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Sun Apr 20 05:16:03 SAST 2014

Headingley test heads for a draw

MARK SALTER at Headingley | 06 August, 2012 07:050 Comments
England v South Africa: 2nd Investec Test - Day Four
Jacques Rudolph of South Africa plays a shot during day 4 of the second test between England and South Africa at Headingley on August 5, 2012 in Leeds, England
Image by: Tom Shaw / Getty Images

A LASHING thunderstorm cut short South Africa's fightback on the fourth day of the second test, after a brilliant century by Kevin Pietersen had put England in a powerful position on Saturday.

When the rain came, South Africa's makeshift opening partnership of Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph had battled to 39, a lead of 33 runs.

Barring any disaster today this test is heading for a draw, but South Africa can claim a moral victory after yesterday's play.

Their resilience was going to be tested as never before as England, resuming on 351/5, looked to chase down South Africa's 419 and establish a healthy lead.

And their day had begun badly, with news that Jacques Kallis had joined the list of injured, suffering back spasms, and was off the field.

Alviro Petersen was nursing a hamstring injury from his first-day 182-run heroics and Smith was strapped up after injuring his knee.

The Proteas responded well: Morne Morkel bowled the second ball of the day straight and full and it nipped back and had Pietersen plumb lbw. Matt Prior did well to marshal the remaining forces but his support was rapidly eroded.

Vernon Philander swung a ball away from Tim Bresnan, to be well taken by Smith at slip and Stuart Broad was brilliantly caught by Faf du Plessis at mid-wicket as he top-edged a quicker delivery from Imran Tahir. The enthusiastic leg-spinner followed up by dismissing Prior, caught by Dale Steyn on the boundary as he swept hard and then by bowling Anderson.

South Africa had taken five wickets for 74 runs off 22 overs, and England led by just six runs.

South Africa's opening pair held their nerve against a ball that swung, and Rudolph was particularly meticulous for his 21, while Smith dug in as usual for his 17 .

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Headingley test heads for a draw

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