Three more wickets keep England on the front foot in Manchester

England rammed home their advantage on the third morning of the second LV=  Insurance Test against South Africa, picking up three cheap wickets to kick-off their victory charge at Emirates Old Trafford.

Having piled up a 264-run lead on the back of centuries from Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes, the hosts reduced the Proteas to 88 for three with a strong bowling performance.

Looking to avenge last week’s innings defeat at Lord’s, England gave themselves a shout of responding with an equally thumping win with South Africa still 176 adrift at lunch.

There was one wicket apiece for seamers James Anderson, Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad, who worked as a group to keep their opponents on the back foot.

Stokes began with an unexpected ploy, opening the bowling with Joe Root’s occasional off-spin despite the ball being just nine overs old.

The former skipper had an appeal for lbw off the very first delivery of the day but it was a brief experiment. James Anderson was a more predictable starter from the end that carries his name and he got England up and running in emphatic fashion, upending the off stump of visiting captain Dean Elgar for 11.

England v South Africa – LV= Insurance Test Series – Second Test – Day One – Emirates Old Trafford
Stuart Broad celebrates taking the wicket of Dean Elgar (David Davies/PA)

Elgar is renowned as his side’s most durable batter but his hopes of a long stay ended with a classic Anderson set-up, nipping one away off the pitch and following with one that tailed back in and squeezed past the left-hander’s defences.

Robinson settled into a searching spell of his own and was rewarded with the scalp of Sarel Erwee, caught behind pushing at one that lifted as it left him.

Buoyed by scoreboard pressure, England were in total control and it did not take Broad long to join the hunt. He thought he had Aiden Markram for a duck but his brilliant delivery, and the outside edge that followed, were rendered moot by a marginal no-ball – called as the batter was well on his way to the pavilion.

England v South Africa – LV= Insurance Test Series – Second Test – Day Three – Emirates Old Trafford
Aiden Markram had a reprieve when he was bowled off a no-ball (Mike Egerton/PA)

The reprieve was a short one for Markram, who continues to struggle for Test runs, as he aimed an ambitious cover drive at Broad but picked out Zak Crawley at second slip.

Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen shared a stand of 34 before the break, but still have plenty to do.