Trent Bridge a test of character for South Africa - Du Plessis

Posted July 16, 2017

England have it all to do if they want to save the second Test match as a batting collapse left the hosts 205 runs behind going into day three at Trent Bridge.

The Proteas, 1-0 down in the series, bundled England out for just 205 in their first-innings despite a free-flowing 78 from captain Joe Root. "We did well to bowl them out for under 350 but didn't get it right with the bat", said the Lancashire seamer.

While it was the spinners, specifically Moeen Ali, who took the plaudits during the first-Test victory over South Africa at Lord's, England's pedigree pace attack are expected to enjoy the conditions at one of the favourite grounds.

England's lack of top-order Test runs has always been a problem and number four Root came in facing an all-too familiar fix job at three for two.

It was swiftly followed by another as Morris got a leading edge back to the bowler and the innings was over when Morne Morkel (2-45) flashed outside off-stump.

Yet Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla held firm to add 57 between the fall of the wicket and the end of play.

Faf du Plessis took over the reins from Dean Elgar for South Africa as he chose to bat first on winning the toss with three changes to the line-up that also saw the return of Chris Morris and Duanne Olivier while England remain unchanged.

When will Day 2 of England vs South Africa 2nd Test match be played?

It was comprehensive in the end at Lord's, England winning by 211 runs on the fourth evening to secure a dream start to the Joe Root Era.

"England lost eight Tests previous year". Root's performance at Lord's suggests the remaining three Tests will not be short of headline-making heroics.

At lunch, Root and Ballance, desperate to nail down his Test place after being recalled at Lord's, had taken England to 85 for two.

With the likely value loser out of the way there, let's look to make sure we walk away from the game with a profit by taking on Sky Bet's 28.5 line for South Africa's opening partnership.

Hussain, who captained England between 1999 and 2003, also criticised Root's decision to bat at four behind the recalled Gary Ballance. Look at the way South Africa played attritionally. The Yorkshire duo shared an unbroken 82 for the third wicket after coming together when South Africa's pacers were beginning to make use of the overcast morning to dismiss Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings off successive balls.

An X-rated batting display from England means they are facing not only what appears an impossible fight to save this second Test but searching questions over the make-up of their top six for the remainder of this series.