South Africa all-rounder Vernon Philander was fined 15 per cent of his match fee from his final Test after swearing at Jos Buttler following his first-innings dismissal.

Philander's exchange with Buttler continued a feud between the pair that saw the England wicketkeeper-batsman himself sanctioned for comments made during the second Test.

The Proteas star breached Article 2.5 of the ICC Code of Conduct, relating to "using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his/her dismissal during an International Match".

On Sunday, Philander accepted a fine and a demerit point for his send-off of Buttler in England's first innings the previous day, although the latter punishment counts for little as Philander prepares to retire.

Philander bowled only nine balls in the tourists' second innings due to a hamstring injury, Joe Root leading his side to 248 all out, setting South Africa a huge target of 466 for victory.

Along with Philander and Buttler, both Kagiso Rabada - consequently suspended - and Ben Stokes have received fines and demerit points in this series, which England lead 2-1 going into the last two days of the fourth and final match.

England cemented their dominance of the fourth Test with South Africa as they closed day three with a 465-run lead in Johannesburg.

After bowling the hosts out for 183, Mark Wood claiming a five-for, England opted against enforcing the follow-on and instead built on their 217-run first-innings advantage.

Captain Joe Root led the way with a 58, his wicket bringing the tourists' fun to an end as Faf du Plessis took a stunning one-handed catch to give Beuran Hendricks 5-64 on his Test debut.

That afforded the Proteas some joy on an otherwise frustrating day and they will return on Monday needing to complete a world-record chase to avoid a 3-1 series defeat.

South Africa resumed on 88-6 on Sunday and facing an uphill struggle which became all the harder when Vernon Philander fell in the first full over of the day in his final Test outing.

Chris Woakes claimed that scalp and Ben Stokes accounted for the stubborn Dwaine Pretorius (37), but it was the impressive Wood (5-46) who took the key wicket of Quinton de Kock for 76.

Dane Paterson was Wood's final victim as South Africa's dismal innings came to an end, England deciding to bat and doing so for the remainder of the day.

Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley enjoyed a 107-run opening stand in the first innings and managed 56 this time before Pretorius dismissed the former. 

Joe Denly was out cheap to Paterson when he inside-edged onto his own stumps, while Sibley went for a patient 44.

There was some typically ambitious hitting in a 24-ball Ben Stokes cameo that yielded 28 runs and six boundaries, while Root had been steadily edging towards his half-century as partners came and went at regular intervals.

Wood added to his bowling exploits with 18 runs from 12 balls and Root was the last man to fall, Du Plessis showing superb athleticism and incredible handling to grasp a fast-moving ball down low to his right.

Mark Wood told Joe Root he was ready to "charge in one more time" and fill the void left by Jofra Archer for England in the fourth and final Test with South Africa.

Wood was instrumental in England taking control of the series finale on day two in Johannesburg, hitting an unbeaten 35 as part of an 82-run stand with Stuart Broad - the highest 10th-wicket partnership at the Wanderers - to push the tourists to 400, before taking 3-21 with the ball as South Africa slumped to 88-6 in reply.

The seamer was not even going to play in the match, but more elbow issues for Archer meant Wood was included after making his case to Root.

"Probably until the morning of game I wasn't in the team," Wood told a media conference.

"Jofra was definitely going to play, two days out he looked really good in the nets, and it was probably me who was going to miss out because I was just stiff and sore everywhere.

"Then it was a role reversal, on the morning of the game he was still feeling his elbow and I felt good enough to play.

"I spoke to the captain and coach and said, 'If you want me, I'm ready to go.' I felt good in the warm-ups and I said, 'I'm not quite sure how it's going to go but I'm ready to charge in for you one more time.'

"I couldn't guarantee them I could bowl 90 miles per hour in my fourth and fifth spell but I'm glad I made that decision and it's going well."

Wood and Broad took the fight to the South Africa attack after England had slipped to 318-9. Broad struck four sixes and Wood three in a confidence-sapping spell for the hosts.

"I did a lot of work behind the scenes at Newcastle's indoor centre. Sometimes with my dad Derek, sometimes with my wife Sarah, just feeding me the balls on the bowling machine," Wood explained when asked how he has managed to adapt to the pace and bounce of surfaces in South Africa.

"My wife would be laughing telling me to get in line, she got me a couple of times. My dad is particularly spicy as well. The worst is [head coach] Chris Silverwood, though, because he laughs when he hits you.

"You'd think the coach would be more supportive, but he's still got a fast bowler in him I think."

South Africa will resume on day three with just four wickets in hand and needing another 113 to avoid following on as they did in the third Test.

