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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January, 2005, 15:48 GMT
England stumble after Strauss ton
Fourth Test, Wanderers:
Day One (close): England 263-4

Andrew Strauss
A masterful 147 from prolific opener Andrew Strauss guided England to 263-4 at stumps on day one of the fourth Test with South Africa in Johannesburg.

Strauss shared 182 with Rob Key, a second wicket Wanderers record, and made his highest Test score.

Key grew in confidence to post his third Test fifty, but on 83 with 11 fours and a six, he edged to slip.

South Africa fought back with the new ball late in the day and had Strauss and Graham Thorpe caught at slip.

When Vaughan again called heads and won the toss for the first time in the series, it was the first occasion when there was some debate about what the correct decision was.

There had been substantial rain around and it was a shade overcast early on, but Vaughan decided to bat.

England opted to include the swing bowling potential of James Anderson for the first time on the tour, with Simon Jones also thought to be suffering from a slight back injury.

Marcus Trescothick never looked in form, with an inside edge going narrowly past his stumps and an airy drive outside off-stump just clearing the ring of gully fielders.

Strauss, by contrast, having weathered some exceptional deliveries from Shaun Pollock that swung and moved off the pitch, soon began to move his feet nicely and find the middle of the bat.

With the score on 45 a statuesque Trescothick prodded outside the off-stump to the returning Dale Steyn and gave a simple catch to Mark Boucher, also recalled to the side.

Steyn beat Key early in his innings and did not concede a run until his fifth over when the Kent batsman drove him through cover for two.

Key drove Steyn fluently to the cover boundary, and with Strauss demonstrating textbook use of the cut, England went into lunch at 77-1.

The tone for the afternoon session was set immediately by Key, who hooked Ntini to within an inch of a six in the opening over after the resumption.

Nicky Boje came closest to dismissing Strauss, trapping on the back foot on 80, but Aleem Dar rejected the confident appeal.

Makhaya Ntini
Ntini's late new ball strike brought South Africa back into the match

In the same over Key offered a sharp caught and bowled chance to the spinner, but though he got both hands to the ball, Boje had only a split finger to show for his trouble.

Strauss continued in exemplary fashion, with consistently perfect timing and placement as 110 runs were added in the session.

He moved into the 90s with a lofted straight drive into the stands off Boje and South Africa's misfortunes were encapsulated when they were no-balled for having three men behind square on the legside.

After tea Boje was dispatched for six by a Key sweep, and served up a full toss next ball which disappeared rapidly for four.

Key's dismissal brought in Vaughan, and the skipper's noticeable lack of form even unsettled Strauss.

It was really important that I saw the day out so I'm very disappointed to get out as I did
Andrew Strauss

Vaughan got off the mark with a hook, the same shot that led to his dismissal in his last innings, but despite his positive intentions his lack of foot movement outside the off-stump caused more problems.

South Africa took the new ball and enjoyed immediate success as a tired Strauss drove at a wide one from Pollock and edged to second slip.

The ever-energetic Makhaya Ntini surprised Graham Thorpe, who edged a rising delivery to third slip for a duck, leaving Vaughan (9) and nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard (0) glad of an offer for bad light 4.2 overs before the scheduled close.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Rudolph, Jacques Kallis, Boeta Dippenaar, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher (wkt), Nicky Boje, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn.

England: Marcus Trescothick, Andrew Strauss, Robert Key, Michael Vaughan (capt), Graham Thorpe, Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones (wkt), Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, James Anderson.

Umpires: SA Bucknor and Aleem Dar; Match referee: CH Lloyd.

Report: BBC Radio Five Live's Jonathan Agnew

Interview: England batsman Andrew Strauss

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