Fourth Test: Hefty lead and Mark Wood’s ‘fear factor’ put England in high spirits

England's captain Joe Root on his way to 58 against South Africa in the fourth Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg (Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP).
England's captain Joe Root on his way to 58 against South Africa in the fourth Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg (Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP).
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Sam Curran is banking on a combination of scoreboard pressure and Mark Wood’s fear factor to see England home in the decisive fourth Test against South Africa.

Having lost the opening match of the series in Centurion, Joe Root’s side are on the cusp of a 3-1 win after engineering a lead of 465 heading into the fourth innings of the match with two full days to take 10 wickets.

Anything other than a third straight win for the tourists seems a long shot following rousing results in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and Curran is convinced the stage is set at the Wanderers.

“With a lead of 465 on that wicket we are pretty confident we are in a good position to win the Test. We just have to get it done,” said the all-rounder.

“Runs on the board is always nice, scoreboard pressure. It’s nice for the bowlers to bowl with runs on the board. If it takes us until day five that is fine as long as we stick to it, but there are balls in that wicket, a few keeping low, a few bouncing up, and their batters will be a lot more reluctant and less confident than we are with the ball.”

There is no secret about the main danger man at present. Mark Wood has taken eight wickets at 13.62 since returning to the side two weeks ago, regularly bowling over 90mph and getting under the South African batsmen’s skin.

“Any team that has a guy who can bowl over 90mph consistently is always going to put fear into the opposition batters. Woody has filled his boots,” said Curran.