England spoilt its chances of making a comeback in the 4-Test Series through a dismal batting show on the opening day of the 3rd Test at Edgbaston. On what was called as a flat and slow wicket by the Sky Commentators prior to the match, England got bundled out for a moderate 231. South Africa in reply are at 38 for 1 and stand a great chance of taking control of this test match through a solid batting performance in their first innings.
England had won the toss and elected to bat first. Their batting was strengthened with the return of Paul Collingwood in the place of Stuart Broad. Ryan Sidebottom got included ahead of Steve Harmison, who was released out of the squad yesterday. South Africa on the other hand were without their fastest bowler Dale Steyn, who broke his thumb during the Headingley Test. Andre Nel replaced him for this 3rd Test and the tall over aggressive bowled delivered the goods straight away for SA. England after a solid opening start lost its way as Strauss (20) and Vaughan (0) were dismissed in consecutive deliveries by Andre Nel. The fast bowler was lucky to get both those wickets with Strauss hitting his stumps while trying to go back to play a shot and Vaughan given out caught behind when he was beaten comprehensively by an away going delivery.
All rounder Jacques Kallis soon complemented Nel and England were in double trouble. They lost Kevin Pietersen (4) cheaply to get reduced to 74 for 3. SA’s hunt for more wickets was halted by a good partnership between Alastair Cook and Ian Bell. But the partnership didn’t go the distance that England were hoping for. Nel was the villain for the hosts again as he got rid of Cook (76 from 125 balls with 12 fours) to cut short the 4th wicket partnership to 62. South Africa then kept on chipping away at the wickets to bowl out England in 77 overs as all rounder Andrew Flintoff was left stranded on an unbeaten 36 (from 78 balls with 3 fours and a six). Ian Bell was the second highest scorer getting 50 (from 98 balls with 9 fours) out of the 231 put on by England. Both Nel and Kallis picked up three wickets each while Makhaya Ntini got a couple of wickets.
Just before the close of play, Andrew Flintoff provided the consolation for the home side by getting rid of Graeme Smith (7). SA closed the day at 38 for 1 in 11 overs with McKenzie on 12 in the company of night watchman Paul Harris.