Stokes reaches fifth Test century with a six
Third Investec Test, The Kia Oval, day two
England 353 (103.2 overs): Stokes 112, Cook 88, Morkel 3-70
South Africa 126-8 (43 overs): Bavuma 34*, Roland-Jones 4-39

Ben Stokes struck a sparkling century and debutant Toby Roland-Jones took a sensational 4-39 as England seized control of the third Test against South Africa on day two at The Oval.

Stokes’ flawless 112, which included three successive sixes in the course of bringing up three figures, helped the hosts to 353 all out.

Roland-Jones then ripped through the South Africa top order as the Proteas slumped to 61-7 before closing on 126-8, still 28 runs shy of the follow-on target.

Though the weather forecast is mixed for the weekend, Joe Root’s men look set to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

That would represent another familiar swing in the fortunes of the England side, who won handsomely at Lord’s only to be annihilated at Trent Bridge.

South Africa were hampered by the absence of Vernon Philander, the pace bowler sent to hospital after a stomach complaint worsened, while their batting was decimated in ideal conditions for pace bowling.

Philander will spend Friday night on a drip and is unlikely to play any part on Saturday.

Who is Toby Roland-Jones – and where did this performance come from?

Debutant Roland-Jones bowls De Kock for fourth SA wicket

Fast bowler Roland-Jones, 29, made his one-day international debut in May and got the chance for a first Test cap after an injury to Mark Wood.

A batsman as a youngster at Middlesex, he was persuaded to take bowling more seriously by former England international Angus Fraser and sealed last season’s County Championship with a hat-trick against Yorkshire.

Tall, broad and with a long, languid approach, he exploited the dark, damp conditions by moving the ball in the air and occasionally extracting spitting bounce at speeds of just over 80mph.

Dean Elgar was caught behind, Heino Kuhn trapped lbw playing across the line and Hashim Amla gloved a brutal delivery that reared towards his throat.

When Quinton de Kock was caught at gully off a leading edge, Roland-Jones had taken 4-15 in 24 balls.

James Anderson then got in on the act, with Faf du Plessis lbw offering no stroke and Chris Morris, who earlier struggled with the ball, caught and bowled.

Ben Stokes had a wafting Keshav Maharaj at first slip as South Africa faced the indignity of following-on before the close.

Temba Bavuma could have been given out caught off an inside edge from his first ball, delivered by Roland-Jones, but added 53 with Kagiso Rabada.

With Philander absent, England had about six minutes to take the ninth and final wicket, but Morne Morkel accompanied Bavuma to the close.

Thrilling Stokes rewarded for hard work

Stokes had laid the foundations for his second-day brilliance with the hard work he did on the first evening in testing circumstances.

With England resuming on 171-4, they lost former captain Alastair Cook lbw to Morkel for 88.

Philander managed only five overs and, when South Africa turned to their change bowling, Stokes tucked in with drives and pulls.

Jonny Bairstow impressed for 36, Roland-Jones hit four fours and a six in his 25-ball stay and, overall, England showed all the care, application and determination that was lacking at Trent Bridge.

Stokes was on 91 when the ninth wicket fell, Anderson surviving three deliveries before the thrilling entertainment began.

Stokes attacked spinner Maharaj with blows over the leg side – the first was carried on to the rope by Du Plessis, the second brought up his century and the third made him only the second England player to hit three successive maximums in a Test.

Stokes was the last man out, caught at long-off looking to launch Morkel, but only after he had delighted a noisy Oval and taken England to a strong total.

Cook trapped lbw by Morkel

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