Quinton de Kock was unbeaten on 32 with Dwaine Pretorius the new man to come in after Anrich Nortje was dismissed with the final ball of day two.

England are on course to secure a series victory in South Africa after the hosts' problems with the bat continued on day two of the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg.

The tourists resumed on 192-4 with captain Joe Root and Ollie Pope each well set at the crease but, though they both reached their half-centuries, Anrich Nortje's first Test five-for had England looking at a relatively underwhelming first-innings total.

Nortje's brilliance and some poor shot selection from England had Root's men 318-9, but Mark Wood and Stuart Broad mounted an unlikely fightback as they shared the highest 10th-wicket partnership at the Wanderers.

Their 82 helped England to 400 all out, a total South Africa appear destined to fall well short of after Wood claimed 3-21 to reduce the Proteas to 88-6 at stumps.

After following on in the third Test in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are in very real danger of having to do the same in the series finale, with 12 wickets falling in the day.

Such dominance by the ball looked a slim prospect when Root and Pope stretched a partnership worth 35 at the close on Friday to 101, their respective fifties reward for an aggressive start to the day.

However, Pope chopped on to his stumps trying to leave one from Nortje (5-110) as he departed for 56, with Root soon following him for 59 after edging the same bowler behind.

Sam Curran then paid the price for chasing a wide delivery to put Nortje on a hat-trick. Chris Woakes (32) survived the hat-trick ball and stemmed the tide alongside Jos Buttler, that pair holding firm until lunch.

Yet Buttler (20) hacked Vernon Philander, playing his final Test, to Dean Elgar in the covers after the resumption and Woakes became Nortje's fifth victim when he stabbed to second slip.

South Africa were unable to wrap up the tail quickly, however, and were instead frustrated by an incredible stand between Wood and Broad, who took the fight back to the hosts in some style and needed just 27 balls to bring up the 50 partnership.

Wood, fresh off his 42 in the third Test, hit three sixes in his unbeaten 35, while Broad struck four maximums in his 43, which was ended when he skied Dane Paterson to Pieter Malan to finally bring the innings to a close.

That last wicket was barely celebrated and South Africa's response provided little for the home fans to cheer. 

Malan was the first to fall to Wood with 29 on the board as he was done for pace by the seamer, edging into Buttler's gloves, before Rassie van der Dussen went for a duck when Ben Stokes snared a fine catch off Sam Curran.

A dreadful shot from Elgar saw him flash Stokes to Woakes, who trapped Du Plessis lbw for three. The under-pressure South Africa captain is without a Test fifty in his last 10 innings.

Quinton de Kock reached stumps unbeaten on 32 but excellent catches from Stokes and Joe Denly gave Wood the wickets of Temba Bavuma and Nortje, the latter's dismissal proving the final ball of another dismal day for South Africa.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been fined 15 per cent of his match fee for the fourth Test against South Africa after his altercation with a fan at the Wanderers.

Stokes issued a statement on Friday apologising for his choice of language in an exchange with a spectator.

The all-rounder was dismissed for two on the opening day in Johannesburg and was heard on a live broadcast aiming expletives at a member of the crowd.

After Friday's play, Stokes – who claimed to have been "subjected to repeated abuse" – took to Twitter to say sorry for his "unprofessional" reaction.

And having assessed the incident, the ICC took action on Saturday.

"Ben Stokes has been fined 15 per cent of his match fee for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct during the opening day of the fourth Test against South Africa at the Wanderers," read the ICC's statement.

"Stokes was found to have breached Article 2.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to "use of an audible obscenity during an International Match".

"In addition to this, one demerit point has been added to the disciplinary record of Stokes, for whom it was the first offence during a 24-month period.

"Level 1 breaches carry a minimum penalty of an official reprimand, a maximum penalty of 50 per cent of a player's match fee, and one or two demerit points."

The ICC said the fact Stokes had admitted the offence and accepted the proposed sanction from ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees Andy Pycroft meant a formal hearing was not required.

England, leading the four-match series 2-1, are in a strong position after scoring 400 in their first innings, with Pieter Malan, Rassie van der Dussen and Dean Elgar falling early in South Africa's reply on day two.

Ben Stokes has issued a statement apologising for his choice of language after becoming engaged in a verbal altercation with a fan during the fourth Test with South Africa.

The all-rounder was dismissed for two on the opening day at the Wanderers and was heard on a live broadcast aiming expletives at a spectator.

After Friday's play, Stokes – who claimed to have been "subjected to repeated abuse" – took to Twitter to say sorry for his "unprofessional" reaction.

"I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal," he wrote. "I should not have reacted in that way.

