Dom Bess removed Faf du Plessis as England edge towards victory in Cape Town

Dom Bess took the crucial wicket of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis before lunch as England took another step towards victory in the second Test.


England began day five in Cape Town needing eight wickets to win and after James Anderson (2-23) removed nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj early, the tourists were frustrated by opener Pieter Malan and Du Plessis.

It took until the final half-hour of the session for the next breakthrough though as the Proteas skipper swept Bess (1-38) straight to Joe Denly at square leg.

The second new ball was taken just before the break but Malan (83no) and Rassie van der Dussen (1no) held out and England go into the final two sessions of the match needing six wickets to level the series.

While the visitors were favourites, the day began with all results still possible. However, South Africa’s approach in the first hour suggested they had little interest in trying to get the 312 more runs needed to for victory and were happy to dig in for a draw to maintain the series lead.

They lost Maharaj in the third over of the day, Anderson nipping one back just a fraction to the nightwatchman and hit him plumb in front. So much so that the batsman was already moving in the direction of the dressing room as the umpire raised his finger.

Malan was looking as solid as he had the previous evening and Du Plessis was steadfast in his defence as well, which made his dismissal, and the manner of it, all the more surprising.

Bess was finding a little turn and bounce outside the right-handers’ off stump but, with no-one back on the legside, Du Plessis (19) tried a hard sweep, only to pick out Denly. England could hardly believe their luck while Du Plessis stood in disbelief for a number of seconds before dragging himself from the wicket.

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