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Headingley Test destined for draw
Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph's century opening stand all but ensured a stalemate in the rain-shortened second Investec Test at Headingley.
As South Africa reached a delayed lunch on day five on 123 for one, and a lead of 117, England could surely be resigned to heading to Lord's for next week's final Test needing victory to share the series - and rescue their world number one Test status.
If the tourists can retain, or double, their advantage at HQ they will knock England off a perch they have occupied for the past year at the top of the International Cricket Council table.
It was a long shot this morning that England could take wickets quickly enough, and forecast rain would hold off sufficiently, for them to bowl South Africa out and chase a victory target here. The weather performed acceptably, with partial cloud cover and just two light showers which took an hour out of an extended session.
England's bowlers, however, could find no way past South Africa's left-handed opening pair - until Kevin Pietersen was called upon to bowl the final over before lunch.
On 21 and then 22, Smith (50no) was twice within inches of giving a chance in the same Stuart Broad over - chipping just short of the man England positioned exclusively for him at backward square-leg and then edging marginally short of Andrew Strauss at slip.
Rudolph (69) grew in confidence - while his captain busied himself with his favourite occupation, taking his welter of runs against England past 2,000. Rudolph, promoted to deputise for injured first-innings centurion Alviro Petersen, completed his 92-ball 50 with his ninth four - a cut off Steven Finn.
After the second stoppage, he mis-hooked Finn but found safety in a well-populated leg-side with a sketchy two runs to fine-leg.
James Anderson dropped a tough, low chance diving to his right at second slip to reprieve Smith on 44 in Tim Bresnan's only over of the session.
Then, just before lunch, a breakthrough came - as in the first innings - from the unexpected source of Pietersen's part-time off-spin. He needed just two deliveries to shift Rudolph first time round, and just one today - finding turn from round the wicket to win an lbw verdict, confirmed by DRS.