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Three quick wickets dent England’s chase

South Africa were frustrated by a century opening stand between Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook but remained on course for a series-levelling win on the fourth day of the third Test against England at Newlands.

cricket Updated: Jan 07, 2010 01:08 IST

South Africa were frustrated by a century opening stand between Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook but remained on course for a series-levelling win on the fourth day of the third Test against England at Newlands.

Set 466 to win — or bat out a potential 146 overs — England were 132 for three at the close. Strauss (45) and Cook (55) survived some hostile new ball bowling and stayed together until the 37th over before, with just over an hour’s play remaining in the day, Cook made a crucial error, top-edging a pull against Friedel de Wet to send the ball high in the air for wicketkeeper Mark Boucher to make an easy catch.

Strauss followed three overs later when he was caught at short leg off bat and pad off left-arm spinner Paul Harris. England’s hopes of saving the match suffered a major blow shortly before the close when Kevin Pietersen was leg before wicket to Dale Steyn, two balls into the fast bowler’s last spell of the day.

Pietersen had earlier been given out leg before to De Wet but he sought a review of umpire Daryl Harper’s decision and was reprieved when it was clear he had edged the ball into his pad. Morne Morkel and Steyn both bowled well at the start of the final innings but Strauss and Cook batted resolutely.

Steyn induced an edge from Strauss in the second over but it fell short of Graeme Smith at first slip. Six overs later he had two close leg before wicket appeals turned down by umpire Tony Hill and South Africa decided not to seek reviews. Strauss responded in Steyn’s next over with three off-side boundaries off successive balls.

South Africa added 135 runs for the loss of five wickets in 31.2 overs before Smith declared.

Smith took his overnight score of 162 to 183 as he and Jacques Kallis batted comfortably against the second new ball, which was taken at the start of play.

Smith showed attacking intent as he added 21 runs off 29 balls but was caught on the fine leg boundary when he top-edged a hook against Graham Onions. He made his 183 off 272 balls with 25 fours.

Kallis followed up his first innings century by making 46 before he edged an attempted square cut against James Anderson and was caught behind.