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Hussain holds England together

Nasser Hussain led an England fightback as another batting collapse threatened to undermine its hopes of building an advantage.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2003 21:21 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Nasser Hussain led an England fightback on Saturday as another batting collapse threatened to undermine its hopes of building an advantage in the fourth cricket test against South Africa at Headingley.

England was 260 for five at lunch on the third day with Hussain battling for 2 1/2 hours to score an unbeaten 41 after the home side had resumed on 197 for three.

With the pitch showing signs of rapid disintegration, England looked to Hussain to build crucial first innings lead, and set up the match to push for a 2-1 series lead.

The odd delivery bounced disconcertingly here unlike the poor surface at Trent Bridge where the ball kept agonizingly low and took the shine off England's series-leveling 70-run win. Hussain lost his overnight partner Ed Smith for no score to the first ball of the day. Then, after a 42-run stand, Alec Stewart top edged an attempted hook to Andrew Hall at square leg and departed for 15.

Allrounder Andrew Flintoff scored his first runs in three Headingley test matches to remain unbeaten on 16 at the break. Flintoff had failed to score in his two previous tests here when he bagged a "pair" against South Africa in 1998. He didn't trouble the scorers against India last year.

England would have been six wickets down had Neil McKenzie held a difficult catch running on the square leg boundary when Flintoff carelessly hooked Dewald Pretorius.

Earlier, Pretorius plotted Stewart's downfall by setting him up for the hook.

South Africa was dismissed for 342 in its first innings after it had recovered from 21 for four, and then 142 for seven. Left-hander Gary Kirsten scored 130 runs and added 200 runs for the last three wickets.

Well set late Friday on 169 for one, England lost momentum when it decided to take the offer for bad light, and lost three wickets for 28 runs.

It included Marcus Trescothick (59) and Mark Butcher (77) after the pair had counterattacked the early loss of skipper Michael Vaughan with a 142-run second-wicket stand.

Jacques Kallis, who took 2-8 in 27 balls on the second day, forced an edge off Smith with a ball that lifted sharply. The wicket gave the allrounder 3-8 in 35 balls and the figures of 3-38. Resuming on 14, Hussain soon cut loose with back-to-back cover-driven fours off medium paceman Hall. He then greeted Pretorius to the bowling crease with the third cover drive of the morning.

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First Published: Aug 23, 2003 21:20 IST