England captain Ben Stokes struck twice shortly after tea to pave the way for his side's series-levelling innings and 85-run win over South Africa inside three days in the second Test at Old Trafford on Saturday.

After all-rounder Stokes had removed well-set batsmen Rassie van der Dussen and Keegan Petersen, the Proteas lost five wickets for seven runs in 31 balls against the new ball as they collapsed to 179 all out.

England's margin of victory was even greater than South Africa's innings and 12-run success in the first Test at Lord's.

Stokes starred with both bat and ball during a player of the match display in Manchester, having made 103 -- his first century since succeeding Joe Root as permanent Test skipper -- in England's 415-9 declared, an innings that also featured wicketkeeper Ben Foakes's Test-best 113 not out.

Petersen and Van der Dussen, battling a finger injury, had batted through the entire second session of the third day's play to take World Test Championship leaders South Africa to 141-3 at tea.

But Stokes, who has now won five of his six Tests as full-time captain, ended their 43-over stand while pushing himself hard in a 14-over spell either side of tea as he removed Van der Dussen and Petersen for their interval scores of 41 and 42 respectively.

Just three balls after tea Van der Dussen pushed well outside off-stump to a Stokes delivery he might otherwise have left and was caught behind to end a stand of 87 with Petersen.

But there was little Petersen could do other than glove a simple catch to Foakes when Stokes, still operating with the old ball, got a delivery to rear off a length and cut away to end a gutsy 159-ball innings that featured just one four.

South Africa were now 151-5, with all of their specialist batsmen dismissed.

- Anderson strikes -

Stokes then gave the new ball to 40-year-old England great James Anderson and recalled seamer Ollie Robinson.

Robinson, in his first Test in seven months, took 4-43, and Anderson 3-30.

Anderson's haul saw him surpass Australia's Glenn McGrath as international cricket's most prolific fast bowler across all formats, taking his combined tally to an astounding 951.

South Africa had resumed Saturday on 23-0, having faced a tough task to preserve their series lead after being dismissed for a meagre 151 in their first innings when Proteas captain Dean Elgar opted to bat upon winning the toss in bowler-friendly conditions.

The Proteas, however, lost both openers nine overs into Saturday's play.

Elgar fell without addition to his overnight 11 when he was bowled by a full-length delivery from Anderson that sent his off-stump cartwheeling.

South Africa's 33-1 soon became 39-2 when Sarel Erwee, who had taken his 12 not out at Friday's close to 25, played neither a leave nor a defensive stroke to edge a delivery from Robinson to Foakes.


England's James Anderson celebrates his dismissal of South Africa captain Dean Elgar in the second Test at Old Trafford / © AFP

Struggling batsman Aiden Markram was bowled for a duck by a superb delivery from Stuart Broad, only for the veteran seamer to be denied a wicket by a tight no-ball call.

It made little difference, however, with Broad having Markram caught off an edged drive for six by second slip Zak Crawley.