Stokes knocks stuffing out of SA attack

A rapid half century in the evening session from Ben Stokes saw England reach 317 for five at stumps on day one of the second Test in Cape Town, as South Africa were unable to utilise the second new ball.

The Proteas did a decent job for most of the day to contain England, removing their batsmen before they were able to make big scores, but Stokes' 74 not out knocked the wind out of their sails. Kagiso Rabada was the pick for the hosts, taking three for 74.

England won the vital toss and opted to bat, a wise choice given the surface and the inexperience of the South African bowling. After a late fitness Test, Kyle Abbott was ruled out and Chris Morris given a debut.

Alastair Cook and Alex Hales went through the first hour with relative ease as the new ball failed to produce any swing, and the Proteas not hitting their straps in front of the capacity crowd. The openers put on 55 for the first wicket.

Cook was the first to depart, in the 17th over, when he was brilliantly caught in the slips by a diving Morris. Rabada caught the edge, and Morris dived low to his left to take a one-handed catch just above the turf.

Hales and Joe Root then continued the resistance and the score was 76 for one at lunch. The afternoon was much better in terms of runs, as Root found the middle of the bat when spinner Dane Piedt was introduced.

The pair added 74 runs for the second wicket before Hales fell for 60. He was caught at second slip by AB de Villiers, off Morne Morkel's bowling. De Villiers dived across first slip to poach the catch, apparently forgetting he was not the wicketkeeper.

The real keeper, Quinton de Kock, finally got in on the action in the afternoon when he took catches to remove James Taylor and Root. Taylor was the first wicket after tea, to Rabada, who had bagged Nick Compton just before the break.

Suddenly England were four down for less than 180, and Stokes came in to prove his worth with the bat once again. While Root had made 50 and then been dismissed, Stokes recorded his half ton at a good strike rate.

The runs began to really flow as the sun dipped towards the edge of the roof, with Stokes and Jonny Bairstow taking advantage of the tired bowlers and the new ball that raced onto the bat.

The last 10 overs of the day went for a rollicking 60 runs, and they put on 94 unbeaten runs together. Morris was on 99 runs overnight, and will be the first SA paceman to go for 100 runs on debut since Dale Steyn.