Marco Jansen claimed four wickets and top-scored with 30 to keep the Proteas in the hunt on an emotional day three of the decisive third Test against England at the Kia Oval in London on Saturday.
On what was effectively the first day of the match – day one was washed out by the weather and day two suspended following the death of Queen Elizabeth II – the tourists were bowled out for a paltry 118 shortly after lunch.
Thirty of those runs came from the bat of fast bowler Jansen, who then dug deep for figures of four for 34 that helped reduce the hosts to 154 for seven when play ended early due to bad light.
Although England were 36 runs ahead, it was still a good comeback by South Africa and kept their chances of winning the series alive after the first two Tests were won by either team to leave the scoreline at 1-1.
The world has been mourning the passing of Queen Elizabeth II since Thursday afternoon and the two teams together with a capacity crowd at the Kia Oval had their chance to pay their respects through a moment of silence before the start, followed by a powerful rendition of God Save The King.
That seemed to inspire the home side and they had the Proteas in all sorts of trouble from the get-go. Captain Dean Elgar (1) and Sarel Erwee (0) fell inside the first 14 balls, before Keegan Petersen (12), Ryan Rickelton (11), Kyle Verreynne (0) and Wiaan Mulder (3) followed within the first hour.
That left the South Africans in deep trouble on 36 for six in the 12th over, before Jansen and Khaya Zondo (23) combined to double the score during a seventh wicket partnership that eventually ended shortly after lunch.
Keshav Maharaj (18) offered some support to Jansen, but a forgettable performance by the visitors ended when Stuart Broad (4/41) got Anrich Nortje for seven – the innings ended in 36.2 overs. Ollie Robinson finished as the pick of the bowlers finishing with five for 49.
Jansen, given a rare opportunity to take the new ball, bowled Alex Lees (13) in the fourth over, before England rallied through Ollie Pope (67) and Joe Root (23) to reach 107 for three.
But South Africa hit back from there by taking four wickets in just over 10 overs, including the key ones of the top-scorer and skipper Ben Stokes (6).
Apart from Jansen’s four-for, there were also two wickets from Kagiso Rabada (2/78) and one for Nortje (1/29) giving the away side hope of bouncing back over the remaining two days of the tour.
South Africa Test Tour to England
17 – 21 August
England lost to South Africa by an innings and 12 runs – Lord’s Cricket Ground, London
25 – 29 August
England beat South Africa by an innings and 85 runs – Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
08 – 12 September
England vs South Africa – Kia Oval, London