Philander hands SA the advantage
Vernon Philander struck two vital blows as England limped to 16 for two in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day of the third test against South Africa at Lord’s in London on Sunday.
South Africa had earlier been bowled out for 351 thanks to a wonderful century from Hashim Amla as the tourists set England an unlikely 346 runs to win.
England had to face a testing 13 overs before the close of play and they were soon on the back foot as seamer Philander trapped Alistair Cook (3) and Andrew Strauss (1) leg-before to end the day with figures of 4-1-4-2.
Jonathan Trott (6 not out) and Ian Bell (4 not out) then batted out 9.1 overs to see England to stumps.
The hosts still need an unlikely 330 runs to win which would be England’s highest ever successful fourth-innings run chase eclipsing the 332 for seven they scored against Australia in the 1928/29 season.
South Africa’s second-innings total was built around Amla’s 121 off 205 balls with 10 fours while fast bowler Steven Finn was the star for England with the ball as he claimed 4-74.
The elegant Amla, who began the day on 57, reigned in his usual attacking instincts as he brought up his 16th test century off 182 balls as he cut a delivery behind point for his first four of the day and the ninth four of his innings.
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South Africa began the day of 145 for three with Amla and Dale Steyn, who had yet to score, at the crease.
Nightwatchman Steyn had to survive a fearful battering from England’s fast bowlers as they attempted to bounce Steyn out.
But Steyn played his part in helping Amla put on 33 runs for the fourth wicket as he batted for 45 minutes during the morning session in scoring his nine runs.
The barrage eventually paid off when Steyn spliced a short ball from Stuart Broad to James Taylor at short leg.
Amla then took over and he accumulated his runs in an almost unnoticed fashion. There was very little of the elegant drives and wristy flicks through midwicket for four which he has become known for as the he concentrated on simply accumulating runs.
AB de Villiers (43) and Amla combined for a fifth-wicket partnership that produced 95 runs off 29.2 overs before the advent of the second new ball, and Finn, precipitated a collapse which saw the Proteas slip from 259 for four to 282 for seven.
Amla was the first of Finn’s victims as the bowler produced a superb delivery which just held its line to beat Amla’s defensive stroke before knocking back the off stump.
De Villiers was the next man to depart when he edged a delivery which just left him off the pitch and was caught by Strauss at first slip.
Jacques Rudolph (11) never looked comfortable at the crease and his short stay was ended when Finn, bowling around the wicket to the left-hander batsman, squared Rudolph up and had him caught behind by keeper Matt Prior.
However, JP Duminy (26 not out) and Philander (35) put on an eighth-wicket stand of 54 to stop the rot before Philander was caught at backward point off a delivery from swing bowler James Anderson.
Morne Morkel (9) was then stumped off the bowling of off-spinner Graeme Swann in slightly odd circumstances when he played and missed at a delivery. Prior collected the ball and paused for an instant. Morkel, who had been inside his ground moved his front foot forward before lifting his back foot allowing Prior to whip the bails off.
Imran Tahir (1) was the last man out when he was yorked by Anderson.
Report Day 1
Report Day 2
Report Day 3
ENGLAND – Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, 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.