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England hit back hard

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England grabbed three South African wickets in second session on day one of the second Test.

Leeds – England claimed three wickets on the first afternoon of the second Test against South Africa at Headingley on Thursday, fighting back after a wicketless morning and a heavy defeat in the series opener.

South Africa, one-nil up in the series and challenging England for the top spot in the world Test rankings, were 163 for three at tea after being put in to bat, with opener Alviro Petersen on 76 not out.

Petersen and Graeme Smith, returning to the squad after attending the birth of his daughter, put on 120 for the first wicket before the captain flicked Tim Bresnan to backward square leg to be caught for 52.

Hashim Amla, who scored a South African record 311 not out in the first Test at the Oval, followed soon afterwards, run out for nine after a mix-up with Petersen.

England's third success came when Jacques Kallis was caught low down at second slip by Alastair Cook off James Anderson for 19.

Smith's wicket was the first success for England in six hours and two minutes of play, during which 497 runs were scored, 377 of them in an unbeaten third wicket partnership between Amla and Kallis in south London last week.

South Africa won the first Test by an innings and 12 runs.

After a wicketless morning, played in partly cloudy weather with sunny spells, the bowlers looked more dangerous as clouds rolled in and the light faded after lunch. Rain stopped play as the last over before tea was about to be bowled.

England had earlier endured a frustrating morning during which both opening batsmen had escapes against England's all-seam attack.

Petersen was dropped at second slip off Anderson when he had 29, with Cook -- in the slips in the absence of dropped off-spinner Graeme Swann -- putting down a straightforward chance just below waist height.

Three balls earlier Petersen edged Anderson at catchable height between third slip and gully for four.

In the next over fast bowler Steven Finn, who replaced Swann, was denied a wicket when Smith, on six, edged him to England captain Andrew Strauss at first slip.

But umpire Steve Davis had called “dead ball” because Finn broke the stumps at the bowler's end with his right knee.

It was the fourth time Finn's knee made contact with the stumps but the first time the umpire intervened. There were four further “dead ball” calls against Finn, with two of them denying boundaries for Smith. – AFP


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