"As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd. I admit that my reaction was unprofessional and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world.

"Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans (England and South Africa) has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win."

It remains to be seen if officials will take any action against Stokes, who was one of four batsmen dismissed as England closed with 192 runs on the board.

The tourists lead the four-match series 2-1.

England became the first team to score 500,000 Test runs on the first day of the fourth Test with South Africa, which saw the tourists' strong start curtailed by a final-session fightback from the Proteas.

Joe Root's men were dealt a blow before winning the toss with the news that paceman Jofra Archer would be unable to play at the Wanderers because of elbow soreness.

Having seen his side take command of the third Test in Port Elizabeth with a dominant first-innings batting display, Root elected to give his charges the same opportunity, and openers Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley laid an excellent foundation.

Crawley was in fluent form as he scored his first half-century for his country but England slumped to 157-4 after the first-wicket stand of 107 was broken. 

Root (25 not out) and Ollie Pope (22 not out) steadied the ship, the former seeing England to the half-a-million milestone as they reached 192-4 before bad light stopped play.

After falling six runs short of a fifty at St George's Park, Crawley made no mistake in Johannesburg in a stylish innings that featured 11 boundaries, combining with Sibley for England's first century opening stand since December 2016.

Crawley's maiden international 50 was brought up in more fortuitous fashion with a thick edge through point but Sibley, having successfully reviewed an lbw decision and been given a reprieve by a no-ball, was not so lucky.

A centurion in the second match in Cape Town, Sibley was strangled down the leg side on 44 as Beuran Hendricks claimed a wicket on his Test debut.

Vernon Philander then ensured he will end his final Test with a wicket as Crawley presented a simple catch to Rassie van der Dussen, who made another grab at slip to end a difficult 35-ball spell at the crease for Joe Denly (27).

South African hopes of an England collapse were given a significant boost when talisman Ben Stokes fell to Anrich Nortje for just two, the all-rounder's attempt at a drive seeing him send another straight to Van der Dussen.

Stokes was involved in a verbal altercation with a fan as he left the field but, while England will now have to wait to see if he faces any repercussions from that, in terms of the match their position was improved as Root and Pope provided stability.

They did so in confident fashion. Root surpassed 7,500 Test runs with a pull through midwicket for four and his single through the covers took England to the historic 500,000 mark.

The fading light saw the fifth-wicket partnership interrupted on 35 and, though England have plenty of batting to come, Root and Pope will know that stretching their stand well into day two will go a long way to sealing a 3-1 series victory.

Chris Woakes replaces Dom Bess in the only change to the England side after Jofra Archer was ruled out and Beuran Hendricks makes his South Africa Test debut in the final match of the series at the Wanderers.

Archer was pushing for a return in Johannesburg, but the paceman was troubled by his right elbow in the warm-up after the start was delayed due to rain on Friday.

The quick missed the tourists' victories at Newlands and St George's Park due to an elbow injury and will play no part as Joe Root's side, leading 2-1, attempt to complete a series win.

England have gone with an all-seam attack, Woakes making his first appearance of the series, Mark Wood retaining his place and spinner Bess missing out despite claiming a maiden five-wicket Test haul in Port Elizabeth.

Fast bowler Hendricks gets the nod to make his Test bow in the absence of the banned Kagiso Rabada, while batsman Temba Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorius replaces Zubayr Hamza and Keshav Maharaj respectively.

Root won the toss and elected to bat in Vernon Philander's final Test, with play due to start at 1.20pm local time. 

 

South Africa: Malan, Elgar, van der Dussen, du Plessis (captain), de Kock (wk) Bavuma, Pretorius, Philander, Nortje, Paterson, Hendricks.

England: Crawley, Sibley, Denly, Root (captain), Stokes, Pope, Buttler (wk), Curran, Woakes, Wood, Broad.

 

 

Faf du Plessis avoided questions over his South Africa future and urged his side to stay fully focused on winning the final Test against England.

South Africa are 2-1 down heading into the fourth and final contest in Johannesburg, with Du Plessis having already been replaced as ODI captain by Quinton de Kock ahead of the one-day and Twenty20 matches against 50-over world champions England.

Du Plessis has also hinted the match at the Wanderers could prove to be his last in red-ball cricket on home soil, revealing he may quit after facing West Indies in July and August.

However, Du Plessis did not entertain queries over his plans, instead focusing on the Proteas' chances of salvaging a draw from the series.

"I'd like to, for my own personal reasons, have my focus specifically on this Test match," Du Plessis told reporters.

"I know there has been a lot spoken about all the other things and too much noise away from Test cricket and the Test team. I would like to speak about what is in front of us.

