England v SA, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day August 6, 2012

Draw ensues after dice with danger

137

England 425 (Pietersen 149, Prior 68) and 130 for 4 drew with South Africa 419 (Petersen 182, Smith 52) and 258 for 9 dec (Rudolph 69, Smith 52, Broad 5-69)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A Headingley Test that had been marked throughout by cautious, disciplined cricket in morose weather ended with an unexpected and deeply uncomfortable England run chase as South Africa's captain, Graeme Smith, with the happy daring of a man who had recently witnessed the birth of his first child, set them 253 from 39 overs to level the series at 1-1 with one to play.

England's chase, which turned abruptly into a battle for survival at 106 for 4 with 19.2 overs remaining, was cagey but not entirely artificial as they responded in kind. Kevin Pietersen accepted the role of gung-ho opener - the first time he had opened for England in Test cricket - and struck three boundaries off Morne Morkel's first over before he spliced to mid-on. Matt Prior also came in at No. 5 shortly before England reached the final hour with 154 needed off 20. Then Prior was run out by Smith, of all people, from behind square as Jonathan Trott procrastinated over a second run.

The presence of Andrew Strauss and Trott in the top four summed up the double think in England's batting order; both would have been better reserved for calamity. It was a run chase England were obliged to flirt with, having lost the first Test in the series, but knew that the odds were they would end up blocking out.

Smith then, with the game safe, delayed a while before he dared to attack in force and called things off at 130 for 4 with six overs remaining - the equivalent of two sessions lost to rain had had the final say. The pressures of Test captaincy hang heavily. But both sides deserve credit for dicing with danger and both will claim a psychological advantage. What is beyond debate is that we have two sides entering the final Test at Lord's with appetites whetted. Why, oh why, is this a three-Test series?

If Pietersen's exhilarating century on the third day had first brought the Test alive, it was a more improbable achievement - three South Africa wickets on either side of lunch - that enlivened it again. But his biggest impact came after the match as he warned that his stand-off with the ECB was on the verge of bringing his England career to an end.

It certainly revitalised Stuart Broad, who is looking more and more a mood player these days, and who responded to a shift in the game with a five-wicket spell broken by tea, including a rush of four wickets in 20 balls as the sun broke through and an excellent Headingley pitch finally began to show signs of wear.

Broad, bowling full and straight, removed AB de Villiers, who had played regally for 44 from 45 balls, and JP Duminy with successive deliveries. Duminy got his feet in a tangle as he was dismissed first ball; Vernon Philander soon followed.

Then as tea approached, Broad made it four as he banged the ball in short at Jacques Kallis and brushed his glove to claim a wicketkeeper's catch as Kallis limbo danced in self-preservation. Alviro Petersen was also pressed into service despite a damaged hamstring that prevented him running with comfort. His last wicket, a slog by Morkel, was followed by Smith's declaration. And until recently his captaincy was held to be ultra conservative.

South Africa had begun the final day with a lead of 33 and crucially their opening pair survived until the last over before lunch, at which point, frustratingly for Jacques Rudolph, he was again immediately overcome by Pietersen's lightly regarded offspin. Pietersen had Rudolph stumped in his first over on the second day, and this time he had him lbw in his first over on the final day. On both occasions, the ball turned sharply.

Rudolph, the more skittish of the pair, released a few neat off-side drives but never looking content against the short ball. Several deliveries, against Anderson in particular, scudded through the slips, and he also took another blow on the shoulder as a short ball from Anderson forced him into evasive action.

As Pietersen assembled his best Test figures, Graeme Swann, whose offspin was omitted as England opted for an all-pace attack, was preparing to join Nottinghamshire for a Championship match at Taunton. The conclusion that England had erred in selection could not easily be avoided - although Pietersen's final wicket, a loopy full toss which Hashim Amla drilled to short extra, hardly ranked as evidence.

Pietersen also uprooted Smith, whose battling half-century, which was reached from the last ball of a morning session, extended to two-and-a-half hours and was interrupted by two rain stoppages, had made Headingley's first draw in 13 Tests all but inevitable.

Pietersen had thought he had Smith caught at the wicket only to waste a DRS appeal finding out he hadn't. But Smith fell in Pietersen's next over, this time the South Africa captain failing with a review after an ungainly sweep was caught by James Taylor at short leg. Umpire Steve Davis was perhaps fortunate that the TV umpire, Asad Rauf, did not overturn his decision.

Smith looked embattled. The look suited him, as it always does. It was a grouchy morning, with showers scudding across the outfield at regular intervals, his knee was strapped to try to combat a dicey cartilage and he had a Test match to save. As events subsequently suggested, it was not as straightforward as many supposed.

Smith had a let-off in the penultimate over before lunch when he edged Tim Bresnan, but was dropped one-handed by Anderson, diving to his right at second slip. Anderson later waved past de Villers' edge against Pietersen. He is England's best slip fielder, but there is a malaise at present in their close catching.

That escape apart, Smith was in his element. He has built a formidable Test record - more than 8,000 runs at an average over 50 - by grimacing and deflecting, working the leg side with an angled blade and putting his considerable bulk on the line to great effect. His record against England is a special one.

For all his inelegance, he is a special breed of cricketer. He defended his wicket with the resolve and physical presence of a Greco-Roman wrestler imagining he was fighting himself.

England attacked him predictably, with their routine two-slips-and-a-gully and run savers on the leg side. With quick wickets imperative, on this occasion at least, the lack of a leg-side catcher verged on the negligent. But England are committed to their disciplines and by the time they played fast and loose with Pietersen and Broad it was too late.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AKS286 on August 9, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    from the hundreds of matches some fans are stick up with one series defeat in UAE. again they make exception as an example.

  • Soso_killer on August 9, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Had it not been for KP's 149, we would be world no.1 by now. I dnt knw y a position of domince scares south africa. Hope we win at lords.

  • on August 9, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    over to lords now. its really pathetic too see that we have played only 21 test matches which is equal to the number of matches new zealand have played in the latest icc rankings table. australia has played 34 and england 32 even pakistan and india have played 29 each, windies have played 28 , even sri lanka has played more matches than us. so according to icc we are as good as new zealand and below the other countries in test cricket. its time to thrash icc's so called no 1 out at lords and take the crown even by playing the least no of matches. thats styraight on your face icc

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (August 08 2012, 10:47 AM GMT) Monty did indeed take the most wkts in the UAE but was unsuccessful in his 1 test in SL but let's not let a little lack of knowledge get in the way here eh? Jimmy took 9 wkts in UAE at 27.66 and 9 in SL at 21.77 which is maybe not elite but still pretty decent for a pacer in SC conditions. Broad took 13 wickets in UAE AT 20.46 which is surely impressive enough (his average was the best of all Eng bowlers inc Monty in UAE) He struggled in his one test in UAE but he was hampered with an injury which we gambled on going into the one test he played and has probably struggled since. So while the bowlers and batsman come as a package it was the batsmen who badly let us down on these tours.

  • SuperSharky on August 8, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    The RandyOZ comments vs RednWhiteArmy comments and The RandyOZ comments vs Hammond comments are priceless and just as entertaining as following the cricket series. That's why sledging should never be taken out of the game. It spice up the story !

  • on August 8, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    JG2704 Results in the UAE show a 3-0 thrashing, SL 1-1. I think it was Panaser who caused the Pakistanis and the Sri Lankans the most problems not Messrs Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and one other.

  • Hammond on August 7, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    @RandyOz- compared to what mate? The footy fans getting blind on Carlton mid-strength in the uncovered seats of the Victor Trumper stand? The Barmy Army actually follow their team around the world, not just cheer on the bog average Aussies because there is no League/AFL on the TV in the summer. Australians are some of the least cricket informed people in the cricketing world.

