England FIVE wickets down at lunch against South Africa

England FIVE wickets at lunchtime and in serious trouble as the South African series gets off to a terrible start… as Jonny Bairstow is bowled clean for a DUCK and skipper Ben Stokes falls just before the break at Lord’s

  • England hit lunchtime at 100 for five in first Test against South Africa
  • Another top-order batting collapse left them immediately behind at Lord’s
  • Openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley both fell for single figures for Kagiso Rabada
  • Joe Root could only make eight and Jonny Bairstow was bowled without scoring
  • Ben Stokes fell on Anrich Nortje on the stroke of the lunch break

England’s all-too-familiar top-order failures left them immediately behind at the start of their run with South Africa.

They reached opening day lunchtime at Lord’s on 100 for five after their opening pair Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, in-form Yorkshiremen Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, and Captain Ben Stokes had all fallen.

But there was at least some resistance from Ollie Pope, who braved a ferocious barrage from Kagiso Rabada and Co to reach halftime on an unbeaten 51.

Jonny Bairstow is bowled clean by Anrich Nortje as England collapsed another blow

Jonny Bairstow is bowled clean by Anrich Nortje as England collapsed another blow

Bairstow has been England's leading man all summer but his middle stump has been removed here

Bairstow has been England’s leading man all summer but his middle stump has been removed here

It was South Africa's morning at Lord's when their bowlers tore England apart

It was South Africa’s morning at Lord’s when their bowlers tore England apart

Ollie Pope offered at least some resistance when he hit 51 .  reached the lunch break undefeated

Ollie Pope offered at least some resistance when he hit 51 . reached the lunch break undefeated

This will now be a rigorous examination of the ‘Bazball’ principles that served England so well in the Tests against New Zealand and India earlier this summer.

For starters, they won’t be chasing a win goal in the fourth innings after South African captain Dean Elgar won the toss and chose to bowl.

So the question now is whether they can forge enough middle- and lower-order partnerships to book a competitive first-innings total.

It felt a little ridiculous that the first Test of this summer’s signature series started two weeks after the football season.

Joe Root was out of LBW from Marco Jansen's bowling after making just eight for England

Joe Root was out of LBW from Marco Jansen’s bowling after making just eight for England

Root was not saved from review because he fell cheaply during England's collapse

Root was not saved from review because he fell cheaply during England’s collapse

South Africa got an instant boost when Elgar confirmed Rabada had overcome an ankle injury sustained during the last T20 game against England.

Stokes admitted he would also have chosen to bowl after being deployed for the first time since taking charge of the test team.

And it took Rabada barely time to underline his importance to South Africa as he took over the wicket from Lees for five in the third.

Lees had already lived dangerously when he walked thick over the briefs, but his luck died in the same over when another beauty from the Seamer saw the opener edge behind wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne.

Crawley one once again went for a score of one figure – nine – and his place at the top of England’s rankings should be seriously examined, if not already the case.

He has returned a high of 46 in nine Test innings over a lean summer and Rabada has shaken him up with a bouncer before finding the lead over Aiden Markram on the second slip.

Anrich Nortje from South Africa celebrates taking the wicket of England captain Ben Stokes

Anrich Nortje from South Africa celebrates taking the wicket of England captain Ben Stokes

Stokes fell to the final ball before lunch after making 20 with England deep in the mire

Stokes fell to the final ball before lunch after making 20 with England deep in the mire

That left England at 25 for two and South Africa soon tightened their grip as Root was sacked for eight.

Marco Jansen and Anrich Nortje had kept the early pressure and the first produced the inswinger that pounded into Root’s pads.

His assessment confirmed that the ball snapped the stumps via the referee’s call after the finger was raised on the pitch.

Zak Crawley Failed Again When He Was To Kagiso Rabada At Lord's For Only Nine

Zak Crawley Failed Again When He Was To Kagiso Rabada At Lord’s For Only Nine

Kagiso Rabada Celebrates After Removing Crawley With The Seam Taking Both Openers

Kagiso Rabada Celebrates After Removing Crawley With The Seam Taking Both Openers

Bairstow has come to the rescue of England several times this summer, but not this time, as Nortje let his stumps fly as the No. 5 tried to ride.

That reduced England to 55 for four and Pope formed a productive stand with Stokes to take England to triple digits.

Pope anchored the innings and reached his half-century to applaud.

However, Stokes fell just before lunch, caught by Keegan Petersen from Nortje’s bowling to leave England in another deep hole.

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