Port Elizabeth: England's prospects of saving the second test against South Africa improved dramatically today when they lost just one wicket in the afternoon session and captain Nasser Hussain reached 50 not out as the tourists moved to 98 for three at tea on the fifth day.
Hussain batted through the afternoon session scoring just 24 runs but frustrating the home side's attempts to go 2-0 up in the five match series. Michael Vaughan was the only casualty of the session when he was adjudged to have gloved a delivery from all rounder Jacques Kallis to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher but his two-and-a-half-hour innings of 29 once again confirmed excellent technique and temperament.
Set an unlikely target of 302 for victory in 79 overs after South Africa declared at 224 for four wickets, England had been reduced to five for two when both openers were dismissed within six deliveries.
Michael Atherton (3) lost his off stump to a Shaun Pollock delivery while Mark Butcher (1) was unlucky to be given out LBW to Mornantau Hayward's first delivery which television replays showed to have pitched outside leg stump.
Hussain again showed a willingness to counter attack, however, hooking Hayward for six over fine leg and twice cover driving him to the boundary before settling down in the second session to reach 50 on the stroke of tea from 130 balls with six fours and a six.
Alec Stewart was unbeaten on 12. Earlier South Africa continued their second innings for 34 minutes after resuming on 189 for four. Jonty Rhodes scored the bulk of the extra 35 runs that were added moving from his overnight 34 to 57 not out.