  • AKS286 on August 7, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    haha about rank 1. every team has its day, no team can maintain no 1 spot but the only thing is that how long you maintain your position and is no1 team is playing like no1 team. before Eng Oz team is the no1 team. whats new on this.

  • milesy100 on August 7, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    Do all you people who are so anti-england have some sort of huge chip on your shoulders?? Rankings are all relative to the current form of test playing nations. So what if South Africa are better or worse or the same as England. Are you guys still hurting from thumping defeats in Australia (fair enough-a great ashes victory) or losing 4-0 and No.1 ranking(India last summer). Why can't you just be gracious in defeat? Do some of you even understand the subtleties and nuances of test cricket or do you just enjoy bashing England??

  • stormy16 on August 7, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Tough test contest that game but the most surprising thing for me was neither star studded bowling line up's could get wickets with the new ball. I was half expecting the series to be won on how well the middle order batted, after the new ball had accounted for the top order. Just goes to show the quality of both top orders I guess. Jimmy hasnt had much of an impact which has been a major surprise as has Philander. I really thought these two guys would be a major problem with the new ball. Steyn hs done his bit but only just. All set for Lords and Eng need to take some chances - your not going to beat this SA side in a boxing type bout - Eng need some magic.

  • AKS286 on August 9, 2012, 19:12 GMT

    from the hundreds of matches some fans are stick up with one series defeat in UAE. again they make exception as an example.

  • Soso_killer on August 9, 2012, 14:48 GMT

    Had it not been for KP's 149, we would be world no.1 by now. I dnt knw y a position of domince scares south africa. Hope we win at lords.

  • on August 9, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    over to lords now. its really pathetic too see that we have played only 21 test matches which is equal to the number of matches new zealand have played in the latest icc rankings table. australia has played 34 and england 32 even pakistan and india have played 29 each, windies have played 28 , even sri lanka has played more matches than us. so according to icc we are as good as new zealand and below the other countries in test cricket. its time to thrash icc's so called no 1 out at lords and take the crown even by playing the least no of matches. thats styraight on your face icc

  • JG2704 on August 8, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (August 08 2012, 10:47 AM GMT) Monty did indeed take the most wkts in the UAE but was unsuccessful in his 1 test in SL but let's not let a little lack of knowledge get in the way here eh? Jimmy took 9 wkts in UAE at 27.66 and 9 in SL at 21.77 which is maybe not elite but still pretty decent for a pacer in SC conditions. Broad took 13 wickets in UAE AT 20.46 which is surely impressive enough (his average was the best of all Eng bowlers inc Monty in UAE) He struggled in his one test in UAE but he was hampered with an injury which we gambled on going into the one test he played and has probably struggled since. So while the bowlers and batsman come as a package it was the batsmen who badly let us down on these tours.

  • SuperSharky on August 8, 2012, 12:43 GMT

    The RandyOZ comments vs RednWhiteArmy comments and The RandyOZ comments vs Hammond comments are priceless and just as entertaining as following the cricket series. That's why sledging should never be taken out of the game. It spice up the story !

  • on August 8, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    JG2704 Results in the UAE show a 3-0 thrashing, SL 1-1. I think it was Panaser who caused the Pakistanis and the Sri Lankans the most problems not Messrs Anderson, Broad, Bresnan and one other.

  • Hammond on August 7, 2012, 21:18 GMT

    @RandyOz- compared to what mate? The footy fans getting blind on Carlton mid-strength in the uncovered seats of the Victor Trumper stand? The Barmy Army actually follow their team around the world, not just cheer on the bog average Aussies because there is no League/AFL on the TV in the summer. Australians are some of the least cricket informed people in the cricketing world.

  • AKS286 on August 7, 2012, 18:09 GMT

    haha about rank 1. every team has its day, no team can maintain no 1 spot but the only thing is that how long you maintain your position and is no1 team is playing like no1 team. before Eng Oz team is the no1 team. whats new on this.

  • milesy100 on August 7, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    Do all you people who are so anti-england have some sort of huge chip on your shoulders?? Rankings are all relative to the current form of test playing nations. So what if South Africa are better or worse or the same as England. Are you guys still hurting from thumping defeats in Australia (fair enough-a great ashes victory) or losing 4-0 and No.1 ranking(India last summer). Why can't you just be gracious in defeat? Do some of you even understand the subtleties and nuances of test cricket or do you just enjoy bashing England??

  • stormy16 on August 7, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    Tough test contest that game but the most surprising thing for me was neither star studded bowling line up's could get wickets with the new ball. I was half expecting the series to be won on how well the middle order batted, after the new ball had accounted for the top order. Just goes to show the quality of both top orders I guess. Jimmy hasnt had much of an impact which has been a major surprise as has Philander. I really thought these two guys would be a major problem with the new ball. Steyn hs done his bit but only just. All set for Lords and Eng need to take some chances - your not going to beat this SA side in a boxing type bout - Eng need some magic.

  • durbanite on August 7, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    Lets face it, England are at home and South Africa are playing outstanding cricket away from home. So who is truly the no. 1 team in the world? ICC rankings aside, I think we all know the answer to that

  • on August 7, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Rain saved England.Whether England win at Lords and level the series or not South Africa are the best team in the world whether it appears in the rankings or not.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (August 07 2012, 13:20 PM GMT) Actually the post is on this particular test and not the number 1 status. Sorry but I didn't realise - re our bowlers only able to operate in home conditions - that UAE and SL are part of the UK. Our bowlers did alright there even if our batsmen were atrocious.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 7, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    For a drawn match that was dynamite. The best feature of the last day for me was Broad getting it right. He is not the first bowler to blow hot and cold-Caddick for instance was the master of it!! Now we have a parity between the sides the first important thing is to make sure we win at Lords. We can if we don't mess about and just go for the jugular. And the less there is of controversy the better. Swann in for...? Bresnan or Fiinn?? If Meaker does well for Lions I might throw his name in the ring, though for the second innings the man I really wanr is injured ( Tremlett.)I cannot see Onions being a threat in the second innings there.

  • on August 7, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    England had been vulnaerable in this match despite a superb century from Kevin. Well, if Strauss can step up well, then I don't see England beaten by top-teams

  • on August 7, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    A_Vacant_Slip. We are not discussing India here . We are debating England's number one status. I have always said that England's bowlers can only operate in home conditions, (swinging Duke ball etc). While England can get away with these tactics against the likes of India with an inexperienced bowling attack they would were never going work against SA's superior bowling attack. Conditions suited Englands bowlers a little better at Headingly but the pop gun attack was exposed at the Oval. A good pitch and decent batsmen will always take England's so called demon bowlers to the cleaners . As for the Batsmen KP apart you would rather pay to watch paint dry.

  • nmdasaya on August 7, 2012, 13:06 GMT

    hey hats off for England for at-least trying to chase. dhoni or mahela want have done it . make a boring draw

  • MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb on August 7, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Mahut - Do I think SA would want to give their wickets away to KP in particular? Definitely not! I take your point that England would have struggled to get the wickets if SA weren't trying to score quickly after making the game all but safe in the first session, but that is kind of my point - it was all pretty low-risk stuff. Smith did not really leave the team exposed declaring when he did. It is absurd to say that England weren't still going for it until Prior was out though, they were well up with the rate. And I would argue that choosing to bat 20 overs with just the debutant and the tail to come was slightly more of a gamble than the declaration.

