LEEDS, England – A draw loomed as England struggled for wickets on the final morning of the second test at Headingley on Monday with South Africa reaching 123 for one at lunch in their second innings.
Captain Graeme Smith was 50 not out and Hashim Amla was on one after makeshift opener Jacques Rudolph, batting in place of the injured Alviro Petersen, was lbw to Kevin Pietersen for 69 in the final over before lunch.
With England carrying over a first innings lead of six, the Proteas were 117 ahead making a draw almost certain.
England are 1-0 down in the three-match series after losing the first test at The Oval by an innings and 12 runs.
Their main target now must be to win the final test at Lord’s to prevent South Africa from leapfrogging them at the top of the world rankings.
Rudolph fell victim to part-time spinner Pietersen’s second ball of the innings.
Earlier, the left-hander brought up the team’s 100 with his twelfth boundary which was squirted past the slips to the third man boundary off the bowling of James Anderson. It was an especially profitable run-scoring area for him.
England persisted with a predominantly leg-side field against Smith, including a man on the square leg boundary even though he was largely redundant.
Smith hit two fours in one Steven Finn over that brought up 2,000 test runs against England, though he was dropped soon after on 44 when second slip Anderson went one-handed to a low chance off Tim Bresnan
South Africa scored 419 in their first innings after losing the toss, as Petersen hit 182.
England replied with 425 courtesy of a sparkling century from Pietersen. Intermittent rain has taken important overs from the match including more than half a day from Sunday’s play.