Proteas weather the storm

Draw on the cards at Headingley

Last Updated: 06/08/12 6:04pm

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Matt Prior ensured England claimed a narrow first-innings lead before a thunderstorm wiped out the final session of day four of the second Test against South Africa at Headingley.

After Kevin Pietersen fell without adding to his overnight 149, Prior's 68 got the home side up to 425 all out, a lead of six, from a starting position of 351-5.

South Africa openers Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph dodged some afternoon showers to take the Proteas to 39-0 in their second innings when the weather prompted an early tea.

And that was it for the day meaning South Africa - who lead the three-match series 1-0 - will carry a 33-run lead into the final day.

Early exit

Pietersen missed the second ball of the morning and was lbw to Morne Morkel - revenge for the fast bowler after the mauling he took from England's number four on day three.

Prior responded with a Pietersen-style rush of boundaries, four among 23 runs off 13 deliveries.

But Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad were able to add only 10 between them, respectively caught at slip off a good ball that held its line from Vernon Philander and mis-pulling Imran Tahir to be well held by substitute fielder Faf du Plessis.

Prior was still able to pass an important 66-ball half-century, which ensured Pietersen's very good work was not squandered.

James Anderson helped the wicketkeeper poke England's noses in front, before Prior holed out sweeping at Tahir (3-92).

Then Anderson missed an attempted slog-sweep in the same over from the leg-spinner, as Tahir followed his earlier toils by taking the last three wickets in 13 balls shortly before lunch.


England's prospects were enhanced by injury niggles for key South Africa batsmen.

First-innings centurion Alviro Petersen (hamstring strain) and Jacques Kallis (back spasm) could not bat in their preferred positions, having not taken the field in the morning.

Captain Smith, who hurt himself in the field on the third evening, was fit to bat - but had strapping on his injured left knee.

He opened the second innings with Rudolph - and between the downpours, the pair were largely untroubled if subdued for 17 overs to withstand all that England's four-man pace attack could muster against them.

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England v S Africa 2nd Test

Kevin Pietersen

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Bob Willis says Kevin Pietersen may play IPL season instead of featuring for England in Tests.

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Matt Prior still thinks England can press for victory in the second Test against South Africa at Headingley if they can strike early on the final day.

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