London, Aug 19 (IANS): Aided by an 85-run partnership between skipper Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee and a middle order fight-back by Marco Jansen and Keshav Maharaj, South Africa took a 124-run lead against England on Day 2 of the opening Test at Lord's.
After bundling out the hosts for a paltry 165 in just 45 overs in the first session on Day 2, South Africa skipper Elgar and Erwee played patient innings of 47 and 73 respectively to give the visitors a solid start, with Jansen and Maharaj building on it with identical scores of 41 each.
Earlier, South Africa were quick to wrap up England's innings in the first session, giving away just 49 runs for the four remaining wickets. Kagiso Rabada struck in the fifth over of the day to scalp the only recognised batter in Ollie Pope for 73. Pope was lured into a wide delivery and chopped it onto the stumps. The pacer did Stuart Broad with a slower ball in his next over, lobbing it straight into the hands of Dean Elgar at point.
Marco Jansen brought an end to Jack Leach's short, entertaining innings consisting of three boundaries before Rabada trapped James Anderson in front of the stumps for a duck to complete his five-for and knock England over for 165.
South Africa's openers batted out the 12 remaining overs of the morning session with caution, going unscathed into lunch at 27/0. The tourists came out with a lot more attacking approach, accumulating boundaries on a pitch that had started to ease and get better for batting.
With both batters set, England needed luck to go their way to break the partnership. James Anderson's delivery struck Elgar's thigh pad onto the forearm and the South African captain could only watch in agony as the ball rolled onto the stumps.
Elgar missed out on his fifty by three runs but Sarel Erwee at the other end ensured that South Africa did not lose any momentum as he brought up a patient fifty. At the other end, Keegan Petersen's indifferent stay at the crease finally came to an end as Matthew Potts induced an edge to slip.
The tea break brought a lapse in concentration for South Africa as Aiden Markram played a loose shot in the second over of the session to nick the ball to the wicketkeeper. Ben Stokes' decision to bring himself on paid off as well as he picked up two wickets in two overs, including that of Erwee for 73. The Proteas struggled to string partnerships as England kept the pressure on with some tight bowling. Stuart Broad got on the wickets' column by scalping Kyle Verreynne in his second over back into the attack.
Despite the lead, South Africa were in a spot of bother at 210/6. However, with the England bowlers tiring out after a long day in the field, Keshav Maharaj and Marco Jansen milked boundaries to extend the lead. The seventh wicket stand worth 72 runs came to an end on the stroke of stumps with Maharaj's wicket but the visitors finished the day with a healthy lead of 124 runs.
Brief scores: England 1st innings 165 in 45 overs (Ollie Robinson 73; Kagiso Rabada 5/52, Anrich Nortje 3/63) vs South Africa 289/7 in 77 overs (Dean Elgar 47, Sarel Erwee 73, Marco Jansen 41 not out, Keshav Maharaj 41).