CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - England managed to remove dogged South Africa opener Pieter Malan but are still five wickets away from victory at tea on day five of the second test at Newlands on Tuesday.
South Africa went to the interval on 225 for five with thoughts of chasing down a test record 438 for victory long gone.
Instead, the hosts now face a final session in which a minimum of 31 overs will be bowled to save the test.
Rassie van der Dussen (17 not out) and Quinton de Kock (38 not out) will seek to keep England at bay on a wicket that is flat for the seamers, but taking prodigious turn, especially to the left-handers.
The pair have put on 54 for the sixth wicket after England finally ended the vigil at the crease of debutant opener Malan, who batted for 288 balls for his score of 84.
He was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon session as seamer Sam Curran drew an edge that was gobbled up at second slip by Ben Stokes, his sixth catch of the match.
England had looked set for victory at lunch after grabbing the key wicket of South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (19), who will be disappointed with his shot selection as he tried to take on spinner Dom Bess with a powerful sweep, but succeeded only in picking out Joe Denly at square leg.
That poor judgement from the mainstay of the South African batting line-up provided England with a major boost in their search for a win to level the series.
Nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj (2) was the other wicket to fall in the morning session. After James Anderson (2-23) had broken his bat, he was trapped leg before wicket by the experienced seamer.
England are seeking a first win at Newlands since 1957 and were involved in a great escape themselves in 2010 when they batted for 141 overs in the second innings to finish 296 for nine and earn a draw.
South Africa must bat for at least 146 overs to save this test, after they won the opening game of the four-match series by 107 runs in Pretoria.
Reporting By Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Christian Radnedge