Ollie Robinson took career-best figures of 5-49 as England edged ahead in the third Test against South Africa after a day in which 17 wickets fell in just 70 overs.
A remarkable morning at the Kia Oval began with a poignant tribute to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
Once play began, England’s seamers quickly found their rhythm as six wickets went down in the first 12 overs and, despite a little resistance from the lower order, the Proteas were all out midway through the afternoon session.
Stuart Broad took 4-41 and James Anderson (1-16) claimed the other wicket.
Despite losing their openers early, England raced to 84-2 at tea and looked set for a sizeable first-innings lead before being reduced to 154-7, a lead of 36, at the close as South Africa fought back courtesy of Marco Jansen’s 4-34.
The Oval pays tribute to the Queen as cricket returns
With plans to honour the Queen prior to the start of play, the vast majority of a capacity crowd were in their seats early and a hush fell over the ground as a military guard of honour was formed.
The umpires and both teams walked out to near-silence and lined up in front of the Micky Stewart Pavilion for the official minute’s silence, which was ended by one chime of the bell by Senior NCO Robert Brockelsby Miller of the Irish Guards.
That was followed by the national anthems, sung by Laura Wright, culminating in a rendition of God Save the King.
England rock South Africa with early flurry of wickets
After a washout on day one and the cancellation of Friday’s play as a mark of respect, there were only three days to force a result and find a series winner.
England’s best chance was to bowl South Africa out cheaply and build a lead that would ensure they only had to bat once in the match – and the bowlers wasted little time in doing their part.
Robinson uprooted Dean Elgar’s (1) off stump in the second over and six balls later, Anderson had Sarel Erwee (0) caught behind.
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September 11, 2022, 10:15am
Keegan Petersen (12) was next to go, misjudging a leave off Robinson and allowing the ball to thud into his off stump.
The wickets kept coming with Ryan Rickelton (11) feathering Broad behind; Robinson snared Kyle Verreynne with a beauty three balls later and when Wiann Mulder edged behind with an extremely loose drive, South Africa were 36-6.
Khaya Zondo, playing his first Test innings, and Jansen stayed together for close to an hour to see their side through to lunch, but the former departed soon after.
Robinson and Broad wrap up the Proteas innings
Having survived the second of two England reviews – one for caught behind, the other for lbw – earlier in the over, Zondo (23) dollied a catch to Alex Lees after Broad’s delivery had reared up to take the shoulder of the bat.
Broad was in the middle of a brilliant spell, but his luck deserted him for a time as numerous balls flew past the outside edge and, twice in the same over, Jansen was dropped off his bowling. First Ben Foakes and then Ollie Pope shelling chances they would have expected to take.
Jansen (30) could not make it count, though, and sent a thick edge to Joe Root at first slip to give Robinson his third five-wicket haul in Tests.
It was left to Broad to wrap up the innings with the wickets of Keshav Maharaj (18) and Anrich Nortje (7).
For the second match in a row, South Africa posted their lowest score in England since readmission.
Knowing time was of the essence, England came out with a clear positive intent and Lees swiftly reached 13 from five balls.
However, the sixth – bowled by Jansen – snuck through his defences and hit the top of middle stump.
Zak Crawley (5) had driven Kagiso Rabada for four in the first over of the innings but got stuck thereafter and was eventually dismissed by Jansen, taking a review with him after being trapped plumb lbw.
Root came out to join Ollie Pope, who was batting with all the confidence of a man who averaged 88.54 on his home ground, and for a time the pair seemed to go shot for shot as the home crowd roared their approval.
Root wicket starts South Africa fightback
The momentum shifted in the first over after tea. Root (23) went hard at a ball wide of off, a thick outside edge went quickly and Petersen held on to a sharp catch at third slip.
Harry Brook, on debut, was given a warm reception by the crowd and got off the mark in Test cricket with a lovely cover drive.
However, after a brief rain delay, the Yorkshireman miscued a pull shot and was caught at fine leg to give Jansen his fourth wicket.
Ben Stokes came and went quickly with the ultra-attacking approach we have become accustomed to not paying off on this occasion. Having been dropped a couple of balls earlier, Stokes (6) fiddled at a ball outside off from Nortje and edged to first slip.
Meanwhile, Pope (67) had brought up his ninth Test half-century with the 10th boundary of an enterprising innings, but he was following Stokes back to the dressing room in the next over.
A thin nick behind giving the unusually expensive Rabada his first wicket of the day and when Broad (6) tickled behind on the hook, the South Africa pacer had two.
Three balls later and with blue skies overhead and the floodlights on, the umpires took the players off for bad light.
Despite the frustrations of the fans, that proved to be it for day three and Foakes (11no) and Robinson (3no) will resume on Sunday morning as England try to build a more substantial lead.
Broad: Tributes to The Queen ‘incredible to be part of’
England bowler Stuart Broad: “It was incredible actually. It was amazing to be a part of.
“To walk down those stairs, every single player commented on how special it was to walk down: You could hear a pin drop. The respect shown by everyone in the stadium was incredible.
“To be able to sing the national anthem, with a full house, just about to represent your country was brilliant.
“I feel really glad with whoever decided put this game on; it felt like almost a celebration of The Queen’s life today.
“It felt good to be out there representing the badge like we today.”
Watch day four of the third Test between England and South Africa from 10.15am, Sunday on Sky Sports Cricket. Play begins at 11am.