Swann and Broad shine after Bell tolls
Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad demolished South Africa’s top order to leave England strong favourites to wrap up victory tomorrow in the second Test.
Swann picked up three wickets either side of tea on day four in Durban and Broad struck soon after the interval and then twice in as many balls to match his county colleague.
The Nottinghamshire pair reduced the hosts to 76 for six, still 155 behind England, when the players went off for bad light - 80 minutes after tea at Kingsmead - which eventually ended today's action.
England need four more wickets to go ahead in the four-match series after they salvaged a nail-biting draw at Centurion.
A mixed weather forecast tomorrow appears South Africa’s only realistic hope of avoiding defeat here, but Swann will be determined to add to his 3-22 and Broad to his 3-18.
Ian Bell earlier crafted his ninth Test century to allow Andrew Strauss to declare 45 minutes after lunch on 574 for nine, a lead of 231.
Bell, criticised in the media for his lack of runs in the first Test, laid bare his batting ability with a fine 140.
He was well supported this morning by Matt Prior, who struck a rapid 60, in a sixth-wicket partnership worth 112.
Having consolidated until lunch following Prior’s exit, England went on the attack after the interval to set up the declaration.
The commanding total, which occupied 170 overs, is England’s fifth-highest in Tests against the Proteas.
The tourists had resumed on 386 for five, with Bell on 55 and Prior 11, after Alastair Cook’s 118 and Paul Collingwood’s 91 gave them the upper hand yesterday.
Play began half an hour early for the third consecutive day after time was lost to bad light at the end of days one and two.
The cloud cover that marked those opening two days was back in the morning session, in contrast to yesterday’s scorching sunshine.
The 50 partnership arrived as Prior pulled Dale Steyn for two through midwicket, although the right-hander was fortunate to survive in the next over when he drove Makhaya Ntini on the up just to the right of Ashwell Prince at gully.
Bell pushed England’s lead into three figures as he closed in on the equivalent personal milestone.
Prior upped the ante - going to a half-century and heralding the hundred partnership with a swept six, off JP Duminy’s part-time spin, that only just cleared the leaping Steyn at deep square-leg.
Prior under-edged Duminy onto his stumps, but Bell went to his ninth Test hundred by lofting senior spinner Paul Harris down the ground for four.
Prior’s departure slowed England’s progress as Broad, who heralded the 500 with a single off Harris, took time to find his feet.
The third new ball was available immediately after the interval but Graeme Smith persisted with the old one.
Broad went on the attack and raised England’s sixth partnership in excess of 50 with a six and a four to leg off Harris.
Broad became Duminy’s third victim, tamely edging to lone slip Jacques Kallis who took his 150th Test catch, for 20.
The in-form Swann, who blasted 85 in the first innings at Centurion, took the hapless Ntini for a consecutive six and four to midwicket.
That prompted Smith to call for a fresh cherry, which yielded the wickets of Swann and Bell - both to Steyn.
Swann was well taken low by Prince running in at mid-on for 20 and Bell feathered a cut behind, having faced 227 deliveries and hit 10 fours and a six.
James Anderson and Graham Onions occupied the crease briefly before Strauss called them in 45 minutes after lunch.
Prince could have been caught from South Africa’s second delivery, but his edge off Anderson flew between slip and gully.
However, Bell excellently held the left-hander off Swann at silly mid-off for 12 before the off-spinner bowled Amla through the gate to bring about tea.
Kallis regretted leaving Broad in the first full over after the break when he lost his off stump.
AB de Villiers survived a review for caught behind off Swann and Smith a run out opportunity from the arm of substitute Luke Wright, fielding in place of Collingwood who dislocated his left index finger in this morning’s warm-up.
However, de Villiers departed lbw to Broad - like Kallis, not playing a shot - despite a review.
Broad was on a hat-trick when Duminy played on but Mark Boucher prevented the feat.
Smith became Swann’s fourth victim, trapped in front for 22, as he wasted South Africa’s second review.
South Africa had collapsed from 27 without loss to 50 for six, but Mark Boucher and Morne Morkel survived for more than 10 overs to reach 20 and seven respectively at stumps.