Nel strikes as England slump

Andre Nel took three wickets and sparked a slump by England on the first day of the third Test against South Africa at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

England were 173-6 at tea, a disappointing total after they won the toss and made a solid start on an easy paced pitch.

Nel, making his return to the Test side in place of the injured Dale Steyn, dismissed England’s top three batsmen at a cost of 43 runs.

He could have done even better because he twice induced edges from Ian Bell, which fell just short of the slips. Bell went on to make 50.

Nel made the breakthrough for South Africa when he took two wickets in two balls after Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook put on 68 for the first wicket.

Although Cook was troubled early on by Morne Morkel, the batsmen settled down and England looked headed for a big total before Nel struck. Strauss stepped on his stumps as he played Nel to the leg side to be out hit wicket for 20.

Out-of-form England captain Michael Vaughan pushed forward to the first ball he faced and was given out caught behind by umpire Aleem Dar in response to a frenzied appeal by Nel, even though wicketkeeper Mark Boucher did not join in.

Vaughan looked surprised at the decision but replays indicated he might have got a faint edge to the ball.

Three overs later Kevin Pietersen tried to play Jacques Kallis to leg and the ball looped off his pad to Ashwell Prince at backward point.
He was given out caught, although the ball probably did not touch his bat.

Ironically he could have been given out leg before wicket as replays showed the ball would have hit his stumps. Cook made an impressive 76 off 125 balls before Essex county colleague Nel had him caught low down by a diving Kallis at second slip.

Paul Collingwood, recalled after being dropped for the second Test, looked out of touch and took 18 balls to score his first runs, a cover drive for four off Morkel.

But he did not add to his score before edging an outswinger from Kallis to South African captain Graeme Smith at first slip. Makhaya Ntini, bowling with the wind for the first time after seldom threatening earlier, claimed the sixth wicket when Bell was caught behind shortly before tea.—AFP

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