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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Dale Steyn skittles woeful England in Johannesburg Test

Fourth Test, Johannesburg:
England 180 v South Africa 29-0 (day one, stumps)
Play resumes Friday: 0800 GMT

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

Kevin Pietersen
Morne Morkel's dismissal of Kevin Pietersen left England 32-2

By Oliver Brett

England's hopes of winning the series in South Africa tumbled after they were bowled out for 180 on the opening day of the final Test in Johannesburg.

Captain Andrew Strauss, who chose to bat in humid conditions, fell first ball and Jonathan Trott to the 12th.

England were then 39-4 before Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell put on 76.

But Dale Steyn (5-59) cut through the lower order and the hosts, who need to win to level the four-Test series, were 29-0 when bad light ended play early.

England's selection of Ryan Sidebottom had raised eyebrows when he replaced Graham Onions despite a dearth of match practice. But both he and James Anderson found extravagant swing late in the day, only to find Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince at their most diligent in defence.


Rain, as expected, arrived on cue early in the final session, wiping out 90 minutes after the first 4.1 overs of South Africa's reply. Under floodlights they eventually got in a further 7.5 overs before the light was offered to the batsmen, and that concluded the action for the day.

Although the forecast remains unsettled South Africa have already taken a giant stride forward towards securing the win that would square the series and allow them to retain the Basil D'Oliveira Trophy.

Steyn and Morne Morkel (3-39) bowled brilliantly, extracting every bit of assistance from a spicy wicket. But two of England's top four, namely Trott and Kevin Pietersen, were guilty of gifting their wickets away.

Even Strauss - who, like Trott and Pietersen, has generally performed below his best throughout the series - partially contributed to his own demise.

Saying that, Steyn's first ball was bowled to a plan, and executed perfectly - a straight rib-tickler at which Strauss was not prepared to launch a full-blooded pull shot. Nor did he allow it to hit him.

Instead, he closed the face, played it down into the on-side only to find Hashim Amla, positioned a yard or two back from regular short-leg leap to his right to complete a stunning catch.

Strauss duly became the first Englishman since Stan Worthington at the Gabba in 1936 to lose his wicket to the first ball of a Test.

Dale Steyn
Steyn was in superb form after lunch to demolish the lower order

England's first boundary was as streaky as Danish bacon. Trott tried a blocked drive off Morkel, taking his bottom hand off the bat, and the ball sliced just past his stumps for four.

He looked a bag of nerves and, when he attempted to drive a straight Morkel drive through midwicket, was hit on the pads bang in front of middle stump.

The first two balls bowled at Pietersen, by Steyn, missed his outside edge by narrow margins. He took 10 balls to get off the mark and almost ran out Alastair Cook before he had done so.

Any thoughts that he might settle down after driving Morkel wide of mid-on for a boundary evaporated four balls later when the bowler tested him with a short one.

Pietersen got out his pull shot but did not middle it or time it, and hit it straight down debutant Wayne Parnell's throat at wide mid-on.

Low score disappoints Collingwood

Soon after Cook, the one player who seemed to be doing OK, was trapped lbw by one Morkel swung back into him.

The South Africans had changed their tactics against Cook. Having grown tired of watching him ignore everything outside off-stump, they attacked his stumps and Morkel had his reward, albeit in controversial circumstances.

England called for a review of umpire Tony Hill's decision, but there was nothing wrong with it. Their one hope appeared to be that it was a possible no-ball, but the side-on camera showed about one pixel of his heel when he landed was behind the popping crease.

The fact that his heel, unusually for a fast bowler, was raised above the ground was not an issue.

Andrew Strauss
Strauss trudges back to the pavilion - but he could have chosen to bowl first

From this wreckage, a lunchtime score of 100-4 seemed wishful thinking, but England somehow got there thanks to some aggressive tactics from Collingwood, who pulled two sixes to reach the interval on 44 from just 55 balls.

There was still a bit of lateral movement, and it was Ryan McLaren, selected ahead of spinner Paul Harris, who ended Collingwood's innings on 47 five overs after lunch. The ball that did it straightened and took a leading edge before looping gently to point.

Now Steyn fancied a bit of the action. After some fast outswing had tested Bell's defences to the full, he seamed one in the other way and the batsman was clean bowled for 35. It was classic pace bowling.

There was little chance of the lower order coping in this situation, and they were not going to hang about wondering.

Matt Prior top-edged a pull shot off Steyn and Stuart Broad mishit another, this time off Jacques Kallis, to a straight mid-on, and South Africa's decision to opt for an all-seam attack had already paid dividends.

Sidebottom lasted just six balls before nicking Steyn behind and the bowler who was so unlucky on the final day at Cape Town also picked up the last wicket, of Graeme Swann, for his first five-wicket haul against England.

Positive intent from Swann, including a six off Morkel, meant 25 were added for the last wicket but the total score was way below what Strauss would have wanted after deciding to have first use of a surface which all the pundits had suggested would be a "bowl-first" track.

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see also
We were below par - Collingwood
14 Jan 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
14 Jan 10 |  England
South Africa v England day one photos
14 Jan 10 |  England
ECB ponders qualification change
10 Jan 10 |  Cricket
England escape in thrilling draw
07 Jan 10 |  England
Michael Vaughan Q&A
31 Dec 09 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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