LEEDS, England, Aug 5 (Reuters) - England failed to make a
breakthrough before rain forced the abandonment of play at 1715
(1615 GMT) on the fourth day of the second test at Headingley on
Sunday as South Africa reached 39 without loss in their second
Jacques Rudolph, opening in place of the injured Alviro
Petersen, was unbeaten on 21 while skipper Graeme Smith was on
17 as he continued to bat with a minor knee injury.
Thunder and lightning arrived just minutes after the players
left the field with the skies over northern England turning an
ominous dark grey. A minimum 45 overs were lost in the day.
"“It was frustrating," England's Matt Prior, who hit 68,
told reporters. "“To get a small lead and to put South Africa
under some pressure it would have been nice to have had the
opportunity to pick up some wickets.
“"There are now only two results that can happen: a draw or
an England win. It can be hard sometimes to know you have got to
bat out a day, which is what South Africa have to do."
It was a frustrating passage of play for England, who had
failed to capitalise on Kevin Pietersen's exhilarating first
innings century that helped the hosts to 425 in reply to the
Smith survived a scare before lunch when England reviewed an
lbw appeal but it was rejected. Television replays showed the
ball would have bounced over the stumps.
Apart from a couple of edges that failed to carry through to
the slips the South African openers held their own.
“"It's a pity about the weather," South Africa bowler Morne
Morkel said. “"The key thing for us is to bat well in the first
session (on Monday) and look at it from there. Hopefully the
weather will be good."
Earlier on Sunday, Pietersen had resumed on 149 with the
team on 351 for five.
England had hopes of passing South Africa's first innings
and taking a significant lead, but Pietersen was out to the
second ball of the morning - lbw to Morkel without adding to his
Pietersen's effort threatened to turn the test on its head
on Saturday with a counter-attacking innings that carried
England away from potential danger at 173 for four.
It was his 21st test hundred and came from 214 balls.
Tim Bresnan (9) and Stuart Broad (1) failed to really
trouble the scorers and could not stay with Prior (68) and help
him to fashion out any kind of significant lead.
Prior advanced his score from 20 overnight before he became
the ninth wicket to fall when he swept leg-spinner Imran Tahir
to Dale Steyn at fine leg.
James Anderson (8) was the last man out, bowled by Tahir
after reverse sweeping the spinner for four the ball before.
Meantime, the South Africa team doctor said Smith's knee
would be assessed after the match but he did not believe his
injury was serious.
Of more concern, is the back spasms suffered by Jacques
Kallis, but he hopes Kallis will be recovered within four days.
England, 1-0 down after losing at the Oval in the first
test, need to avoid defeat in the three-match series to prevent
South Africa from leapfrogging them and claiming the number one
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)