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Graeme Smith Puts On The Heat On England

PTI 05 Jan 2010, 23:24:20 IST
PTI

South African skipper Graeme Smith hit a blistering unbeaten 162 to put the heat on the vsiting England team in the third test.
 
South Africa are in complete control of the third Test in Cape Town. A  magnificent century from skipper Graeme Smith ensured a lead of 330 and England would be working under pressure on Wednesday. 

First-innings centurion Jacques Kallis was playing at 20 runs. England's bowlers toiled the whole day in the South African heat but to no avail.

Smith  put on 230 with Hashim Amla, who  finished with 95 and played a huge part in subduing England on a pitch that appears to have lost much of its venom. Amla was eventually caught at short-leg by Alastair Cook off  Graeme Swann.

Smith had begun the session on 65 not out, having dominated before tea. He was soon driving Swann beautifully through mid-on for four, then rocking back to cut the same bowler to the boundary.

A clout for three over mid-wicket was not quite so aesthetically pleasing but then Smith has never worried overmuch about such things. Not even some treatment on an elbow injury when on 96 could deter him.

After a drinks break the field was brought in when he was on 99, but he soon drove Graham Onions through the covers to bring up the milestone.

His arms were in the air before he was halfway down the pitch, the ovation from the huge crowd bellowing in his ears. It was his 19th Test century, off 171 balls with 12 fours.

The very next ball Smith edged behind and was beginning to walk off when he realised that it had not carried. In fairness wicketkeeper Matt Prior soon pointed this out in a fine piece of sportsmanship.

Amla went, but Smith continued. England were flagging now, the fielding becoming ever more shoddy. On to 150 he roared, passing that landmark off 218 balls, now with 21 fours.

Kallis had one scare on 12, when he went to sweep Swann down the leg-side and Paul Collingwood took a remarkable catch diving to his left from slip.

England appealed but might have done better to look for a run out because Kallis was haring up the pitch mistakenly thinking that the ball was on its way to the boundary. Smith screamed for him to return, and he did. England eventually called for a review, but it was unsuccessful.