning of the day, he arrived to snare the important wicket of Temba Bavuma for 59, finding extra bounce to take an edge that was held at slip.

From 248-7, more than 200 behind, South Africa still had hopes of getting towards parity when De Kock blazed his way to a 36-ball half-century, the second fastest in a Lord’s Test.

But he was well held at short cover off James Anderson by Ben Stokes and it was left to Philander, who suffered a painful blow on the hand off Anderson, to grit South Africa past 350.

Philander was the last to fall, bowled after a charge down the track to seal Moeen’s best figures in a home Test in almost three years.

Cook grinds England on

In his first Test since giving up the captaincy, Cook gradually extended England’s lead on a stodgy evening where the scoring rate failed to reach two and a half runs per over.

Without the injured Philander, whose right hand is swollen but not broken, South Africa persevered. Cook twice survived reviews for leg before and a difficult leg-side stumping chance.

Driving the spinners and angling the pace bowlers through third man, he shared an opening stand of 80 with Keaton Jennings, whose patience was finally broken with a waft at Morne Morkel that resulted in an edge behind.

Gary Ballance, in need of runs on his return to the side, ended 22 not out, a platform from which he can cement his place on Sunday.

Root learning the ropes

In his first Test as captain, Joe Root had a mixed day, combining correct calls with others that were more dubious.

The decision to bowl pacers Mark Wood and Stokes first up in favour of Moeen was curious, but later a plan seemingly concocted with Anderson and Stuart Broad to post a short, square cover for De Kock worked.

Root was also bold enough to take the advice of Jonny Bairstow in calling for a review against Keshav Maharaj, who was well down the track when struck on the pad by Dawson. Root, arriving from mid-on, was swift to follow the conviction of his wicketkeeper and was vindicated by the lbw verdict.

The new skipper’s next decision is likely to be the timing of England’s declaration.

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De Kock brings up his Test half-century with a boundary

‘England’s should go 1-0 up from here’ – analysis

Former England captain Michael Vaughan: “It’s been a tremendous cricket wicket. South Africa will look back on day one and think they could have easily bowled England out if they’d kept the feet behind the line.

“England today, Joe Root made a couple of mistakes, he left the spinners and then turned to the second new ball. He should have started with Moeen after lunch. Steve Waugh used to say who were the best two bowlers and start with them straight away.

“South Africa, with the ball, were very disciplined but the technical side of Cook’s batting is fantastic and I was really impressed with Gary Ballance, who came out with a positivity.

“It has ebbed and flowed, England have been on top and they should create an opportunity to go one up in the series.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “England want to bat longer to make the pitch wear. They need more overs to really rough it up and make South Africa’s task as difficult as possible.

“However, from an entertainment point of view, that last session was not high octane.”

‘We’re in a very strong position’

England seamer James Anderson: “We’re in a very strong position and we’re very happy with it. We’ve worked really hard. It didn’t go smoothly in the first innings with the bat, then we bowled pretty well.

“Joe has been really good as captain. The guys have enjoyed him. He tried to be as positive as he could be and rotated the bowlers well. It was his idea to set that field for De Kock.

Alastair Cook seems more relaxed. It’s probably a strange week for him. I’m sure he’s missing being captain to an extent, but it’s a great opportunity to show that he is still hungry to score runs.”

South Africa batsman Temba Bavuma: “It’s quite frustrating that none of our batsmen could kick on. England had one guy who got in and went big for them and that has been the difference.

“We’ll learn from that in the second innings and, hopefully, whoever manages to get in can do something big for the team.”

On the suspension of South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada, who is banned for the second Test following an altercation with Ben Stokes on Thursday: “There’s no sense of injustice over the ban. He’s quite an emotional character and he was aware of the consequences. He’s heartbroken that he has let down the team, but we understand it happened in the heat of the moment.”

And finally…

Legendary Test Match Special commentator Henry Blofeld was asked to ring the five-minute bell before the start of play on Saturday – and he didn’t disappoint…

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Henry Blofeld rings the bell at Lord’s

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