England were 132/3 at stumps on the fourth day of the third test against South Africa in Cape Town, leaving them one day to either survive or make it to 466.
They’ll need another 334 to win the match, while South Africa need seven wickets after three late strikes revived a flagging effort on the fourth afternoon.
Resuming for England on Thursday morning will be Jonathan Trott on six not out and night watchman James Anderson on zero.
Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss attacked the Proteas’ bowling immediately after tea when they resumed at 33/0. But South Africa managed to put the brakes on them — if only through some wide bowling — before they eventually reached their 100 in the 36th over, 20 minutes after the interval.
Cook reached his second 50 of the match in the 34th over, but the pressure eventually told on him when he played a similar shot to that which got him out when he was well set in the first innings. He tried to paddle Friedel de Wet from outside his off stump and got a top edge that Mark Boucher simply had to stand and wait for. Cook was gone for 55 in the 37th over.
Suddenly South Africa sprang into life with an hour left to go in the day. Three overs later they got rid of Strauss, the other thorn in their side, for 45. It was the under-fire Paul Harris who removed the England captain, who tried to turn the spinner into the on side, nudged it onto his pad and popped up a simple catch for Hashim Amla. He’d gotten away with a similar mistake in the 24th over when it escaped Amla’s reach, so perhaps it was a case of justice done.
That brought two new men to the wicket — Trott and Kevin Pietersen. South Africa had the wind in their sails once again as they looked to get rid of their former countrymen.
They thought they had Pietersen right away as De Wet had him given out LBW in the very next over, but the batsman’s TV review showed a big inside edge and he was able to hang around amid growing excitement that seemed a distant prospect just a few minutes earlier.
Things got even better for South Africa as Dale Steyn then removed Pietersen cheaply for the second time in the match. He was LBW right in front — there was no need for a review this time as he walked when given out.
Anderson then came in as night watchman and had to face a barrage of short stuff from Morne Morkel and Steyn, with attacking fields keeping close watch. But he knew his job and did it well, seeing off the last over from Morkel.Tweet