Philander set for fourth Test return

Ben Stokes admitted having to work hard for his century but was pleased with his knock

Ben Stokes admitted having to work hard for his century but was pleased with his knock

England will head into the fourth Test having enjoyed a 10 match unbeaten streak in Manchester in which they managed eight wins and two draws.

"The message to the lads is to make sure we try to win this series 3-1", said Root.

One encouraging factor for South Africa has been the see-saw nature of this series, with England winning the first Test at Lord's by 211 runs, only for the Proteas to hit back with a 340-run success at Trent Bridge before another lopsided encounter at The Oval.

"It is about being street-smart with it". It's all about making sure we do everything we can to win.

The performance at The Oval, where England batted patiently in hard conditions to post what proved a match-winning first-innings total of 353 was a significant improvement on what they produced in the previous Test at Trent Bridge, where they were unable to bat out even 100 overs in the entire match.

"I'm obviously quite an important part of the lineup".

"The response the guys came up with was excellent. The lads got stuck in and got a really good score on what proved to be a really challenging surface".

But even in that year, under Hansie Cronje's charge, South Africa won the bilateral ODI combat 2-1; there was also a separate triangular with Sri Lanka latched on and the team from the Subcontinent won that event.

"If we try and harness that and repeat that over and over we will give ourselves the best chance", said Root.

"We have an honesty policy in the side".

While Westley and Roland-Jones are at the start of their Test careers, James Anderson is nearing the end of his but has looked fit and in good form with 13 wickets in the series so far, despite being overlooked at certain times at the Oval. "Not take a negative approach but a more sensible one".

He went on to say: "We've got a proud record away from home, something that I believe is not spoken enough about". Jennings need only look at his opening partner Alastair Cook to see a guy who has sometimes had to fight for his place in the side by scoring ugly runs. "Hopefully we will stumble across it very quickly".

This was an exemplary Test innings - executed to perfection from first ball to last - and it showed just how mature a player Stokes has become.

Such is the state of the Old Trafford outfield that Root embraced suggestions that fielders might have to tread warily lest they picked up the sort of injury that put Simon Jones out of the Ashes series in Brisbane in 2002 when he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament.

His fitness has left skipper Faf du Plessis unsure about the balance of the team.

If Philander can operate at his optimal, South Africa seem to be pondering lengthening the batting line-up, which would likely mean the inclusion of Theunis de Bruyn ahead of Chris Morris, in order to make up for the lapses of their top five.

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