Toby Roland-Jones's dream debut spell proves too good for South Africa

Toby Roland-Jones's dream debut spell proves too good for South Africa

It was not until South Africa took the second new ball that there was instantly a resurgent threat, and it proved too much for Bairstow as Kagiso Rabada found extra bounce to have him edging to second slip.

At the close, Sky Bet had England back to their morning price of 11/10, with South Africa out to 11/4 and the draw into 2/1.

James Anderson (2-16) also grabbed a couple in a wonderful bowling display as the Proteas, who had paceman Vernon Philander taken to hospital with a stomach bug, slumped to 126-8 at stumps. He bowled only five overs and could not bat, with his availability for Saturday in doubt.

It was a crucial knock in the context of this match and series, which is level at 1-1 following South Africa's landslide 340-run win in Nottingham last week. What a topsy-turvy summer this has been.

Cook moved above Allan Border up to ninth among the world's all-time record runscorers, having always been England's number one, when he scored the first of his unbeaten 82 as England reached 171 for four in the third Investec Test. Roland-Jones induced the faintest of edges from opener Dean Elgar and he was caught behind by Jonny Bairstow with the last ball before the break.

Soon after the resumption, Roland-Jones accounted for Heino Kuhn, lbw for 10, playing across the line.

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.

And all by Roland-Jones: two with catches behind the wicket, another in the gully and a leg-before. At that point, England's debutant had 4 for 20 and South Africa were 47 for 4.

In what was a first day of "proper" Test cricket, he played a proper Test innings.

The clouds lifted to allow the quicks back, with Rabada bowled by what was effectively a fast leg-break from Stuart Broad to end a gutsy stay of nearly an hour.

All-rounder Stokes played a masterful Test innings at The Oval, defending and leaving at the right moments while not straying from his attack-minded instincts.

It was deliveries like that, and those produced by Philander and Morne Morkel, which give further credit to the innings played by Cook. Moeen Ali fell to an inside-edge onto his pad, Morkel the deserving bowler, for Quinton de Kock to hold the catch behind the stumps.

Stokes was lent impressive support by Roland-Jones as he moved towards his century.

Stokes hit 112 in 153 balls, reaching and passing his century in dramatic fashion by smashing three consecutive sixes off the bowling of spinner Keshav Maharaj.

The first of Stokes' sixes, to the deep midwicket boundary, very almost resulted in his demise for 91, with Faf du Plessis claiming the catch, only for his momentum running backwards to tack him tumbling into the boundary.

There was no doubt when the subsequent ball sailed into the stands as Stokes completed a 144-ball century and he hoisted Maharaj's next delivery over deep square for another six.

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