DURBAN, Dec 26, 2009 (AFP) - England grabbed three wickets after tea to wrest control from South Africa on the first day of the second Test at Kingsmead on Saturday.
South Africa was 175 for five when bad light stopped play with 29 overs remaining to be bowled.
The host nation looked firmly in command when their two most experienced batsmen, captain Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, put together a third wicket stand of 150.
|South African captain Graeme Craig Smith pushes at a ball during the first day of the second Test match between South Africa and England on December 26, 2009 at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban. AFP
But both batsmen were out for 75 in quick succession after tea. Kallis fell to off-spinner Graeme Swann before Smith was run out in a mix-up with AB de Villiers.
JP Duminy made only four before he was leg before wicket to Graham Onions shortly before the early close.
Smith and Kallis came together when South Africa were 10 for two. They needed all their skill and experience on a pitch that gave the bowlers some help, particularly in the first hour.
Smith, normally aggressive, had to struggle hard for his runs after winning the toss and deciding to bat in hot, humid weather, knowing that conditions would be tricky early on after rain and overcast skies in the days leading up to the match.
The South African captain scored only 10 runs off 62 balls before he struck his first boundary when James Anderson, in his second spell, allowed him enough width to hit a meaty square cut. It took him 138 balls to reach his half-century and he made his 75 off 186 balls.
The South African captain was struck on the left index finger by a ball from Anderson early in his innings, needing treatment on the field. He called for further treatment shortly before tea.
Kallis, who made a century in the drawn first Test at Centurion, was more fluent than Smith, although he posted his half-century in fortunate circumstances when he edged part-time bowler Jonathan Trott through a vacant first slip area for his fourth boundary. He took 94 balls to score his fifty.
Conditions changed dramatically as clouds came over the ground and the floodlights were switched on soon after the tea. With Swann bowling around the wicket, Kallis misjudged the line and edged a ball that went straight on to Paul Collingwood at slip.De Villiers started confidently when he drove Swann straight for four but he was at fault when Smith pushed Onions into the covers. De Villiers charged down the pitch for an unlikely single.
Smith responded by leaving his crease, then turned to go back but was run out by Alastair Cook, who picked the ball up and ran in to take off the bails.
Duminy did not look comfortable during his short stay at the crease but England's momentum was halted when the umpires, after looking at their light meters several times, took the players off. Rain started to fall soon afterwards.
Earlier in the day, England bowled well with the new ball as Anderson had Ashwell Prince caught at third slip for two and Stuart Broad followed up by trapping Hashim Amla leg before wicket, also for two.
Anderson swung the ball in both directions early on and produced a brutal delivery in the third over which kicked and moved away to take the shoulder of Prince's bat to provide an easy catch for Graeme Swann.
Onions bowled a superb line and length, conceding only two runs in a four-over spell but it was Broad who took the next wicket with his fourth delivery of the match when Amla played around a full delivery.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn, who was ruled out of the drawn first Test at Centurion shortly before the start because of a hamstring injury, returned to the South African team in place of Friedel de Wet.
England announced an unchanged team.
South African captain Graeme Craig Smith pushes at a ball during the first day of the second Test match between South Africa and England on December 26, 2009 at the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in Durban. AFP
South Africa, first innings
G. Smith run out (Cook) 75
A. Prince c Swann b Anderson 2
H. Amla lbw b Broad 2
J. Kallis c Collingwood b Swann 75
A. de Villiers not out 8
J. Duminy lbw b Onions 4
M. Boucher not out 1
Extras (lb8) 8
Total (5 wkts, 61 overs) 175
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (Prince), 2-10 (Amla), 3-160 (Kallis), 4-166 (Smith), 5-170 (Duminy)
To bat: P. Harris, M. Morkel, D. Steyn, M. Ntini.
Bowling: Anderson 12-2-32-1, Onions 15-4-40-1, Broad 10-1-28-1, Swann 19-1-44-1, Trott 4-0-19-0, Pietersen 1-0-4-0