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London - England dismissed South Africa opener Alviro Petersen for a duck after they had been bowled out for 385 in their first innings before tea on the second day of the first Test at the Oval on Friday.
Morne Morkel earlier finished off the England innings to return figures of four for 72 while Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis claimed two wickets apiece. Alastair Cook added just one run to his overnight score to depart for 115 while Matt Prior added a punchy 60 in 90 balls.
It was an impressive fightback by the Proteas after England resumed on 267 for three having looked in total control on day one. The bowling was more accurate and aggressive, although bowling conditions were better with the sun being replaced by cloud cover.
Prior's innings was a vital contribution as England at one point looked as if they were going to collapse with the score on 313 for seven.
The England wicketkeeper struggled early on but after lunch was more fluent, hitting three fours in six balls in one sequence. He reached his half-century by straight driving Vernon Philander for four.
Prior was eventually Morkel's third victim and was also one of AB de Villiers' five catches, which would please the team after losing lost the services of veteran wicketkeeper Mark Boucher to a freak eye injury on the first day of the tour.
Cook was the first man to fall when he dragged a full length ball from Steyn back on to his off-stump. Steyn then picked up Ravi Bopara, making his latest comeback, for a duck when he mistimed a hook shot and edged to the keeper.
Ian Bell was bowled for 13 by Kallis after some clever swing and seam bowling that outfoxed the batsman. Stuart Broad (16) and Graeme Swann (15 not out) chipped in down the order.
At tea, captain Graeme Smith, playing his 100th Test match, was 14 not out and Hashim Amla was on 10 following the loss of Petersen, who was lbw to James Anderson with one on the scoreboard. – Reuters