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Page last updated at 18:08 GMT, Sunday, 20 July 2008 19:08 UK

England face battle to save Test

SECOND TEST, Headingley (day three, close):
England 203 & 50-2 v South Africa 522

By Oliver Brett

AB de Villiers
De Villiers kept England firmly on the back foot at Headingley

England have a massive task on their hands to save the second Test at Headingley after South Africa racked up a mammoth first innings total of 522.

The hosts replied with 50-2, needing 269 more just to make the tourists bat again, with two full days still to go and a decent weather forecast.

AB de Villiers batted eight and a half hours for his 174 as England sent down 176.2 overs in South Africa's innings.

Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan fell to Makhaya Ntini as England replied.

The pitch was showing slight signs of uneven bounce as Ntini angled deliveries into Strauss and Vaughan, which both batsmen could only deflect into the eager gloves of wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

England began day three with their eternally optimistic coach Peter Moores having insisted the hosts could still win the match, despite South Africa holding a 119-run lead with six wickets intact.

In fairness, there were some early signs of encouragement for England's seamers on Sunday morning, with de Villiers - 70 not out overnight - beaten on a number of occasions outside his off-stump.

The swing on offer did not trouble Ashwell Prince, however, who brought up his best Test score, and the 200-run partnership, with a gorgeous cover-drive off Stuart Broad.


It was frankly a surprise that Prince was the first of the two batsmen to be dismissed, when Darren Pattinson persuaded him to tickle a good ball that angled towards his off-stump and seamed away.

But the left-hander's 149 runs, all but 15 of them scored on Saturday, had served his country well.

De Villiers reached 99 by cutting Pattinson to the boundary ropes, but found it very difficult to get the all-important extra run. Finally, he squeezed a single into the off-side off a pumped-up but frustrated Andrew Flintoff and at lunch South Africa were a very tidy 384-5, 181 runs to the good.

The sedate rate of scoring did not immediately pick up in the afternoon, though an initially out-of-sorts Boucher survived a caught-and-bowled chance to Pattinson on eight and went on to add 67 with de Villiers for the sixth wicket.

Having reached 34, Boucher bottom-edged a pull shot off Anderson into his stumps. The Lancashire paceman sent down 44 overs in all, but that proved to be the last of his three wickets, which cost 136.

Makhaya Ntini
Makhaya Ntini compounded England's misery with an early wicket

Monty Panesar bowled Morne Morkel for a duck, but there was to be no swift conclusion to South Africa's innings. The third new ball was taken just before tea, and de Villiers enjoyed the extra pace it provided as he and the dogged Paul Harris put on 84 for the eighth wicket.

De Villiers finally got some momentum into his magnificent innings as he passed 150, always favouring the off-side for his attacking options, and Harris even hit a six off Panesar.

Finally, Stuart Broad took his first wicket since the first innings at Lord's when de Villiers edged a drive and Flintoff, diving to his left took a brilliant slip catch.

The last two wickets fell quickly, Panesar emerging with the slightly flattering figures of 3-65.

As England's weary bowlers finally got a few hours rest - it will be particularly interesting to see how Flintoff recovers from his 40-over stint - it was the turn of the batsmen to face the hostility of Ntini and Dale Steyn.

Strauss had barely had time to acclimatise when, still looking for his first run, he gloved Ntini to wicketkeeper Boucher.

Things looked bleak as Steyn, looking hungry for wickets, homed in on Michael Vaughan - a batsman he has enjoyed plenty of success against.

But apart from a close lbw appeal against the England captain, there was not too much for Steyn to get really excited about.

Instead, it was Ntini who was the main danger. And after beating Vaughan's outside edge twice he finally persuaded the batsman to edge one behind.

Play went on until nearly 1900 BST to make up for lost time on Saturday. Alastair Cook and nightwatchman James Anderson knew they and their seven team-mates not yet dismissed had to bat the whole of Monday and much of Tuesday to get anything out of this match.

see also
SA on top after England collapse
18 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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