• Last wicket: Abbott c Taylor b Ali 0, South Africa 156-7
  • Broad strikes with second wicket of the day, bowling Bavuma 
  • Moeen Ali strikes in consecutive overs to remove Duminy and Abbott 
  • Dean Elgar leads the resistance, reaching three figures before lunch 
  • England were bowled out for 303 on day two, following collapse 
  • Stuart Broad took early wickets, including two key dismissals
  • South Africa resume on 137-4, still 166 behind, going into day three 

Jonny Singer for MailOnline

  • Jonny Singer

    Host commentator

It’s a hot day in Durban – I’ve just had a text from a friend confirming that our tickets for Cape Town are in the shade! – so short spells are the order of the day. 

Ben Stokes is the latest man to be introduced for one, with Woakes getting a rest before the new ball. Elgar continues to tick along with a single, before Taylor prevents Steyn doing the same with some excellent fielding at cover.

The difference between the two teams is now exactly 100. 

And dropped! Well, is that a drop? Joe Root is nodding his head, it flashed past him at second slip off a thick outside edge. He would have done very well to get a hand to that, it went fast. But Stokes, in that way that he has, looks absolutely gutted!

Moeen knows he has three more overs until the new ball, so if he wants more wickets they have to come now. He has a chance to bowl to Steyn and he is trying desperately to make something happen, varying his line, length and pace. 

But, so far – barring that last over of madness – Steyn is happy to defend. They go up for another bat pad final ball though! Another no from Rod Tucker, another review…

And no bat this time, so it stays not out. A maiden, but no wicket. 

I’m not sure that was wise, and Dale Steyn agrees. Elgar sets off for a very quick single, and his partner only gets in with a huge dive, which leaves the pace bowler looking very unhappy indeed. 

He recovers to block two and then get a single of his own. 

All the ones for Elgar – who moves to 111 with a single off Moeen Ali.

And a huge rush of blood from Steyn, goes for a big shot and gets it all wrong, charging down and edging up, over the in-field and down to third man. The scorebook says four, but that’s a terrible shot!

The very next ball almost goes to short leg, but that would have been a hell of a catch. Another big shot, England won’t mind that too much, even though this is a slightly better connection, and he gets two. 

South Africa’s batsman Dean Elgar raises his helmet and bat after reaching his hundred

More runs for Elgar, angling Woakes through the cordon – very safely – for a couple. The deficit is down to just 111 now.

A tidy line from the England seamer, but this ball is doing nothing, and with seven to go until the new cherry, Cook must be hoping for control until then.

He doesn’t really get it, though, Elgar cuts another single from the final delivery, past a diving point and out to the sweeper. 

Elgar still composed against the variations (promise that’s the last time I’ll use that joke. Probably) that Moeen is offering, as he takes another single off the spin.

Steyn too, does not look unduly worried, playing the turn very nicely. England have just gone a little flat, it seems. 

The Root experiment is over, and Chris Woakes returns. He didn’t bowl badly yesterday, but went wicketless, so he’ll very much be hoping to get one in the final column this morning.

Straight away he finds the inside edge of Elgar, but it’s thick enough to run into the leg side for a single. 

Steyn does a pretty good job of blocking out the rest of the over. 

Moeen continues, and Steyn, who is beginning to look a little more settled, nudges him for a single to move onto 5.

Elgar then rocks back and cuts hard from the final delivery, as the spinner just drops a little short, and he gets three for that.

That’s a terrific hundred from Dean Elgar. He is not the most aesthetically pleasing of left-handers but he has a very solid method and there has been barely a blemish in this innings.

How South Africa have needed him here while all around have been struggling. He is a glimmer of hope in a changing home batting line-up that, without Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis and with Hashim Amla struggling, relies far too heavily on AB de Villiers. South Africa hanging on in there.

Runs flow a bit in this Root over, Steyn adding a single before Elgar gets two more himself. England just losing a little bit of control all of a sudden. 

Root continues, and Elgar just gets a tickle down the leg side – that will do it! They run three, and the opener has the first century of the series. He pumps his fists, waves to the crowd, and hugs Dale Steyn. It’s been a crucial innings.

Now he knows he has to go on..

A well-run single moves Elgar to within one hit of his century, but gives Moeen three balls at Steyn. Can he make them count? A shout for lbw with the first, but that’s going down leg.

Then he goes for a big shot, doesn’t get hold of it, but does find a single to a diving Woakes at mid-off. Elgar with another, easier, single, from the final ball. That’s drinks. 

Alastair Cook is enjoying what he’s seen from Ali so much, that he’s decided it’s time for spin at both ends.

That means some twirlers from Joe Root – can he tempt Elgar into a false shot? The 28-year-old gets two, safely, through the leg side, but then is drawn into a poor stroke, driving expansively and edging over slip.

He gets two more, but that’s a first false step of the morning from the batsman. A single means he keeps the strike off the final ball. 

