England 593-8 dec South Africa 247 & 242-1: England's toil highlights urgent need to recall Flintoff

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The Independent Online

Andrew Flintoff start up your car and get your backside up to Leeds. On the journey from Southampton, where you have been bowling impressively for Lancashire, you can stop off briefly at your home in Cheshire to pick up your England kit, but your services will be required at Headingley on Friday morning when Michael Vaughan's side take on South Africa in the second Test.

After three wonderful days of Test cricket, days totally dominated by England, South Africa were bound to fight back. They are too proud and too good a team not to, and it is just what they did. The batting offered by the tourists, who crawled along at just over two runs per over for most of the fourth day, may not have been as entertaining as that of Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell on Thursday and Friday but it abruptly halted - and it could still just be temporary - England's seemingly unstoppable journey to victory.

Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie were the architects of South Africa's recovery, collecting patient, admirable hundreds and blunting everything England could throw at them.

The celebrations of both players were mooted compared to those of Pietersen, their former countryman - England obviously got the excitable one. But both knew that the personal milestones they had achieved would be quickly forgotten if South Africa leave Lord's as losers this afternoon. Smith, on 107, went when he ill advisedly tried to pull James Anderson through the leg side, offering a simple catch to Pietersen in the gully, ending a 204-run opening partnership. But McKenzie remained resolute, receiving staunch support from Hashim Amla as South Africa closed on 242 for 1. The total, which reduced the Proteas' deficit to 104, gives the tourists an excellent chance of avoiding defeat, but much can and does happen on the final day of a Test, even one being played on a benign pitch like this.

England's bowlers worked hard, trying every legal means possible to unsettle the South African openers, but the ease with which the pair kept them out highlighted the need for Flintoff to return as part of a five-man attack. The Australian side of the past decade could get away with fielding four bowlers because two of them - Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath - were absolute crackerjacks. England possess a promising and extremely competitive attack, but Flintoff would provide inspiration and give Vaughan variety.

Smith continued his love affair with Lord's by collecting his second Test hundred here in his second appearance. It was an innings Smith owed his side, having invited England to bat on the first morning, only to watch them amass 593 for 8. The South African captain is not an elegant batsman but he fights like a lion when cornered. England tried to cut off his scoring options by bowling consistently outside off stump, but he just waited for them to get bored and bowl a bit straighter, which allowed him to work the ball off his legs.

A leg glance for three off Monty Panesar took him past three figures, with the last of the runs taking him in the direction of Pietersen at mid-off. Pietersen was clapping at the time and Smith's reaction on reaching the landmark was somewhat less animated than that of his former countryman. Smith removed his helmet, looked to the sky and raised both arms before acknowledging the applause of the crowd. For Smith, a man who scored 259 here in his previous Test appearance, a hundred is nothing more than a start and he would have wanted to be not out at the close. But on 107 he attempted to pull Anderson's first delivery with the second new ball. The ball was not short enough for the shot and the left-hander only succeeded in serving up a simple catch to gully.

McKenzie could hardly be described as a dasher, but entertaining another full house was low on his list of priorities when he walked out to bat. His innings was the epitome of self-restraint.

Rarely did he swish at a wide ball or go for a big shot. The right-hander simply waited for the ball to be in an area where the percentages were in his favour and collected the runs that came with it. The slowness of the scoring had reduced the crowd to slow handclapping by mid afternoon. Alastair Cook and Pietersen encouraged those attending to get involved and the fans' reaction - cheering the bowlers as they ran in to bowl - added a little more edge to matters. Yet it did not last long; it was not only England's bowlers who Smith and McKenzie were wearing down. Vaughan tried to chivvy his side along although, worryingly, he disappeared to the dressing room for 30 minutes after tea. His departure could have been to talk tactics with Peter Moores, his coach, but perhaps two consecutive days in the field was taking its toll on his troublesome right knee.

Vaughan rarely allows a game to drift and he constantly attempted to upset the rhythm of the batsmen by juggling his bowlers and setting innovative fields. But Smith and McKenzie held firm against a tiring, demoralised attack. England tried to get the ball reverse swinging, as could be seen by Anderson's attempts to cover the ball so that the batsman could not work out which way it would move, but it had no effect.

Panesar was England's star performer in South Africa's first innings, taking 4 for 74 in a total of 247, but he was below his best here yesterday. There was the occasional justified appeal, particularly an lbw one to McKenzie when he was on 13, but the majority of them were wishful. On days like this he needs to be more flexible. Smith kept kicking him away when he tossed the ball up outside off stump and he should have tried bowling round the wicket more.

England may yet bowl South Africa out today to complete a memorable victory but it should not dissuade the selectors from picking Flintoff at Headingley. The four who played here will still be feeling the physical effects of this Test when they walk out on Friday and a pair of fresh legs would ease their potential workload.

The return of Flintoff would provide inspiration too, a commodity the side will need if South Africa travel up the M1 with the series tied.

l The International Cricket Council have confirmed that an unnamed player tested positive for a banned substance during the recent Indian Premier League season. The IPL adopted the ICC's code on drugs, which conforms to World Anti-Doping Agency regulations, for the duration of the tournament which ran for six weeks until 1 June.

The matter will be dealt with by the competition's organisers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The IPL have been informed that the player's sample, taken during random WADA supervised tests, had tested positive. If the 'B' sample proves positive as well the matter would be taken up by the IPL's drugs tribunal.

Lord's scoreboard

South Africa won toss

England – First Innings 593 for 8 dec (I R Bell 199, K P Pietersen 152, S C J Broad 76, A N Cook 60; M Morkel 4-121).

