South Africa v England, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 3rd day January 4, 2005

South Africa turn the screw

South Africa 441 and 184 for 3 (Kallis 60*, Dippenaar 44*) lead England 163 (Langeveldt 5-46, Ntini 4-50) by 462 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Charl Langeveldt celebrates his five-for on debut © Getty Images
South Africa took a match-winning grip on the third day of the Test at Cape Town, blowing away England's last six wickets before lunch and, after deciding not to enforce the follow on, reaching 184 for 3 by the close - a lead of 462. South Africa's dominance made their tactics in the final session - when Jacques Kallis (60*) and Boeta Dippenaar (44*) added 83 runs in 33 turgid overs - all the more bemusing.

Overnight, there had been much talk of England's possible fightback, but it never materialised and the slide which saw four wickets fall for 43 last night continued, the last six wickets adding a further 68 runs this morning. And were it not for Ashley Giles's entertainingly unorthodox 31 not out, it would have been far worse.

Makhaya Ntini (4 for 50) started the second instalment of the collapse with two quick wickets and Charl Langeveldt, who took the last four to fall and finished with 5 for 46, polished off the tail. If England's first innings at Durban was poor, this was worse. The pitch was good and yet almost all of the top order contributed to their own downfalls.

Ntini's first wicket - Matthew Hoggard, the nightwatchman - was expected, but the second was the crucial scalp of Andrew Flintoff. England started circumspectly, the first six overs producing two runs, before Hoggard nibbled at Ntini and gave Smith the first of three straightforward catches at first slip (97 for 5). As Flintoff strode to the middle there was a feeling that the real battle was about to begin.

Ntini greeted Flintoff with two bouncers, Flintoff responded by dumping Ntini on his backside as a cracked drive flew back past him, and then guiding him through a large gap in the slip cordon. But no sooner had the battle started then it was over. Flintoff (12) tried to cut a ball that was far too close to him but only succeeded in steering it to Herschelle Gibbs in the gully (109 for 6).

Geraint Jones (13) briefly looked as if he meant business before tamely - and again with minimal footwork - nicking Langeveldt to Smith, and England's last flickering hopes of pulling something out of the bag were extinguished when Graeme Thorpe clipped Langeveldt straight to Jacques Rudolph at square leg. Thorpe had added only six in almost 90 minutes, four of those coming from one rasping cover drive off Shaun Pollock.

Andrew Flintoff searches for inspiration © Getty Images
Although Giles was hell bent on going down with a flurry of strokes, some even out of the MCC coaching manual, Langeveldt bowled Simon Jones for 0 with a straight one and then had Steve Harmison caught by Smith, also for 0. Langeveldt is likely to miss the remainder of this series with a broken hand; if so, he signed off in style.

With a lead of 278, the pitch playing so well and the weather set to remain good, it was unsurprising that Smith did not enforce the follow on. England are on the backfoot and the momentum of this series has changed direction, and how. Smith fell early, and the manner of his dismissal should worry him. Once again he was trapped leg-before for 2 by a ball from Hoggard which swung back in to him. It was almost a carbon copy of the way he fell at Durban, and Geraint Jones' loud exhortation for Hoggard to "swing one in at his legs" was evidence that England think that they have the measure of him (2 for 1).

Gibbs, who has so far looked ring-rusty since his return, began to unwind and looked as if he was about to play one of his more aggressive innings when he pushed at one from Flintoff and Geraint Jones took a tumbling catch to his right. Gibbs had made 24 and it was also Flintoff's 100th Test wicket (62 for 2).

Jacques Rudolph looked far from comfortable during his stay, and it was almost a mercy killing when Robert Key held an athletic diving catch in the covers after Rudolph aimed a loose drive at Simon Jones. Rudolph's 23 had taken 77 excruciating balls (101 for 3).

Makhaya Ntini jumps for joy after dismissing Andrew Flintoff © Getty Images
It wasn't a crisis - South Africa's lead neared 400 - and Kallis was on cruise control. He immediately resumed where he left off yesterday, sweeping Giles for a four and then a six. It was all so easy, and with Kallis in such excellent form and a massive lead, it was expected that South Africa would cut loose. Instead, they virtually ground to a halt and the crowd were left to make their own entertainment. With England's bowlers persevering with a negative line, a derisory over rate which might not escape the attention of the match referee, and two batsmen -Kallis and Dippenaar - happy to crawl at barely two-an-over, it was unappetising in the extreme.

The out-of-sorts Harmison sent down one of the widest wides which sailed past second slip to the boundary; he ended the day with six wickets at so far in this series, a statistic which goes some way towards explaining England's plight. And Hoggard chose to bowl so wide that more than once Steve Bucknor's patience ran out. Even Giles reverted to his round-the-wicket-give-nothing-away line.

Kallis offered one chance, Marcus Trescothick spilling a hard slip catch wide to his right off Giles when on 44, while Dippenaar benefited from yet another howler by the hapless Daryl Harper, a thick edge off Flintoff heard by everyone except the man that mattered. Perhaps he had dozed off in the late afternoon sunshine. He could have been forgiven.

Martin Williamson is the managing editor of Cricinfo.