Steyn is actually playing Moeen reasonably well so far, without looking much like getting off the mark – so much so, in fact, that the England spinner tries a ball around the wicket. 

Just one though, he goes back over for the final delivery and finds the edge, but it’s wide of slip and those are Steyn’s first runs, two off the outside part of the bat. 

Finn just hurries Elgar up with a short ball, first up in this over, as the batsman makes a real mess of it trying to pull. 

Two off the final ball, turned into the legside, mar an otherwise blemish-free over from Finn, and move the batsman into the 90s…

Even Elgar doesn’t look completely confident against England’s ‘Beard that’s feared’, but he does manage to get a single, to long on, from the third ball. 

That brings Steyn, still on 0, onto strike, and he plays out the over reasonably well without scoring. 

Meanwhile, at the other end it looks a different pitch, with Elgar starting to look really fluent for the first time.

He unfurls a cover drive which, had it not picked out the fielder, would have been four, and looks completely untroubled by Finn. That is, until the England man goes back of a length, and hurries him slightly, but no real harm done.

A push off the back foot and he gets a single from the final ball.

Moeen Ali really is bowling beautifully, five dots followed by a ball that turns miles, beating bat, keeper and leg slip to go for four byes. 

Moeen Ali of England celebrates taking the wicket of JP Duminy

…before James Taylor dives forward to catch Kyle Abbott at bat pad

Amid the carnage this morning, Dean Elgar is proving himself nicely. Yesterday was a gritty display in which he rode his luck, but that is already his second glorious on drive today.

Finn has just replaced Broad at this end, and his first ball disappears past him for four. Cracking shot.

That also takes him to 86, making his the highest score of the match so far. Though Ben Stokes will think he should have gone yesterday, of course. Ducks a bouncer final ball. 

Mooen strikes again and Kyle Abbott looked an absolute novice against the off-spinner there.

That was a shocker of a decision of Rod Tucker to give that not out originally. The umpires really are having a shocking match here.

Even I have to admit that’s where the Decision Review System works. A shocker quickly overturned. That’s how it should be.

South Africa in big trouble now.

Dale Steyn becomes the latest man to join Dean Elgar at the crease – as England scythe through this lower order. Moeen Ali now has three wickets, Broad has four, and the tourists are well on top. 

Big turn to beat the bat from one of the remaining balls to Steyn, and it’s a wicket maiden. Well bowled Mr Ali!

Moeen Ali – who bowled appallingly yesterday until he was gifted his first wicket by Faf du Plessis – has been a different man ever since. Now he has 6 balls to Abbott, and he gets him, with the second, caught at short leg by James Taylor.

Or does he? Umpire says no, England review. And it’s as big an inside edge as you’d ever hope to see, he almost middled it! Well taken by Taylor diving forward, and the decision is overturned. Wickets are tumbling this morning, brilliant for England!

So much pressure on Elgar’s shoulders now – does he trust his tail? Broad won’t mind him taking a single, but if he starts to play his shots England will fancy getting him too. 

For now he remains resolute in defence before unleashing a near-perfect on drive for four. Stunning timing. 

And yes Moeen Ali is the man to get JP Duminy! Alastair Cook clearly remembered what Graeme Swann used to do to him!

That’s another big wicket for England who are well on top now. Only Dean Elgar is standing between them and a big first innings lead now.

This is the best possible start to the third day for England.

Kyle Abbott in at eight, and while he’s not a mug, this is definitely the South African tail. A Test match average of under seven won’t inspire much home hope, and neither will the fact that all of the first three balls he faces beat the bat. 

One clatters the pad, one beats everyone and they run two byes, and the third goes straight through him, just missing the stumps. Brilliant, brilliant over from Moeen.

As Paul mentioned, JP Duminy is not great against off-spin, so not surprising to see Moeen Ali introduced early on. Here he is, giving Elgar the single and looking to attack the No 7.

And what about that. It works immediately, turning a little, taking the outside edge, and being caught very well by Ben Stokes at slip. 

Don’t you just love it when a plan works?

Broad is really striving for this, angling the ball in at Elgar, trying to tempt him outside off stump, but then getting frustrated and going a little straight, which allows the batsman to nudge into the leg side and get off strike.

Duminy tries to drive the only ball he faces this over, but picks out cover. 

Here’s a picture of that first wicket – you can really get a sense for how low it kept. Bavuma is the smallest man in Test cricket, even shorter than James Taylor, so for him to be down on a knee, it has to be very low!

Stuart Broad of England bowls out Temba Bavuma with the second ball of day three

Finn continues with this very full length to Elgar, and the batsmen continue with their sharp running between the wickets, earning a single with no more than a push to mid-off.

Different tactic to Duminy, Finn goes short and hits him – fairly hard – on the shoulder. A glancing blow, but that’ll wake him up!

