Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blow for England Piles the Pressure on Middle Order; Tourists' Hopes of Saving Third Test Are Hit by Loss of Two Early Wickets Leaving Collingwood and Bell to Lead the Rearguard Action. Neal Collins Reports from Cape Town

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blow for England Piles the Pressure on Middle Order; Tourists' Hopes of Saving Third Test Are Hit by Loss of Two Early Wickets Leaving Collingwood and Bell to Lead the Rearguard Action. Neal Collins Reports from Cape Town

Article excerpt

Byline: Neal Collins

ENGLAND'S hopes of miraculously saving the Third Test were thrust firmly on the broad shoulders of Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell here.

In front of another huge crowd -- the Newlands ground was sold out for the first four days and isn't far short of 10,000 today -- the tourists lost nightwatchman Jimmy Anderson (nine) and locally-born Jonathan Trott (42) in the morning session. That put the pressure on Collingwood and Bell, who unbeaten on scores of 19 and 24 respectively, took England to 203 for five -- 262 behind the hosts.

Defeat here would square the series at 1-1 going into next Thursday's final Test at the Wanderers high-altitude Johannesburg, making South Africa favourites to clinch victory in this fascinating 20-day tug-of-war.

England's so-called chase -- they needed 466 runs off 146 overs when South African captain Graeme Smith declared yesterday before tea -- was never really on. But with Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook falling after a promising century-strong opening partnership last night and Kevin Pie-tersen joining them soon afterwards, the chances of survival looked slim.

Resuming at their overnight 132 for three, Anderson -- out here for his first ever golden duck in a first innings -- survived for 45 minutes.

But he fell to the eternally fortunate Paul Harris, the non-spinning spinner, whose awful full toss was kept down by Anderson but it came off the boot and was brilliantly caught by Ashwell Prince, diving one-handed to his right.

Anderson departed for nine, but he'd done his job, batting 52 balls and supporting Trott for an hour to leave England on 153 for four.

Collingwood arrived but almost suffered a quick exit. His first ball from Harris hit something and was snapped up in the slips. The entire South African cordon went up, demanding the departure of England's most stubborn resistor.

New Zealand umpire Tony Hill gave out but Collingwood immediately called for a review.

Without hot-spot technology or the snickometer stump microphone, there was no evidence of a touch as the ball went through to hit his hip. The decision went in Collingwood's favour. Gamesmanship by the hosts? Did they really hear something? Hard to tell.

But in the light of their ball-tampering allegations that apparently orchestrated appeal wasn't quite what you'd call cricket either.

That reprieve may have unsettled Trott though. Seven overs later, the world's top ranked Test bowler Dale Steyn, now fully recovered from the hamstring injury which forced him out of the drawn First Test in Centurion last month, worked his 90mph magic.

Trott, on 42 from 99 deliveries full of fiddling and remarking his crease, saw his off-stump go flying as Steyn produced a touch of nip from the seam and squeezed the ball between bad and pad to leave England tottering on 160 for five. …

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