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Steyn, Morkel Pack Off England For 180 In Johannesburg Test

PTI 14 Jan 2010, 22:47:42 IST
PTI

England's hopes of a series victory over South Africa were dealt a serious blow when they were bowled out for 180 on the opening day of the fourth Test.

Dale Steyn claimed 5-51 as the tourists were made to regret their decision to bat first having won the toss at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Paul Collingwood (47) and Ian Bell (35) did threaten to relive their partnership from the dramatic final day of the third Test, but their 76-run stand either side of lunch proved to be no more than a minor irritation to the home team.

Morne Morkel chipped in with 3-39 before the Proteas, who are bidding to level the series at 1-1, reached 29 without loss by the close of play.

In between a break for rain, openers Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince survived the odd scare through until bad light ended proceedings early.

Having posted such a paltry first-innings total on a pitch with pace and bounce, England may end up needing further help from up above, either via bad weather or divine intervention, if they are to retain their slender lead.

This time they certainly can't rely on the batting skills of number 11 Graham Onions, the last-over hero from both Centurion and Cape Town having been left out of the XI in favour of the fresher option of Ryan Sidebottom.

The other major decision for England in the morning was to bat first, one that Strauss must've regretted from the moment he fell to the opening delivery.

Looking to turn a relatively harmless-looking ball from Steyn to leg, the left-hander's clip that came out of the middle of his blade was too close to Hashim Amla, who took a stunning, one-handed catch at short leg.

Suddenly thrust into the action, a perturbed Jonathan Trott duly tried to get out to the first seven balls he faced before eventually falling to the eighth, Morkel trapping him leg before for five, falling across a straight one.

Kevin Pietersen's below-par tour then continued when he pulled the same bowler straight to debutant Wayne Parnell at mid-on to depart for seven.

Alastair Cook couldn't even keep out on-song Morkel either, as he was given out lbw by on-field umpire Tony Hill for 21 when struck on the back leg.

The opener decided to call for a television referral, perhaps querying the height. Replays showed that there was no danger of the ball missing the stumps though Morkel, who threatens the front line almost as much as he does his opponents, had come mightily close to bowling a no ball.

Cook's departure left the score on 39-4 - hardly what Strauss would have had hoped for just an hour earlier - before a partnership was finally put together.

Facing yet another crisis situation, firefighter Collingwood went from tortoise to hare, showing he's more than just a Brigadier Block with a succession of boundaries, including hooked sixes off Parnell and Jacques Kallis.


However, his fun lasted only five overs after the lunch break, as he became a maiden Test wicket for Ryan McLaren, another South African on debut as the hosts went with an all-seam attack, meaning no place for Paul Harris.

Bell didn't last too much longer in the afternoon either, a superb Steyn inswinger delivered from wide of the crease getting through between bat and pad to rattle into middle and leg stump.

Steyn then scythed his way through the majority of the lower order to record his 12th five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Matt Prior was caught behind gloving an attempted hook while Sidebottom and Swann, who offered some late defiance with a run-a-ball 27, also provided catches through to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Kallis claimed the other wicket to fall - Stuart Broad tamely chipping to mid-on for 13 - as England's innings was done and dusted in just 47.5 overs