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Triple strike sees England close on series win

AFP  |  Manchester 

All of England's frontline pacemen took a wicket apiece as the hosts eyed a series win over in the fourth Test at Old Trafford today.

had slumped to 40 for three in their second innings at lunch on the fourth day, with the Proteas needing a further 340 runs to reach an imposing victory target of 380.

Hashim Amla was 11 not out after Temba Bavuma (12) fell to the last ball before lunch in a match needed to win if they were to end a four-match series all square at 2-2.

have not lost a Test series in since 1998 and in their past 19 away Test series they have suffered just one campaign reverse -- against in 2015/16.

But both of those records looked like taking a dent, with in sight of victory in his first Test series as captain.

The most yet made by any side to win in the fourth innings of a Test at Old Trafford is England's 294 for four against in 2008.

South Africa's already difficult task was not helped when, after rain briefly delayed the start of their chase, they slumped to 18 for two.

Dean Elgar, who made a gritty second-innings hundred in England's 239-run victory in the third Test at The Oval, fell for five on Monday when caught behind off Stuart Broad.

Fellow opener Heino Kuhn (11), struggling to cement his Test place, repeatedly played and missed before edging James Anderson, again bowling from the newly-named James Anderson End, low to Alastair Cook at first slip.

Yet again this series, Bavuma walked out to bat with in trouble.

The experienced Amla battled away, taking 40 balls to score his first boundary when he whipped off-spinner Moeen Ali for four.

But on the stroke of lunch, Bavuma was caught behind off Toby Roland-Jones, although had to review umpire Kumar Dharmasena's original not out decision to confirm a thin nick.

Earlier, were bowled out for 243 in their second innings after resuming on 224 for eight.

Ali, dropped on 15 by slip Elgar -- arguably the easiest of five catches the Proteas put down on Sunday -- top-scored with 75 not out after being unbeaten on 67 overnight.

Morne Morkel wrapped up the innings by dismissing tailenders Broad and Anderson during a spell of two wickets for one run in four balls.

The tall fast bowler finished with fine figures of four for 41 in 13.1 overs.

But Ali's 66-ball innings, including nine fours and three sixes, maintained England's grip on this match.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 07 2017. 20:02 IST