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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 16:32 GMT
Vaughan to the rescue for England
Fourth Test, Johannesburg:
Day Two (close): England 411-8 v South Africa

Vaughan recovered from a tough start to reach 82 not out
Michael Vaughan returned to form at a key time to lead England out of trouble to 411-8 against South Africa on a rain-hit day two in the fourth Test.

Vaughan hit an unbeaten 82, shared thrilling stands with Ashley Giles (26) and Steve Harmison (30) as 118 came from 20 overs in 97 minutes.

The tourists had been in difficulty at 278-7 after losing Andy Flintoff and Geraint Jones within eight balls.

But they were in total command when the umpires called play off for bad light.

When the players finally took the field two hours 10 minutes after the scheduled start, there was still some debate about the conditions, with Steve Bucknor continuously peering into his light-meter.

The floodlights were on but did not appear to provide much illumination.

And with Makhaya Ntini and Shaun Pollock raring to exploit the seam-friendly conditions, it was not a scenario an out-of-form Vaughan would have relished.

Pollock, however, persisted with a line wide of off-stump that enabled Vaughan to leave the majority of the early deliveries.

The skipper managed to slice a drive backward of square to the boundary.

And nightwatchman Matthew Hoggard also got a thick edge to the fence, before he received a hostile, rising ball from Ntini that angled back in and was fended off to gully.

Flintoff had a low full toss early in his innings which he struggled to see, but after a brief period of defence he wafted at a wide one from the fiery Ntini with no foot movement and was caught at first slip.

Makhaya Ntini
Ntini ousted Flintoff but was frustrated by England's late heroics

Jones had less blame on his shoulders, beaten by a superb ball from Pollock that left him off the pitch, took the edge and gave Graeme Smith a third catch at slip.

However, after the second lengthy delay, Giles and Vaughan wrestled the initiative with some positive strokeplay.

Vaughan hooked successive boundaries as Ntini began to lose his cool, and Giles recorded the fifty partnership from 70 balls with a thumping cover drive to the fence.

The England spinner fell for 26 in Dale Steyn's first over, attempting another square drive and finding backward point.

A clip through mid-wicket off his toes for four provided a clear indication that Vaughan had regained his touch.

He completed his 11th Test fifty from 131 balls and began to show more confidence in Harmison.

The Durham paceman hit Ntini straight back over his head for four and laced a square drive to record another fifty partnership, this time from only 66 balls.

It also set a new English ninth-wicket record in South Africa.

If Ntini's temperature was rising, captain Smith's was rapidly heading through the roof as his fast bowler persisted with short-pitched bowling which was dispatched to all corners by both Vaughan and Harmison.

The England captain pulled to the mid-wicket fence to bring up the 400 and in the same over another pull went over the ropes for six despite not being perfectly timed.

With the England batsmen in total command and South Africa in disarray, the umpires accepted the home side's appeals to call play off for bad light, leaving a revitalised Vaughan 18 runs short of a century.

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.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew


Interview: England captain Michael Vaughan



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