"This is about this Test match for me. I have not changed communication to you guys in one instant.

"I've said the same thing but the question keeps coming up. I am still committed to playing for South Africa. That hasn't changed. It's normal business as usual."

Du Plessis does not believe South Africa can dedicate any more practice to improving technically, but rather asked his team to display a new mindset.

"When you are deep in the series already, the extra time in the nets is not going to make that much difference," Du Plessis said.

"The challenge is how mentally strong we are. There's not enough time to change techniques. The secret weapon lies in how strong we can be emotionally and mentally.

"If you are mentally off it, teams that are on top of you just keep running with that momentum. But we know England are not going to say, 'here you go guys here's five or six wickets in this next session, let's play now', we have to earn it."

Joe Root would rank a series win over South Africa as his greatest achievement as England Test captain and believes the "sky is the limit" for his young side.

England head into the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers - which starts on Friday - with a 2-1 lead, having already extended their unbeaten run in away Test series against the Proteas to four.

The tourists have been hit hard by both illness and injuries in South Africa, with James Anderson, Jack Leach and Rory Burns having all returned to England, while paceman Jofra Archer missed the last two Tests with an elbow issue.

Given the circumstances, Root says beating the Proteas in their own backyard would probably go down as his most satisfying accomplishment since taking over as skipper almost three years ago.

"It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us," Root told reporters. "But the whole squad, the players and the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as in control as we could.

"When we've had our opportunities to bounce back, we've really taken them. It's been really pleasing in many ways.

"We're a very young side at the start of something and we've seen some very promising performances. To win three Tests in a row would be a very big achievement for this group.

"A series win here probably would be my proudest achievement as captain, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour.

"We've had injuries and senior players having to fly home and a lot of illness to deal with and we have adapted to very different conditions.

"For a young group of players that has been very pleasing and a sign we're doing the right things. If we can harness that and keep looking to improve then I do think the sky's the limit for this team.

"But we're very much at the start of something here and we're not perfect by any means. We have to keep that attitude and keep driving that forward for a long period of time if we want to get to number one in the world."

Mark Wood came into the side for the third Test and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play back-to-back matches with Archer pushing for a recall.

"It would be nice to see how Archer and Wood go together," Root said.

"It would be a relentless barrage of pace. It would be great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower, but ultimately we've got to hit the right areas as we have done in the last couple of games."

Suranga Lakmal's early final-day burst set Sri Lanka on their way to a 10-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first Test at Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe resumed on 30 without loss on the last day of a slow-moving match, trailing by 127 after Sri Lanka racked up 515-5 declared.

The outstanding Lakmal (4-27) set the nerves jangling by taking three early wickets before Zimbabwe collapsed from 120-3 to 170 all out.

That left Sri Lanka requiring only 14 to win in the final hour and they needed just three overs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, captain Dimuth Karunaratne hitting the winning run.

The tourists had failed to make inroads in 17 overs after Karunaratne declared in the final session on day four, but Lakmal came steaming in to give them just the start they had hoped for on Thursday.

The paceman had Prince Masvaure (17) caught behind off the eighth ball of the day and removed Brian Mudzinganyama (16) in his next over before Craig Ervine (7) became his third victim, caught by Karunaratne at short leg.

Brendan Taylor (38) and captain Sean Williams put on 79 for the fourth wicket, seeing off 22 overs before the former became a pumped up Lakmal's fourth victim.

Zimbabwe were reeling on 152-6 at tea with Williams (39) and Sikandar Raza (17) gone and they folded in the final session, Lahiru Kumara coming to the fore by taking 3-32.

Karunaratne made 10 not out and Oshada Fernando was unbeaten on four when his skipper got Sri Lanka over the line.

 

 

Temba Bavuma will replace Zubayr Hamza in the South Africa side for the final Test against England at the Wanderers, which starts on Friday.

Bavuma has not played for the Proteas since a crushing defeat in the third Test against India in Ranchi last October.

The diminutive batsman was dropped from the squad after being omitted for the first Test against England, and he was challenged to go away and make first-class runs for the Lions.

Bavuma responded by making a career-best 180 against the Dolphins last week and will feature in Johannesburg at the expense of Hamza as South Africa strive to salvage a 2-2 series draw.

Rassie van der Dussen will move up the order to number three in the absence of Hamza, who has made only 39 across five innings since scoring 39 in the first innings of the first Test at Centurion.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis told reporters on Thursday: "I can tell you that Temba is back in the side.

"The rest, we are still waiting to see what the weather does tomorrow. We don't have 100 per cent clarity on that yet, but that is the one thing that is definite."