A sub-plot to today’s play, by the way, is the news that AB de Villiers is considering retiring from Test cricket. I say news – it’s more like rumours at the moment, and the man himself has denied it. But the South African media certainly think something is up.

Duminy blocks out the rest of the Finn over. 

Broad to Elgar, this is that key battle I was talking about before play began. Two slips, a gully, but Broad strays onto the pads and is worked to square leg for a single. Not great, but at least it gives him a chance to bowl at the new man.

Four men in the cordon for Duminy, and one ball does just square him up, taking a leading edge as he tried to work the ball to leg. 

But he’s off the mark now, whipping the ball in front of square, off his pads, past the short leg for a couple. A good shot, but I’m not sure Broad will mind him playing round his front leg like that early in the innings. 

Steven Finn to start from the other end, and Elgar gets four from his first delivery of the day, angling the ball safely down past a diving gully to the boundary.

England’s biggest bowler is really looking to pitch it up in this first over, a couple of these are almost yorker-length, but Elgar deals with it all fairly comfortably, nudging two more to deep mid-wicket when the line strays a tad too straight.

And, oooof, that was close to a run-out final ball. A direct hit would have been close as they charged through for a single, but I think Duminy – a quick man – would just have got there. 

And what a start that is for Stuart Broad and England! A wicket in the first over of the day, just as he struck in the first over of the innings yesterday.

That was a pretty poor shot from Temba Bavuma and England are very much on top now. Broad is on fire!

Here’s JP Duminy who Graeme Swann used to get out for fun. I wonder if Alastair Cook will turn to his off-spinner in Moeen Ali for Duminy?

Broad comes round the wicket to JP Duminy, the new man in. England are just one wicket away from a fairly long tail now – described by one South African yesterday as ‘four No 9s’. 

Right on the money from Broad, a wicket Maiden to start the day. 

Decent length to start with, but just a tad wide first up and Bavuma able to let it go by – Broad will want to make him play as much as possible. Like that…

Second ball keeps a bit low, and finds the inside edge, and it clatters into the stumps. Broad, for the second day in a row, strikes with his second ball!

We lost quite a lot of time on day one, so we’re underway early again tomorrow.

Technically it shouldn’t start for another few minutes, but the players are on their way out, and the over rate has been so slow in this match that we’re nowhere near catching up anyway, so the more cricket the better.

Elgar will be joined by Temba Bavuma, who will face the first ball, which Broad is just preparing to bowl. 

Sportsmail’s Paul Newman in Durban

Good morning from Durban where a fascinating third day of this first Test is in prospect.

What a cracker yesterday was and how brilliantly did Stuart Broad bowl. He is at the very peak of his powers, there is no question of that, and how timely that is with Jimmy Anderson injured.

England are in the box seat here and this pitch is already showing signs of uneven bounce and turn.

The sun is out here now too so it can only get drier and assist the slow bowlers more.

Mooen Ali could be a key man as this Test goes on but for now England have to ensure they have a first innings lead. If they do then you fancy them to win this game.

The crucial wicket this morning is that of opening batsman Dean Elgar, the only member of the South African top order to survive yesterday.

He, rather like Nick Compton on day one, did not look particularly stylish, but hung in there and will resume on 67 not out – and must be the rock around which South Africa build the rest of this innings.

The real frustration for England is that he should have been out yesterday, trapped lbw by Ben Stokes, but the umpire said know and England failed to call for what would have been a successful review. 

Dean Elgar has led the South African resistance, and will be the key wicket on day three

Ben Stokes should have picked up the opener’s wicket, but failed to review the appeal

This morning – and that’s only about 20 minutes away – is all about early wickets for England. If they can take two wickets in the first hour, they are right into the South African tail, and will see a lead of 100+ as realistic.

If not, batting conditions are pretty good, the pitch is slow, but not dangerous, and South African parity, or even a lead of their own, if not impossible. 

In the absence of Jimmy Anderson – and with a soft ball – the key man again will be Stuart Broad. He was quite magnificent yesterday, and if he keeps it up, England will be in a very good position indeed.

Stuart Broad of England is congratulated after getting AB de Villiers out

After a topsy turvy second day, during which England occasionally looked dominant, and at other times lost, this Test is set up rather beautifully. 

It’s hard to say who is on top, but that could well change within the first hour. Or we might end today as confused as we start it. Such is the beauty of Test cricket. 

Either way, today should be a lot of fun…

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England go into day three of the first Test against South Africa knowing that early wickets would earn them a first innings lea put them in control.

Stuart Broad took three on Sunday, including removing the two danger-men, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, after his batting had helped Alastair Cook’s men to 303 all out.

South Africa will resume on 137 for four, still 166 runs behind, and with a tail that looks weak, England will be hopeful of a big lead if they can strike in the first session. 

Join JONNY SINGER for live over-by-over coverage with updates from PAUL NEWMAN in Durban. 

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