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England make steady gains on day one


England 317-5 (Stokes 74no) v South Africa
Second Test, Cape Town, day one

Steady fifties from Alex Hales, Joe Root and Ben Stokes pushed England to a total of 317 for five at stumps on day one of the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town.  

England won the toss and opted to bat first on what looked like a good batting track. James Anderson returned with Chris Woakes making way for him.

South Africa picked Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and Quinton de Kock in place of Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott and JP Duminy.

Alastair Cook (27) and Hales (60) were steady in their approach and South Africa scored 34 for naught in the first 10 overs.

The duo brought up the 50-run opening stand in the 15th over. An over later, Rabada (3-74) induced Cook to play a drive and Morris (1-99) held on excellently to take a low catch at third slip.

Nick Compton (45) joined Hales and the duo adopted a cautious strategy and saw out the remainder of the session without further trouble. At lunch, England posted 76 for one from 27 overs.

Hales began the post-lunch session with two boundaries and then went on to bring up his maiden Test fifty in 96 balls.

Compton launched Dane Piedt (0-63) for a six and a four in the 31st over and followed it up with a boundary in the next.

It was in the 44th over that Morne Morkel (1-51) got Hales to play at a fuller delivery and feather an edge to AB de Villiers at second slip.

Root (50) got busy by scoring at a good pace at the start. At the stroke of the tea break, Compton played a needless pull shot and holed out at mid-wicket. England went into the tea with the score at 167 for three.

The first ball of the final session produced a wicket as James Taylor (0) tried to drive away from his body only to be caught behind.

Stokes (74 not out) joined Root and the two immediately worked on rebuilding the innings after the double strike.

Stokes went past 1000 Test runs early in his innings and went on to add 56 runs with Root for the fifth wicket.

Root completed his fifty in the 68th over but was out caught behind off the next ball he faced giving Morris his first Test wicket.

England lost half their side for 223 runs. Jonny Bairstow (39 not out) and Stokes were steady in their partnership and started scoring aggressively at first.

Stokes welcomed the new ball by dispatching Morris for four boundaries in the 81st over while also completing a well-paced fifty in the process.

The 50-run stand between Bairstow and Stokes came up in 74 balls. Stokes and Bairstow continued to attack and took England’s total past 300.

Bairstow also went past 1000 Test runs and saw England safely through to stumps along with Stokes.

The unbeaten 94-run stand between Stokes and Bairstow took England’s total to 317 for five at stumps. Rabada was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets while Morris and Morkel had one each.

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