England batsman Ollie Pope limbered up for next week’s first Test with an exciting, attacking century on the second day of the three-day match against South Africa A at Willowmoore Park on Saturday.

Pope, who made 75 in England’s last Test against New Zealand earlier this month, struck a delightful 132, adding 62 off 58 deliveries to his overnight 70 not out, as England declared on 456/7. South Africa A were 154/2 at the close, 302 runs behind.

While Pope was stroking the bowlers around the ground there was further encouragement for the tourists in an apparent return to health of three key bowlers.

Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach, none of whom has appeared in a match on tour because of illness, travelled to the ground on Saturday and were fit enough to bowl in the nets, although they did not go on the field.

“They will continue to recuperate over the next couple of days,” said a team spokesman.

It was not clear whether any of the three would be able to bowl on the third and final day of a match which does not have first-class status and would thus allow the tourists to field any 11 players.

After Joe Denly dominated the opening day, it fell to Pope to entertain the crowd with a sprightly innings which spanned 145 balls and included 22 fours and two sixes.

The 21-year-old Surrey strokemaker said he “felt really good” and was happy to get a first hundred in an England shirt, five days before the start of the first Test against South Africa at Centurion on Boxing Day.

“It’s more about getting ready for that first Test,” he said.

With Pope, Jos Buttler (32) and Jonny Bairstow (38 not out) all scoring freely, England added 116 in 20.3 overs on Saturday before declaring.

James Anderson struck an early blow for the tourists when he dismissed Reeza Hendricks for five and Ben Stokes bowled South African Test squad member Pieter Malan for 34.

Anderson, continuing his recovery to full match fitness after a lengthy injury lay-off, bowled tidily to take 1-20 in nine overs.

Keegan Petersen, a late replacement after Test players Temba Bavuma and Theunis de Bruyn withdrew because of injury and illness respectively, added an unbeaten 92 with Rudi Second, another member of the South African squad.

Petersen was on 60 and Second on 46 when bad light and rain ended play 16 overs early.