CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Opener Dom Sibley celebrated a patient first century and Ben Stokes produced fireworks at the other end when England met 375 on Monday at 7 a.m. on the fourth day of the second test against South Africa.
England's Cathedral Sibley celebrates its century REUTERS / Mike Hutchings
Tourists lead wickets in Newlands with 421 runs and three remaining innings to take their lead home in a test that increasingly looks like there can only be one winner.
The highest chase in test history was in 2003 when West Indies scored 418 for seven and defeated Australia in St. Johns.
Sibley will not return from 299 balls at 125 after playing anchors for the others to play with freedom, and is in the lead with Sam Curran (13 not out).
Sibley's previous highest test in his fourth match was 29, but he has demonstrated his ability to hit long, one of the key traits that attracted English voters to his talent.
His hundred was met by an almighty roar of considerable traveling English support, even if it took 269 balls to get there.
Stokes had plenty of entertainment at the other end when he took on the task of enabling fast runs. England would like to build a sufficiently large lead and still have enough time to exhaust South Africa a second time.
He smashed seven fours and three sixes in an innings of 72 with 47 balls before being caught in the middle by Rassie van der Dussen by the spinner Keshav Maharaj.
Newlands remains a happy hunting ground for Stokes after hitting his career best 258 on the ground in 2016.
His lightning drove England to 157 runs in 27 overs in the morning and has significantly accelerated the game in their pursuit of victory.
The weight of the runs suggests that the pitch flattened further after both teams expressed their surprise on Sunday that the support given to seafarers on the first two days had disappeared.
South Africa won the first test of the four-game series with 107 runs in Pretoria.
Reporting by Nick Said; Edited by Christian Radnedge