Proteas openers foil England

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iol spt aug6 Jacques Rudolph-England AP South African opening batsmen Jacques Rudolph, pictured, and Graeme Smith batted soundly on a rain-hit fifth and final day of the second Test against England at Headingley.

Leeds – South African opening batsmen Jacques Rudolph and Graeme Smith batted soundly on a rain-hit fifth and final day of the second Test against England at Headingley on Monday.

South Africa were 123 for one at lunch, a lead of 117. Play was twice interrupted by rain and only 21 overs were bowled despite lunch being delayed by half an hour.

England's only success came when part-time off-spinner Kevin Pietersen trapped Rudolph leg before wicket with his second delivery in the last over before lunch - the second time in the match Pietersen had dismissed Rudolph with his second ball.

By then, though, Rudolph and Smith (50 not out) had virtually ensured that the match would end in a draw. South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0 and England will need to win the final Test starting at Lord's on August 16 to avoid the tourists usurping their number one ranking in Test cricket.

Although both James Anderson and Stuart Broad produced some hostile deliveries on an overcast morning, Rudolph played some stylish strokes, while captain Smith was solid, reaching his half-century off 103 balls off the last delivery before lunch.

Rudolph, returning to what was his home ground during five years playing for English county Yorkshire, drove fluently to reach his half-century off 92 balls with nine fours.

He also had an all-run four and added another three boundaries in facing another 30 deliveries before his dismissal.

Rudolph was opening the batting in place of Alviro Petersen, who suffered a hamstring injury while making top score of 182 in the first innings. — AFP

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