Root and Pope steer England past 300 in first innings

Published On: January 25, 2020 06:55 PM NPT By: Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 25: Captain Joe Root and prodigy Ollie Pope both hit half centuries on Saturday and put together a 101-run partnership that took England to 300 for seven wickets at lunch on the second day of the fourth test against South Africa at The Wanderers.

Root scored 59 and Pope 56 as England moved quickly on from their overnight score of 192-4 before three quick wickets for Anrich Nortje slowed the march.

Pope continued to build on his growing reputation and looked the senior batsman at times as he and Root went after the home bowling when play got underway after a 45-minute delay because of early morning rain.

The 22-year-old Pope again highlighted the strokeplay that has him billed as a future test star as his third test half century came up in 61 balls before he played on to a delivery from Nortje.

Root was dropped by captain Faf du Plessis in Nortje’s next over but it did not prove costly as the England skipper was out soon after, for the addition of five more runs when he got a healthy edge to Nortje and was taken by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

Sam Curran followed next ball, swinging wildly at the first delivery he faced, getting an edge and being snagged behind by De Kock.

It meant England had lost three wickets for 11 runs in a fiery spell for Nortje that offered renewed hope for the home side, who are 2-1 down in the series.

Nortje has been the most expensive of the home bowlers with 4-93 off 19 overs.

Jos Buttler (16) and Chris Woakes (19) were not out at lunch and will face the second new ball at the start of the afternoon session.

England were still waiting on Saturday to hear whether there would be any action taken against all-rounder Ben Stokes after a foul-mouthed altercation with a spectator caught on television on Friday.

He faces being charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) with a level one offence for the “use of an audible obscenity” and the possibility of being fined and given a demerit.

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