England in SA
Mandela letter inspires Ntini
Centurion - Inspired by a personal note from former president Nelson Mandela, fast bowler Makhaya Ntini struck an early blow for South Africa on the third day of the first Test against England at SuperSport Park on Friday.
On a pitch of variable bounce, England struggled to 143 for three at lunch, still 275 behind South Africa's first innings total of 418.
Ntini 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, with some balls keeping alarmingly low, particularly from the southern Hennops River end.
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 left-arm spinner Pasul Harris.
Shortly before play, former rural herd boy Ntini received a letter from 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."
Kevin Pietersen was on 29 not out at lunch, including one of a handful of aggressive strokes when he hit a full toss from Harris over midwicket for six.