THIRD TEST, Edgbaston (day three, close): England 231 & 297-6 v South Africa 314
By Oliver Brett
Collingwood knew his international career was on the line
Paul Collingwood rescued England and resurrected his international career with the most courageous, determined century imaginable at Edgbaston.
Coming to the crease with England 104-4, leading by just 21, he put on 115 in a thrilling 23-over stand with Kevin Pietersen, who struck 94.
And he added an unbroken 76 with Tim Ambrose, ending unbeaten on 101.
At stumps on day three, England were 297-6, leading South Africa by 214, with the match suddenly transformed.
England will, however, need further runs on day four with the wicket appearing to have flattened out and batting a much easier prospect than it had been under the cloud cover of day two.
But from a hopeless position just before tea, with four of England's top six failing yet again with the bat, the hosts finally have a chance to put real pressure on South Africa - for whom a win would give them their first series win in England since 1965.
The day began with England knowing they had to take the last four South African wickets without too much fuss to get back into the contest.
They struck for the first time with the 12th ball of the morning, bowled by Ryan Sidebottom.
The left-handed Ashwell Prince, normally a patient batsman, chased a wide ball that was swinging wider and could only edge to Ambrose after adding just two runs to his overnight 47.
A chance to get stuck into two tail-enders followed almost immediately when Andrew Flintoff tempted Mark Boucher with a similar ball which the batsman edged to the right of Collingwood at second slip.
Collingwood got his dive in, but the ball thudded in and out of his hand.
Dropped on 12, Boucher added an important 29 runs with Morne Morkel, who himself hit some bold off-side shots to contribute 18.
Only one stump is left standing as Nel is bowled by Sidebottom
But James Anderson trapped Morkel lbw and Sidebottom left just one of Andre Nel's stumps standing with a vicious inswinger that removed the number 10 for a duck.
Boucher now took the attack to England, however, and had moved to 37 when Monty Panesar spilt the most straightforward of catches at fine leg.
Fortunately the miss was not important, as Boucher had only added three more when he drove Anderson high into the covers where Michael Vaughan completed a diving catch. South Africa had added 58 runs in all from their overnight 256-6.
A shower delayed England's reply and forced an early lunch, whereupon Alastair Cook immediately received some very generous treatment from umpire Aleem Dar, denying an excellent lbw appeal from Nel.
Cook could not make good his escape, however. Trying to paddle Makhaya Ntini to one of two men in the deep on the leg-side for a single to take him to 10, he top-edged the shot and Mark Boucher ran about 30 yards to take a tumbling catch.
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