London : South African pace duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada had England batters in their grip with the scoreboard reading 116/6 at the end of rain-hit day one of the first Test of the three-match series at the Lord's on Wednesday.
At the end of 32 overs bowled throughout the rain-truncated day, Ollie Pope (61*) and Stuart Broad (0*) were unbeaten on the crease. Nortje (3/43) and Kagiso Rabada (2/36) demolished the top order with their top-tier bowling. Put to bat by South Africa, England were of a shambolic start as double strikes by Kagiso Rabada sent back openers Alex Lees (5) and Zak Crawley (9) within a space of just 25 runs.
Some resistance was expected from the duo of Ollie Pope and an in-form Joe Root. Pope was looking in good touch and was scoring runs at a solid strike rate. England's hopes of a long first innings score received a big jolt as pacer Marco Jansen got the big wicket of Root for just eight after he trapped him leg before wicket.
Jonny Bairstow, another man in form, departed for a duck after his stumps were castled by Nortje, leaving the hosts struggling at 55/4.
Then came skipper Ben Stokes on the crease and he showed his attacking intent. Pope was also striking the ball well from the other end and cruised to his fifty. The duo formed a 45-run stand which was broken by Nortje after he dismissed Stokes for 20 with the assistance of the safe hands of Keegan Petersen. Half of the England team was back inside the pavilion with 100 runs on the board.
Just two balls before rain interrupted the play, Nortje shattered Ben Foakes' stumps when he was at 6.
England are now in desperate need of partnership.
Besides Nortje and Rabada, Jansen (1/18) bowled well for Proteas.
Brief Scores: England: 116/6 in 32 overs (Ollie Pope 61*, Ben Stokes 20, Anrich Nortje 3/43) against South Africa.