England trail South Africa by 50 after day two

By Rhys Hayward

england v south africa test match

An excellent bowling performance by South Africa and a mixed English batting display ensured that the third Test match remained delicately balanced at the close of the second day’s play.

England will resume tomorrow on 241-7, still 50 runs behind the hosts and with their last recognised batting pair of Matt Prior, unbeaten on 52 and Graeme Swann, 5 at the crease.

Meanwhile, the hosts will be hoping that their bowler’s can match the efforts of their English counterparts, who romped their way through the Proteas tail this morning taking the four remaining wickets in just 17 balls. Graeme Onions produced a practically unplayable delivery to dismiss Jacques Kallis with the second ball of the day, before James Anderson knocked over the last three batsmen to finish with the excellent figures of 5-63.

England’s reply then got off to a poor start as Andrew Strauss’ struggles against Morne Morkel continued; the gangly South African seamer temping Strauss to edge a ball from well wide of off stump with the final delivery of the opening over.

Alistair Cook and Jonathan Trott, whose old school is just a stone’s throw away from Newlands, consolidated and looked to be guiding England comfortably towards the lunch interval, before Trott sloppily dragged a Dale Steyn delivery onto his stumps.

Kevin Pietersen arrived onto the field to a predictable pantomime reaction but he was on his way again two balls later, well caught in his follow through by Steyn after Pietersen pushed hard at a length ball.

It left England up against it after a frantic morning session and by the time Collingwood was trapped LBW by the relentless Morkel with the score on 73 there was reason to panic. Bell and Cook however went some way towards retrieving the situation with a steady partnership of 60 and despite losing Cook for 65 shortly after tea, Bell looked well capable of playing the kind of game changing innings which has so often eluded him.

But Jacques Kallis’ golden arm persuaded the Warwickshire man to cut a ball straight to point just two short of his half century and England the momentum was once again with the South Africans.

On a two-paced pitch, fluency was difficult to attain during a slow scoring day but with the ball going soft, Broad added a stylish 25 and Prior busily accumulated his priceless unbeaten half-century.

Steyn and Morkel threatened throughout the day, each collecting three wickets, and with both of the hosts established quick’s in wicket taking mood, batting may prove to be a treacherous business for England in the final innings of the match.

A lead of any sorts for Graeme Smith’s men will be a psychological bonus but England will be hopeful that Prior, Swann and Anderson can edge them close, or indeed beyond South Africa before their in-form attack is unleashed once again.

Whatever transpires on the third day, this match seems destined to go right down to the wire.

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