Strauss pleased with bowlers' efforts
Captain Andrew Strauss believes his bowlers finally got the luck they deserved in giving England an outside chance of victory on the final day of the second Investec Test against South Africa at Headingley Carnegie.
With the Proteas taking a 33-run lead into a fifth day that was likely to be hampered by the weather, any result other than a draw looked unlikely.
However, after Kevin Pietersen ended Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph’s 120-run opening stand en route to figures of 3-52, Stuart Broad bowled a hostile spell to give England renewed hope.
The Nottinghamshire paceman hurried South Africa skipper Graeme Smith into declaring with an excellent return of 5-69, including four wickets in 12 balls.
“I was delighted with Stuart Broad today,” Strauss said. “It’s nice to get into the South African order a little bit more.
“Our bowlers have toiled really well and were feeling frustrated that they weren’t getting there just deserts really.
“A few catches went down which was a bit frustrating. I think Broady’s spell just showed there is a crazy session in there for us.
“If the bowlers keep doing the right things, at some stage they will get their rewards. I think we have got a great chance of winning the third Test match.”
Broad’s heroics gave England the opportunity to chase 253 in 39 overs and level the three-match series, which Strauss’ side accepted by promoting first-innings centurion Kevin Pietersen to the top of the order.
Pietersen did not come off second time round, falling to Vernon Philander at mid-on for 12 and, when Strauss, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior went in quick succession, England played for a draw.
“We put Kev up there; he played magnificently well in the first innings,” Strauss added.
“He had the opportunity to take the game away from South Africa in a way he is only capable of playing.
“When he got out, the idea was to take stock and leave ourselves in a situation with 20 overs to go where we could view it as a Twenty20 game. If we got to that stage, we had the likes of Matt Prior to come was out thinking behind it.
“Once Matt got out, we felt we had to close the door a little bit. It was a viable chase; we needed things to go right for us and unfortunately nothing did.”
Strauss was pleased both sides had the ambition to try and win the Test, but accepted the weather played a big part during the week.
“The way they were playing it looked like they were going to have a go. We were eager to have a go; those sorts of things can develop very quickly,” Strauss added.
“If we got off to a really strong start, suddenly six and half an over for 20 overs wasn’t looking that difficult.
“We needed more up front. It was a nice finish to the game, but with the weather around it was hard for both sides to force a result.”
Pietersen was named man of the match and Strauss said his 149 “was one of the best innings I have seen him play.”