Jones bails out England to force tie

England 270-5
South Africa 270-8
Match tied

The official result of the nerve-shredding match here last night was a tie. In every other respect it was an England victory, one that just might finally see off South Africa for good this winter, although do not bet on that.

The official result of the nerve-shredding match here last night was a tie. In every other respect it was an England victory, one that just might finally see off South Africa for good this winter, although do not bet on that.

A crowd that had been baying for a home victory for 10 tense but rewarding overs fell suddenly silent. South Africa's two batsmen slumped solemnly from the field, looking at the ground because they could not bring themselves to look anywhere else.

England cavorted, and Kevin Pietersen, the bludgeoning centurion of four hours earlier, lifted Geraint Jones off the ground in a joyous bear hug. Jones it was who, standing up to the last ball from Kabir Ali, not only took cleanly a skidding yorker, but then stumped the batsman, Andrew Hall. Had he made a simple fumble - and they have not been in short supply from Jones on this tour - South Africa would have had the bye they needed to win the second match of the series to level the score at 1-1.

Marcus Trescothick who had led England on the field in the absence of Michael Vaughan with a stomach bug said: "We pulled it out of the fire. It's amazing what a bit of pressure can do." His biggest decision was to ask Kabir, in only his third match, to bowl the last over after an indifferent evening. It worked, just, as three wickets tumbled in the final over.

Perhaps South Africa deserved to win after striving so gallantly to reach their total. Perhaps they deserved to win because they are so clearly in disarray about what is their best side and who should bat where in it. Perhaps they deserved to win because it would have supplied perfect balance to a long series.

But England stuck at it and they refused to panic in the last over when it seemed certain that South Africa had done enough to win. They had gradually clubbed the runs they needed, never quite in front of the clock but never quite behind it either.

Jacques Kallis, batting maestro, and Herschelle Gibbs, batting in the unaccustomed position of four, had shared a wonderful third-wicket partnership of 134 in 26 overs. Their departure led to a flamboyant contribution from Justin Kemp but when Darren Gough bowled him with a swinging yorker, England might have had their noses in front.

Shaun Pollock and Mark Boucher refused to be cowed by the target. They had been propelled up the order for their experience and they used it all. With 36 wanted to win from five overs, they arrived at the last needing eight.

Kabir attempted a yorker first ball. Instead, it was a full toss above waist height, a no ball counting one run, which Boucher clumped for four. Three were wanted from five. But Boucher, going for glory, was caught on the midwicket boundary.

South Africa could muster only two more runs. Ashwell Prince was run out, Pollock scrambled a last single to tie the scores, leaving Hall to face the final ball.

Trescothick said: "I hadn't got a clue what was going on with the field. I was more concerned getting Kabir to bowl the right ball." In the event, Kabir bowled perhaps his best ball of the evening. Hall could not make contact and Jones, improbably, took the ball, waited for the batsman to leave his ground and whipped off the bails. It was the smartest piece of wicketkeeping of his international career.

Pietersen's bear hug was not his only outrageous manoeuvre. His strokes fell into that category as did his gesture when he reached his hundred. He almost devoured the emblem on his helmet.

Most other players would have given the badge depicting the three lions a fashionably obligatory peck. Pietersen looked as if he might make love to it there and then on the outfield, had there been sufficient time between balls. But his innings of 108 not out in 96 balls, took England to a total of 270, 40 beyond what they might have achieved. Such an emotional outpouring of devotion deserved its reward.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones