England in SA
Harris claims four scalps
Paul Harris (Gallo Images)
Centurion - Left-arm spinner Paul Harris took four wickets as South Africa kept the England batsmen under pressure on the third day of the first Test against England at SuperSport Park on Friday.
On a pitch of variable bounce, England struggled to 238 for seven at tea, still 180 behind South Africa's first innings total of 418.
Paul Collingwood made 50 for England, falling to Harris one ball after reaching an 87-ball half-century when he edged the slow bowler to Jacques Kallis at slip.
Harris had figures of four for 90. Apart from being his side's main wicket-taker he tied up one end during an unbroken spell of 22 overs, enabling South African captain Graeme Smith to use his fast bowlers in short spells on a hot day.
The fast bowlers operated from the southern Hennops River end where several balls behaved unpredictably, including that by Makhaya Ntini, who bowled England captain Andrew Strauss for 46 in the sixth over of the day with a ball which shot through low and hit the off stump as Strauss played back.
Earlier in the over one ball kept low and shaved the off stump while another lifted sharply.
In contrast to the previous evening, when England hurried to 88 for one at almost four runs an over, the tourists found scoring difficult against disciplined bowling.
Only 55 runs were added in 27 overs during the morning for the loss of Strauss and Jonathan Trott, who was bowled for 28 when he lost patience and charged down the pitch to Harris.
Kevin Pietersen and Collingwood lifted the tempo after lunch during a fourth wicket stand of 49 in 13 overs before Pietersen was bowled for 40 off an inside edge by Morne Morkel. Television replays suggested Morkel, who was no-balled six times for over-stepping, might have transgressed again with the ball which dismissed Pietersen.
Ian Bell padded up to a ball from Harris which went straight through to hit the stumps and Matt Prior was caught at deep backward square leg when he swept Harris.
Shortly before play, one-time rural herd boy Ntini received a letter from former South African President Nelson Mandela congratulating him on playing in his 100th Test match.
Mandela wrote: "What you have achieved goes beyond the number of matches you played; you have demonstrated, especially to the youth of our country, that everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do."