England grows lead to 364 over South Africa in 1st test

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) The loss of Joe Root and James Taylor didn't stop England from increasing its lead to a hefty 364 runs over South Africa in the first test on Tuesday.

They combined for a 73-run stand to continue to wear down top-ranked South Africa, which had to make do without injured fast bowler Dale Steyn for the rest of the match at Kingsmead.

Root fell for 73 and Taylor for 42 as England looked to push on in its second innings. The tourists reached 275-7 at lunch on the fourth day and likely a winning position in the series opener.

Root passed 50 for the 13th time in 26 innings in 2015, but missed the chance to convert that to a fourth century this year when he sent a top edge to slip off Kyle Abbott.

Taylor charged offspinner Dane Piedt and was stumped. Between their dismissals Ben Stokes fell for 5 trying a reverse sweep as England went on the attack after a cautious approach on Monday. Jonny Bairstow was 49 not out from 49 balls with seven fours and a big slog-sweep for six over square leg to keep England forging ahead.

England was in complete control and now worrying only about having enough time to bowl South Africa out with five sessions of the match remaining.

South Africa's position was weakened further by the absence of Steyn, who failed a pre-play fitness test in the morning after straining his shoulder on the third day. Steyn wouldn't bowl for the rest of this game and faced more tests on his right shoulder problem ahead of the second test in Cape Town, which follows quickly on Saturday.

By then, England was expected to have a 1-0 series lead having bowled out a struggling and out-of-form South African batting lineup for just 214 in the first innings in this game.

Offspinner Dane Piedt took 5-133 for South Africa in England's second innings, but his success will have also given England and spinner Moeen Ali encouragement when they bowl last at the Proteas on a deteriorating pitch in Durban.