Super Stokes sets the tone as England demolish South Africa to level Test series

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Ben Stokes provided the spark yet again as his England side crushed South Africa inside three days at Old Trafford to level the Test series.

After a painful innings defeat at Lord's in the first match, captain Stokes led by dazzling example this time with a mesmerising century and valuable wickets, earning the player of the match award.

He cut off the hint of a South African resurgence on Saturday, before his star seamers did the rest, England bowling out the tourists for 179 and getting the win by an innings and 85 runs to set up a series decider at The Oval next month.

England's 264-run first-innings lead allowed them to go for the jugular in front of a boisterous weekend crowd in Manchester, with home-ground hero James Anderson removing Dean Elgar's off stump early in the day before Sarel Erwee edged Ollie Robinson through to Ben Foakes.

Stuart Broad then thought he had bowled Aiden Markram for a duck, but it came from a no-ball. Markram's stint in the middle was brief regardless, with Broad drawing a nick to Zak Crawley at second slip.

Rassie van der Dussen, batting with a suspected broken finger, and Keegan Petersen frustrated England for a while, with the fourth-wicket pair batting valiantly through the post-lunch session.

Stokes had Van der Dussen reaching outside off stump in the 64th over, in the penultimate over before tea, with replays showing there was perhaps the thinnest of edges through to Ben Foakes.

Nobody appealed so the batsman survived, but not for long. At 141-3, South Africa had a sniff of making a match of this contest, yet they collapsed desperately from there.

England made a breakthrough just moments after tea, and it was skipper Stokes who struck, ending an 87-run fourth-wicket alliance by this time drawing a chunky nick from Van der Dussen (41) to give Foakes an easy enough catch.

He removed Petersen (42) too with a hostile delivery the batsman was clueless to defend, presenting wicketkeeper Foakes with another scalp.

The excellent Robinson removed Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi as England sliced through the tail, with Kagiso Rabada falling to Anderson.


Robinson recall a roaring success

Sussex quick Robinson had not played for England since the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart at the start of the year, but he proved his fitness on England Lions duty and backed that up with 4-43 in South Africa's second innings.

His inclusion at the expense of Matthew Potts went down as a raging hit, and he surely has a big part to play next time out in London, not to mention in the long term when stalwarts Anderson and Broad finally make way.