Zak Crawley finds form to leave England on brink of series victory over South Africa

·1 min read
England’s Zak Crawley raises his bat after scoring a half-century (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
England’s Zak Crawley raises his bat after scoring a half-century (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Zak Crawley ended a disappointing summer with a flourish as England moved to the brink of a Test series victory over South Africa at the Kia Oval.

After 16 innings without a half-century, Crawley’s 57 not out means what might have been a potentially tricky fourth-innings target of 130 in a low-scoring third Test should be safely negotiated on Monday.

England reached 97 without loss – they need just 33 more runs for a 2-1 series win – before bad light brought an early finish 23 minutes before the scheduled 7pm close, prompting some boos in the crowd.

After South Africa collapsed from 83-1 to 169 all out, with three wickets apiece for Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes, Alex Lees was dropped from the first ball of England’s chase by Marco Jansen.

While Lees grew in fluency and ended the day on 32 not out, the out-of-form Crawley helped get England off to a flyer, riding the bounce in Kagiso Rabada’s second over, dispatching him for back-to-back fours.

He needed just 36 balls to reach his fifty and there was a sense he could get England over the line on Sunday night – and bring about effectively a two-day Test after Thursday’s washout and Friday’s play being called off in memory of the Queen – but England, to their chagrin, were kept waiting.

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