Bess makes breakthrough for England as Malan holds firm

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Cape Town (AFP)

Off-spinner Dom Bess made a crucial breakthrough for England when he dismissed South African captain Faf du Plessis on the fifth day of the second Test at Newlands on Tuesday.

But England coulnot prise out opener Pieter Malan who calmly guided South Africa, needing an unlikely 438 to win, to 170 for four at lunch.

Malan, making his Test debut, was unbeaten on an obdurate 83 after batting for almost six hours and facing 271 balls.

He added just 20 to his overnight 63 in the morning session during which England picked up two wickets.

After having his bat broken when Jimmy Anderson hit the splice, nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj was leg before wicket to the Lancashire seamer in the third over.

Du Plessis joined Malan and the pair batted solidly for 79 minutes before Du Plessis had a moment of madness and hit a sweep shot against Bess straight to Joe Denly at straight leg. He faced 57 balls and scored 19.

The breakthrough came four overs before the second new ball was due. It was taken immediately, with left-armer Sam Curran sharing it with Anderson.

Three overs were bowled with it before lunch and the England pace attack will look to maximise the opportunities after the break.

South Africa went into lunch needing to survive another 63 overs on a cloudless day if they were to prevent England from squaring the four-match World Test Championship series.