MANCHESTER    -    Ben Stokes’s maiden hundred as England Test captain and Ben Foakes’s first Test ton in England powered the hosts to a dominant position on Day 2 of the second Test in Manchester on Friday. 

Stokes (103) and Foakes (113*) were involved in a 173-run sixth-wicket stand that set up England’s imposing first in­nings lead of 264 as they finished with 415/9 declared. South Af­rica, who had a tricky nine-over period to negotiate, emerged unscathed as they went into Stumps at 23/0, still 241 away from making England bat again. 

Earlier, Stokes and Foakes got together with England on 147-5, having lost Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley in quick succession after a 91-run stand. South Afri­ca were looking to make further inroads and limit England’s ad­vantage but Stokes and Foakes handled the challenge rather astutely to put England on track to square the series. Nortje found the outside edge of both Bairstow (49) and Crawley (38) but England recouped quickly thanks to Stokes and Foakes. 

Kagiso Rabada had an expen­sive outing, leaking boundaries, while Stokes also slog-swept Harmer for the first six of the innings. The England captain survived a leg-before review by South Africa in a Harmer over and needed some medical at­tention as well, clutching to his left knee after taking a single. But he was up on his feet soon and struck a couple of elegant straight drives off Ngidi for boundaries. Foakes reversed a leg-before decision in a Maharaj over late in the first session. 

Having found some help to­wards the end of the first ses­sion, Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer bowled in tandem post lunch. But Stokes and Foakes handled them easily, nudging around for singles and twos to help England make good prog­ress. Having brought up his fifty with a six off Harmer, Stokes collected boundaries off Ngidi and Maharaj to enter the 90s. Foakes, getting his runs at a slightly slower rate, reached his fifty and later survived a caught-behind appeal in an Ngidi over. 

Stokes was unbeaten on 98 at Tea and reached his 12th Test hundred early in the third ses­sion. But his outing came to an end when he tried to play a slog off Rabada, with Elgar holding on to a good catch at mid-off. Stuart Broad came out all guns blazing, striking two fours and a six while Foakes also upped the ate. They added 41 for the seventh wicket before Harmer had Broad out stumped. Robin­son and Leach put on 34 and 20 respectively with Foakes who got to his second Test hundred before England declared the in­nings when Leach became the ninth to depart.