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Smith keeps SA hopes alive

SA captain Graeme Smith ground out a 23rd Test half-century to keep alive his teams hopes of saving the first Test against England at Lord's.
By HT Correspondent | Reuters, London
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2008 01:20 AM IST

South Africa captain Graeme Smith ground out a 23rd Test half-century on Sunday to keep alive his teams hopes of saving the first Test against England at Lord's.

At tea on the fourth day South Africa were 128 without loss in their second innings after being asked to follow on 346 runs in arrears. Smith had scored 71 and his opening partner Neil McKenzie was on 50.

England captain Michael Vaughan switched his bowlers and fielders around repeatedly in an attempt to conjure a wicket but was thwarted by a combination of obdurate batting and an excellent pitch offering nothing to the bowlers apart from some slow turn to Monty Panesar.

Panesar, who captured four for 74 as South Africa succumbed for 247 on Saturday, was the pick of the bowlers again. An inside edge from Smith hit Tim Ambrose's pads before the wicketkeeper could react and several frenzied lbw appeals were turned down.

Otherwise there was little to excite a large Sunday crowd hoping for an England victory to break a sequence of five test draws at cricket's world headquarters.

The 50 partnership took 164 minutes and the century stand was posted 109 minutes later with a controlled edge by Smith to the third man boundary. Smith had reached his half-century from 106 balls while McKenzie took 190 for his 15th test fifty.

Runs flowed more freely after the lunch interval with Smith off-driving James Anderson to the boundary and using his feet well to on-drive Panesar for another four. He demonstrated his growing mastery over the bowlers with a flowing off-drive off Panesar for four in the left-arm spinner's final over before tea.

McKenzie played one false shot off Anderson past Ambrose to the boundary but was otherwise seldom troubled.

Scoreboard (at tea)

England first innings 593-8 dec

South Africa first innings 247

South Africa second innings

Smith not out 71, McKenzie not out 50; Extras (b-4 lb-3) 7

Total (for no loss, at tea) 128

Bowling: Panesar 20-6-42-0, Pietersen 3-1-8-0, Sidebottom 12-5-16-0, Anderson 14-4-37-0, Broad 9-3-18-0, Collingwood 2-2-0-0.

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