Stokes hits when England takes command

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<pre><pre>Stokes hits when England takes command

PORT ELIZABETH (Reuters) – Ben Stokes rushed to his century and Ollie Pope was within sight of a first test ton when England reached 335 for four gates on Friday on the second day of the third test against South Africa.

The Englishman Ben Stokes celebrates his century with Ollie Pope REUTERS / Siphiwe Sibeko

When South Africa digested the news that top bowler Kagiso Rabada was affected by a 1-match ban that would preclude him from the fourth and final test [nL4N29M2IH], England turned the screw in St. George’s Park.

Stokes was not out of 108 and Pope unbeaten at 75 when England significantly increased the run rate and added 111 runs to their overnight score.

Stokes & # 39; ninth test barrel puts England in an outstanding position as it wants to take the lead in the four-game series, which equals 1-1.

The English duo came out after the rain deliberately delayed the start of the game by 45 minutes and quickly exceeded 50 runs when the skies over Port Elizabeth began to clear.

Stokes, who was 38 at night, reached 50 out of 102 balls with Pope and then followed the same milestone in 93 balls.

Stokes then accelerated to his century and took only 72 balls for his second 50 and produced three figures with a characteristic cover drive.

He passed 4,000 runs and became only the seventh test cricket player to reach that number and take 100 gates. He reached the milestone in fewer tests than the great Englishman Ian Botham.

Pope, who turned 22 earlier this month, survived a fright when he got the ball after taking Stokes & # 39; for his century. However, he successfully tested how he refused a first test wicket to the South African debutant Dane Paterson.

South Africa's bowlers continued to work on a flat wicket, but looked depleted after Rabada's one-test ban had been confirmed shortly after Friday's game started. He will miss the last game in Johannesburg with a heavy blow to the hosts.

Rabada was given another point of failure because he celebrated the wicket of English captain Joe Root on Thursday.

The bowler, who collected four failure points within 24 months, was fined 15% by the International Cricket Council.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Cut by Toby Davis