  • on August 7, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    How can a person talk about drop catches and swann and say that SA would have lost. We can also say had Amla caught pietersen then the game would have been done and dusted early on the 5th day. If swann had played who says he would have taken alot of wickets. Did he not bowl 50plus overs and took no wickets at the oval? For England to win they need the umpires to make mistakes and everything to go their way before they can beat this SA team. The only one who looks like taking early wickets is Anderson when he is swinging it. Keep bowling straight to smith and Peterson. The runs will keep coming. And keep finn in the team. He is helping SA with his loose bowling.

  • on August 7, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Why was this not a 5 test series? Because if grounds, time and attention were available for 5 tests it would have been an Ashes. Pretty simple.

  • RandyOZ on August 7, 2012, 9:46 GMT

    The cringeworthy barmy army were back today, proving once more why they are the least informed, cricket-wise, fans in the world. They had no idea what was going on in the field of play.

  • A_Vacant_Slip on August 7, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira (August 06 2012, 22:55 PM GMT) You India fan have come back to bash England again, so this is for you. This is what YOU wrote last year regarding India tour of England. @Gerard Pereira (August 11 2011, 23:49 PM GMT) "India are a spent force, an end of an era, Tendulkar playing for his hundred hundred and a last Australian series then he is gone, Laxman, Harbajan, Zaheer are over the hill, Shewag has always flattered to decieve, Raina and Yuvraj a decent Odi players who cannot cut it in test cricket, not one decent fast bowler, not one decent spin bowler the future is bleak." YOU wrote that @Gerard Pereira so, with India in the disarray that you describe - why are you here to bash England? It doesn't make any sense. Then you talk of "pathetic whitewash by Pakistan" Why do you hide behind fine Pakistan performance? What then of the DOUBLE WHITEWASH which occur to your fine fantastic India team, eh? Do you ignore these, imagine they never happen? Amazing.

  • on August 7, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    ok bravery was the main issue here...

  • tjsimonsen on August 7, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    @counterstrike1.6: Well, it's a bit funny that "green pitch bully" Broad took 13 wickets @ 20.46 last winter in the UEA. I guess the dust bowls must have had an incredible (and invicible) covering of grass.

  • RandyOZ on August 7, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    You can't rely on imports all the time. The problem with England is they have too many MMPs (mediocre medium pacers) and a spinner who has never been good enough.

  • TheIndiaRockers on August 7, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    Am a Fan of SA . SA is the only team which is capable of playing all the condition. SA as the upper hand to win the series 2-0 . England have tried there best to win the match. Kudos to super player, the switch hitter Mr.KP. KP makes the test more interesting . If there is no KP in the final test am dam sure SA is going to win.Best wishes to both the teams.we are eagerly waiting for final test.

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 7, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    RandyOz do you whinge about England in your sleep too? I know it must sting sooooo much having lost to England for the last decade but man up, accept were better & move on princess.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    @ shovwar on (August 06 2012, 22:28 PM GMT) No team was lucky and IMO SA would not have declared had they been 2 or 3 down or if Smith didn't think they could bowl Eng out. They were 9 down with rabbit Tahir coming in next. What would SA have achieved had they batted through what might have been just one more over? There is also the fact that SA have the psychology that Eng have still not taken 20 wickets in either test. PS if Smith was being sporting he's have declared much earlier when he still had players to come in and given England a more realistic total to chase. Don't get me wrong , no captain would do that being in Smith's position but his declaration was because they had nothing to gain by carrying on while 9 down

  • RandyOZ on August 7, 2012, 9:13 GMT

    Don't take notice of RandyOZ, his predictions are too accurate and ruin the game!

  • ksjinoz on August 7, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    Lets face it England dids not win this match because of a decision made before the game ever started. The dropping of Swann! Hed he played for sure Perterson would not have made anymore than 29 and SA would not have made a reasonable first innings score. The in the 2nd innings if KP can take 3 wickets just imagine what Swann could have done. No the England selection panel are the only reason that SA still hold a 1-0 lead in this series!

  • on August 7, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    SA batted when the pitch was at it's worst in the first innings. England were in trouble and KP had to save them. Then the SA bowlers finished off the game when everybody were talking about 150 - 250 lead. And the lead ended up being 4 runs. Then we had a couple of roughies and playing rash strokes in the search for quick runs. Now tell me where SA got lucky when they played well for most of the 5 days and England only while KP was batting. SA team are still playing the better cricket and when we score 400 plus at lords and win or draw we would have showed all the guys who wrote us off before the series started and predicted an easy series win for england. Well we knew better.

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @ Shan156 on (August 06 2012, 21:20 PM GMT Hello there - thought it was odd that Kallis bowled some overs as I thought he was injured? Seemed strange that Smith is usually reluctant about bowling Kallis too much so even stranger when he was not fully fit

  • JG2704 on August 7, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    @Krisis85 on (August 06 2012, 16:36 PM GMT) After the barrage of junk comments (albeit mostly from a non participating country) what an absolute breath of fresh air it is to have a proper cricket fan posting such a balanced piece. I would like to echo the reverse of your comments and say that if SA draw or win at Lords then they fully deserve to be number 1. I also think Australia are a huge threat to whoever is number 1 after this series finishes. Please publish as this is a genuine compliment to a genuine cricket fan

  • jmcilhinney on August 7, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    raj_24 on (August 07 2012, 04:26 AM GMT), I'm not sure why this has to be explained yet again but, while they will have the same number of whole points, which is what is displayed in the points table on the ICC web site, SA would actually be rounded down to the nearest whole point while England would be rounded up. While the table would show the same number of points, SA would be the #1 ranked team. It will be a very marginal lead but England has been in a similar position before too. England need to win at Lords to remain #1. Regardless, England need to win at Lords so as not to lose the series, which is probably a more worthy aim. As has been said by many, win games and the rankings take care of themselves. SA whipped England in game 1 and game 2 was very even. I'm hopeful that the team trajectories continue in that vane and England wind up ahead at Lords but I'm not confident enough to put money on it. All three results possible, which is how Test cricket should be.

  • klempie on August 7, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    The masterplan to knock the Poms off their perch is coming together nicely. Step 1: Thump them in the first Test. Check. Step 2. Bat long and force a "tight" draw, forcing them to prepare a green top for the deciding Test, which will in all likelihood backfire on them. Check. Step 3. Allow our star sleeper mole to lift the team spirits and give them a false sense of security with fantastic performance. Check. Step 4. Bring team morale crashing back to earth using sleeper to cause internal team rifts heading into the final Test. Check. It's all too easy this.

  • Meety on August 7, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa - "Very sporting decision by Smith to declare..." - mate, he was 9 down, the only reason why he declared was to be able to say England have not taken 20 wickets in a test against them in this series. @jmcilhinney - I'm one of those who aren't sold on Broad, any 5 wwicket haul is something to cherish, but this 5w haul is closing on hollow for a number of reasons 1) KP provided the real incisions, 2) dubious decision he benefitted from, 3) the Saffas had a mixed up batting line up 4) Saffas wanted a crack at England before stumps & played for a target. Again none of those factors takes away from the fact he'll be credited with a 5w haul, I just wouldn't be too excited about it, & I do agree that in England in particular - pace is not everything. The real upside is that he will be confident at Lords. @Vleis - I wanted to say something else but that would of been unfair, anyways I think the caption should read "Wakka, Wakka, Wakka!"

  • MightyOne on August 7, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    "Why oh why is this a three-match series?" Simple answer: The English and Aussies believe that all cricket is just a minor diversion between the real stuff: the Ashes. Everyone does exactly what India want so that they can get their hands on the cash that playing India brings, and thus, South Africa has played the least amount of cricket in Tests and ODIS in the past four years apart from Bangladesh and the same amount as New Zealand. Same comments were made after the farcical Aussie "tour" to SA last year, two tests can even be called a series (check the dictionary). Now Cricket South Africa have announced that this December instead of a boxing-day test, we will be "treated" to a T20 instead. But hey, what's the problem? Its not like you need the soon to be top-ranked side in Test Cricket playing very much, do you administrators?

