To our live coverage of day three at Old Trafford. It could be the final day; it might be the antepenultimate day. None of us really know what to expect, given the variables involved – a pitch of many moods, a ball that will go very soft but should reverse swing, a South African side that fight to the death but have a tail beginning at No7, an England team that… well, don’t get me started on them.
South Africa will resume on 23/0, still trailing by 241, after the Bens dominated day two in Manchester. Stokes and Foakes made terrific centuries – Stokes’s was a beauty – to give England the kind of lead that looked unlikely when Anrich Nortje blowtorched the top order.
England won’t want to chase much more than 150 in the fourth innings, so there is an opportunity for South Africa to grind their way back into the game. Their captain Dean Elgar, in particular, gets high on challenges like this. But if England dismiss him early on, they could get the job done in a hurry.