Giles and rain play unlikely roles

South Africa 594-5 dec and 134-4 dec England 406 and 110-1 Match drawn
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The Independent Online

The successful start to Michael Vaughan's career as England's one-day captain will have been a major factor behind Nasser Hussain's surprising decision to resign as the captain of the Test team here yesterday.

Throughout this first Test against South Africa, Vaughan's success has put increasing pressure on Hussain, and the failure of his side to perform over the five days will have made him question whether he is the right man to lead England.

During Hussain's Test career there has been a feeling in the dressing-room that the weather has seldom come to England's aid. The mentality has been that if England were in a winning position the rains would come, and if they were on the wrong end of a hiding there would not be a cloud in the sky.

After watching rain and bad light deprive South Africa of a certain and deserved victory in this Test, this attitude can finally be tossed in the bin. For the last five days South Africa have totally outplayed their much-fancied opponents and will travel to Lord's for the second Test on Thursday knowing that they are more than a match for England.

When play was finally abandoned at 6.20pm, England seemed in a comfortable enough position on 110 for 1. With only 25 overs left of the 65 England could have faced, there was little chance of the home side knocking off the target of 321 South Africa set them. But only the fact that some 120 overs were lost overall saved Hussain's side from the worst possible start to this five-Test series.

Marcus Trescothick spent valuable time at the crease for his 52, and the Somerset left-hander seemed in little discomfort from his fractured finger and should be fit to play on Thursday.

With three wickets in hand and 21 still required to avoid the follow-on, England's dressing-room would have been tense as Ashley Giles and Darren Gough walked out to bat and England's remaining batsmen were nervously waiting to count down the runs. Steve Harmison and James Anderson need not have worried as Giles took his side past 394 in a manner Ian Botham would have been proud of. After one sighter from Makhaya Ntini, the Warwickshire spinner smashed five of the next eight balls to the boundary to ensure that a fraught period of play lasted 10 balls and seven minutes.

The end of the innings came quickly after Gough had an ill-advised hook at Ntini and Harmison had his bail trimmed by the same bowler. Looking for his third consecutive 50, Giles fell nine runs short when he was bowled by an in-swinging yorker from Shaun Pollock.

Though England had taken a considerable step towards avoiding defeat, there were still 93 overs left in another day elongated to make up for Friday's washout. The South Africa captain, Graeme Smith, has been in no need of an excuse to get after England's bowlers during this match and his second-innings score of 85 off 70 balls was even more convincing than the 277 he scored during the first three days of the match.

With the tourists searching for quick runs it was a surprise not to see Gough, England's most economical bowler in the first innings, bowl any of the 26 overs while South Africa moved towards an inevitable declaration.

The Yorkshire fast bowler's right knee has been, and will remain, a source of great concern to England but there is no way a player can or should be protected in a Test. Nobody can forecast what may happen over the five days and a player has to be fit enough to cope with any workload put in front of him. That Flintoff also failed to turn his arm over until things were getting out of hand suggests Hussain was captaining the side with his mind elsewhere.

EDGBASTON SCOREBOARD

Final day; South Africa won toss

SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings 594-5dec (G C Smith 277, H H Gibbs 179)

ENGLAND - First innings
M E Trescothick b Ntini 31
M P Vaughan c Boucher b Pretorius 156
M A Butcher lbw b Ntini 13
N Hussain lbw b Pollock 1
A McGrath c Rudolph b Pretorius 34
A J Stewart b Pretorius 38
A Flintoff lbw b Pretorius 40
A F Giles not out 41
D Gough b Pollock 1
S J Harmison b Ntini 0
J M Anderson not out 0
Extras (b19 lb6 w11 nb17) 53
Total (536 min, 122.4 overs) 408

Fall: 1-66 (Trescothick), 2-132 (Butcher), 3-133 (Hussain), 4-222 (McGrath), 5-306 (Vaughan), 6-311 (Stewart), 7-374 (Flintoff), 8-398 (Gough), 9-398 (Harmison), 10-408 (Giles).

Bowling: Pollock 27.4-10-51-2 (nb7, w1) (10-5-18-0, 7-1-19-1, 7-4-7-0, 3.4-0-7-1), Ntini 28-8-114-4 (nb2) (4-1-17-0, 6-3-15-1, 1-0-5-0, 5-1-22-1, 4-1-14-0, 3-0-22-0, 5-2-19-2), Willoughby 20-7-46-0 (w2) (4-2-4-0, 2-0-2-0, 6-2-25-0, 2-2-0-0, 6-1-15-0), Pretorius 25-2-115-4 (nb8, w8) (8-0-29-0, 2-0-19-0, 7-0-32-1, 5-1-20-2, 3-1-15-1), Peterson 22-9-57-0 (1-0-14-0, 15-4-39-0, 6-5-4-0).

Progress: Fifth day (min 105 overs) 400: 526 min, 120.1 overs. Innings closed 11.29am.

Vaughan 50: 169 min, 108 balls, 9 fours. 100: 263 min, 169 balls, 15 fours, 1 six. 150: 382 min, 267 balls, 23 fours, 1 six.

SOUTH AFRICA - Second innings
G C Smith b Giles 85
H H Gibbs b Anderson 9
G Kirsten c McGrath b Harmison 1
H H Dippenaar not out 28
J A Rudolph st Stewart b Giles (TV replay)... 8
Extras (lb2 nb1) 3
Total (for 4 dec, 115 min, 26 overs) 134

Fall: 1-30 (Gibbs), 2-32 (Kirsten), 3-114 (Smith), 4-134 (Rudolph).

Bowling: Harmison 6-0-34-1 (nb1) (one spell), Anderson 10-1-37-1 (5-1-13-1, 5-0-24-0), Giles 8-0-45-2, Flintoff 2-0-16-0 (one spell each).

Progress: Fifth day: 50: 58 min, 12.5 overs. Lunch 55-2 (Smith 37, Dippenaar 7) 15 overs. 100: 95 min, 21.4 overs. Declaration at 2.14pm.

Smith 50: 78 min, 50 balls, 5 fours, 1 six.

ENGLAND - Second innings
M E Trescothick not out 52
M P Vaughan c Pollock b Peterson 22
N Hussain not out 23
Extras (b8, lb5) 13
Total (for 1, 137 min, 34 overs) 110

Fall: 1-72 (Vaughan).

Bowling: Pollock 7-3-6-0, Ntini 4-0-38-0, Peterson 13-3-33-1, Pretorius 10-6-20-0 (one spell each).

Progress: Fifth day: 50: 59 min, 13.2 overs. Tea 72-1 (Trescothick 45) 21.2 overs. 100: 113 min, 27.1 overs. Bad light stopped play 4.39-5.04pm 100-1 (Trescothick 51, Hussain 14) 28 overs. BLSP.

Result: Match Drawn.

Umpires: D J Harper and S Venkataraghavan TV replay umpire: J W Lloyds.

Match referee: R S Madugalle.

Man of the match: G C Smith.

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