At 318-9, South Africa would have been pleased with their recovery after Ollie Pope and Joe Root had taken England to 258-4 on day two of The Wanderers Test.
What they probably didn’t expect was a rollicking onslaught from Mark Wood and Stuart Broad that took England to 400 for the second innings in a row.
The pair’s 82-run stand was a fun-filled affair for the raft of England spectators in attendance, taking up just 50 balls and containing seven sixes as seamers Dane Paterson and Beuran Hendricks suffered the bulk of the damage inflicted by the pair.
The stand was England’s eleventh-highest for the last wicket in Tests and their highest since Joe Root and James Anderson’s 198-run partnership against India in July 2014.
With a strike rate of 162, the partnership was also England’s fastest for a 10th-wicket stand totalling over 50 runs.
While Wood finished unbeaten on 35 from 39 balls, Broad was the aggressor with a 28-ball 43. The score was his highest in Test cricket since his 56 in the 2017 Boxing Day Test against Australia. His four sixes equalled the most times he has cleared the ropes in a Test innings; the other instance was against Australia in Sydney six years ago.
For Wood, the knock represented a continuation of his exploits in Port Elizabeth, where he hit 42 of 23 balls to give England a late boost in their first innings. The 30-year-old now has eight sixes in his last two innings; his previous 23 Test innings contained just two.
The pair’s enjoyment was ended when Broad top-edged a pull shot off Paterson into the hands of Pieter Malan, bringing to a close a miserable passage of play for South Africa.