Zac Crowley is finding form to leave England on the brink of a series win over South Africa
Zac Crowley ended a disappointing summer with a bang as England edged closer to a Test series win over South Africa at the Kia Oval.
After 16 innings without a half-century, Crowley’s 57 not out meant that what could have been a potentially difficult fourth-innings target of 130 in a low-scoring third Test should be safely negotiated on Monday.
England reached 97 for no loss – they need just 33 more runs to win the series 2-1 – before poor light forced an early finish 23 minutes before the scheduled 7pm close, prompting boos from the crowd.
After South Africa collapsed from 83-1 to 169, with three wickets each for Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes, Alex Lees was dismissed off the first ball of England’s chase by Marco Janssen.
While Lees grew in fluency and finished the day on 32 not out, an out-of-form Crawley helped England get off to a flyer, riding the bounce in Kagiso Rabada’s second over, sending him for back-to-back fours.
He needed just 36 balls to reach his fifty and there was a feeling he could take England over the line on Sunday night – and effectively lead to a two-day Test after Thursday’s elimination and the cancellation of Friday’s game in memory of the Queen – but England, to their regret, was compelled to wait.