Nick Compton and James Taylor shared an unbeaten half-century partnership as England recovered from a poor start on a rain-hit first day of the first Test against South Africa at Kingsmead on Saturday.
England were 121 for three at tea after being sent in to bat. Compton (40 not out) and Taylor (41 not out) came together with England on 49 for three and added 72 without being parted.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn dismissed English opening batsmen Alastair Cook and Alex Hales cheaply, while off-spinner Dane Piedt took the wicket of Joe Root for 24 with his first ball of the match.
After rain delayed the start, only 27 minutes of cricket was possible before rain brought an early lunch, while there was a 22-minute rain break during an extended afternoon’s play.
Steyn, who had not played any cricket since suffering a groin injury on the first day of a series in India on November 5, found his rhythm almost immediately and had Cook caught at second slip by Dean Elgar for a duck off the fifth ball of his second over.
He did not concede a run in the 3.1 overs he bowled before lunch.
England new cap Alex Hales got off the mark with a clip to leg for two off the first ball he faced from Kyle Abbott and looked comfortable at the crease, although the only ball he faced against Steyn during the morning was the last delivery before the rain.
When play resumed he faced only four more balls without adding to his score of ten before edging a Steyn outswinger to wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
Root looked busy at the crease and made 24 off 37 balls, including a pulled six off Abbott. But he went back on his stumps when Piedt came into the attack and was trapped leg before wicket by a ball which spun back at him.
Not sure it was a ripping day for the expectant Boxing Day crowd (rain, slow progress) but England have done themselves a few favours: 179-4
— Simon Mann (@Cricket_Mann) December 26, 2015
He asked for a review of umpire Aleem Dar’s decision but replays showed the ball would have clipped the top of his stumps.
The breakthrough achieved, South African captain Amla took Piedt off and brought back Steyn.
But Taylor looked confident from the start of his innings, reaching 41 off 69 balls by tea, while Compton defended solidly in a 104-ball innings.
The start was delayed by half an hour after overnight and early morning rain and it was no surprise when Amla decided to bowl in overcast conditions after he won the toss
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