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Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

England ready to fight for draw, says batsman Cook

Third Test, Cape Town:
South Africa 291 & 447-7d v England 273 & 132-3 (day four, stumps)
Play resumes Thursday: 0830 GMT

Coverage: Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra, Red Button and BBC Sport website; text commentary online and on mobiles. Also live on Sky Sports
Match scorecard

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Pragmatic Cook looking for a draw

Alastair Cook says England need to display the same the fighting spirit showed in their Ashes opener to save the third Test against South Africa.

England face a tough ask to avoid defeat in Cape Town after they ended day four on 132-3, chasing an improbable 466 to win.

But they batted for draws in the first Test of the Ashes series at Cardiff and the first Test of this current series.

Cook said: "We have to fight like we did in Cardiff and in previous games."

"We've got 90 overs to bat out. We know the task ahead of us. We've done it in the past and hopefully we can do it again."

606: DEBATE
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Jonathan Trott and night-watchman James Anderson will return to the crease at 0830 GMT.

Anderson and Monty Panesar were the heroes as Australia were denied a victory in the Welsh capital last summer.

On Wednesday, Cook scored 55 in an opening partnership of 101 with Andrew Strauss in England's second innings but was one of three late wickets to fall.

"It's a little bit disappointing, after the start we got, to lose three," he added.

"One would have been nice but that's the way it goes on this wicket - they seem to go in clumps a bit.

"But the pitch has stayed together very well. Hardly any ball has misbehaved at all. Hopefully that'll stay the same on Thursday.

Five sessions - or four and three-quarter sessions - is more than enough time if we do the basics right

South Africa's AB de Villiers

"Traditionally this pitch has done a bit in the morning. Hopefully we'll get through that and then set our stall out to bat the day.

"We've got to not look too far ahead. We know what we've got to do. You try to break it down into as many segments as you can - five overs here, five overs there."

By contrast, AB de Villiers is confident South Africa will take the seven wickets they need to level the series at 1-1 with one Test to play.

"Four hundred and fifty-plus is always a mental advantage," said the batsman.

"But you always like enough time to bowl a side out, so five sessions - or four and three-quarter sessions - is really good for us and more than enough time if we do the basics right and meet our areas with energy and intensity. We should come right."

De Villiers hit 34 as South Africa reached 447-7 before declaring, but he had praise for his captain Graeme Smith who scored 183.

"What an unbelievable knock," he said. "There are hardly enough words to describe the powerful innings he played to really get us in a winning position.

"That's exactly what the captain should do and he did that."



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see also
England face Test survival battle
06 Jan 10 |  England
De Villiers wades into ball row
06 Jan 10 |  England
South Africa v England photos
06 Jan 10 |  England
Inspired Smith makes England toil
05 Jan 10 |  England
South Africa make England fight
04 Jan 10 |  England
Kallis century holds up England
03 Jan 10 |  England
England scrape draw in first Test
20 Dec 09 |  England
Defiant England cling on for draw
12 Jul 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England


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