Proteas beat England

Birmingham, August 3:

Graeme Smith played one of the great rearguard innings on Saturday as South Africa chased 281 to win the third Test by five wickets and capture their first series win over England in 43 years.

The South Africa captain finished unbeaten on 154 after putting on 112 for the sixth wicket with Mark Boucher (45 not out), who came in with the team in trouble at 171-5. Smith finished the game with a pull shot through midwicket off part-time offspinner Kevin Pietersen, holding his arms aloft in triumph as South Africa took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

Resuming after tea on 111-4, Smith survived an excellent leg-before-wicket shout from Monty Panesar when he shouldered arms to a sharply spinning delivery.

Despite cutting and driving powerfully and hooking fiercely, Smith rode his luck at times, beating a run out opportunity on 78 when Ian Bell fumbled wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose’s throw with the captain short of his ground.

AB de Villiers and Smith added 78 before Paul Collingwood caught De Villiers (27) at first slip off Panesar to leave the tourists on 171-5. Smith and Boucher set about grinding down the attack to claim the team’s first series win in England since 1965.

Earlier, England were dismissed for 363 with Paul Collingwood likely saving his Test career by scoring 135 after the team had resumed on 297-6. The fourth Test starts from Thursday at The Oval in London. South Africa won the second Test at Headingley by 10 wickets last week after the first match at Lord’s was drawn.

Captains quit

LONDON: Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood announced they were stepping down as England’s Test and one-day captains. Vaughan’s decision came after Saturday’s defeat against South Africa. It meant Vaughan had overseen three series losses against top-class opposition since returning from a career-threatening knee injury. His announcement was followed by that of Collingwood, who said that his game had suffered as a result of taking on the one-day captaincy.

Vaughan said he does not want to be considered for the final Test of the series. Kevin Pietersen is favourite to be appointed both Test and ODI captain. Other candidates include Alastair Cook , Andrew Strauss and Robert Key. — AFP