Key takeaways from Day Three of the Second Test between England and South Africa as the Proteas take control

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England will have to rewrite Test history if they are to beat South Africa at Trent Bridge after the tourists ground out a near impregnable position.

Half-centuries from Hashim Amla (87), Dean Elgar (80) and Faf du Plessis (63) helped South Africa pile up 343 for nine declared just before stumps on day three in the second Investec Test, to set a target of 474 which significantly exceeds the highest total ever made for victory in the fourth innings.

That feat stands to West Indies, who made 418 for seven against Australia at Antigua in 2003, while the ground record of a mere 284 here was down to England against New Zealand a year later.

On a pitch which has offered increasingly variable bounce to the seamers – although most often at the Radcliffe Road end only – England may do well to approach either.

In four nervy overs of batting after South Africa’s declaration, they at least came through unscathed on one without loss, albeit after Alastair Cook had to overturn a faulty lbw decision against him when Morne Morkel thought he was in business with the very first ball of the innings.

TWEET OF THE DAY

There was precious little to shout about for the hosts on day three, but former England seamer Simon Jones was punching the air after Liam Dawson got Amla lbw on DRS.

THIS IS HOW YOU BAT

Amla and Du Plessis could score only 15 runs in the 10 overs after lunch, with England’s seamers bowling well. Neither succumbed, though, and South Africa profited.

Amla and Du Plessis weathered the storm beautifully.

Amla and Du Plessis weathered the storm beautifully.

On Saturday’s evidence, England’s batsmen are currently incapable of soaking up that sort of pressure without pressing the default counter-attack button.

EVERGREEN ANDERSON

Roger Federer is not the only sportsman proving age is no barrier. James Anderson’s seven wickets in this match have taken his top-of-the-tree Trent Bridge tally to 60. He will be 35 this month, and England are hoping he can keep defying the bottom line.

Heino Kuhn was one of Anderson's 7 scalps in the match.

Heino Kuhn was one of Anderson’s 7 scalps in the match.

STAT OF THE DAY

284 – The ground-record chase, achieved by England for six wickets, gives context to the mighty challenge facing the hosts this time. An unbeaten Graham Thorpe hundred helped pull off the improbable in 2004 against New Zealand. It was a memorable innings, yet much more will be needed to rewrite history.

Much to ponder for Joe Root as England chase record 4th innings total in Trent Bridge.

Much to ponder for Joe Root as England chase record 4th innings total in Trent Bridge.

WHAT NEXT?

We already seem to have reached checkmate. It is surely a matter of time before 1-1 is confirmed and we move on to The Oval.

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Mithali Raj just five points behind top-ranked Meg Lanning in latest ICC rankings

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Mithali Raj.

India captain Mithali Raj has closed the gap on top-ranked Meg Lanning to just five points in the latest ICC Women’s ODI Player Rankings for batters.

Raj has been in superb form in the ongoing World Cup where her 356 runs in seven matches has helped India reach the semi-finals of the tournament.

Meanwhile, Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry has moved up three places to a career-best third in the rankings for batters.

When it comes to the bowling, Australia’s Jess Jonassen has moved up three places to the second position while South Africa skipper Dane van Niekerk has moved up 14 places to fifth.

Van Niekerk has had a brilliant World Cup, taking 15 wickets in six matches at an average of 8.33 which included a surreal spell against West Indies when she took four wickets without conceding a single run.

Marizanne Kapp and Perry continue to be the top-ranked bowler and all-rounder respectively.

BATTERS

1. Meg Lanning (Australia) – 779
2. Mithali Raj (India)  – 774
3. Ellyse Perry (Australia) – 749
4. Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand) – 720
5. Suzie Bates (New Zealand) – 703

BOWLERS

1. Marizanne Kapp (South Africa) – 662
2. Jess Jonassen (Australia) – 658
3. Stafanie Taylor (West Indies) – 625
4. Katherine Brunt (England) – 613
5. Dane van Niekerk (South Africa) – 586

ALL-ROUNDERS

1. Ellyse Perry (Australia) – 416
2. Stafanie Taylor (West Indies) – 376
3. Marizanne Kapp (South Africa) – 288
4. Dane van Niekerk (South Africa) – 286
5. Amy Satterthwaite (New Zealand) – 266

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Australia, England and Sri Lanka post victories as ICC Women's World Cup 2017 semi-finalists decided

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It was an action packed day at the ICC Women’s World Cup in England with the last of the round robin matches played out amidst a scramble for the remaining semi-final berths.

Hosts England took on West Indies in their last round robin encounter in Bristol. The England eves had already ensured a semi-final spot while the West Indies were out of contention for one before the game even started. Windies skipper Stafanie Taylor won the toss and elected to field first.

English skipper Heather Knight led from the front with a well made 67 and with the help of valuable contributions from the tail, England finished on a challenging 220 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their 50 overs.

English skipper Heather Knight led by example.

English skipper Heather Knight led by example.

Chasing 221 to win, the West Indies ladies never got going. A sedate opening stand of 37 between Kycia Knight and Hayley Matthew would end up being West Indies’ biggest partnership of the match with only 3 other players crossing the double digit mark. English medium pacer Natalie Sciver’s three wickets were crucial as the West Indies were stranded for 128 for the loss of 9 wickets handing England a 92 run victory.

The English bowlers were always on top of the West Indies batting.

The English bowlers were always on top of the West Indies batting.

Elsewhere, the high flying Aussie women took on South Africa in their last encounter. The Australians were assured of a semi-final berth going into the game while South Africa Eves had to win to ensure a semi-final spot. Stand in skipper Rachel Haynes won the toss and elected to bat.

Half centuries from openers Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney provided Australia with a massive platform to build on and a quick fire 55 runs from star Ellyse Perry guided the Aussie Eves to a commanding 269 runs before they were bowled out in the 49th over.

Australia's Ellyse Perry shone through with a quick 55.

Australia’s Ellyse Perry shone through with a quick 55.

Opener Laura Wolvaardt led the led the reply from the South Africans with a score of 71 but the disciplined bowling and fielding from the Aussies insured that the latter was always in control of the game. South Africa ladies folded for 210 runs in the final delivery of the 50th over handing Australia a 59 run victory but it was still enough for the Proteas to claim the final semi-final spot.

Meanwhile in Leicester, it was a battle of the subcontinent teams with Pakistan eves taking on Sri Lanka. Both the teams had faced a torrid time in the tournament and were looking for their first victory. Sri Lankan Women came out to bat first after winning the toss and thanks to a stylish 84 from wicketkeeper Dilani Manodara finished on an impressive 221 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in their quota of 50 overs.

A spirited bowling effort from Sri Lanka scripted their first victory of the tournament.

A spirited bowling effort from Sri Lanka scripted their first victory of the tournament.

In reply, the Pakistani eves ran Sri Lanka close but fell short by a mere 15 runs after being bowled out in the 47th over handing Sri Lanka their first victory of the World Cup.

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