Cook rescues England on rain hit day one at The Oval
England 171-4 (Cook 82no) v South Africa
Third Test, The Oval, day one
Alastair Cook scored a determined unbeaten 82 run knock as England recovered to 171 for four at stumps on rain hit day one of the third Test against South Africa at The Oval.
England won the toss and decided to bat first with Dawid Malan, Tom Westley and Toby Roland-Jones making their debuts while South Africa drafted Kagiso Rabada in the place of Duanne Olivier.
In the fourth ball of the day, Cook (82 not out) edged a delivery to third man that took him past Allan Border in the list of leading run-scorer in Test cricket.
Vernon Philander (2-17) provided the initially breakthrough when Keaton Jennings (0) edged one to the slips but Cook and Westley (25) did well to weather the Proteas attack.
In the 19th over of the innings, Cook survived a review for LBW off Chris Morris (1-48) when a faint inside edge was involved. By 12:48 local time, rain arrived, leading to early lunch during which England were positioned at 62 for one.
Westley failed to carry on his momentum into the second session as he edged a Morris delivery to the slips but Joe Root (29) looked positive from the outset adding 49 runs with Cook for the third wicket.
At one stage, Root's first 26 runs came off just 27 deliveries but the pressure was evident on the England captain as he needed 29 more deliveries to add two runs to his score before edging one to the keeper off Philander.
Cook reached his 55th Test fifty with a boundary in the 43rd over but the innings slipped further when Rabada (1-32) had Malan castled. England were 120 for four at that stage.
Cook and Ben Stokes (21 not out) ensured there were no further causalities as the hosts reached 149 for four at tea.
The final session started with a rain delay and overall only seven overs were possible in it as the bad weather once again played spoilsport and in this phase England added 22 runs and were placed at 171 for four at stumps on day one which saw only 59 overs possible.
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