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Morkel sparks England collapse in first Test

 LONDON, July 9: Morne Morkel led South Africa’s fightback with the ball as England collapsed on the fourth morning of the first Test at Lord’s today.

 The fast bowler struck twice as England lost seven wickets for 43 runs in 93 balls to be 182 for eight in their second innings at lunch.

Jonny Bairstow, dropped on seven, was 28 not out and Mark Wood unbeaten on nought.

One consolation for England, who now had a lead of 279 runs, was that history was in their favour.

Only three sides have made more than 200 to win in the fourth innings of a Lord’s Test.

West Indies, on the back of Gordon Greenidge’s brilliant unbeaten double century, made 344 for one to defeat England in 1984 while England themselves posted scores of 282 for three and 218 for three in wins over New Zealand in 2004 and 1965 respectively.

Former England captain Alastair Cook was 59 not out overnight and Gary Ballance unbeaten on 34.

The pair found runs hard to come by against a South Africa attack now back to full strength with Vernon Philander returning after being unable bowl on Saturday having been hit on the hand while batting against James Anderson.

Cook, in his first Test since resigning the captaincy had added just 10 runs to his score when he drove uppishly at Morkel and was well caught in the covers by Temba Bavuma.

His exit ended a grinding stand of 59 in 53 balls but concerns that England were scoring too slowly to allow new captain Joe Root to declare late on the fourth day were soon overtaken by a clatter of wickets.

Ballance hung his bat out and was caught behind for 34 as the towering Morkel took two wickets for one run in 10 balls.

Root, fresh from his first innings 190, fell for just five when, having seen Keshav Maharaj turn one sharply, he played on to a straighter ball from the left-arm spinner. Ben Stokes (one) was then so plumb lbw to fast bowler Kagiso Rabada he ‘walked’ before the umpire’s finger was raised.

South Africa stand-in captain Dean Elgar, leading the side in the absence of Faf du Plessis on paternity leave, then jokingly ran across to put his hand over the bowler’s mouth – with Rababa banned from next week’s second of a four-Test series at Trent Bridge for swearing at Stokes after dismissing him in England’s first innings.

The one disappointment for South Africa in the session was when Bairstow lofted Maharaj to long-off, where Philander dropped a seemingly simple catch under grey skies.

The ball also crossed the boundary rope – one of four fours in five balls that Bairstow struck off Maharaj.

But Maharaj bowled left-hander Moeen Ali (seven) with a delivery before Liam Dawson and Stuart Broad both fell for ducks.

SCORECARD (at lunch)

England 1st Innings 458

South Africa 1st Innings 361

England 2nd Innings (overnight 119-1): A Cook c Bavuma b Morkel 69, K Jennings c de Kock b Morkel 33, G Ballance c de Kock b Morkel 34, J Root b Maharaj 5, J Bairstow not out 28, B Stokes lbw b Rabada 1, M Ali b Maharaj 7, L Dawson b Rabada 0, S Broad c de Bruyn b Maharaj 0. M Wood not out 0. Extras: (LB-4, NB-1) 5. Total: (For 8 wkts in 76 overs) 182. Fall of wickets: 1-80, 2-139, 3-142, 4-146, 5-149, 6-180, 7-181, 8-182. Bowling: Morkel 17-6-37-3; Rabada 18-5-46-2; Maharaj 27- 8-65-3; Duminy 9-2-21-0; Philander 5-1-9-0. – AFP

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