England in SA

England on the rack

2010-01-16 18:17
Paul Collingwood (File)

Johannesburg - South Africa continued to exert pressure on England on the third day of the fourth Castle Lager Test at the Wanderers on Saturday.

When bad light stopped play, England were in dire straits on 48 for three, still needing 196 to make South Africa bat again.

There must have been a few butterflies in the South African camp when South Africa lost the wickets of Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis in the second and third overs of the day.

Amla got an edge to a ball from Stuart Broad that swung a bit, and wicketkeeper Matt Prior dived past Andrew Strauss at first slip to take a superb one-handed catch. Amla made 75, in three and three-quarter hours, facing 138 balls and hitting eight fours.

Kallis, who has been a rock in the South African batting order, went six balls later, when he was taken by surprise by a bouncer from Ryan Sidebottom, and was well caught by James Anderson without adding to his overnight score of seven.

Graeme Swann, who has troubled the South Africans throughout the series, succeeded with his first ball of the day when JP Duminy - who has had a miserable series with the bat - edged the ball, which was snaffled up by Paul Collingwood for seven.

South Africa were looking a little rocky at that stage, with a lead of just 55 runs and the new ball to come, but AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher came to the rescue with a superb sixth wicket partnership of 120.

De Villiers survived two dismissals that were overturned by third umpire Daryl Harper, and England, who were still seething over the controversial "non-dismissal" of Graeme Smith on Friday when he was on 15, used up their final referral for a leg before wicket decision against Boucher, which was turned down by Harper.

When De Villiers clearly nicked a Sidebottom delivery that was caught by Prior, but was not given out, England could do nothing but glower.

Boucher reached his 32nd Test half century before lunch, and De Villiers his 20th just after the break. But De Villiers' luck finally ran out when he spooned a Broad delivery straight to Paul Collingwood for 58.

Debutant Ryan McLaren joined granite man Boucher, but shortly afterwards, play was interrupted for an hour and 20 minutes by a thunderstorm.

Although there was plenty of lightning, which is one of the main reasons the umpires took the players off, the rain was nothing like the deluge on Friday, and play resumed after an early tea.

McLaren, now looking more composed, began playing some superb shots and was an equal partner as he and Boucher put on 64 runs off 87 balls for the seventh wicket.

Boucher appeared to be heading serenely towards what would have been a well-deserved century, but with his score on 95, tried to sweep Swann, but instead top-edged it to Jonathan Trott on the boundary. It was a sublime innings, showing Boucher at his best. He faced 118 balls and hit nine boundaries.

Ten minutes later, Smith declared the innings closed on 423 for seven, leaving England to score 244 to make South Africa bat again.

Andrew Strauss avoided being dismissed first ball again, but Morne Morkel struck in his second over when he got a bit of extra bounce, and Alastair Cook top-edged to Smith in the slips. Dale Steyn was not to be left out, and got rid of Trott, who was caught in the slips by De Villiers.

Wayne Parnell, who was disappointing in the first innings, came back strongly and got the wicket of the England captain, leg before wicket, in his second over. It was his first Test wicket in his debut match. Strauss called for a review, but Harper upheld the decision, and Strauss had to go with his score on 22.

At the end of play, Kevin Pietersen was not out on nine and Paul Collingwood had yet to score.

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