  • Unomaas on August 7, 2012, 7:40 GMT

    That was exciting to watch...a little bit TOO exciting for most Saffa fans :P. Why are many commentators bemoaning poor SA batting performance? Its clear that after Rudolph + Smith perished, SA were in T20 mode. They were playing shots and loosing wickets with hapless abandon. The usual conservative SA tactic would have been to close up shop and get some batting practice but they surprised everyone ith their unconventional tactics. Amla + Kallis could have batted that England bowling line up to sleep with the only result a draw and deflated POM bowlers. And yes, it was a tactical and psychological declaration. If Saffa's had been bowled out, POM's would have had psychological edge. In declaring, Smith was playing cricket on his terms...not the POM's. Doon't see POM's winning at Lords but its gonna be exciting watching the POM's try. With the Olympics over, the focus of a nation will turn towards their cricket team. Will they accept a passive surrender of their number 1 status?

  • sachin_vvsfan on August 7, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    This match result clearly shows that there is no dominant side and the current/recent num 1 sides always tend to be defensive . AUS of 2000 would have gone for the kill and achieved a result (win or loss). I remember india followed the same defensive approach in WI when they needed 6+ runs an over. SA also did the same thing against india in the decisive second innings of third test match. They played it safe for a draw rather than aiming for a result (could have handed over first series win to india in SA). I am sure SA would have done the same now to retain the rankings if they were num1 side.

    @MattyP1979 what has olympics got to do with this topic?LOL @RandyOZ Looks like KP is not gonna available for third test. But SA also loosing some players. As long as SA bowlers are fit it is advantage SA. Hoping for a good context here.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 7, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Hey everyone, Randy's back! He disappeared during the Ashes, but now he's back!

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 7, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    It was always on the cards that "Green Pitch Bullies" either Anderson or Broad would come back strongly at some stage in match, so they chose the time when SA batsmen were not fully fit and their batting order was shuffled. And when they were going for target they knew only a South-African can chase it, so KP was sent to open the innings but unfortunately after his dismissal English batsmen had lost all hopes.

  • SuperSharky on August 7, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    KP will go from Hero to Zero. I really thought that it was KP's brilliant talented innings that took a 2nd Test win for South Africa out of the possibilities - box. He really played well, but now he is suicidal for the England Team.

  • Bramblefly on August 7, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Whoops. Previous bit off Randy Oz baiting referred to Aus A's first game. Meant second game (Durham) of course.

  • jmcilhinney on August 7, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira on (August 06 2012, 22:55 PM GMT), very convenient that SA losing wickets was just bad luck due to their aggression while England's was down to their not being good enough. England opened with KP and he hit three boundaries in the first over. Are you trying to tell me that they were just playing their normal game? As for SA's injuries, while Petersen's might have been significant enough to stop him running, I doubt it made all that much difference to his actually playing shots. As for Smith and Kallis, I doubt that their injuries were significant enough to make any difference whatsoever. Kallis had had back spasms and yet he was fit enough to bowl after having nearly bent in half when being dismissed. I'm not saying that either was faking but I am saying that you are over-playing their injuries to make SA look better than they were. The fact is that the teams were quite evenly matched in the end and, with out the rain, the result could have gone either way.

  • on August 7, 2012, 6:18 GMT

    ok Matty1979, how many medals has Scotland, Wales and England won respectively at the Games? GB when it suites you, but 3 seperate entities when it doesnt. Swann will probably come in for one of your SA orphins (KP). Seems like his talents is not worth the trouble he is causing in the ranks.

  • DeathKnell on August 7, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    @Shan156 - SA declared....period.. then it does nt matter how many wickets they lost...there is nothing like Eng preferred /tried..etc..they had to save their face by doing some drama out there...had Cook been given out for his lbw, the match would been over much earlier... later in the innings, when Cook got out I liked the commentators saying (after the drinks/ Message-from-AndyFlower break) "no matter what message was sent by Eng-team to the batsmen, but Steyn sends a strong message to Eng" ... thats the real story....

  • Alexk400 on August 7, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    England can not win. KP issue gona affect ENGLAND and They will lose next TEST. 100% guranteed.

  • Vleis on August 7, 2012, 5:08 GMT

    @ Meety re Broad's photo and "5million aeon": hilarious, had me in stiches!

  • on August 7, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    In SA we rate Broad , Swan and KP - good to see Broad back !! When Broad fires he always troubles our batsmen and it is great to watch. Finn looked ok and Bell justs gets better all the time. Bring on the next test !!

  • raj_24 on August 7, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    IF Eng draw or win the lords test Eng would remain No1.

    SA have to win Lords to get no.1 .

    1-0 sereis win makes eng and SA tied on same no. of points .

  • raj_24 on August 7, 2012, 4:23 GMT

    Captaincy: 1.Ponting was captain far too long than needed , should have been dropped from captain after 2009 ashes Aus would have benefitted 2.Dhoni : Won mostly in ind/sl .but has WC to his credit. He too has been in the job for 4 yrs , a normal shelf life of any captain 3.Strauss : 3 good yrs. But now innovatipn needed . Ian Chappell pointed it out that strauss is comfortable with bresnan rather than the attacking and more pacy finn. Strauss likes to make game safe before attacking. I think the most attacking and innovative skipper currently is Clarke from australia.

    Strauss is now on the wane(3+yrs and lack of imagination) and may be someone like Cook can be given the reins after the indian tour.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 7, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    2nd Test Match was basically SA vs England Imports (KP). How embarrassing!!! Very sporting decision by Smith to declare, Strauss's idea of giving it a go was opening with pietersen and once that failed - shut up shop immediately. Some shocking decisions by the umpires too it has to be said - Smith and De Villers decisions. SA troops will re-group for the final push at Lords. 1-0 up in the series and sitting pretty. England with the so-called no.1 team will be removed and will be force england to send even more scouts to SA to steal young talent to play county cricket.

  • jmcilhinney on August 7, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    There were many keen to disparage Broad before and even during this game. He certainly hasn't looked to be at his best lately but that was an excellent spell in the second innings. It's a shame that it didn't come earlier but better late than never. It will certainly help his confidence going into the final game. Shall we ask Kallis whether he thinks Broad is an over-rated medium pacer? One has to wonder what effect Swann's absence had, if any. KP got 3 wickets and had another one dropped. Would Swann have done better? Maybe, maybe not. I'd guess that he would have been more economical. He may also have been brought on earlier and maybe got through the left-handed openers sooner. Maybe.

  • jango_moh on August 7, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    too many bad decisions in this game inspite of DRS.. not at all convinced by DRS so far.... smith, devilliers were not out.. and cook was clearly out...

  • satish619chandar on August 7, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    @MattyP1979 : Smith is not a conservative guy.. Always pushes it whenever he gets opportunity.. Was a bit surprised to see Strauss think about going for it..

  • satish619chandar on August 7, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Good game guys.. Pity it didn't have the end but still, both teams tried their best to make something out of it.. I dont think Broad's 5 wicket haul will make the scanner go out of him.. It was a spell where opponents were looking to bash it.. England need to look in at the composition next game.. I would still give up the No.6 batter for Swann next game..

