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De Wet nearly turns draw into win – 1st Test, Day 5

December 20, 2009

South Africa 418 and 301/7 dec drew with
England 356 and 228/9


England fans were left remembering a certain sunny Sunday in Cardiff – but this time it was Graham Onions who assisted Paul Collingwood rather than James Anderson and Monty Panesar.

The day started badly, with night watchman Anderson dismissed after ten minutes when he gloved a Friedel de Wet delivery to Mark Boucher.

Out-of-form Alastair Cook gloved a turning Paul Harris ball to captain Graham Smith with the score on 27; England were 337 runs from victory with 7 wickets remaining.

de Wet runs out Pietersen to take England's fourth wicket - cricinfo

But the South Africans were thwarted for a long time by two of their compatriots – an excellent partnership from Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, lasting more than a session and a half, looked to have secured a hard-fought draw for the tourists at least – with some harbouring thoughts of a spectacular England win.

After tea, though, Pietersen set off for a risky single when poised on 81, only for his partner to ground his bat in his own crease. Pietersen kept running all the way to the pavilion; Paul Collingwood walked on, but still, by this point, a result looked inconceivable.

Then, with the overs being played away, debutant Friedel De Wet took the new ball and promptly removed Trott (caught brilliantly by de Villers at slip, for 69), Ian Bell (2) and Matt Prior (0) with a blistering spell of pace bowling. Stuart Broad soon followed, edging a Paul Harris delivery, and England were suddenly 209/8 with more than seven overs to see out, having lost 4 wickets for 4 runs in 43 balls.

Graham Swann came to the crease and set about seeing the match out with Collingwood. England were faced with a situation similar to the first test against Australia this July – a confident attack seeking two more wickets to take a 1-0 lead, with Paul Collingwood and a bowler holding the fort.

Friedel de Wet's superb new-ball spell proved to be in vain - BBC

After seeing off a few deliveries from de Wet the pair faced Morne Morkel, who had removed Andrew Strauss more than 24 hours earlier to put England on the back foot at the end of day 4.

With 20 balls remaining, Morkel then got Swann lbw for 2 with an accurate delivery and England’s final referral (they had used one for Broad’s dismissal a few minutes earlier) was used in vain; they were 218/9 as Graham Onions walked to the crease with a ball and three overs left.

The two batted sensibly, shrewdly leaving anything not dead straight and moving onto the back foot to push anything dangerous to safety. Onions avoided a decent yorker with eight balls left and the pair opted to take a single. Collingwood then hit a four through the leg side, leaving Onions on strike for the first ball of the final over.

Makhaya Ntini, in his hundredth test match, took the ball with the field in tight, but Onions defended the six deliveries competently and England salvaged a draw.

Thoughts of a Monty Panesar recall proved premature – England have another bowler who can block.

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