Heavy rain in Manchester has hampered preparations for the final Test, into which England take a 2-1 lead, with heat lamps being used to keep the pitch dry.
The James Anderson End was formally christened before play but any prospect of the home favourite immediately bowling from it disappeared when Root opted to bat first.
In his first over he produced the flawless in-swinger to a left-hander and Dean Elgar, who instinctively recognised that a review was futile, was the lbw victim.
South Africa trail by 269 runs with seven wickets remaining in their first innings.
As with Roland-Jones, the Ashes may prove to be a sterner challenge for Westley, particularly against the extreme pace of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, but this was an ideal way for the Essex man to start his Test career, and if he continues in this vein he could solve England's problem No. 3 position.
Westley, fresh from his second-innings fifty at The Oval, nearly played on to Rabada for one. In the afternoon session Anderson was less prominent but England managed to chip away. Westley too didn't last long as De Kock took a stunning catch off Rabada to send the right-hander back to the hut. There were a number of notable performances at the historical venue with England's former skipper Steve Cook (88) and Ben Stokes hitting 113 in England's 353 in the first knock.
That didn't happen as in the penultimate over before tea Morkel drew the edge off Malan and he was caught at second slip by Faf du Plessis for 18.
A brilliant dismissal though it was, de Kock had arguably made up in athleticism and hang-time what he had lacked in his initial footwork, as he dived fully to his right to gather the flying edge.
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Bairstow's stand with Anderson must have been highly frustrating for South Africa, after De Kock put down England's mainstay and prevented Rabada ending the innings with a five-wicket haul.
It was that kind of day for England.
"It looks as though it's a wicket where the bowlers are always in it".
"From our point of view I thought we fought really well, we've battled well. It swayed our way a bit because we only need to get four more wickets tomorrow". "It's a great record for him to have and hopefully there's thousands more to come".
"We let ourselves down but there is still everything to play for".
Recalled paceman Duanne Olivier's first over Saturday cost 14 runs, with Bairstow driving him back over his head for six.
"If you're in the England team there is alway someone knocking on the door for your place, whether they're here breathing down your neck or doing it in the championship".
The hosts will have the opportunity to bat the Proteas out of the game on Sunday, especially as the visitors' task in the fourth innings is likely to be made more hard by a surface showing some uneven bounce. It feels very odd still to hear it being announced (as the James Anderson end) - but I'm thrilled with it, and to get those wickets as well.
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