South Africa 372-3 against England

Published: Monday, July 14, 2008, 21:00 [IST]
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South Africa opener Neil McKenzie's marathon century finally came to an end but the first Test against England at Lord's was still heading towards a draw on Monday.

The Proteas, at tea on the fifth and final day, were 372 for three, a lead of 26 after being made to follow-on, with Hashim Amla 88 not out and first innings centurion Ashwell Prince, dropped on two, four not out.

McKenzie, who batted after lunch with a runner because of a groin strain, was eventually out for 138, having added just seven runs to his interval score when he flat-footedly cut at James Anderson and edged through to wicket-keeper Tim Ambrose.

The 32-year-old had batted for nine hours and 14 minutes, facing 446 balls with 16 fours.

McKenzie, having previously shared a double century stand with Proteas captain Graeme Smith, who made 107 on Sunday, added 125 for the second wicket with Amla.

A South Africa spokesman tried to calm fears McKenzie might miss the second Test, which starts later this week at Headingley, by saying: "Neil McKenzie has a groin strain in his right leg but the medical team are hopeful he will be able to play on Friday."

McKenzie's exit left South Africa on 329 for two.

Left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom, bowling despite a stiff back, gave home fans another moment to cheer when he clean bowled the experienced Jacques Kallis for 13 with an excellent yorker - a delivery, which curiously, England rarely used.

New batsman Prince, who made 101 out of South Africa's first innings 247, was given a reprieve when his flashing drive off Stuart Broad was put down by Alastair Cook, diving to his left at a wide second slip.

There have been five consecutive draws at Lord's since Australia became the last side to win a Test here in 2005 and it was going to take something special from England to end that sequence in the first of this four-Test series.

South Africa resumed Monday on 242 for one after Smith was the only batsman dismissed during the whole of Sunday's play.

They were still well adrift of England's first innings total of 593 for eight declared, which featured Ian Bell's Test-best 199 and South Africa-born Kevin Pietersen's 152 in his first Test innings against the Proteas.

McKenzie started Monday on 102 not out, with Amla 20 not out.

Initially in defensive mode, McKenzie, off Monday's sixth ball, cover-drove Monty Panesar for four.

In the first innings the left-arm spinner had taken four for 74 but it was a different story second time around with Panesar, at tea, having bowled 58 overs - the most he'd delivered in a Test innings - without a single wicket.

Both McKenzie and Amla, whose 116-ball fifty featured nine boundaries, were bombarded by a succession of short-pitched deliveries from the seamers, with England captain Michael Vaughan deploying a leg-slip and leg-gully, but all to no avail.

And with every wicketless over on a batting-friendly pitch, the case for the recall of fit-again all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, an out-and-out fast bowler unlike the three pacemen selected by England at Lord's, after more than a year out of Test cricket through injury, grew stronger.

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