Rain dominates fourth day
South Africa made their way to 39 without loss in their second innings at stumps as rain dominated proceedings on the fourth day of the second test against England at Headingley in Leeds on Sunday.
The Proteas had bowled England out for 425 shortly before lunch, with the hosts holding a narrow six-run lead on the first innings, before Graeme Smith (17 not out) and Jacques Rudolph (21 not out) gave South Africa a 33-run lead.
Rain began falling a few minutes before the lunch break and resulted in an initial delay of an hour and 15 minutes.
Only 14.3 overs were possible after the resumption before heavy rain ended any prospect of play with the match now looking likely to end in a draw with only 38.4 overs bowled on the rain-affected fourth day.
Smith and Rudolph had been kept quiet by a disciplined England bowling attack who maintained an accurate line just outside the batsmen’s off stump to limit their scoring opportunities but both batsmen looked relatively untroubled during their partnership which used up 17 overs.
Rudolph had been forced to open the batting because Alviro Petersen’s hamstring injury had kept him off the field during England’s innings. However, Petersen will bat if required.
Jacques Kallis had also not played any part in the day’s proceedings as he was battling severe lower back spasms but he will also bat if required.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir had earlier taken 3-92 as England eked out their narrow first-innings lead with Matt Prior being the star of the show for the hosts on the fourth day as the wicketkeeper/batsman scored an attractive 68 off 89 balls.
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England, who began the day on 351 for five, would have been in a bullish mood with Kevin Pietersen at the crease but he failed to add to his overnight score of 149 before he was trapped leg-before by Morne Morkel with the second ball of the day.
Morkel fired in a full delivery that nipped back at Pietersen to trap him in front of middle stump. Pietersen’s fine innings was over after 214 balls and included 22 fours and a six.
But Prior took the attack to the South Africa bowlers as he brought up his 21st test fifty off 66 deliveries while his entire innings included eight fours.
Seamer Vernon Philander was the next bowler to strike when he had Tim Bresnan (9) caught at first slip by Smith before Tahir wrapped the tail up.
The 33-year-old Tahir struck a purple patch as he claimed 3-9 in 13 balls but he would have been frustrated by his propensity to bowl no balls with the leg-spinner conceding eight during the entire innings.
In fact, South Africa conceded a total of 49 extras during the innings, a stat that coach Gary Kirsten would not be happy about.
Tahir’s first victim was Stuart Broad (1) who top-edged an attempted pull shot and was caught by substitute fielder Faf du Plessis who completed a tumbling grab at midwicket.
Prior then holed out to deep backward square leg off the bowling of Tahir before the leggie bowled James Anderson (8) with a quicker delivery.
Morkel ended the innings with 2-96, Philander with 2-72 and Dale Steyn with 2-102.
Report Day 1
Report Day 2
Report Day 3
ENGLAND – Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, James Anderson, Steven Finn.
SOUTH AFRICA – Graeme Smith (capt), Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), Jacques Rudolph, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.