  • on August 7, 2012, 3:17 GMT

    It has to be said that the Englishmen should have tried to chase down the target with more vigour.Once KP was dismissed it seemed as though the game was meandering to an inevitable draw.But in this era of T20 a run rate of just over 6 should have been given a more serious shot.The fact that England can only draw the series from here on in itself is a victory for the Proteas.A drawn series in England at a time when the English is regarded as the best test side in the world is in itself akin to a victory.The momentum is with Smith and his boys.They should emerge victors from here on......!!!

  • kevin_se_doos_24 on August 7, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    @ Hammond - just keep telling yourself that. The only momentum that has been with England has been one session when KP smashed it all over. After that they were back to their mediocre selves. Smith and De Villiers were shocking decisions... good that happened though as it will ensure Broad plays at Lords... helps SA! Still unbeaten away since 2006!

  • Meety on August 7, 2012, 2:45 GMT

    The file pic of Broad is not very flattering, not a Rugby player's build!

  • MattyP1979 on August 7, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    Would love to see this series played over 5 games but not to be. This series has been quite entertaining but not as much as I hoped for. Lets hope for a real belter at the home of cricket and another hard fought game. Anglo bashers how are your countries doing in the Olympics lol.

  • MattyP1979 on August 7, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    Eng can at least take a few more positves from this test. Swann back in at the expense of who knows. As I have said going into this it might be the pefect chance to try 5-1-5. More improvement needed can we deliver? Good to see both captains (considered conservative) going for it. Good test, onto Lords, we might end up losing the no.1 spot but at least the ashes are safe lol.

  • Shan156 on August 7, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    @Gerard Pereira, SA were batting aggressively to set a total for England and, in the process, lost a few wickets but England losing 4 wickets was due to their ineptness? It has got nothing to do with the fact that they were trying to pull off an highly improbable victory? C'mon, be fair. If England preferred they could have shut shop and played for the draw. Instead, they tried to go for the win and lost some wickets. Kudos to Strauss for even trying.

  • Hammond on August 7, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    England will win the final test and all will be as it was. Shame there wasn't another test to play in the series, momentum is definitely shifting towards England. Go Boys!

  • on August 7, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    Should have opened with Taylor in the 4th innings, just told him there was no pressure and see if he could play quickly fluently and give them an outside chance. If he and KP had gotten going it wouldn't have been impossible!

  • Meety on August 7, 2012, 1:32 GMT

    @maximum6 "...there was not a single remote nanochance of England losing, not in 5million aeons..." - hmmm, what happenned on Saturday 28th January 2012? I'll give you a hint, Pakistan, UAE & 2nd Test, AND 36 overs, 3 over less than what they could of faced here! More than a nanochance buddy, & given it happnned this year, a more likely occurance than a one in a "...5million aeon..."

  • Last_ride on August 7, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    What south africa got lucky.What a lame excuse . Its england who got lucky.Cook was plumb LBW to tahir.If that was given out England would have been in serious trouble.

  • noplay on August 7, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    The cricket that was played out on the final day was approached as what it was... a one inning game (ODI). Does anyone really think SA would have lost all those wickets on that pitch in normal test circumstances? And does anyone think that England would have had a go at it if they did not have the fall back position of settling for a draw?

  • on August 7, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    @ J-P There are no two best teams, only the best and that is South Africa....England ordinary, trailing 1-0 at HOME. Can't even win at home.

  • stogster on August 7, 2012, 0:38 GMT

    The great Roebuck himself couldn't have written this any better: "For all his inelegance, he is a special breed of cricketer. He defended his wicket with the resolve and physical presence of a Greco-Roman wrestler imagining he was fighting himself."

  • jezzastyles on August 7, 2012, 0:23 GMT

    One other thing to bear in mind - SA were crippled by injuries sustained in this test - you can't tell me that it didn't factor into the closeness of the match. Congratulations to Broad - just goes to show that pace isn't everything. Swann back into the side for Lords. As for the final test, I reckon Amla will chalk up a big hundred & Steyn will run rampant. Anderson and Swann will make their marks as well, I expect a return to their usual wicket-taking ways. It'll be a tight contest. I reckon 60/40 in SA favour. PS - at best, ENG can only draw the series with a win at Lords, and a drawn home series by the current #1 ranked side is nothing to crow about, so let's gain a little perspective, shall we?

  • on August 7, 2012, 0:18 GMT

    RandyOZ you should worry about your own team your A team lost to Durham who are currently the worst team in championship one and they did not have their best bowlers available

  • on August 7, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    England on the fortunate side of several decisions once again. Smith and de Villiers should never have been given out.

  • jezzastyles on August 7, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    I have to chuckle at some of the comments for this article. @Hammond - hard to say that the rain saved SA - because SA knew that time was the issue, so they may not have played in the same manner had there been more time remaining - and ENG may still have fallen short - if Broad can take a surprise 5-for, then I'm sure Steyn and co could have reciprocated - you're clutching at straws. @Guernica: yep, mate, keep on that train of thought, positive thinking & all that. One thing ENG will have to do at Lords is hold their chances!! There is little doubt that this was an even contest, but neither team can really claim any dominance as the weather was the determining factor of the game. ENG can win at Lords, and if they do, it will be one of the greatest comebacks in their history - but SA aren't going to roll over & surrender - their form over the last 6-years shows they DON'T lose away series, ever. I really don't like your chances, but you do have a quality side, so good luck.

  • Ross_Co on August 6, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @RandyOZ - There seems to be nothing that KP can't do: He can bat, he can bowl, he can play for either side. Aussies will probably get another glimpse of this renaissance man when he tours with Smith's side later this year. Unless he gets a better offer from Bangladesh of course.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 6, 2012, 23:29 GMT

    Who was responsible for making this a 3 test series??? Hanging is too good for these people.

  • dontlikecricket on August 6, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    SA made 400 plus in first innings so that was the difference. Any team making that sort of score is relativley unlikey to loose despite a lower score in the 2nd. Only good point for England was KP inings. Broad 5 in second is not surprising on fifth day pitch. I am not entirley sure about whole number 1 debate. England lost to Pak, drew in SL and may be able to draw series in the third test (depending upon the weather conditions and if SA is unable to score around 400 in first innings!!). One thing I can be certain off, this English team is not compareable to WI of 80s or Aus of 90s.

  • on August 6, 2012, 23:08 GMT

    Why is this not a five test series, two best teams in the world!

  • on August 6, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    To say South Africa were saved by rain is ridiculous. Towards the end South africa threw their wickets away trying to set large enough total before a declaration, and at 130 for four England were on the ropes. Smith , Petersen, and Kallis were all carrying injuries . In fact it can be argued that if it had not been for rain England would no longer be number one..Rain prevented a SA clean sweep in New Zealand that would have seen them climb to number one after England were pathetically whitewashed by Pakistan.

  • Guernica on August 6, 2012, 22:48 GMT

    No mention of Kallis? He was supposed to be a serious injury worry yesterday, but was bowling by the end of the game, so clearly not serious back problems.

  • Guernica on August 6, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    Great - things are falling into place nicely for England to square the series at Lords, retain their number one ranking and wind up some of our Indian and Australian friends on here.

