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Page last updated at 17:38 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 18:38 UK

England toil as S Africa dominate

THIRD TEST, Edgbaston (day one, close):
England 231 v South Africa 38-1

By Pranav Soneji


Michael Vaughan is dismissed for a golden duck by Andre Nel
Pressure is mounting on Vaughan after another batting failure

South Africa took a vice-like grip on the first day of the third Test after dismissing England for a paltry 231.

Michael Vaughan was dismissed for a golden duck while Alastair Cook (76), Ian Bell (50) and Andrew Flintoff (36 not out) scored the only runs of note.

Andre Nel and Jacques Kallis were both outstanding with the ball, each taking three wickets at Edgbaston.

But Flintoff gave England hope after removing Graeme Smith (7) late on to leave South Africa at 38-1 at stumps.

After the 10-wicket capitulation in the second Test at Headingley, England's problems were compounded by another impotent first-innings batting display.

Day one's post-mortem is likely to focus on run-shy captain Vaughan's first-ball dismissal and the recalled Paul Collingwood, whose technical deficiencies were once more apparent as he again failed, this time for four.

But while questions will inevitably demand answers about England's top order, South Africa produced yet another tight-knit bowling performance with Kallis, short of Test runs himself, emphasising his all-round credentials by capturing 3-31 and taking a brilliant low catch to dismiss Cook.

606: DEBATE
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With groundsman Steve Rouse suggesting his dry pitch would suit seamers who "kiss" the surface, giving the ball every opportunity to swing, England omitted surprise call-up Darren Pattinson in favour of the fit-again Ryan Sidebottom.

Collingwood's recall as the sixth specialist batsman saw Stuart Broad dropped, while Steve Harmison failed to make the final XI.

Presented with a good-looking batting surface which should deteriorate as the match progresses - manna from heaven for spinner Monty Panesar - Vaughan elected to bat first after winning the toss.

Denied the alacrity of Dale Steyn through injury, South Africa recalled Nel while Morne Morkel, taking the new ball in Steyn's absence, made the most of the pitch, offering openers Andrew Strauss and Cook little width with a probing line around both left-handers' off stump.

But despite a cautious start, both openers remained untroubled as they compiled a solid - if unspectacular - opening partnership.

Cook was the more prominent of the pair, with Strauss content to remain patient while his partner punished anything short through mid-wicket.

Andre Nel celebrates the wicket of Alastair Cook
Nel removed both openers on his first Test outing this summer
But with both openers well set with the score on 69, Strauss inconceivably trod on his stumps attempting to play Nel to leg off his back foot in the 23rd over.

And the tourists were jubilant the very next delivery when Vaughan edged his first ball from Nel to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Vaughan looked bemused as he returned to the pavilion, but replays suggested contact had been made with the ball, although Boucher seemed unconvinced when he caught the ball.

With England's fragile middle order exposed, the burly Kallis twisted the knife, trapping Kevin Pietersen for four in his crease attempting to swat a straight ball to leg.

Kallis was convinced he had his man trapped lbw, but umpire Steve Davis paused until Ashwell Prince had caught the ricochet off his pad before giving the dismissal.

The Australian official adjudged Pietersen had made contact with his bat before the ball looped up to Prince at gully, although replays proved inconclusive.

With the innings on the verge of collapse at 74-3, Cook and Bell - who began his innings with a sumptuous cover-driven boundary off Kallis - steered England to lunch without further cause for concern.

The Edgbaston crowd were finally given something to celebrate in the second over after lunch when Cook brought up his 13th Test fifty with a neat flick off his body.

With a gritty half century on the scoreboard, the Essex left-hander expanded his repertoire of strokes with a series of boundaries down the ground, as well as through cover.

Paul Collingwood takes his helmet off after he is dismissed for four
Collingwood has scored just 43 runs from his last six Test innings
With Bell looking at ease on his home ground, the fourth-wicket pair added 62 before South Africa struck the all-important blow in the 41st over.

With three figures on the horizon, Cook's lack of footwork denied him an opportunity to score his eighth Test century when he was superbly caught by Kallis off Nel for 76.

The seamer found the ideal line and length outside off stump, rooting Cook to his crease as his bat fended the ball to second slip and bringing the under-fire Collingwood to the crease.

For 40 minutes he toiled as Smith, who was passed fit to play despite a back strain, attempted to ruthlessly expose England's one-day captain's confidence crisis.

Apart from one defiant cover drive for four, Collingwood's unmemorable 22-ball tenure ended when he guided Kallis to Smith at first slip.

In contrast, Bell's innings was punctuated by a series of textbook cover drives, one of which brought up his 18th Test half century.

But former Warwickshire team-mate Ntini ended any lingering hopes of a substantial score when Bell nicked a delivery which held its line to Boucher five minutes before tea.

With a long evening session to negotiate, both Tim Ambrose and Flintoff opted for attrition in an attempt to thwart South Africa's pumped up pace attack.

TMS BLOG
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew
Ambrose's 59-ball vigil came to an end when he played on to Kallis - an inside edge cannoning on to his leg stump - for 22.

Ryan Sidebottom came and went, forcing Flintoff to attack Ntini with a pulled six and a vicious straight-driven four.

But two successive - and needless - run-outs brought England's innings to an embarrassing end as both James Anderson and Monty Panesar were caught out of their ground.

With openers Smith and Neil McKenzie leaving anything off their stumps, Vaughan turned to talisman Flintoff for inspiration.

And the Lancastrian duly delivered when his second delivery removed Smith, who edged into the hands of Strauss for seven.

England could have had a second, but nightwatchman Paul Harris's thick outside edge evaded the slips in the final over of the day from Sidebottom.


see also
Cook defends beleaguered Vaughan
30 Jul 08 |  England
Day one photos
30 Jul 08 |  England
Cricket's craziest man
07 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa hit by Steyn injury
25 Jul 08 |  South Africa
South Africa in England in 2008
28 Jul 08 |  Cricket


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