The Sunday Leader

Graeme Swann Inspires England Fightback At Centurion

Greame Swann

Greame Swann

Graeme Swann’s magnificent Test-best 85 rescued England on day three of the first Test against South Africa. Despite Paul Collingwood’s gritty 50, England slipped to 242-8 in reply to 418, largely thanks to slow left-armer Paul Harris who finished with 5-123.
But Swann, who took 5-110 with the ball, hit 10 fours and two sixes and shared 106 with James Anderson (29). England mustered 356, conceding a lead of 62, but ousted Ashwell Prince and South Africa closed 71 ahead at 9-1.
Swann’s captivating innings was the highest score by an England number nine since Peter Lever’s unbeaten 88 against India at Old Trafford in 1971, and the thrilling stand with Anderson evoked memories of the 108 he shared with Stuart Broad in last summer’s Ashes.
It was a ninth-wicket record for England against South Africa and made rather a mockery of the top order’s batting.
A sizeable crack had developed in the centre of the Centurion pitch and when captain Andrew Strauss was the victim of a shooter from Makhaya Ntini that shot along at ankle height it perhaps clouded the minds of the batsmen.
Harris, with a low, almost non-existent front arm delivery style, bowled nine overs unchanged through to lunch and surprised the batsmen with changes of pace, and the very occasional turning delivery.

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