South Africa had slipped to 47 for 2 with their mainstay gone, leaving Bavuma and the dogged opener, Heino Kuhn, to cling on for dear life. The late wicket of Stokes leaves the contest firmly in the balance. Several times England were on the verge of domination, whereupon another wicket fell.
"Hopefully the batters can respond well because he showed us how you need to bat in Test match cricket", he said.
But fast bowler Kagiso Rabada could not quite hold on to a diving caught and bowled chance following the Durhan left-hander´s inside edge onto the pad. They were patient, bowling with good plans to the likes of Keaton Jennings and Tom Westley whilst beating the bat with alarming regularity. After score of one and 10 on debut, his 18 here represented a third failure and he thumped the turf in dismay on his way back.
Du Plessis is eager to play a big part himself after a disappointing Test at the Oval where he managed just 1 run in two innings.
South Africa need to stop relying on their bowlers to save them from a top order collapse.
The 25-year-old says he was prepared for the late call-up following the injuries to Chris Morris and Vernon Philander, and has been preparing and practising like he was going to play throughout the week. On four, Jennings pushed forward and a bat/pad catch looped enticingly in the air.
But, with stumps approaching, Rabada cranked up his aggro in one last-ditch bid for a breakthrough. South Africa reached the break on 12 for 1 after four testing overs. Having nearly nicked Morkel behind, the captain then followed the bad example set by his departed team-mates in offering a thick edge of his own, only for De Kock to inexplicably fail to dive.
The skipper is eager to maintain the Proteas excellent away form.
Theunis de Bruyn and Olivier were the replacements. Just 67 came from the session off 29 overs with one wicket falling.
"It's twice now I have got out in the nineties against South Africa but if you had said I would have got 99 last night when I was out for dinner with the family, I would have snapped your hand off". A turning delivery caught the outside edge of Cook as he nicked behind to Quinton de Kock for 46 runs off 103 balls after two and a half testing hours at the crease. After all that graft in taxing conditions this must have been an exasperating dismissal.
Next into the unforgiving examination chamber came Malan. Malan and Root did resist but not for long as the former was back after a watchful start. There was a leg glance and a neat cover drive to the boundary but no stepping up from the foothills of Test cricket.
All of which might mean the series‚ as far as SA are concerned‚ could finish down the drain.
Yet Root's momentum was short-lived as he made just two more runs and lasted another nine balls before being trapped LBW by Olivier before the batsman's review was quashed. But he missed it.
Jonny Bairstow nearly followed soon after. An inspired display from Alastair Cook and a magnificent century for Ben Stokes, capped by three sixes off three balls at the death, set the tone for the rout.