Leeds: England failed to capitalise on Kevin Pietersen’s exhilarating century as they were bowled out for 425 before lunch on the fourth day of the second Test at Headingley on Sunday.
South Africa were five without loss in their second innings when a flash of lightning brought about lunch five minutes early. Jacques Rudolph, opening in place of the injured Alviro Petersen, was three not out and skipper Graeme Smith was on one, batting with a minor knee injury.
Smith survived a scare before the interval when England reviewed an lbw appeal that was rejected, but replays showed the ball would have bounced over the stumps.
Pietersen resumed the day on 149 and with the team on 351 for five. They had hopes of passing South Africa’s first innings 419 and taking a significant lead, but Pietersen was out to the second ball of the morning, lbw to Morne Morkel without adding to his overnight score.
Pietersen almost turned the test on its head on Saturday with a counter-attacking innings that carried England 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) could not stay with Matt Prior and help him to eke out any kind of significant lead.
Prior advanced his score from 20 overnight to 68 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.
England, 1-0 down after losing at The Oval, need to avoid defeat in the three-match series to prevent South Africa from leapfrogging them and claiming the number one test ranking.
Torrential rain fell during the lunch break and was expected to cause a delay for the resumption of play.