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Stokes assault as England dominate

England were 375 for seven in their second innings at lunch, an overall lead of 421 runs. They added 157 runs for the loss of three wickets in 27 overs during the morning.

England's Ben Stokes takes the attack to the South Africa bowlers during day four of the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town on 6 January 2020. Picture: @englandcricket/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Ben Stokes launched an astonishing assault on the South African bowlers as England took full command on the fourth day of the second Test against South Africa at Newlands on Monday.

England were 375 for seven in their second innings at lunch, an overall lead of 421 runs. They added 157 runs for the loss of three wickets in 27 overs during the morning.

Stokes slammed 72 off 47 balls to overshadow a maiden Test century by Dom Sibley, who continued his sedate progress as he took his overnight score of 85 to 125 not out. He reached his hundred off 269 balls and faced another 30 deliveries before lunch.

Stokes attacked all the bowlers he faced and hit seven fours and three sixes before being caught at long-on off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

Ollie Pope fell quickly but Jos Buttler continued the attack, hitting 23 off 18 balls as the lead went beyond 400.

South African captain Faf du Plessis chose not to take the second new ball when it was due after a maiden over by Pretorius at the start of play. He perhaps reasoned that Maharaj had a chance of dismissing Stokes early in his innings.

The tactic backfired, however, as 28 runs were added in five overs before the new ball was taken, including sixes by Stokes off Pretorius and Maharaj.

Stokes played an attacking shot off almost every ball he faced and was undeterred by a let-off on 38 when he top-edged a pull against Kagiso Rabada and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock ran about 35m but dropped the ball as he dived for it.