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Amla and rain hold up England

Rain and a fine innings by Hashim Amla slowed England's progress on the third day of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Oval on Saturday.

cricket Updated: Aug 09, 2008 22:21 IST

Rain and a fine innings by Hashim Amla slowed England's progress on the third day of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Oval on Saturday.

Amla made 71 not out as South Africa reached 110 for two in their second innings, still 12 behind England's first innings total.

Only 17.5 overs were bowled Saturday before rain, which started falling before lunch, prevented any further play.

Good weather is forecast for the remaining two days, however, and South Africa will need to continue to bat well to prevent England from gaining a consolation victory in a series in which the tourists hold a winning 2-0 lead.

Amla was the mainstay of the South African innings, reaching a half-century off 64 balls with ten crisply-struck boundaries.

When rain stopped play he had faced 86 balls and hit 14 fours.

In gloomy conditions, overnight batsmen Neil McKenzie and Amla made steady progress against some wayward bowling from Steve Harmison and James Anderson.

They took the total from the overnight 37 for one to 82 before the first bowling change of the day brought success.

Stuart Broad replaced Anderson and with his fourth delivery bowled McKenzie off an inside edge for 29.

Andrew Flintoff came on for Harmison and was punched through the covers off the back foot as Amla reached his fifty.

Amla had an escape on 58 when an attempted drive against Flintoff flew off an inside edge. Wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose flung himself to his left but could not hold a difficult chance.