Alastair Cook
Cook made 126 to discover form ahead of the first Test against South AfricaGetty Images

England captain Alastair Cook and Joe Root recaptured their best form with timely centuries to leave the tourists chasing victory going into day three of their final warm-up game before the start of the five-match Test series against South Africa. Cook struck 126 from 194 balls before Joe Root (117) reached his hundred to give England a handsome first innings lead over South Africa A, who face an uphill task to save the game.

Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali took the wickets of openers Stephen Cook (1) and Reeza Hendricks (19) to leave the Proteas' second string 35 for 2 at the close and 243 runs adrift of restoring parity as the match prepares to enter the final day. Cook's side will likely need eight wickets to claim victory ahead of the first Test in Durban starting on 26 December.

A final day washout in their first warm-up game had prevented England from making a winning start to the tour but they are unlikely to be denied in their second game in Pietermartzburg. Having dismissed South Africa A for just 136 on day one, England amassed 414 for 6 before declaring after strolling into a commanding lead.

As well as Cook and Root, there were notable contributions from opener Alex Hales (56) and Ben Stokes (66), both of whom cemented their places ahead of the beginning of the tour. Nick Compton (29) and James Taylor (15) were unable to make telling scores but will hope to rediscover their best after impressing in the first game in Potchefstroom.