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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 16:16 GMT
England claim first day honours
First Test, Port Elizabeth (day one, close):
South Africa 273-7 v England

Andrew Flintoff
England celebrate the important wicket of Jaques Rudolph
Three wickets apiece from Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Flintoff provided England with an opening day advantage as South Africa closed on 273-7.

The tourists made a dream start when Graeme Smith edged the second ball to slip, and Jacques Kallis was also dismissed for a duck before lunch.

Jacques Rudolph shared 63 with AB de Villiers and 112 with Boeta Dippenaar but Flintoff dislodged him for 93.

Dippenaar remained on 79 but Hoggard claimed two second new ball scalps.

England chose to retain the team beaten by South Africa A last week, while the home side handed debuts to De Villiers and 21-year-old paceman Dale Steyn.

Michael Vaughan called incorrectly but Graeme Smith's decision to bat first did not prove to be a disappointment for the tourists.

The South Africa captain confidently blocked the first ball with the full face of the bat but Hoggard pitched the next one in the perfect place and forced him into a tentative prod outside off stump.

In the end it was a good toss to lose
Matthew Hoggard

The ball flew low off the edge but Andrew Strauss took an excellent catch swooping at third slip.

Rudolph quickly adopted a positive approach with De Villiers, who grew in confidence after taking 13 balls to get off the mark.

It was the talismanic Flintoff who provided the important breakthrough, nipping one back to trap the elegant new opener lbw for 28.

Three runs later and England had another dream scalp, that of Kallis.

South Africa's premier batsman had played out a maiden against Flintoff but failed to pick up a vicious yorker from Harmison that shattered into the base of his off stump.

Jacques Rudolph
Rudolph was denied a fifth Test century when he edged behind

After lunch South Africa increased the pace with 28 runs from the first five overs, but a period of attrition followed as Ashley Giles concentrated on the leg stump from over the wicket.

As the batsmen struggled to get the ball away, the crowd grew increasingly impatient and expressed their disapproval with slow hand-claps.

Rudolph, who offered a tough chance to Strauss at short-leg on 68, broke the shackles by dancing down the wicket to loft Giles for four.

After tea he moved into the 90s with his 14th boundary but was fortunate to survive when appearing to glove one from Flintoff.

It was a temporary reprieve, however, as the big Lancastrian pounded in again and Rudolph cut at one that was rising too steeply, Geraint Jones taking the catch.

Vulnerable

Zander De Bruyn spent an uncertain 24 minutes at the crease. He looked vulnerable to the short ball and was out playing no shot to Flintoff as a ball delivered from wide on the crease knocked back off-stump.

Shaun Pollock then struck five fours in a cameo 31, but the decision to take the new ball in the 81st over proved the correct one.

Hoggard put the ball in the right place again and found the edge, with Marcus Trescothick making a tough chance look easy.

There was still time for Andrew Hall to play Hoggard onto his own stumps to leave England in the driving seat.


South Africa: G Smith (captain), AB de Villiers, J Rudolph, J Kallis, B Dippenaar, Z de Bruyn, A Hall, S Pollock, T Tsolekile (wk), M Ntini, D Steyn.

England: M Vaughan (captain), M Trescothick, A Strauss, M Butcher, G Thorpe, A Flintoff, G Jones (wk), A Giles, S Jones, M Hoggard, S Harmison.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew


Interview: England bowler Matthew Hoggard



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