  • mahjut on August 6, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Shan156 - if you follow SA cricket you'll know that their win/draw ratio is not that surprising ... however, the aura seems like it may be changing - maybe donald and kirsten or maybe an illusion - l think the next test will tell us a lot more (this test seems more evidence that they're becoming a bit more than a paper-based team...finally 9and hopefully)

  • shovwar on August 6, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    Most of the English fan things that SA are lucky....U guys missed the point completely....SA were brilliant and sporting.....I never seen SA bat like this agressive before. Thats the only reason they lose wickets but also scored enough run to beat England quickly. In another day England would not even get the chance to bat. Amla, Kallis, AB and co did not play defensive. if they did SA would have batted the day out England would have not got 9 wkts neither Broad would have got 5 wkts. Its the choice SA made since there was no time. I dont Believe England would have survived it if there was more time anyway. But yes SA controlled the Test and played exactly the way it was needed in the situation. In another situation SA would have piled up those runs slowly. Good sports SA. BTW England still did not finish taking 20 SA wkts this series.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 6, 2012, 22:18 GMT

    any reader who had not seen the final chapter of the Test might think that England were rescued for the brink of a cataclysm. Sorry but I saw it.. there was not a single remote nanochance of England losing, not in 5million aeons.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 6, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    @randyoz- Which touring A side just lost to an English county in 3 days??

  • landl47 on August 6, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    Honours pretty much even after an attempt to breathe life into a game that always looked to be heading for a draw. South Africa's declaration was predictably very much on the safe side of sporting (and who can blame them, since they are one up in the series?) and though England made a token attempt, no side has ever scored over 250 at more than a run a ball to win a test match and England never really looked like being the first. Still, unlike the first test, this game was even and showed there really isn't much between these two teams. I think England will have taken a little more from the match than SA, as after the first test England's confidence will have been dented and this match will have gone some way to restoring it. If Swann comes back for Lord's, as he certainly should, we could be in for a great game- weather permitting, that is.

  • mahjut on August 6, 2012, 22:01 GMT

    MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb... the target was set by AB mainly who upped the rate considerably (or do you think KP is an actual wicket taker?) after Smith and Rudolph had made the game safe. Once they'd done that, they could simply have kept wickets and shut up shop but they set about making a target (using KPs offies). strauss though, contrary to your suggestion, did not chase boldly ... he had to create the facade, but it was never on and there were never enough overs for SA to bowl them out on so Strauss' decsion was a no-brainer. where Strauss erred was sending KP in to open - a clear signal that England believe they only have one weapon - while SA who almost certainly would've seen KPs 3rd/4th innings contributions, would have known that he'd have a very short innings - but they may also have thought "get KP and a few English hearts may jump to mouth" ... thankfully, for the sake of an interesting third test, trott held firm while Smith allowed Kallis a short physio/recovery workout

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    So KP is a definite for the spinners spot in the next test then? Surely they wouldn't waste a spot on the hapless Swann? He's too busy working on his next book.

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    England must be congratulated, they have officially overtaken India as the worst number 1 ranked cricket team of all time!

  • Vleis on August 6, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    The bowling conditions were better for SA in the first test and they used them to good effect to ultimately annihilate England. The bowling conditions were better for England in the second test; however, while they improved significantly on their first test performance, they were still not good enough to even win the test...let alone thrash SA. In short, SA is comfortably ahead at present and shouldn't have much problem taking the series...in theory. In practice though...the SA batting line-up misfires (badly) every third test, so England has a reasonable chance to salvage some pride.

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 21:55 GMT

    As most cricketers who have a clue predicted, there was no way in China England was ever gonna win this series. They just do not have any depth that could challenge South Africa. This was no better displayed when they took 2 wickets in an entire test match, and 1 of those was lucky! Face is guys, England just can't cut the mustard, and as history shows us, only ever do well when Australia is rebuilding.

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 21:50 GMT

    another dismal performance by the so-called number 1 team. Going along the theme of their 6 losses in 10 tests since becoming 1, they have been outperformed in ever facet of the game. The prformance isn't the biggest problem though; it's the worrying lack of depth and talent in England at the moment. Despite continually being proped up by imports, it still isn't being acknowledged. I'd say that are up a certain creek without a paddle.

  • dropoutguy on August 6, 2012, 21:41 GMT

    Pietersen has gone too far this time. His remarks this evening undermine team unity.

    He will have to be told that in the absence of a full retraction he is to be dropped.

  • hhillbumper on August 6, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Just Heard KP has thrown his toys out of the pram.He can certainly play but it is time to move on from him.He will do great in IPL and they can pamper his ego til the cows come home.Not sure where this has gone wrong but enough now.Either he wants to play or he doesn't. Bye KP we enjoyed you as a batsman but it wouold appear England is another team you can't play with.Notts,Hants now England.Detecting an issue yet KP?

  • Shan156 on August 6, 2012, 21:30 GMT

    Strauss looks past it and should not continue as captain. Cook to take over as captain for the India series. Definitely a tough ask for your first series as captain but I believe Cook will do very well. Strauss, though, should be given one more opportunity as an opening batsman in India. That is a country where he has done quite well. Perhaps if he is not captain anymore, he would perform better with the bat? Hard to drop him since I don't think there are too many, if any, county openers knocking on the door to be selected as England opener especially for a tough tour

  • MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb on August 6, 2012, 21:29 GMT

    Bit bemused as to why Smith is getting so much credit for "setting a target" with a crock and a no 11 at the crease... as if it wouldn't have been over in a couple of overs anyway. More kudos due to Strauss for attempting to chase the runs down until fall of 4th wicket when it never really looked possible. He's slightly made up for poor decisions of bowling first and leaving out Swann.

  • Shan156 on August 6, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    @Warren Mendes, I hear you but you got to consider that it is not worth it if a key player is injured in the last few overs when the draw is all but guaranteed. Coming to the series, even though I am an England fan and would like nothing more than England winning the last test and securing their #1 ranking, it doesn't look promising. SA are a highly talented bunch and it is hardly a surprise that they haven't lost a series for quite some time now, home or away. What is surprising, though, is the fact that they have only won 3 of their last 10 test series and those three wins were against not so formidable test sides. With the talent at their disposal, they should be bullying teams into submission like they did to England in the first test. Good comeback from England but the team does not look settled with the KP fiasco and the shocking omission of Graeme Swann. Swann will return for the Lord's showdown but who will he replace? Finn would most likely be the guy to give way.

  • o-bomb on August 6, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    Gutted that the weather has robbed us of what might have been a great finish. Had we had no rain we could have had another half day at least of cricket, which almost certainly would have produced a result of some kind. We'll never know who would have won.

  • on August 6, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    This should be a 5-test series, and would be fantastic to watch. However, it seems to be the modern-day trend to eschew the excitement and the genuine thrill of the contest of test match cricket and go for the "easy-money" alternative of the one-dayers. Easy to say in hindsight maybe, but what did anyone get out of the series with Australia in a cricketing sense? There just to fulfil contracts? Maybe, but why were those contracts drawn up.

    Regardless, SA have shown themselves to be a super team, and it would be churlish to say they don't deserve the status as no 1. England's bowling unit haven't lived up to expectations (did the "rest" do them any good, keep them fresh, hungry and ready?) and their batting has been average.

    By the way, I do not think (unlike some writers here) that test cricket is an anachronism - it remains the ultimate test of a player, technically and mentally.

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 20:58 GMT

    Oh and well done Broad on the 5 for and Trott and Bell for seeing Eng through to the draw

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 20:54 GMT

    @Fenderman on (August 06 2012, 19:40 PM GMT) SA also have a very decent record at Lords but I can understand why they wanted to play safer once Prior went. It seemed strange that they brought Prior in behind Trott but ahead of Bell and Taylor? Also with KP taking wickets it does make you wonder how Swann or Monty would have done on here. I was also a bit disappointed with Finn and wonder if Onions might have done better here.

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 20:53 GMT

    Again some silly comms saying SA would have won or Eng would have won etc. Unfortunately the game was rain interrupted and didn't reach a natural conclusion. I don't really think it was for sporting reasons that Smith declared. At 9 down it was only a matter of time that SA would be all out and maybe SA wanted a psychological edge in that Eng have still not bowled SA out twice and also he maybe fancied Eng crumbling with a win securing the number 1 spot. As it turned out the match was pretty level towards the end with no clear favourites. Well played both teams.

