Bloodied South Africa feel the full force of Stokes and Roland-Jones

Hendo

Close of play score (third Test, day 2, evening session)

England 353 all out South Africa 126-8 (Bavuma 34*, Morkel 2*)

Ben Stokes went to a fifth Test century in a blizzard of sixes and Toby Roland-Jones enjoyed a dream-like introduction to five-day cricket as England carved out a commanding position on an exhilarating second day of the third Test at the Oval.

Stokes, who hit 112 from 153 balls in an innings of impressive maturity, cleared the boundary three times in successive balls as he went in the blink of an eye from 91 to 109, before Roland-Jones, making up for lost time that meant his debut was delayed until the age of 29, found a glorious rhythm.

Roland-Jones, who had struck 25 at a run a ball in an eighth-wicket partnership of 37 in just under six overs with Stokes, removed South Africa opener Dean Elgar with the last ball before tea, Heino Kuhn shortly afterwards, the venerable Hashim Amla and the most attractive batsman behind him in the tourists' line up, Quinton de Kock – all in his first spell at this level.

When James Anderson, starting his second spell, trapped Faf du Plessis leg-before, the South African captain shouldering arms to a ball that jagged back into him, the shell-shocked visitors had slumped to 47 for five. The experienced England swing bowler then snapped up a return catch from Chris Morris as his team's tribulations at Trent Bridge were well and truly consigned to history.

With the unfortunate Vernon Philander in hospital for the second time in the series – this time after suffering reported dehydration – South Africa were effectively 51 for seven. Soon Stokes got back in on the act, Keshav Maharaj edging him to first slip

Roland-Jones might even have had Amla out with his first ball to the South African No 3, first ball after tea in fact – which would have put him on a hat-trick in his first Test – but umpire Joel Wilson was proved right when he turned down his appeal for leg-before and the resulting review showed the ball to be just clipping too small a portion of the top of leg stump.

When he did finally claim Alma's scalp, with a snorting delivery that moved away, lifted, and brushed the glove of a man who had scored an undefeated 311 on his last Test appearance at this venue, he had figures of three for eight from four overs, Elgar having departed to an edge behind and Kuhn leg-before. When De Kock edged to gully as he tried to turn the Middlesex seamer into the leg-side he had four for 20. Naturally it was Stokes who held on to the chance.

Earlier, the Durham all-rounder, who had guided England to an eventual total of 353, had looked likely to run out of partners as he moved within nine of his hundred, South Africa trying to limit further damage in what looked like proving a low-scoring afair by stationing most of their fielders on the boundary.

But the sight of Anderson at the opposite end – and that of the spinner Maharaj at the bowling crease – galvanised him, the hard-hitting demon that lives so close to the surface of the Stokes psyche taking temporary control of his bodily actions

After refusing the one to long-on from Maharaj's first ball, he opened up, swinging a flat aerial drive in the direction of Du Plessis, who had positioned himself on the boundary for that very purpose.

However, the South Africa captain,despite taking the catch cleanly, could not prevent the sheer weight of the shot knocking him backwards, his neck and shoulder brushing the sponge.

That took Stokes to 97 and next ball he completed his second century against South Africa – his first was that wonderful 258 he struck at Newlands – lofting straight into the OCS Stand.

When he slog-swept the next delivery it felt like the ultimate snub to Du Plessis' rather negative tactics as the ball sailed deep into the crowd at mid-wicket.

It was the culmination of an almost frighteningly responsible knock from Stokes, who had adjusted his game perfectly to the changing circumstances of the match. Supportive of Cook on the first afternoon and evening, he launched a fine counter-attack with Jonny Bairstow once the seemingly immovable former England captain had been dismissed leg-before by Morne Morkel after adding only six to his overnight 82.

When Bairstow, having added 75 with Stokes in a little over 17 overs, was taken by Du Plessis at second slip from one with the new ball from Kagiso Rabada, he shepherded Moeen Ali to the lunch break, which England reached on 269 for six.

He reverted to a watchful approach in the period immediately after the interval, too, as the home team sensed the importance of accumulating as many runs as they could at the first attempt, although the ball was not moving quite as extravagantly as it had throughout the first day.

But once Ali, and Roland-Jones had gone, Stokes could not be restrained. His hundred came off 144 balls with nine fours and three sixes and after he added another maximum to his score, he finally mishit another adventurous against Morkel and supplied a simple catch to Rabada.

It meant Morkel, impressive but wicketless on the first day, finally got reward for his efforts, sandwiching the dismissal of Ali between those of Cook and Stokes to finish with figures of three for 70 from 28.2 overs, while Rabada also ended up with three in the credit column.

Temba Bavuma and Rabada edged South Africa past 100 as England were forced by indifferent light to rest their seam attack, although the clouds lifted long enough towards the close of play to allow Stokes and Roland-Jones to bowl in tandem – almost in celebration of their extraordinary efforts. In the end, though, it was Stuart Broad who belatedly joined the party by bowling Rabada with another corker.

Tea-time score (third Test, day 2 afternoon session)

England 353 all out South Africa 18-1 (Elgar 8, Kuhn 10*)

Ben Stokes went to a fifth Test century in a blizzard of sixes at the climax of an extraordinarily mature innings that put England in a strong position in the afternoon session of the third Test at the Oval.

