England sensed series victory and got over the disappointment of Jonny Bairstow being dismissed for 99, as James Anderson ripped through South Africa's first innings with 4-33 on Day 2 of the fourth and final Test on Saturday. Bairstow's brilliant batting with the tailenders and Anderson's important haul at his home ground set England up for a big first-innings lead and a dominant position in the series-ender at Old Trafford.
England already leads 2-1 and has a second successive series win over South Africa, and first at home since 1998, in sight to start the tenure of new captain Joe Root.
Old hand Anderson played a big part on Saturday, celebrating bowling in front of an end at Old Trafford recently named after him with four wickets in 15 overs as South Africa limped to 220/9 at stumps.
That left the Proteas still 142 runs behind England's first-innings total of 362. Anderson had success with the third ball of the South African innings when he removed Dean Elgar lbw for a duck with a trademark swinging delivery that beat the opener and rapped into his front pad. The veteran seamer also collected the crucial wickets of top-scorer Temba Bavuma for 46 and Proteas captain Faf du Plessis (27), removed in the same over after they put on 47 in the best partnership of South Africa's shaky reply.
England was in control for almost the whole day, except for a short period at the start when South Africa took three wickets in five overs to have England at 312/9. Bairstow came to the rescue.
The only lasting disappointment was him being dismissed one short of a century when he fell lbw to spinner Keshav Maharaj — and failed with a desperate review — to end England's first innings.
Bairstow had still guided England from the precarious position of 260/6 overnight to a now-formidable 362.
Bairstow's resistance culminated in a 50-run stand with last-man Anderson and, illustrating how well he controlled the back end of the England innings, Bairstow scored 46 of those 50 runs, and 66 of the 102 runs England added in the morning.
His job done helping out with the bat, Anderson quickly removed Elgar.
Toby Roland-Jones had Hashim Amla (30) caught down the leg side, and off-spinner Ali worked over Heino Kuhn (24) before having him caught by Stokes at slip.
At 131/3, South Africa was showing signs of progress with Bavuma and Du Plessis, but Anderson ended it in the space of three balls.
Anderson bowled Bavuma as the batsman left the ball alone. Two deliveries later, he also bowled Du Plessis after drawing him into a shot and getting an inside edge onto the stumps.
Anderson will return on Sunday one wicket short of his 23rd career five-for, and his first in front of the James Anderson end.