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Monday, June 8, 1998 Published at 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK

Sport: Cricket

Test threatened by wash-out

Covers on: Edgbaston under a cloud

Rain has delayed the start of play on the final day of the First Test between England and South Africa at Edgbaston.

It could lead to the game being abandoned.

Heavy showers are sweeping east across the UK and are expected to settle over the ground for most of the day.

England are holed up in the pavilion with a comfortable 289 run lead from the fourth day's play.

However, they did not have it all their own way on Sunday

South Africa skittled through the England order in their attempt to stop the home side building a large lead for the final day.

Lance Klusener made the breakthrough, first bowling Graham Thorpe for 43, and then doing exactly the same to Mike Atherton, who had scored the same.

Mark Ramprakash, Mark Ealham, and Dominic Cork followed them back to the pavilion in the space of three runs.

[ image: Atherton batted with panache]
Atherton batted with panache
The tourists were especially glad to see the back of Thorpe and Atherton. They had built a useful partnership of 68, mainly down to the Surrey left-hander's adventurous batting.

He got on top of the bowling, despite taking a painful blow on the hand from Shaun Pollock.

His confidence seemed to help Michael Atherton, who had been batting tentatively until Thorpe's arrival.

Mark Ramprakash and Mark Ealham took up where they left off, with Ramprakash hitting a six over long on.

[ image: Stewart was clean bowled]
Stewart was clean bowled
But they did not last long, Ramprakash caught by Jacques Kallis, off Paul Adams' bowling.

The Middlesex man did not depart immediately, as it was not clear whether Kallis had got the ball before it hit the ground. TV replays were consulted and Ramprakash was given out.

Ealham departed almost immediately, caught in the deep by Pollock off Klusener's bowling.

The balance of play in England's innings had swung backwards and forwards as the home side batted adventurously, looking for enough runs to give them the chance of victory.

[ image: Butcher was out lbw]
Butcher was out lbw
Butcher and Hussain were both lbw to Shaun Pollock without making much of an impact, Butcher getting 11, and Hussain departing for a duck.

Stewart, though, played a captain's innings and scoring a quick 28, including some fine shots, before he was clean bowled by Donald.

The ball kept low but it looked as though the England captain was attempting to out think the bowler and got it wrong.

[ image: Stewart's wicket was the one Donald wanted]
Stewart's wicket was the one Donald wanted
South Africa's bowlers were again being careless. Whereas England gave away just seven runs in extras during the entire South African innings, the tourists gifted England 25 runs in extras.

Early on Sunday England looked like they would make South Africa follow-on. But a stubborn seventh-wicket partnership between Jonty Rhodes and Lance Klusener saw South Africa make England bat again.

The pair put on 104 scoring freely with some fluent stroke-play.

Dominic Cork ended South Africa's innings with a fine instinctive catch to dismiss Donald off his own bowling.


England 1st innings

Total: 462

South Africa 1st innings

  • G Kirsten c Butcher b Cork 12
  • G Liebenberg c sub b Cork 3
  • J Kallis c Stewart b Cork 61
  • D Cullinan b Fraser 78
  • W Cronje c sub b Cork 1
  • J Rhodes c Stewart b Fraser 95
  • S Pollock c Croft b Fraser 16
  • M Boucher c Stewart b Fraser 0
  • L Klusener c Stewart b Ealham 57
  • A Donald c & b Cork 7
  • P Adams not out 6

Extras 7

Total: 343

FoW: 1-6, 2-38, 3-119, 4-125, 5-191, 6-211, 7-224, 8-328, 9-328

Bowling: Fraser 34-6-104-4, Cork 32.3-7-93-4, Ealham 23-8-55-1, Croft 27-3-85-0, Butcher 1-0-2-0.

England 2nd innings

  • M Butcher lbw b Pollock 11
  • M Atherton b Klusener 43
  • N Hussain lbw 0
  • A Stewart b Donald 28
  • G Thorpe b Klusener 43
  • M Ramprakash c Kallis b Adams 11
  • M Ealham c Pollock b Klusener 7
  • D Cork st Boucher b Adams 2
  • R Croft not out 1

Extras 24

Total: 170 for 8

To bat: D Gough, A Fraser.

FoW: 1-24, 2-31, 3-80, 4-148, 5-153, 6-167, 7-167, 8-170.

Bowling: Donald 10-0-48-2, Pollock 12-2-43-1, Klusener 11-4-23-3, Adams 12.1-3-36-2.

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