Zak Crawley scored his maiden Test 50 as England made a confident start in the fourth and final match against South Africa and was 100 runs without loss at tea on the opening day.
Rain delayed the start of play on Friday until after lunch, but Crawley and Dom Sibley wasted little time, laying a platform as England looks for a third successive win over its host and a convincing 3-1 series victory. Crawley was 57 not out and Dom Sibley was on 39 after the first 30 overs of the contest in an extended afternoon session.
Crawley suffered a blow to the head from an Anrich Nortje bouncer and needed treatment before being able to continue. Sibley was given out caught behind off debutant left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks when he was on 10 but reviewed immediately and successfully as TV replays showed the ball had not touched his bat.
He was then caught on 12 when he steered Vernon Philander’s delivery to Temba Bavuma in the gully region but the bowler overstepped the mark and was no-balled. South Africa used all five seamers inside their first 20 overs as it searched fruitlessly for a breakthrough.
It had left out spinner Keshav Maharaj and handed Hendricks his first cap, bringing back all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius. England had hoped to bring Jofra Archer back into its line-up but the elbow injury that had kept him out of the last two Tests flared up again in the warm-up on Friday, meaning Mark Wood kept his place in the attack.
England also went with an all-seam attack as Chris Woakes replaced off-spinner Dominic Bess.