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After having spent a fair bit of time chasing leather on the opening day, the South Africans bounced back well on Day 2 of the first test against England at the Oval, restricting the hosts to 385 in their first innings a commendable effort, considering they were 267-3 overnight. South Africa made 86 runs in response for the loss of Alviro Petersen at the end of a rain affected second day with skipper Graeme Smith (37) and Hashim Amla (47) looking very solid against a world class England bowling attack.
England were well and truly on top at the end of the Opening day of this test series with centurion Alastair Cook frustrating the Proteas bowlers no end with an immaculate unbeaten century. To their credit, the South Africans had managed to keep the run rate down to just under 3 an over, giving themselves hope of clawing their way back into the game with some early wickets on Day 2.
Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander shared what was a 9 over old ball in the morning, and handing the red cherry over to the duo did the trick right away with Steyn removing Cook for the addition of just a run to his overnight score, the batsman inside-edging an attempted drive back onto his stumps to fall for 115.
Steyn was very much on fire, and he soon sent Ravi Bopara packing for naught, a disappointing outcome for the returning veteran, looking to stake a claim for a regular test berth in this all action English side.
Jacques Kallis soon joined in the action to remove Ian Bell for 13, and with England 284-6, South Africa were right back in the contest.
After the loss of those three early wickets, England were in desperate need of a partnership and were rescued by Matt Prior, who made a valiant 60, sharing in useful short stands with Bresnan (8), Broad (16) and Swann (15) to guide England to a respectable score.
England were finally bowled out well into the second session for 385, with Morne Morkel finishing the innings well to take 4-72.
South Africa's start with the bat mirrored England's as they too lost an opener early for naught. Alviro Petersen was trapped leg before by Jimmy Anderson in his second over. Graeme Smith, playing in his 100th Test match, and Hashim Amla saw off the dangerous period before Tea to ensure that the Proteas went into the break just one wicket down.
Only an over's play was possible after the interval before rain, which had been threatening for a while, finally interrupted play.
More than 90 minutes were lost due to the rain interval, but the sun finally broke through at the Oval, and brought with it some brilliant evening weather one can see only in this part of the world. The Proteas batsmen quite literally made hay while the sun shone as Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla stitched together a useful unbeaten partnership worth 85 to see their side through to the close of play.
Smith had been exceptionally patient and made 37, while Amla was better at finding the fence and rotating the strike, making his way through to 47. Both men will hope to get a good night's rest in before what they hope will be a long vigil tomorrow as South Africa continue to chase down England's score.
As things stand, South Africa are 299 runs behind with 9 wickets in hand.
England : A Strauss(c), A Cook, J Trott, K Pietersen, I Bell, R Bopara, M Prior(wk), T Bresnan, G Swann, S Broad, J Anderson
South Africa : G Smith(c), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers(wk), J Rudolph, JP Duminy, V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir
England 1st innings 385 all out (125.5 Overs, 3.05 rpo)
A Cook 115 (295) M Morkel 4-72
J Trott 71 (162) J Kallis 2-38
South Africa 1st innings 86-1 (37 Overs, 2.32 rpo)
G Smith 37* (118) J Anderson 1-27
H Amla 47* (97)
File Photograph Copyright: Ross Websdale
- 22/07/2012 18:04 - England 150 runs behind with 6 wickets in hand as Amla triple century puts Proteas on top in 1st Test
- 22/07/2012 10:27 - Kemar Roach marks return to form and fitness with 4-fer against New Zealand
- 21/07/2012 17:06 - South Africa take 18 run lead on Day 3 of Oval Test as Amla smashes unbeaten 183