England recover after early shock at the Wanderers

After winning the toss and choosing to bat on a humid, overcast day, England lost four wickets in the first hour of the fourth and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers on Thursday.

At lunch, England had 100 for four.

Both teams made changes to the sides that drew the third Test in Cape Town last week, with South Africa bringing in two debutants and England making one change.

Left-armer Wayne Parnell came into the South African team for the injured Friedel de Wet and Ryan McLaren replaced spinner Paul Harris.

England replaced Graham Onions, who was involved in staving off South African victory at Centurion and in Cape Town, with Ryan Sidebottom.

England captain Andrew Strauss was left rueing his decision right away, when Hashim Amla took a spectacular catch at backward short-leg to dismiss Strauss off the first ball of the match, bowled by Dale Steyn.

Not to be left out, Steyn’s opening partner Morne Morkel, took a wicket in his first over, with Jonathan Trott plumb leg before wicket for five, leaving England on seven for two after two overs.

Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen tried to get England out of trouble, but Pietersen, who had played and missed and looked uncomfortable, mis-timed a Morkel delivery and hit it straight to Parnell at mid-on.

Pietersen, who has had a low key tour so far, made seven.

Cook’s dismissal was the most controversial of the four. He was given out lbw to Morkel for 21, but called for a review. Television replays suggested Morkel might have overstepped, but third umpire Daryl Harper decided part of his foot would have been behind the line, and that the ball would have clipped the stumps, and Cook had to go.

England had lost four wickets for 39 in the first 50 minutes of the match, but Cook’s dismissal brought together Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell, whose obdurate sixth wicket partnership of 112 runs was largely responsible for England hanging on for a draw in Cape Town.

Bell, who was not out on 44, finished the morning session by hitting Jacques Kallis for six — his second six of the morning, while Bell was not out on 19. — Sapa

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