Strauss leads strong England reply in Durban


Cricket:Andrew Strauss and Dale Steyn ensured an eventful second day of the second Test between South Africa and England finished honours even at Kingsmead in Durban .

Strauss responded to Steyn’s quick-fire 47 as he dominated a last-wicket stand in South Africa’s 343 with a run-a-ball 50 for England towards a stumps total of 103 for one.

In company with his near silent partner Alastair Cook, Strauss dispatched eight fours — including three in one Makhaya Ntini over — in less than an hour’s batting up to tea.

The England captain added only four more before being bowled by Morne Morkel in a shortened evening session but had still almost single-handedly wiped out Steyn and Ntini’s tenth-wicket gains in another seesaw Test match.

The decision review system inevitably played a central role again, with both England openers involved — among several others.

Cook was never in any serious danger on eight when South Africa’s review for a catch at silly-point was turned down just before tea.

But Strauss’ survival on 50 when he reviewed a Morkel lbw, initially given out by Aleem Dar, was a much closer affair.

It went Strauss’ way when the third umpire saw enough video evidence to corroborate the batsman’s apparent view that he had hit the ball before it hit him.

His departure — losing two stumps to the same bowler almost immediately afterwards — drew the sting from any controversy, though.

Instead, it fell to Cook and Jonathan Trott to keep England in acceptable shape until bad light closed in to take another 22 overs out of the contest.

South Africa had earlier seemed destined to fall short of 300, but Steyn had other ideas, taking a particular liking to Graeme Swann (four for 110).

Play got under way half an hour early this morning — to make up for time lost to bad weather yesterday — with the floodlights in action under heavy cloud cover which persisted throughout.

But overnight pair Mark Boucher and AB de Villiers took advantage of a pitch which provided little for the old ball in a stand of 63.