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Alastair Cook leads England fightback after South African domination

Alastair Cook leads England fightback after South African domination
Quinton de Kock celebrating his maiden Test century on day two of the Centurion Test.
©REUTERS / Action Images

South Africa 475 (de Kock 129no) v
England 138-2 (Cook 67no)
Fourth Test, day two, Centurion

Alastair Cook scored an unbeaten gritty half-century to take England to 138 for two at stumps on day two after Quinton de Kock's maiden century propelled South Africa's first innings total to 475 in the fourth Test in Centurion.

South Africa began the day at the overnight score of 329 for five. Two overs into the day, Quinton de Kock (129 not out) was dropped in the gully by Ben Stokes (4-86) off James Anderson (1-91).

Stuart Broad (2-91) got Temba Bavuma (35) caught behind in the next over while Anderson dismissed Kagiso Rabada (0) in the over following that.

De Kock played aggressively and brought up his fifty in 68 balls. Kyle Abbott (16) shared a quick 50-run stand with de Kock but was trapped in the front of the stumps by Stokes in the 104th over. A desperate review only affirmed the umpire’s decision.

A few overs later, Chris Woakes (1-91) got de Kock to edge a delivery but neither Jonny Bairstow nor Alastair Cook attempted the catch and the ball raced to the fence. At lunch, South Africa were well positioned at 421 for eight.

Three overs into the second session, de Kock was dropped again, by Cook this time. Dane Piedt (19) and de Kock frustrated England with their 82-run stand for the ninth wicket.

De Kock completed his maiden Test hundred and it took him just 104 balls to get to the landmark. The runs kept flowing as de Kock upped the ante after reaching the three-figure mark.

In the 130th over, Piedt was caught behind off Stokes, who also accounted for Morne Morkel (0) in his next over to bowl South Africa out for 475 runs.

Stokes accounted for four victims while Broad and Moeen Ali (2-104) took two each with Woakes and Anderson chipping in with one wicket apiece.

Alex Hales (15) got going with three boundaries in the first four overs but was out caught at point trying to drive a full delivery from Rabada (2-55).

Cook (67 not out) and Nick Compton (19) were steady in their approach and took England safely to the tea break with the score at 29 for one.

Cook started the final session with a couple of boundaries off Rabada in the first three overs. After tied down by the South African bowlers, Compton finally got going with two boundaries in the 19th over from Morkel (0-29).

Cook brought the 50-run stand with Compton off 98 deliveries with a fierce pull to deep square leg.

However, Rabada produced a snorter of delivery that kept very low to trap Compton lbw ending the 56-run stand. In the same over, Joe Root (31 not out) survived another delivery that kept low.

The England captain brought his first fifty in the series with a backfoot punch of Piedt (0-23), getting there in 98 deliveries.

With their unbeaten 60-run stand, Cook and Root ensured England ended the day at 138 for two, still trailing South Africa's first innings total by 337 runs.

Rabada was the most impressive South African bowler having picked both the wickets.

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