England Fightback in Drawn Second Test
by Andy Jalil

Ground:Headingley, Leeds
Scorecard:England v South Africa
Event:South Africa in England 2012

DateLine: 6th August 2012


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil reporting from Headingley - In association with Investec © Pakistan Cricket Website


England v South Africa, 2nd Test, 5th day


In association with Investec.


Leeds – The series is poised for a perfect finale with the result hinging on the outcome of the final Test next week. As expected the second Test ended in a draw after almost two complete innings were still remaining at the start of the fifth day when South Africa resumed their second innings on 39 without loss. As events turned out, the loss of wickets on either side opened up the game and the day would have had more twists and turns had England not omitted specialist spinner Graeme Swann from this match in preference to playing an extra pace bowler. The pitch took considerable turn on the last day as part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen showed with a most effective spell of off-spin bowling.


South Africa declared their second innings seventeen minutes after tea on 258, an over-all lead of 252 leaving England with an unlikely task of reaching their target in just 39 overs. England responded by sending out Pietersen, the one batsman capable of playing an explosive innings under most circumstances, to open the innings with Alastarir Cook. But with him caught at deep mid-on for 12 from eight balls in the fourth over, any hope that the sparse crowd may have had of seeing an entertaining knock quickly disappeared.


Andrew Strauss joined Cook and on cutting Vernon Philander for a single to get to six, he reached the milestone on 7,000 runs in his 99th Test. Coincidently, it came in the same Test as Pietersen’s who is playing his 88th Test. Strauss didn’t last for long, he patted back a full toss to JP Duminy for a return catch and that was 75 for two. Fifteen runs later, a leading edge from Cook was held at cover and it got worse for the home side with Matt Prior run out next on the total of 106.


But Jonathan Trott with 30 and Ian Bell on 3, batted out 13 overs for over an hour. With little else to come from the match as it was petering out into a draw the captains agreed to end the game with six overs remaining and England on 130 for four, 123 runs short of the target.


Earlier, after yet another hundred partnership in this series by South Africa England eventually got the breakthrough in the last over before lunch which had been delayed by half an hour because of early stoppages for rain. With none of the four regular pace bowlers able to make an impression on either batsman, Strauss brought on the occasional bowler Pietersen for the 38th over, the 21st of the day. The move proved a success straightway with Jacques Rudolph beaten by the off spinning second ball and pinned in front of the stumps.


Curiously, Pietersen had also dismissed Rudolph with his second ball in the first innings, drawing him out of the crease to be stumped. Rudolph was batting at No. 6 then and opened in the second innings in the absence of the injured Alviro Petersen who batted down the order. At lunch the tourists were 123 for one. But the fourth over after the break brought the next wicket with Pietersen striking again. Once again the spinning ball did the job for England with Smith held at short leg for 52, his exact score of the first innings and his 34th Test half century, from 117 balls. He asked for a review but that went against him.


Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers put on a quick fifty in as many balls but three runs later Pietersen struck yet again to claim his third wicket for 38 from just 7.5 overs. This time he had Amla,on 28, held from a drive to extra cover and that was 182 for three. After his magnificent triple century in the previous Test, Amla hasn’t got much among the runs this time with scores of 9 and 28. He was, however, unlucky to be run out in the first innings.


Pietersen, after nine overs, was replaced by Stuart Broad, for the 56th over of the innings and within six overs the tourists had lost the next four wickets with Broad claiming them for 12 in a superb twenty-ball spell. The first three of those fell leg before wicket while the fourth, Jacques Kallis, was caught behind off a glove in avoiding a rising ball. After James Anderson had claimed his only wicket of the innings in taking a return catch from Dale Steyn, reducing he tourists to 247 for eight, Broad took the ninth to end a 37-ball spell with five for 33, his sixth five-wicket haul in Tests.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)


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