  • JG2704 on August 6, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    @Bramblefly on (August 06 2012, 18:17 PM GMT) Great riposte to one of the hissy fits there bud

  • on August 6, 2012, 20:46 GMT

    foolish 3 test series should not determine who is no 1

  • H_Z_O on August 6, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    Sorry, forgot to say, that wasn't an attack on Tahir, who is a brilliant player and who we may never have seen at international level (Pakistan produce so many good spinners) if fate hadn't intervened. Besides, it's a pretty nice twist on the "boy meets girl" story.

    Just wish we could move past the personal attacks on the heritage of certain players. If they're eligible to represent a country (and they all are, Tahir included) then let them. It would be bad for the game if we didn't have these players around. Banter's one thing, criticise England for not being as good as South Africa (which, you could easily say, they haven't been), but leave out the South Africa vs South Africa thing. It demeans your points and makes you look like someone who can't appreciate the game.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 6, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    A three-test series with the two best teams in the world, playing in a rain-swept England... Shameful really. Finally Broad gets into action, albeit too late. At least JG2704 will be happy, no? Already looking forward to Lords now. The hype here will be phenomenal.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 6, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    Magnificent decision to open the batting with Pietersen, showed Strauss's attackingness and sportsmanship approcah for making an attempt at a game. What a match we would have had if rain hadn't lost us a day: Just like the times the rain saved Australia when V England, and England take away a lot of positives from this one. And How is it the world's best two cricket teams are only playing a 3 match series? With Australia so bad, why should the Ashes be a 5 match series and the contest between the world's best two teams by a country mile only get a 3 test series?

  • StatisticsRocks on August 6, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    At least there was some drama on the last day to otherwise almost certain heading to a draw test match. Next on to LORDS to decide who the next #1 in test matches is going to be. Seeing Philander bowling for the first time, to me he looked very ordinary. Again this is based on the last two test matches only as i have not seen him bowl prior to this series. ENG did have a much better test match in terms of batting. I had mentioned in one of the posts earlier if KP joins the party in scoring runs SA will have a difficult task at their hand. I still think ENG can pull off a win in the final match as they have a very formidable bowling line up. IMO ENG have a better all round bowling attack than SA as Morkel can be destructive but highly erratic and Philander looks ordinaryl. These two sides match up well against each other. One last advise to ENG (not that it matters)..do not drop your best spinner in SWAN for the last test match.

  • SnowSnake on August 6, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    I am not sure why SA fans are praising their team so much? If England had some more time and overs then they could have won this match. Taking four English wickets do not mean much when England is playing at a strike rate of 5 rpo as compared to 3 rpo. For the most part it was a T20 match in the beginning of England's innings. In this game, both SA and England were evenly matched. Overall fair result. To say any one team was better than the other would be foolish in my opinion.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 6, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    @cool2cool (post on August 06 2012, 18:15 PM GMT): KP also started out as a bowler over in SA...

  • kmpm on August 6, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    this is pretty insidious for English and they may think they did far better only to realize they were never in a position to win the game. English are playing as if they do in the non-english conidtions or any other pretty ordinary visitor would perform. SA are thrashing them in their own yard. please dont come up with positives for England after the series.

  • on August 6, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    @ cheguramana speak for yourself mate, as far as I'm concerned today was one of the best days of cricket I've seen. You can keep your ODIs and T-20s, and there is nothing wrong with them. But give me a choice out of which 3 to see, then I'll take tests everytime.

  • Hammond on August 6, 2012, 19:59 GMT

    Weather beat England in this test. Lucky South Africa.

  • Fenderman on August 6, 2012, 19:40 GMT

    Pity about the outcome. I thought Smith's declaration was positive and sporting. Chasing 253 within 40 overs is not a piece of cake, but it's not impossible. I expected Pietersen and Cook to open the batting but after Pietersen lost his wicket I was expecting Prior or maybe even Taylor to come in. Instead Strauss came in at 3. After that, England showed almost no real urgency and seemed happy with a draw. If so, it's a dangerous tactic. Another draw at Lords - which, taking the rained out English summer into consideration, is not unrealistic - and the Proteas take the series and the number 1 spot. I can only agree with David Hopps! "Why, oh why, is this a three-Test series?"

  • aarfeen on August 6, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    well well well....WELL DONE K.P with bat & ball ....after this match england selector,coach or the caption should realize that how important K.P is for them...if their eyes were closed before the probable squad of T20 ...thats why they didnt took him ..now atleast they should take him...becoz other than bopara and morgan ..their batting look very flat....... hales...kieswetter..butler ..baristaw..patel are not just enough in srliankan wickets..plz..pzl...plz...take him for T-20 W.C.

  • cheguramana on August 6, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Fair result for both teams. Hard fought draw. England coming back from the dead, thanks to South African born-and-bred Pietersen. My money on SA for winning the series - all they need to do is draw the last test, theres a good chance they wl win that. If you pause to think abt it, who really has the time, patience and interest to track a test series for what ? 3 weeks ? Sure, Tests are the 'elite' form. And I enjoy watching two top teams go at each other. But the fan following for such a sport has to got to be limited. Test cricket is a holdover, an anachromism in the present day world. I am not saying it shud die out. But its only natural for ODIs and T20s to attract a lot more attention from sports fans. And Test cricket buffs shud not grudge that; or moan endlessly abt immenent decline/death of Test cricket. Its more important for cricket to grow overall, as a sport, among many other team games which compete for talent.

  • DeathKnell on August 6, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    @Martin Ford - well said.. u missed an important one though.. Cook's decision - where he was saved by the umpire from a plumb lbw, bowled by ITahir..if SA had got that, then Smith cud have accomplished the real kill before time.....

  • Shafaet_001 on August 6, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Smith has really changed and became a much more sporting captain. In any other series he would've gone to a totally defensive mode,remember the last test against newzeland when they batted too long,or last series against england at home. But that attitude has changed,i think its the effect of the great gary kirstan!!

  • scritty on August 6, 2012, 18:59 GMT

    South Africa very lucky. If the time that was lost in this match were available England would win with considerable ease. Broad still needs dropping - he is a slow liability. His batting has got worse and he only bothers to break the 84mph mark after he already has a wicket. Finn too should go, as should Strauss, Bresnan and Pietersen. Alex Hales, Stephen Croft Swann and Meaker or Onions (or Tremlett) to come in. England sticking with players who are not performing and leaving the real talent playing FC cricket. Englands seamers might have beaten the bat, but FInn and Broad bowled SO SLOWLY. Bresnan's pace is also down. Kallis was noticably quicker than all of them - and he's almost 37 years old and not a specialist bowler. A disgrace. Strauss is past it and Pietersen is a show pony. Both out please. Let's see Englands REAL talent given a go and not keep picking these "yesterday" men out of sentinmentality!

  • richardror on August 6, 2012, 18:57 GMT

    What a great game and brilliant last day! A great time of back and forth cricket however can't help realising that England would have won without the rain delays which firstly helped the SA batsmen who were struggling before lunch on the Sunday and also lost a lot of time. Well done to Smith for declaring and making a game of it!

  • on August 6, 2012, 18:39 GMT

    I am a cricket fan, but I CANNOT understand why they would not have just played out the last few overs! Even if a result was unlikely, isn't that what the fans paid to see? Soem cricket? Are the players too lazy to see the last few overs out? are they tired? Do they have somewhere else to be? Do't they need the practice? This kind of thing is the reason why none cricket playing nations think that the game is a joke. Soccer players don't stop the game a few minutes before the end because none has scored!