A player who will definitely not feature in the fourth Test is Kagiso Rabada. The paceman serves a one-match ban for the excessive celebration of Joe Root's wicket in the third Test that earned him a fourth demerit point.

Graeme Smith plans to have a "robust discussion" with Faf du Plessis on his future after the Test series against England.

Cricket South Africa on Tuesday announced Quinton de Kock had replaced Du Plessis as ODI captain ahead of the series against the world champions.

Du Plessis stated the fourth Test against England at the Wanderers, which starts on Friday, could be his last appearance in the longest format on home soil, revealing he may quit after facing West Indies in July and August.

The batsman had earlier outlined his desire to remain Proteas captain until the T20 World Cup in Australia in October, and Smith wants some clarity over Du Plessis' plans.

Interim South Africa director of cricket Smith said of the decision to appoint De Kock as ODI captain: "We see Faf playing a role as a player but from a leadership perspective, we felt the need to move on.

"Faf doesn't see himself being around in 2023. Leadership has been an issue of late in South African cricket and we have made the decision to give Quinny an opportunity.

"We feel tactically he is good, there are areas of his leadership that we all know we need to grow and develop but he is the right guy at this stage to take the one-day side forward."

The former Proteas skipper added: "With the World Cup around the corner, we need to go forward.

"At the moment Faf is in that position but I need to sit with him post this Test series. He has got a bit of time because he is being rested from the one-day series, so we will have some time to have a robust discussion on his future.

"He is the South African Test captain. The next Test match we play after this series will be in the Caribbean - there is an extensive amount of time. I need to understand how he sees his future in the game."

Angelo Mathews struck a brilliant maiden international double-century to give Sri Lanka a healthy lead on day four of the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club.

Mathews spent 10 hours at the crease to make an imperious unbeaten 200 with support from Dhananjaya de Silva and Niroshan Dickwella, who each made 63 in the tourists' 515-9 declared.

Sri Lanka will resume on the final day looking to make quick inroads with the ball after Zimbabwe reached stumps on 30 without loss, trailing by 127.

Mathews had waited since December 2018 to reach three figures in the longest format, but brought up his 10th Test century early on the penultimate day after Sri Lanka resumed on 295-4.

Dhananjaya had a sixth Test half-century when he went through for a single after being struck on the glove by a Donald Tiripano, but a fifth-wicket stand of 98 ended when he drove Victor Nyauchi (3-69) to Prince Masvaure at mid-on.

That was the only wicket to fall in the morning session and the Zimbabwe bowlers endured more frustration after lunch as Mathews, dropped by wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva on 108, and Dickwella increased the lead.

Dickwella was put down by Sean Ervine on 45 and struck only three boundaries in his 15th Test half-century before being trapped lbw by Sikandar Raza, halting a stand of 126.

Raza (3-62) saw the back of Suranga Lakmal and Lasith Embuldeniya in consecutive deliveries, but Mathews went on to become the first Sri Lankan man for five years to score a Test double-hundred.

Kasun Rajitha's dismissal prompted Dimuth Karunaratne to declare, but Sri Lanka were unable to end the day on a high note as Masvaure and Brian Mudzinganyama saw Zimbabwe through to the close unscathed.

England paceman Jofra Archer staked his claim for a recall for the final Test against South Africa with an impressive showing in the nets on Wednesday.

An elbow injury kept Archer out of victories at Newlands and St George's Park that have given the tourists a 2-1 lead with one match to play at the Wanderers.

The quick could come back into the side in Johannesburg on Friday after catching the eye in practice, while England are monitoring Mark Wood after he played his first Test for 11 months in Port Elizabeth.

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe told talkSPORT: "Jofra had good rhythm and bowled nice and quick today.

"That's where we want Jof to be. He looks good, but he will have to come in again tomorrow and back it up.

"The elbow problem has been a big issue for him. You can't force that, you have to wait for the player to be confident with it.

"Mark Wood hasn't played back-to-back Test matches for a while, but he bowled exceptionally well for us in Port Elizabeth. He bowled at high speeds of 90mph plus and gave us an X-factor. We'll have to see how he is and I'm sure Woody will be really honest with us.

"Historically, it's a pitch which has good carry and pace and generally starts softer then quickens up. It has that carry which bowlers, batters and spinners alike enjoy.

"It would be tough if [spinner Dom] Bess didn't play this Test. He has done himself no harm, though, in the way he has come into the set-up and the way he's bowled.

"He's progressed from the last time I saw him about six months ago and when you perform it gives you confidence. So we won't rush straight into a decision, it'll be nice to have all those options on the table."

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