England’s openers had reached 48 without loss by the time rain and bad light brought what turned out to be a permanent halt to proceedings at the end of the second day of the second Test against South Africa at Headingley. The tourists had earlier been bowled out for 419, with Alviro Petersen taking his overnight century to 182 before being dismissed.
Petersen began the day with a scare when he was given out leg-before to James Anderson without adding to his overnight 124, but this was overturned on review and South Africa’s sixth-wicket pair of Petersen and Rudolph weathered the early storm caused by the second new ball. They faced six successive maidens at the start of the day, but as the shine wore off the ball, their scoring rate picked up and they were able to bat out the majority of the first session.
Their 300 came up in the 105th over, while Petersen brought up his 150 off 330 balls shortly afterwards. Shortly before lunch, Andrew Strauss reluctantly turned to the off-spin of Kevin Pietersen in desperation and was almost immediately rewarded with the wicket of the circumspect Jacques Rudolph. Pietersen turned his second ball past the left-hander’s defensive push and Matt Prior whipped off the bails to complete the stumping by the narrowest of margins. The TV replays showed that Rudolph’s foot was on, and not behind the line, so he was sent on his way for 19.
Lunch came and went with South Africa on 336 for six and they continued for a while after the break to accumulate steadily before Stuart Broad induced Petersen to edge behind to Prior. Umpire Rod Tucker gave the decision not out originally, but Hot Spot showed the fattest of white marks on the edge of Petersen’s’ blade and he was sent on his way for a magnificent 182.
Steady progress was made thereafter by England, with Vernon Philander the next to go, hooking straight to local hero Tim Bresnan on the deep square-leg boundary off Steven Finn. JP Duminy and Morne Morkel then added a sprightly 39 for the ninth-wicket before Morkel chipped to mid-off and Imran Tahir followed a little later for a duck to complete the innings. JP Duminy, who must surely be one of the greatest number eights in Test history, ended on 48 not out, while Stuart Broad was much improved from his poor performance in the first Test and ended with three for 96.
Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook faced 18 overs in England’s first innings before the premature close and, aided by a wayward opening spell from Morne Morkel, survived unscathed. However, it is South Africa who will be the happier of the two sides at the end of day two as they know that it would take something special from England to defeat them from this position. Therefore, they should go into the final match at Lord’s in a fortnight with at worst a one-nil lead. If they can make early inroads tomorrow then it may be even better.
© Cricket World 2012
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