Joe Root fights fire with fire but Gary Ballance burns latest England chance | Ali Martin

The captain’s attacking response to his side being three for two was England’s only bright spot on a day when South Africa revitalised the Test series

The honours board that sits up high in the Long Room of the history-soaked pavilion at Trent Bridge does not record scores of 78 but in just shy of two hours at the crease Joe Root delivered a gem of an innings that, while ending in personal disgust, should not pass without mention.

On an overcast second day that witnessed a cascade of 15 wickets for 306 runs and left South Africa on course for a series-levelling victory, he was the one batsman to truly transcend conditions, lighting up the bowler-dominated proceedings with a sparkling counterattack either side of lunch.

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