Hashim Amla's historic triple century has led South Africa close to victory against England in the first Test match. The hosts trailed by 150 runs, with only six wickets in hand, at stumps on the fourth day of the first Test at The Oval.
The Proteas are well in control and, based on this performance, England's position at the top of the world Test rankings is hanging by a thread. It will require a massive effort to save the Test from this position, with four top-order English batsmen already back in the pavilion.
South Africa, who started the fourth day at 403/2 and leading by 18 runs, saw Amla and Jacques Kallis put up a record third-wicket partnership of 377. Amla, who became the first South African to score a triple ton, remained unbeaten on 311 and Kallis on 182, as both batsmen batted through the day. Graeme Smith declared their first innings at tea on 637/2, with a massive lead of 252. England bowled their last 100 overs without producing a single wicket.
The visitors then made early inroads, by dismissing England's ever-dependable top-order batters Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen, leaving the hosts struggling at 67/4. Ian Bell and Ravi Bopara managed to avoid further damage as England closed the day's play at 108/4.
Day 5 Preview:
Heading into the last day, South Africa have one hand on a big win at The Oval (their first ever, incidentally) to take a crucial 1-0 lead in the three-match series. After a lacklustre display on the first day the tourists have fought back brilliantly over the past three days to turn this match on its head.
If you win three days of Test cricket, you usually win the match and England are staring down the barrel at the moment. The hosts will need a miracle (and maybe a bit of help from the weather) on Monday to save this Test in the battle to remain the top Test team in the world.
Where to Watch Live:
You can follow the game live from 10.30 am BST on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD.
England: A Strauss (c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, R Bopara, M Prior (wk), T Bresnan, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson
South Africa: G Smith (c), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), J Rudolph, JP Duminy, V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir
Umpires: Asad Rauf, Steve Davis