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England survive in yet another thriller

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2010 01:45 IST

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Number 11 batsman Graham Onions batted out the last over for the second time in the series as England escaped with a draw on the fifth day of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Thursday.

England finished on 296 for nine after four wickets fell in the last hour. They also lost nine wickets in the first Test in Centurion.

The result meant England will go into the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg next Thursday with an unbeatable 1-0 lead.

A dramatic finish seemed unlikely when Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell batted together for almost four hours in a sixth wicket partnership which seemed to have earned a comfortable draw for their team.

But Collingwood was caught at slip off the part-time off-spinner JP Duminy with 13.3 overs remaining and as happened in the first Test at Centurion England found themselves in desperate trouble. In Duminy's next over Prior prodded a catch to de Villiers at short leg.

With up to seven fielders clustered around the bat, Stuart Broad survived without scoring a run for 22 balls before a ball from left-arm spinner Paul Harris bounced and popped off his glove for De Villiers to make another catch at short leg.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel was brought back into the South African attack and with his first ball had Bell caught at first slip by Graeme Smith after a 286-minute vigil in which he scored 78. There were 17 balls left but Onions and Graeme Swann survived against Dale Steyn and Morkel, with Onions playing out the last over from Morkel with impressive calm.

South African hopes were high when they took the second new ball one over after lunch, needing five wickets to square the series. But Collingwood survived a blistering spell of fast bowling from Dale Steyn, while the rest of the SA bowling attack made minimal impression on a pitch which played easily under a warm sun.