Trent Bridge a test of character for South Africa - Du Plessis

Du PLessis was his team to stand up to a'huge character test as they try to battle back

Du PLessis was his team to stand up to a'huge character test as they try to battle back

South African batsman Hashim Amla in action during the second Test against England at Trent Bridge on 14 July 2017.

But Vernon Philander made 54 in an unbroken partnership of 74 with Chris Morris to leave the visitors 309-6. Faf du Plessis is the sort of player who sprinkles hard knocks over his cereals in the morning and will be out to inspire a reaction from his wounded side; South Africa have not lost a Test series in England in nearly 20 years and the battle to preserve that record will now intensify.

Despite losing the toss, England captain Joe Root said he would have bowled first anyway.

England are one up in this four test match series against South Africa.

Anderson's dismissal of Dean Elgar, brilliantly caught by Dawson at point in the first session, was his 300th Test wicket in England and Wales. He had Amla, on 56, dropped by Cook at first slip, and caused De Kock to play a couple of false shots - an inside leg to fine leg and an airborne cut that found the gap wide of the gulley fielder. We would have taken that last session.

Du Plessis [19] was the next to fall after a review showed that a Stokes delivery had clipped his glove and thigh pad before carrying behind to Jonny Bairstow, who held on to make a great catch of his own.

South Africa will be without seamer Kagiso Rabada for the second Test at Trent Bridge after he was suspended for using "inappropriate language" towards Ben Stokes after dismissing the all-rounder.

Until then runs were not easy to come by, but De Kock, elevated to number four, sparkled with some wonderful strokeplay.

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Even the one score north of 28.5, the 33 made by India's Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay in 2014, comes with a caveat on an atypical dead Trent Bridge pitch that produced a high-scoring draw (the only stalemate in the last 12 Tests here) best remembered for James Anderson's career-best 81 in England's first innings.

Bairstow went on to make 51 and share a ninth-wicket stand of 45 with Mark Wood that all but put the match beyond South Africa's reach. "He's a senior player, he knows what he's doing". Since his debut, no other bowler has got more than three batsmen out on eight or more occasions.

"I d have had a bowl", said Root.

Vernon Philander is South Africa's swing king in the absence of Dale Steyn and the Proteas trust him to settle on a troubling line.

South Africa's Quinton de Kock: "I would have liked to have kicked on".

"I was just pleased for him, because he got off to a good start, and actually I was very impressed with the way he handled himself".

Root added: "I think it's really important Jimmy is smart in looking after his body, and the way he's gone about it this week has been just that".

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