South Africa – First Innings

(Friday: 7 for 0)

*G C Smith c Bell b Anderson......... 8

23 min, 21 balls, 1 four

N D McKenzie b Panesar......... 40

139 min, 89 balls, 5 fours

H M Amla c Ambrose b Broad......... 6

42 min, 32 balls, 1 four

J H Kallis c Strauss b Sidebottom......... 7

35 min, 19 balls, 1 four

A G Prince c Ambrose b Sidebottom......... 101

297 min, 183 balls, 13 fours, 1 six

A B de Villiers c Anderson b Panesar......... 42

130 min, 119 balls, 5 fours

†M V Boucher b Broad......... 4

16 min, 11 ballsM Morkel b Panesar......... 6

23 min, 22 balls, 1 four

P L Harris c Anderson b Panesar......... 6

20 min, 18 balls, 1 four

D W Steyn c Sidebottom b Pietersen......... 19

81 min, 46 balls, 2 fours

M Ntini not out......... 0

13 min, 1 ball

Extras (b1 lb4 w3)......... 8

Total (414 min, 93.3 overs)......... 247

Fall: 1-13 (Smith) 2-28 (Amla) 3-47 (Kallis) 4-83 (McKenzie) 5-161 (De Villiers) 6-166 (Boucher) 7-191 (Morkel) 8-203 (Harris) 9-245 (Prince) 10-247 (Steyn).

Bowling: Sidebottom 19-3-41-2 (5-1-11-0, 5-1-7-1, 5-0-13-0, 4-1-10-1); Anderson 21-7-36-1 (w1) (7-4-4-1, 3-0-18-0, 9-3-12-0, 2-0-2-0); Broad 23-3-88-2 (w2) (5-1-22-1, 7-1-23-0, 11-1-43-1); Panesar 26-4-74-4 (11-2-39-1, 14-2-34-3, 1-0-1-0); Collingwood 4-1-3-0 (one spell); Pietersen 0.3-0-0-1. Progress: Third day (min 98 overs): 50: 106 min, 22.2 overs. Lunch: 78-3 (McKenzie 35, Prince 20) 29 overs. 100: 163 min, 35.5 overs. 150: 247 min, 56.4 overs. Tea: 156-4 (Prince 52, De Villiers 38) 59 overs. 200 in 324 min, 75.1 overs. New ball taken after 84 overs at 229-8. Innings closed: 6.38pm.

Prince's 50: 144 min, 82 balls, 8 fours. 100: 287 min, 173 balls, 13 fours, 1 six.

South Africa – Second Innings

(Overnight: 13 for 0)

*G C Smith c Pietersen b Anderson......... 107

340 min, 207 balls, 11 fours

N D McKenzie not out......... 102

405 min, 323 balls, 13 fours

H M Amla not out......... 20

64 min, 46 balls, 3 fours

Extras (b4 lb5 w3 nb1)......... 13

Total (for 1, 405 min, 96 overs)......... 242

Fall: 1-204 (Smith).

To bat: J H Kallis, A G Prince, A B de Villiers, †M V Boucher, M Morkel, P L Harris, D W Steyn, M Ntini.

Bowling: Panesar 33-8-70-0 (2-0-7-0, 13-4-24-0, 1-0-3-0, 14-3-30,-0 3-1-6-0); Pietersen 6-1-19-0 (2-1-2-0, 1-0-6-0, 3-0-11-0); Sidebottom 18-6-23-0 (nb1) (3-0-8-0, 6-4-2-0, 3-1-6-0, 3-0-5-0, 3-1-2-0); Anderson 19-4-52-1 (w1) (6-1-13-0, 8-3-24-0, 5-0-15-1); Broad 15-3-55-0 (w2) (2-0-7-0, 1-1-0-0, 6-2-11-0, 4-0-25-0, 2-0-12-0); Collingwood 5-3-14-0 (one spell).

Progress: Third day close: 13-0 (Smith 8, McKenzie 1) 4 overs. Fourth day (min 92 overs): 50 116 min, 27.2 overs. Lunch: 67-0 (Smith 36, McKenzie 24) 32 overs. 100: 189 min, 45.3 overs. Tea: 128-0 (Smith 71, McKenzie 50) 60 overs. 150: 268 min, 64.4 overs. 200: 328 min, 79.2 overs. New ball taken after 80 overs at 200-0.

Smith's 50: 168 min, 106 balls, 6 fours. 100: 313 min, 186 balls, 11 fours. McKenzie's 50: 232 min, 190 balls, 7 fours. 100: 384 min, 307 balls, 13 fours.

Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) and D J Harper (Aus).

TV replay umpire: N J Llong.

Match referee: J J Crowe.

Shot of the day

*Neil McKenzie is a lovely driver of a cricket ball. When playing the shot he does not display a huge pick up or follow through, but relies on timing and placement. In the morning session McKenzie did nothing more than push gently at a Ryan Sidebottom half-volley yet it raced away through extra cover for an effortless boundary.

Ball of the day

*There were very few of note but it has to be the ball from James Anderson that dismissed Graeme Smith for 107. It prevented Michael Vaughan's side becoming the first England team in 19 years to go through a day's play without a wicket. The last occasion was against Australia at Trent Bridge in 1989.

Moment of the day

*Graeme Smith gently clipped Monty Panesar through the leg side and Andrew Strauss chased after it. Strauss skidded along the grass even though he was nowhere near the ball. The manoeuvre sold Kevin Pietersen, running in from the boundary, and the ball rolled gently to the boundary. Only the luckless Panesar was not amused.

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