Drama at England, SA clash

CRICKET South Africa took the unusual step yesterday of reducing the entrance fee to the last day of the first cricket Test between South Africa and England at SuperSport Park to half price.

CRICKET South Africa took the unusual step yesterday of reducing the entrance fee to the last day of the first cricket Test between South Africa and England at SuperSport Park to half price.

And boy, did the spectators get their money's worth!

With an hour to go before stumps were called, the match was meandering along for a predictable draw.

What wasn't written into the script, though, was a dramatic late batting collapse by England.

Chasing a mammoth 364 for victory, England started the day off shakily, losing the early wickets of night watchman Jimmy Anderson (10) and opener Alaistair Cook (12).

To the crease strode South African-born Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, who both looked comfortable as they guarded their wickets and put away to the boundary anything short or wide.

A moment of madness, though, saw Pietersen depart for a well-played 81 when he was run out.

For England, that's when the wheels began to come off.

A flurry of wickets - Jonathan Trott (69), Matt Prior (0), Stuart Broad (0) and Graeme Swann (2) - quickly turned the game on its head and it was up to Paul Collingwood and Graeme Onions to see the England side home in a dramatic final few overs.

For South African supporters it will be a case of thinking "what if?" What if fast bowler Dale Steyn had overcome a hamstring injury and been unleashed on the English? What if Jacques Kallis had been able to bowl his right-arm medium pacers despite a nagging rib injury?

Fortunately cricket is not about "what ifs".

l The second Test starts in Durban on Saturday at 9.30am and will be broadcast live on SuperSport2 and SABC3.

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