Unheralded Lewis flies out to bolster tourists

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The Independent Online

With bits falling off all over the place, beleaguered England invited an uncapped veteran county seamer to fly to their rescue last night. Jonathan Lewis, of Gloucestershire, was summoned as cover as an arduous and concerted tour seemed to be taking its toll.

With bits falling off all over the place, beleaguered England invited an uncapped veteran county seamer to fly to their rescue last night. Jonathan Lewis, of Gloucestershire, was summoned as cover as an arduous and concerted tour seemed to be taking its toll.

Although he was named as the official reserve for the squad when it was announced his call-up at this late stage was something of a surprise. Lewis, 29, has played for his county stalwartly for 10 seasons and took 57 wickets at 25.26 each last summer. He sprang to his only kind of national prominence in the C& G Trophy final at Lord's in August when he reduced Worcestershire single-handedly to 8 for 3 and effectively won the match.

There is only one match to go to in a riveting Test series and the bowlers who will take part in the one-day series later this month arrived in town yesterday.

They include the vastly experienced Darren Gough who has taken 229 Test wickets, and Kabir Ali who played a Test against South Africa in 2003. Lewis's call-up is a measure of the plight England have suddenly found themselves - which an unlikely victory in the Fourth Test today would change.

Stephen Harmison has a swollen left calf and did not take the field yesterday. There are fears for his future on this tour and it seems highly improbable that he will stay for the one-day series as planned. Ashley Giles dislocated a thumb while taking a catch and the wicketkeeper Geraint Jones bruised one the ball before, dropping one crucial catch on Saturday night and six balls before spilling another yesterday morning.

England are in trouble, as their centurion Marcus Trescothick recognised. "It's in the balance," he said. "We can still win it if we lead by 300. There's something in the wicket. It's a worry that we might lose our No 1 bowler and the other guys have bowled so much." That sounded as if England might be grateful to get out of here with a draw.

Nicky Boje, who led South Africa in the absence of the concussed Graeme Smith for much of yesterday, said that they would give any target a bash. "It's been an up and down cricket match. We will definitely chase anything but if it's a draw here it will be a very difficult game in Centurion."

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