The England cricket team is in full control of the second Test match against South Africa at Old Trafford in Manchester. The hosts extended their lead to 264 runs before declaring their innings closed for 415 for the loss of nine wickets thanks to centuries from captain Ben Stokes and wicketkeeper Ben Fox.
The Proteas were 23 for no loss at stumps, trailing by 241 runs.
England started the day at 111 for the loss of three wickets, trailing by just 40 runs. Fast bowler Henrich Nortier led the Proteas’ efforts with the ball in the first half of the morning session.
Outpacing the batsmen with his pace, he was rewarded with two scalps of Jonny Bairstow for 49 and Zach Crowley for 38. That was all the tourists could get in the session as the two Bens – captain Stokes and wicketkeeper Fox – took control.
The pair shared an unbeaten 65-run sixth wicket stand, taking England to lunch by 61 runs to a comfortable 212 for five.
Stokes and Fawkes took the game away from the South Africans in the second session. Scoring with incredible ease, they extended their partnership to an epic 161 runs.
They both scored half-centuries as the skipper was unbeaten on 98 and Fox on 61 as England led at the tea break on 308 for the loss of five wickets with a commanding lead of 157 runs.
Stokes turned his 50 into a memorable century in just the second over after the break, his 12th in Test cricket but his first as England captain. He was dismissed shortly after a landmark 103 compliments of Kagiso Rabada.
Stuart Broad looked to accelerate the scoring with 21 off just 14 deliveries before he was bowled by Simon Harmer.
Fox also converted his half-tons into well-compiled centuries, the second most in Test cricket.
Stokes eventually declared their innings complete at 415 for nine when spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled Jack Leach for 11 to leave the home side 264 runs ahead.
The Proteas openers managed to get safely through the nine overs they faced in front of the stumps and were 23 for no loss at the end.