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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Gibbs hundred puts SA on top
Fifth Test, The Oval (close): South Africa 362-4

Gibbs raises his bat after hitting his 10th Test century

England have it all to do if they are to win the final Test and square the series against South Africa after an impressive batting display by the tourists.

Herschelle Gibbs smashed his way to 183 - his highest total against England - and Gary Kirsten fell 10 runs shy of a Test ton on the opening day at The Oval.

Gibbs made up for an earlier error in which he ran out his captain Graeme Smith for 18.

And with the final ball of the day, James Anderson took the wicket of Neil McKenzie to give England a glimmer of hope.

The omens were not good for England, who are 2-1 down in the series, when they lost the toss on what was a good batting track.

And in the sunshine in south London, South Africa made England pay.

But England's bowlers did carve out some clear-cut catching chances, which went begging, and were unlucky with three good lbw appeals.

South Africa got off to a flier and raced to 63 without loss before Gibbs risked a single and an excellent throw from England captain Michael Vaughan brought about Smith's demise.

Alec Stewart, playing in his 133rd and final Test, whipped off the bails to the delight of The Oval crowd.

It was the breakthrough England desperately needed but they could not build on it as Gibbs gave them a lesson in batting.

He was in imperious form using raw power and delicate placement to record his 10th Test century.

Graeme Smith is run out for 18
Stewart whips off the bails to run-out Smith
He was finally bowled by Ashley Giles but could have twice been given out lbw off Martin Bicknell and Anderson's bowling.

Gibbs also had a rush of blood to the head during another Anderson over when he gifted two catching chances.

But veteran bowler Bicknell could only get his finger tips to the ball and Mark Butcher missed out at point the very next ball.

England's only full-time spinner Giles took the wickets of Kirsten and Gibbs.

Kirsten highlighted why he has decided to go back on a decision to retire from the Test arena with some fabulous shots.

He looked set on recording his 31st Test ton until Giles trapped him lbw with a good delivery.

The England selectors must be rueing sending spinner Gareth Batty back to Worcestershire.

It meant Vaughan had to bowl himself but could not contain South Africa as England haemorrhaged runs.

Steve Harmison was the pick of the quicks. The Durham paceman battered and bruised the batsman but could not find a breakthrough.

And Anderson had not had any luck until the final over of the day when McKenzie nicked one to Stewart for nine.

Earlier, Bicknell was given the nod ahead of Worcestershire's Kabir Ali.

South Africa, meanwhile, were at full strength, with Shaun Pollock returning after missing the Headingley victory to attend the birth of his daughter Jemma back home in Durban.

Paul Adams also replaced the injured Monde Zondeki after passing a late fitness test on a shoulder injury.

England: M P Vaughan (Capt), M E Trescothick, M A Butcher G P Thorpe, E T Smith, A J Stewart (Wkt), A Flintoff, A F Giles M P Bicknell, J M Anderson, S J Harmison.

South Africa: G C Smith (Capt), H H Gibbs, G Kirsten, J H Kallis N D McKenzie, J A Rudolph, M V Boucher (Wkt), S M Pollock, A J Hall P R Adams, M Ntini.

Links to more Eng v SA 2003 stories


South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs
"Today was just my day"

BBC Five Live's Jonny Saunders
"A day to forget for England"


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