JP Duminy and Vernon Philander led South Africa’s recovery from 54 for four to 262 for seven at stumps on the first day of the third Test against England at Lord’s yesterday.
While the score, particularly the number of wickets lost, would have been uncomfortable for South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who won the toss and batted, the situation could have been so much worse.
Fast bowler Steven Finn (three for 68) rocked the tourists with a pre-lunch burst of three for three in seven legitimate deliveries on his Middlesex home ground while James Anderson took three for 57.
But come the close Philander was 46 not out, having shared a seventh-wicket stand of 72 with Duminy, who gave it away on 61.
South Africa, 1-0 up in this three-match series and needing only to avoid defeat to replace England as the world's number one Test side, saw their powerful top order all out before lunch.
Opener Smith had made scores of 259 and 107 in his two previous Lord’s Tests.
But a third century eluded him when Anderson, with his first ball from around the wicket, had the left-hander caught behind for 14 by wicket-keeper Matt Prior although England had to review Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena's initial not out decision.
It was the first time in four innings this series that Smith, who yesterday broke Australia great Allan Border's record for most Tests as captain by leading the Proteas for the 94th match, had failed to make a fifty.
ECB chief salutes ton-up Strauss
England captain Andrew Strauss was hailed as an “outstanding leader”, as he became only the ninth England player to appear in 100 Tests when leading the side against South Africa at Lord’s yesterday. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive David Collier said: “Nobody should be in any doubt whatsoever about the value of Andrew Strauss’ contribution to the England team and the vital role he has played in taking our Test side to the top of the ICC’s Test rankings.
England’s 100-Test club:
Alec Stewart (133), Graham Gooch (118), David Gower (117), Michael Atherton (115), Colin Cowdrey (114), Geoffrey Boycott (108), Ian Botham (102), Graham Thorpe (100).