Johannesburg - The battle between South Africa A and the England Lions intensified as both teams were looking for a series-winning performance on the third day of the second unofficial four-day Test match at Chevrolet Park on Tuesday.
England closed the day with a narrow lead of 51 runs with six wickets in hand, leaving a potential situation in which there are several possible outcomes.
The day unfolded as the home side was trying to turn the substantial first innings lead of 161 into a match-winning advantage.
The visitors first had to get themselves out of trouble and then create the opportunity to give South Africa a tricky fourth innings chase.
Neither side was helped by an afternoon thunder shower that took almost an hour off the available playing time. Some 22 overs was lost after bad light prevented the full extra hour being played.
For the first time in the match England managed to win back-to-back sessions as they first took the last three South African wickets for 32 runs and then reached 60/1 at lunch and then scored 118/2 in the afternoon session.
This enabled them to clear the deficit. As has happened throughout the match missed opportunities again played an important role with Jonathan Trott being dropped off Rory Kleinveldt for 26 and the impressive James Vince off Kagiso Rabada for 16.
Instead the two players went on to share a fourth wicket stand of 115 to give England important momentum.
Dane Piedt broke through when he trapped Trott lbw with his slider variation shortly after he had reached his half-century (53 off 82 balls, 7 fours) at which stage England's position was still uncertain at 35/4.
The morning session when England started their second innings was a memorable one as the home side unleashed everything their three seamers could muster.
Kleinveldt had an inspiring opening spell of 1/14 in 6 overs when he could easily have picked up three or four while Chris Morris finally found his rhythm for the first time in the series.
Rabada backed them up with three maiden overs before lunch and in a spell of 9 overs that straddled the interval then picked up two wickets in the space of 9 balls. Later he nearly took Trott's head off with a short-pitched delivery when he came back for his second spell.
Eventually bad light had the final say with Vince having reached his half-century to be 61 not out (122 balls, 11 fours). Rabada had the best bowling figures of 2/37 in 15 overs.