Toss: England. Test debut: M. Hayward.
A much improved performance by England denied South Africa their 11th successive home victory. Indeed, had the tourists seized the initiative when South Africa were 146 for five in their first innings, they might have gained an unexpected success. But not for the first time, South Africa's middle and late order, led by the dashing Klusener, enabled their side to reach a substantial total. Klusener was named Man of the Match, but there was not a lot in it between him and Hussain. The England captain, as resolute and single-minded as Atherton had been at Johannesburg when captain on the previous tour, defied South Africa's five-man pace attack for five hours two minutes as England battled for the draw they deserved.
They were not helped by some debatable decisions from umpire Rudi Koertzen, who after the match offered a public apology for his mistakes. Unlike Bob Woolmer, who as South Africa's coach had openly criticised the umpires in the Second Test ofthe 1995-96 series, England coach Fletcher refused to comment on five questionable decisions made by Koertzen: Boucher and Kirsten not out in the first and second innings respectively; Butcher, Vaughan and Adams out in the second. Koertzen was also involved when Dave Orchard, the third official, using television replays from South African Broadcasting's coverage, gave the green light to Kallis who, on 12 in the second innings, appeared to have been caught inches from the ground by Adams at silly point off Tufnell. Orchard had been unable to find conclusive evidence that the ball carried; had he consulted Sky Television's pictures, which revealed a fair catch, Kallis would have been out. The incident emphasised that the TV umpire should have access to all available evidence, regardless of the host broadcaster.
After South Africa had left out their spinner, Adams, to bring in fast bowler Nantie Hayward, England surprisingly included Tufnell, who rewarded his captain by containing more effectively than the seamers. Hamilton was dropped, while Silverwood replaced the injured Mullally. Gough bowled poorly, conceding five runs an over throughout South Africa's first innings, but when Tufnell had Cullinan stumped, England might have sensed a breakthrough. Instead Klusener counter-attacked with relish, reaching 50 in 72 minutes and raising the 100 partnership with Rhodes by driving Tufnell for six. Flintoff broke the stand by dismissing Rhodes, but the following morning Klusener reached three figures off just 127 balls. He went on to achieve the highest individual Test score at St George's Park, also a personal best, and share with Boucher a record eighth-wicket stand of 119 against England - surpassing the unbroken 109 between Bruce Mitchell and Lindsay Tuckett at The Oval in 1947. Klusener's 174 contained two sixes and 25 fours and was the sixth-highest score by a Test batsman coming in at No. 7. England had not bowled intelligently to him by feeding his strength outside off stump.
Butcher was bowled in the second over, but Hussain soon made his intentions clear, hitting Pollock for 4, 6, 6 off the second, fourth and fifth balls he received. Atherton, no match for Donald in the First Test, struck his adversary for four fours in one over as they raced to 139 for one, on a day when 336 runs were scored. The partnership ended when Hussain gloved Donald to the wicket-keeper, but Atherton continued to his 13th Test hundred; England's first in a Test since Stewart's 107 at Melbourne almost 12 months earlier. He was eventually one of four wickets for Hayward, making his debut on his home ground, who bowled faster than anyone else and appeared to be Donald's natural successor. Flintoff set pulses racing when he hit Pollock for four fours in five balls, but such derring-do inevitably exposed the suspect tail.
England were 77 runs adrift on first innings but Gough, with a better performance, and Caddick pegged South Africa back to 50 for three when they batted a second time. The bowlers' accuracy was reflected in South Africa's slow progress, and any ideas Cronje might have had of declaring on the fourth evening were dispelled as Kallis and Rhodes crawled along at barely two an over. He had to wait another half-hour on the final morning before setting England 302 in 79 overs.
They were five for two in the seventh over, with Atherton and Butcher out in the space of six balls. But Vaughan, again playing in his correct and measured fashion, added 75 with his captain, and there was further resistance from Stewart. However, 20 overs remained when Stewart was lbw to Pollock, to be followed by Adams - though replays showed that the ball ricocheted to cover from the batsman's pad. Hussain continued to look secure; it was the other end that was vulnerable. With four overs to go, Flintoff became Boucher's 100th Test victim (and 98th catch), the wicket-keeper getting to that milestone in fewer Tests, 23, than his predecessor for South Africa, Dave Richardson, and Australia's Wally Grout, who had shared the record with 24. Caddick was sufficiently resolute for Cronje to accept the draw with two overs remaining.
Man of the Match: L. Klusener. Attendance:30,524