  • Bramblefly on August 6, 2012, 18:17 GMT

    @Counterstrike1.6: I think it was you on Saturday dismissing Pietersen as a flat track bully. Now Broad's a green pitch bully. He's got the secret of growing lush grass in 2 days. I must have him come and see to my lawn.

  • cool2cool on August 6, 2012, 18:15 GMT

    What's fuss KP scoring the runs and taking wickets against SA. These are the people with whom he learnt the cricket and started his career.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on August 6, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    They were going for it till Prior's silly run out, shame a day was lost as itcould have gone either way. The 4 wickets were patently down to England going for it as they did. KP references are boring and repetitive can't people come up with something more original yawn.

  • cool2cool on August 6, 2012, 18:13 GMT

    United 11 saved by the rain...

  • no.1_multicultural_team on August 6, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    misadventure followed by meek surrender

  • hhillbumper on August 6, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    Randy.I have been meaning to ask you what you think of having cricket at the olympics? I mean your country seems to have given up swimming so maybe you could get a bronze if it was in.Might be indias only chance of a medal as well?

  • letsgoproteas on August 6, 2012, 16:46 GMT

    Front-Foot-Lunge - If anything England are the ones who were saved by the rain?

    KP carrying england yet again... and englands fairweather fans get behind him yet again.. until he fails and he is south african and a 'distraction' to englands cause... yet again... Same old story.

    Broad managed to get 4 dodgy wickets so maybe he will be the hero of this test and the English media will take the light of Pietersens brilliant game.

  • Krisis85 on August 6, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Gosh, as a Saffa-supporter my heart is in my mouth - finally; found the test fairly boring until this afternoon. Now it doesn't look like a certain draw. Sad to see the limping, injured players, but we seem to have a battle on our hands now. Well done England, and good luck SA :D (Btw, enjoying all the snarking in the commentaries on this match, but I think in the end the #1 side is the one who wins, regardless of whether the one side might have better ranked players. Hoping it would be SA, but if they don't manage to beat England - whether it's because of bad luck or injuries or choking or whatever; they simply don't deserve it. It's a harsh thing to say as a supporter, but in sport: 'To the victor goes the spoils', simple as that. :( Holding thumbs tightly though, go SA!)

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    259 to chase. I think, English batsmen will score at most 100; that makes a total of approx. 150 (including KP's 50) !

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Congrats England. Green pitch Bully Broad is back ! All these wickets he takes on Fast and Bouncy pitches are meaningless as any fast bowler can claim to be a Lion on Fast and Bouncy Tracks and when he tours sub-continent, he looks like a domestic bowler. If pitch assists him, he picks wickets and when pitch doesn't, he tries to hide face. As simple as that. By the way Congrats SA for putting up a decent score, this should prove to be more than enough for English Batsmen and KP. Hoping for a good contest, though.

  • just_Test_lover on August 6, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Maybe 3 reviews should be allowed. 1 extra to rereview a review?

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 6, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    We've lost an entre day in this match due to rain, and South Africa have been saved by the rain, just like Australia have been saved by the rain so many times before V England. Lots to take from this match for England, however; such a shame that the world's best two cricket teams are playing each other in a series only three games in length.

  • on August 6, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    England got extremely lucky with two ridiculous decisions going their way (the wickets of Smith and De Villiers). The rest of their "success" in this innings followed from that but they bowled well after those errors from the umpires. On the positive side, the game has opened up and a non draw finish is possible but still pretty unlikely. Looking forward to the final session.

  • on August 6, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Gritty Graeme proves for the umpteenth time that he is such a valuable and dependable batsman.Inelegance attributed to his batting could be overlooked on the sheer basis of his ability to play those match winning and match saving knocks that he is so used to ,especially in the 2 nd innings.

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Well it looks like KP vs. South Africa, South African Mercenary vs. South Africa. More wickets than any bowler, and far more effective than Swann. What a total embarassment.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Well done KP. First with bat and now ball. You have really made South-Africans and your fans proud. Lol where are England players and what are they doing ?

  • YS_USA on August 6, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    I read in earlier comments that the duel between KP and Stein was mesmorizing, but they would have dueled mesmorizingly 5 times on 5 different days if they were playing OIDs and there will be 5 results, 5 victories and may be a few thrillers. In the recently concluded, the last, 5th SL/India OID, SL had a chance to win after 6 wickets, after 7 wickets, after 8 wickets and even after 9 wickets, so it was interesting and nail-biting though it was not a thriller as it did not go to the last over.

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  • YS_USA on August 6, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    I read in earlier comments that the duel between KP and Stein was mesmorizing, but they would have dueled mesmorizingly 5 times on 5 different days if they were playing OIDs and there will be 5 results, 5 victories and may be a few thrillers. In the recently concluded, the last, 5th SL/India OID, SL had a chance to win after 6 wickets, after 7 wickets, after 8 wickets and even after 9 wickets, so it was interesting and nail-biting though it was not a thriller as it did not go to the last over.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Well done KP. First with bat and now ball. You have really made South-Africans and your fans proud. Lol where are England players and what are they doing ?

  • RandyOZ on August 6, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Well it looks like KP vs. South Africa, South African Mercenary vs. South Africa. More wickets than any bowler, and far more effective than Swann. What a total embarassment.

  • on August 6, 2012, 14:47 GMT

    Gritty Graeme proves for the umpteenth time that he is such a valuable and dependable batsman.Inelegance attributed to his batting could be overlooked on the sheer basis of his ability to play those match winning and match saving knocks that he is so used to ,especially in the 2 nd innings.

  • on August 6, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    England got extremely lucky with two ridiculous decisions going their way (the wickets of Smith and De Villiers). The rest of their "success" in this innings followed from that but they bowled well after those errors from the umpires. On the positive side, the game has opened up and a non draw finish is possible but still pretty unlikely. Looking forward to the final session.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 6, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    We've lost an entre day in this match due to rain, and South Africa have been saved by the rain, just like Australia have been saved by the rain so many times before V England. Lots to take from this match for England, however; such a shame that the world's best two cricket teams are playing each other in a series only three games in length.

  • just_Test_lover on August 6, 2012, 15:25 GMT

    Maybe 3 reviews should be allowed. 1 extra to rereview a review?

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Congrats England. Green pitch Bully Broad is back ! All these wickets he takes on Fast and Bouncy pitches are meaningless as any fast bowler can claim to be a Lion on Fast and Bouncy Tracks and when he tours sub-continent, he looks like a domestic bowler. If pitch assists him, he picks wickets and when pitch doesn't, he tries to hide face. As simple as that. By the way Congrats SA for putting up a decent score, this should prove to be more than enough for English Batsmen and KP. Hoping for a good contest, though.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 6, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    259 to chase. I think, English batsmen will score at most 100; that makes a total of approx. 150 (including KP's 50) !

  • Krisis85 on August 6, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Gosh, as a Saffa-supporter my heart is in my mouth - finally; found the test fairly boring until this afternoon. Now it doesn't look like a certain draw. Sad to see the limping, injured players, but we seem to have a battle on our hands now. Well done England, and good luck SA :D (Btw, enjoying all the snarking in the commentaries on this match, but I think in the end the #1 side is the one who wins, regardless of whether the one side might have better ranked players. Hoping it would be SA, but if they don't manage to beat England - whether it's because of bad luck or injuries or choking or whatever; they simply don't deserve it. It's a harsh thing to say as a supporter, but in sport: 'To the victor goes the spoils', simple as that. :( Holding thumbs tightly though, go SA!)