England captain Joe Root and rising star Ollie Pope shared a free-scoring century partnership before fast bowler Anrich Nortje hit back for South Africa on the second day of the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
England, holding an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the series, were 300 for seven at lunch.The first hour belonged to Root and Pope as they added 66 runs to England’s overnight total of 192 for four. It made their partnership worth 101, with the 22-year-old Pope in particularly good form as he made a fluent 56, his third fifty-plus score in four innings.
But mid-morning drinks brought an immediate change, with Pope chopping the first ball after the short break onto his stumps as he tried to withdraw his bat from a fast delivery by Nortje, ending an exhilarating 78-ball innings which included eight fours.
Root was dropped by Faf du Plessis at slip in Nortje's next over but fell to a catch by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock in Nortje’s following over. Root made 59 off 108 balls.
Sam Curran was caught behind first ball to give Nortje his fourth wicket of the innings.
It was the last delivery of the seventh over of a spell by Nortje and he was given one more over but was unable to complete a hat-trick. Nortje had figures of four for 93 at lunch.