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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 July, 2003, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
England suffer record blow
First Test, Edgbaston, day three (stumps): England 25-0 v South Africa 594-5 dec

Smith hit his second Test double-century
Smith hit a second Test double-century

Graeme Smith hit the highest score ever by a South African as the tourists set England a target of 395 just to avoid the follow-on in the first Test at Edgbaston.

But the bad weather that forced the abandonment of the entire second day returned at tea on day three, easing the pressure on the hosts.

England finally dismissed Smith in mid-afternoon, but not before he had scored 277, two runs more than the previous mark jointly held by Gary Kirsten and Daryll Cullinan.

And the South Africa captain then caught England by surprise, declaring on 594-5 when many expected him at least to gain 600, if not the national record 622.

Openers Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick survived eight overs of fearsome seam and swing to take the hosts to 25-0 by tea.

What this could do for the game in our country is staggering
Graeme Pollock
Trescothick, batting with a fractured finger sustained in the field on day one, was dropped at slip in the first over of England's reply, although Shaun Pollock had over-stepped for a no ball.

Makhaya Ntini had the left-hander in early trouble but then struggled with his run-up, Trescothick taking four fours off the paceman to get to tea 17 not out.

Vaughan, who appeared barely more at ease, was unbeaten on four from 22 balls.

Smith was one of three wickets to fall after lunch, following Kirsten during the morning, but all were sacrificed in an attempt to up the run-rate.

Resuming on 178 after the entire second day was lost to rain, Smith was untroubled by England's pace attack, reaching the second double-century of his career in 286 balls with 27 fours.

Only Ashley Giles posed him any problems, gaining good turn into the left-hander out of the rough and finding Smith's footwork wanting.

277 GC Smith v Eng at Edgbaston, 2002/03
275* DJ Cullinan v NZ at Auckland, 1998/99
275 G Kirsten v Eng at Durban, 1999/00
274 RG Pollock v Aus at Durban, 1969/70
255* DJ McGlew v NZ at Wellington, 1952/53
The spinner was eventually rewarded with Smith's wicket but only because a lofted drive fell short of the boundary at square leg.

The 22-year-old had spent a minute short of five hours at the crease, facing 373 deliveries and striking 35 fours.

Earlier, Boeta Dippenaar was caught off a thrash to midwicket, providing Darren Gough with his first Test wicket in almost two years.

And Jacques Rudolph top-edged Steve Harmison to third man.

Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher stuck around to add an unbeaten 38 for the fifth wicket.

Kirsten's dismissal, off an edge trying to turn Giles fine, provided wicket-keeper Alec Stewart with his 250th Test catch, tying Allan Knott's English record.

England: Marcus Trescothick, Michael Vaughan, Mark Butcher, Nasser Hussain (captain), Alec Stewart, Anthony McGrath, Andrew Flintoff, Ashley Giles, Darren Gough, James Anderson, Steve Harmison.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, Gary Kirsten, Jacques Rudolph, Boeta Dippenaar, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Robin Peterson, Dewald Pretorious, Charl Willoughby, Makhaya Ntini.

BBC Sport's Pat Murphy
"South Africa batted too cautiously in the hour before the declaration"

England bowler Darren Gough
"A good performance today given the conditions"


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