Draw eventually after teams battle hard for result
After rain had a say for a major part in the Test match, with draw looming, England and South Africa tried their level best to get a result, but eventually, in spite of their efforts, it turned out to be a draw.
Having lost out comprehensively by a heavy margin of 138 points on the Castrol Index to the visitors, a battered England side went into the match looking to save their No.1 ranking. They needed to win or save the match in order to stay at the top of the ICC Test rankings. They made two changes to the side as debutant James Taylor replaced Ravi Bopara who pulled out of the squad citing personal reasons, while Steven Finn was included in place of Graeme Swann. The Proteas went into the match unchanged.
England won the toss and surprisingly elected to bowl first. The openers started off cautiously but then Petersen opened up and unfurled some beautiful whips and drives. Smith was very defensive at the other end.
The new ball bowlers, Anderson and Broad, were getting the ball to swing and Anderson finally induced an edge of Petersen via an outswinger but to his utter dismay, Cook dropped a sitter at second slip. Petersen was on 29 at that time and he raced on to a half century before lunch as the first session belonged to the visitors.
Smith got into the groove and brought up his half-century as the pair added 120 runs for the first wicket. It was Tim Bresnan who finally provided them the breakthrough when he had Smith caught at square leg.
Hashim Amla, who had scored a triple ton in the previous match, started off in a positive fashion with back to back boundaries off Broad but a moment of madness cost him his wicket as he was run out for just 9. Jacques Kallis too suffered the same fate as he started off in a blistering fashion with three boundaries in an over off Bresnan but then edged one to second slip off Anderson and Cook latched on to a smart catch this time. Petersen then went on to bring up his 4th Test century as he added 97 runs with AB de Villiers.
The English bowlers hit back late in the final session as they picked up the wickets of de Villiers and nightwatchman Dale Steyn to end the day evenly poised at 262/5. Petersen continued to impress on day 2 as he brought up his 150 and added 59 with Jacques Rudolph. The visitors lost just a single wicket in the first session, that of Rudolph who was stumped off Kevin Pietersen.
England finally had Petersen back in the hut but it was too little too late as JP Duminy and the tail-enders had made sure that the score had passed the 400 mark. They were finally bowled out for 419.
Petersen received the best Batting Momentum of 297 for his spectacular innings of 182. Stuart Broad was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts with figures of 3/96 which attained him the best Bowling Efficiency of 203.
The English batsmen had a tough job in their hands with a humongous total on opposition’s board. Their openers started off cautiously but then skipper Andrew Strauss opened up and played some glorious flicks and cover drives. Alastair Cook was pretty sedate at the other end.
There were a lot of plays and misses but both the openers made sure that they applied themselves perfectly and added 48 runs before bad light made sure that day 2 ended with 22 overs still remaining. A rain-shortened session saw South Africa pick up the wicket of Cook and post-lunch period was dominated by them as they picked up the wickets of Strauss, Trott and Ian Bell. Kevin Pietersen batted well in the session and reached 43 and post tea, he wrecked havoc and blasted a century as he added 147 runs for the 5th wicket with James Taylor who played a stoic innings of 34.
England ended the day on a high at 351/6. The Proteas picked up Pietersen early on day 4 but Matt Prior played a crucial innings of 68 and powered the hosts to a 6-run lead. Pietersen attained a staggering Batting Momentum of 279 while Tahir was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors with figures of 3/92 which fetched him a Bowling Efficiency of 62.
Trailing just by 6 runs, South Africa initiated their second innings under overhead conditions but Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph batted watchfully to negotiate the moving ball. The heavens opened in the last session on day 4 and the play was forced to be abandoned. South Africa were 39/0 and at that time had the lead of 33 runs.
The South African batsmen once again followed a cautious approach in the morning session on day 5 but Rudolph looked very positive. He played a few shots and notched up his 11th Test fifty. The rain continued to play the villain and it was an on-off kind of a session.
Just when it seemed like a draw was inevitable, Stuart Broad thundered in with a 5-wicket haul and blew the middle order apart and South Africa declared on 258/9, setting the Brits a target of 253 from a minimum of 39 overs. Half centuries for Rudolph and Smith with the former having the best Batting Momentum of 115. Stuart Broad finished with 5 wickets and a Bowling Efficiency of 341 while Kevin Pietersen took 3 wickets and a Bowling Efficiency of 130.
England showed a positive step by sending out Kevin Pietersen to open, which meant that they were going after the target. But the excitement died down the moment he was dismissed in the third over. Alastair Cook tried to keep the run chase going but once he fell, England closed down the shutters. However, that now opened the gate for South Africa as they felt a sniff at victory.
Have a look at the scorecard.
Eventually, with 6 overs remaining, the match was called off and it ended in a draw. England finished with a Castrol Index of 248 while the Proteas managed a value of 236.
Kevin Pietersen was named the Man Of The Match and he finished with a Castrol Index of 225. But the best performer according to the Index was Stuart Broad with a value of 273. For South Africa, Alviro Petersen finished best with 159 points.
By virtue of this win, South Africa maintain their 1-0 lead over England in this series. The third and final Test begins at Lord’s on Thursday, 16th August, 2012 at 1000 GMT.