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Advantage SA.....!

heh, heh.......heh, heh.........

South Africa beat England by 10 wickets on the fourth day to take a 1-0 lead into the final two Tests of the series.

Resuming on 50-2, Alastair Cook batted well for 60, but Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell fell cheaply as Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel made England suffer.

Stuart Broad, who hit a superb unbeaten 67, and Darren Pattinson shared 61 for the last wicket to help England reach 327 and just avoid an innings defeat.

But the tourists needed seven balls to hit the nine runs needed to win.

It completed a miserable six days for England in the series. They were unable to close out a win at Lord's and were then totally outplayed at Headingley.

England seemed certain to lose by an innings, but Broad hit the ball so sweetly in a defiant last-wicket stand.

Alastair Cook lasted 178 balls for a patient 60 but did not get enough support from the middle order.

Critically, Pietersen and Bell fell either side of lunch to eliminate any chance of England somehow avoiding defeat.

South Africa's seamers shared the wickets around, with Steyn and Morkel each taking three on the day and seven in the match, while Mark Boucher took his total number of catches in the Test to nine.

England, having been thoroughly outplayed throughout the match, were already in a desperate position when they began day four.

James Anderson
Anderson bravely continued his innings after two nasty moments
Cook was there, and batting well, but he had already seen Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan fall to a fired-up Makhaya Ntini on Sunday evening.

The Essex left-hander was batting with the fast-improving nightwatchman James Anderson when the day began, and the unlikely England pairing sensibly opted for survival above all else.

The tailender gradually began to play with some confidence, cutting Jacques Kallis delightfully to the cover-point boundary, and then dishing out two more off-side boundaries off the slow bowler Paul Harris.

But Anderson's positivity was drained by two vicious short-pitched deliveries from Steyn. First he was hit on the left wrist before the very next ball smashed him on the chin, with the wire grille of his helmet cutting into his face.

It looked a borderline case as to whether he should continue, but he bravely asked to play on after changing helmets.

Having frustrated Steyn further by guiding him wide of the slips for four, Anderson's ride was over when a full, fast and straight delivery crashed into his pads, bang in front of middle stump.

Yes, Cook got to 60 but too often at the moment he is getting out too quickly. His last four scores over 50 he hasn't made it past 61


He had done brilliantly to take England to the brink of lunch - adding 59 in partnership with Cook - but the next man in, Pietersen, lasted just five balls.

It was a strange innings from Pietersen, in which he hit three boundaries, the first a neat leg-glance from his first ball, the other two driven nicely on the off-side.

The Kallis delivery that got him out, pitched outside off-stump and seaming slightly away, could perhaps have been left by someone who had been at the crease longer.

But Pietersen could not really be blamed for playing defensively forward and getting the faintest of edges through to an ecstatic Boucher.

Shortly after lunch came the two decisive blows, and both were avoidable.

Bell, playing exactly the sort of shot he should have avoided, a square cut off a Morkel ball which had extra bounce, picked out gully where AB de Villiers pulled off an excellent catch.

After he lost Bell, Cook stepped up a gear, perhaps too anxious about reaching the century that had eluded him since December last year.

Kevin Pietersen
Pietersen hit three fours from his first four balls before falling
He picked up two quick boundaries, both off Kallis, but then attempted something a bit too inventive off the same bowler - trying to play a ball outside off-stump through the on-side.

The ball seamed away from him and a leading edge popped up into the covers.

Andrew Flintoff and Tim Ambrose calmly negotiated the hour and a half up to tea, with just 52 runs scored in the session.

But things changed 15 minutes after the interval when the second new ball was taken.

Though there was a welcome flurry of runs, the best of the boundaries coming when Flintoff steered Steyn through point to bring up the 200, Ambrose fell after the pair had added 68.

He tried to cut a ball that was too close to him, and Boucher took his ninth catch of the match.

Flintoff suddenly switched to full attack mode, and the sprinkling of spectators got some reward as they watched him hook Ntini and hit two booming drives off Steyn that raced to the boundary boards.

It was Morkel's bounce that did for him, though, as a checked drive was edged to Kallis at second slip.

Steyn picked up his third wicket of the innings by bowling Monty Panesar, and the last shots of defiance were played by Broad, who hit two memorable hook shots off Kallis for four.

It was actually Pattinson who ensured South Africa would have to bat again, when he hit Harris for a couple of boundaries.

But the fun ended when he was bowled by Morkel, and a scampered single in the second over of the South African chase wrapped up the victory.

heh, heh...........
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