And Toby-Roland Jones, bowling his first overs in Test cricket at the advanced age of 29, nipped out South Africa opener Dean Elgar with the last ball before tea.

Stokes was running out of partners as he moved into the nineties – and South Africa were trying to cramp him by stationing most of their fielders on the boundary to grant him the single.

But the sight of Jimmy Anderson at the opposite end – and that of the spinner Keshav Maharaj at the bowling crease – unleashed the hard-hitting demon that is always loitering close to the surface of the Stokes psyche.

After refusing the one to long-on from Maharaj's first ball, he threw caution to the wind, swinging a flat aerial drive in the direction of Faf du Plessis who had positioned himself on the boundary for that very purpose. However, the South Africa captain,despite taking the catch cleanly, could not prevent the sheer weight of the shot knocking him backwards, his neck and shoulder brushing the sponge.

That took Stokes to 97 and next ball he completed his second century against South Africa – his first was that wonderful 258 he struck at Newlands – lofting beautifully straight into the OCS Stand.

When he slog-swept the next delivery it felt like the ultimate snub to Du Plessis' defensive tactics as the ball sailed deep into the crowd at mid-wicket.

It was the culmination of an almost frighteningly responsible knock from the Durham all-rounder, who had adjusted his game perfectly to the changing situation of the match itself. Supportive of Cook on the first afternoon and evening, he launched a fine counter-attack with Jonny Bairstow once the seemingly immovable former England captain had been dismissed leg-before by Morne Morkel after adding only six to his overnight 82.

When Bairstow, having added 75 with Stokes in a little over 17 overs, was taken by Du Plessis at second slip from one with the new ball from Kagiso Rabada that left him and lifted more than the batsman expected, he shepherded Moeen Ali to the lunch break, which England reached on 269 for six. He was watchful in the period immediately after the interval too as the home team sensed the importance of accumulating as many runs as they could at the first attempt, although the ball was not moving quite as extravagantly as throughout the first day.

But once Ali, and Toby Roland-Jones, whose debut cameo brought him 25 at a run a ball, had gone, Stokes could not be restrained. His hundred came off 144 balls with nine fours and three sixes and after he added another maximum to his score, he finally lofted a catch to Rabada off Morkel as England were all out for 353.

Morkel, impressive but wicketless on the first day, finally got reward for his efforts, the feather of an inside edge that he found to remove Ali, sandwiched between the dismissals of Cook and Stokes, brought him eventual figures of three for 70 from 28.2 overs, while Rabada also ended up with three in the credit column.

Vernon Philander, unerringly accurate and economical on the opening day despite suffering from stomach problems that forced him off the field several times, only managed five overs today before he was forced to go to hospital reportedly suffering from dehydration.

It was another cruel blow to the 32-year-old, who was making his second visit to hospital of the series – in the first Test he was hit on the bowling hand by James Anderson, leaving him with severe bruising.

Lunchtime score: (third Test, day 2 morning session)

England 269 for six v South Africa (Stokes 64*, Moeen Ali 10*)

Morne Morkel ended the excellent resistance of Alastair Cook, earning himself a well-deserved first wicket in the process, and although England immediately regained the upper hand with a fine counter-attack from Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, the latter perished almost as soon as the second new ball was taken in the final half-hour before lunch..

The pair had added 75 in just over 17 overs when Kagiso Rabada claimed his second wicket with a ball that jumped and left Bairstow, who edged to second slip.

Cook, the former England captain, an oasis of calm and technical expertise as others of lesser experience fell around him against challenging South Africa bowling on the first day, had added six to his overnight 82 when Morkel trapped him leg-before on the back foot.

Cook reviewed the shout, which was answered in the affirmative by umpire Joel Wilson, aware that despite being right back on his stumps Morkel's length is such that a ball can often be going over the top. On this occasion, however, it was fuller and would have clipped the middle and leg bail and he was on his way.

With the game well balanced at 183 for five, however, Stokes, with whom Cook had added 63 for the fifth wicket, took this as his signal to put the pressure straight back on his opponents. The Durham left-hander defiantly pulled Morke over mid-on for four and then drove him straight for three. He was particularly hard on Chris Morris when he was brought into the attack, striking him for three fours in four balls.

It was a lead taken up by Bairstow, who immediately went on the attack against spinner Keshav Maharaj despite the slow left-armer having taken his wicket twice at Trent Bridge. A dance down the pitch to launch an aerial drive just out of the bowler's reach showed that he was carrying no residual trauma.

The ball was not misbehaving quite as much as it had on the first day, although there was still a certain amount of swing and movement when Vernon Philander and Morkel put the effort in. However, it was three-quarters through the session before the new ball became due.

It was taken immediately and Morkel returned for another spell in the half hour before the interval but was wayward in his first over to Stokes. The batsman reined in his attacking instincts, at least temporarily, to have a look at the fresh cherry but Morkel rarely made him play anyway. In the next over, however, Rabada, picked up his second wicket with the dismissal of Bairstow.

Stokes shepherded Moeen Ali through to lunch, finishing on 64 from 112 balls, having hit seven fours in a highly mature innings.