DAY 1 SUMMARY: Kagiso Rabada took the prize wicket of Ben Stokes as South Africa held England to 260 for six on Friday’s first day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
All-rounder Stokes, fresh from a hundred in England’s 239-run victory in the third Test at The Oval, was leading a revival with the bat.
But fast bowler Rabada struck with the new ball in the penultimate over of the day when a full-length delivery, which surprised Stokes, smashed into the base of the stumps and bowled the left-handed batsman for 58.
Rabada, banned from the second Test for swearing at Stokes in the series opener, yelled in joy.
He finished the day with figures of two for 52 in 18 overs, but the worth of South Africa’s efforts with the ball will only become fully apparent when they bat.
Jonny Bairstow, who might have fallen for four, was 33 not out and nightwatchman Toby Roland-Jones unbeaten on nought at the close.
For the tenth successive Test, England captain Joe Root made a fifty.
But only two of those innings have yielded hundreds and Root, who has previously acknowledged his ‘conversion rate’ as a failing in his otherwise impressive game, was out for 52 on Friday.
England were unchanged from the side that triumphed in The Oval’s 100th Test, a result that left Root on the brink of a win in his first series as England captain at 2-1 up with one to play.
But South Africa recalled seamer Duanne Olivier and batsman Theunis de Bruyn after pacemen Vernon Philander and Chris Morris were both ruled out with lower back strains.