Only weather can save them from defeat after Bell chips in with a century and bowlers Swann and Broad strike three lethal blows to reduce the Proteas to 76 for six.
South Africa down and nearly out
Barring the weather, South Africa's less than impressive record in Durban will get even worse today. The Proteas have won just 13 times in 36 attempts and face a certain 11th Test defeat at Kingsmead thanks to a remarkable piece of English bowling. Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad each took three wickets as South Africa dramatically collapsed from 27 without loss to 50 for six.
Graeme Smith's men eventually finished the day on 76 for six when bad light stopped play, needing another 156 just to make England bat again, but survival will be the only thing on their minds. A potentially career-saving knock of 141 from Ian Bell had set things up, giving England a 232-run first-innings lead first innings. Bell and Matt Prior took the game to the South Africans early on, with the latter scoring 60 off 81 balls before being bowled by JP Duminy.
Bell continued on his merry way to score a crucial century under pressure, bringing up the landmark with a lofted straight drive for four off Paul Harris. England set up a declaration chance by switching gear after lunch with Broad, subdued beforehand, slogging Harris for six before edging Duminy to give Jacques Kallis a 150th Test catch at slip. That brought in Graeme Swann who played a fabulous attacking cameo of 22 off 14 balls, including hooking Makhaya Ntini for six.
Dale Steyn's wickets of Swann, a mistimed shot to Ashwell Prince at mid-on, and Bell, caught by Mark Boucher, did little to limit the damage. The declaration came at 575 for nine, giving South Africa four and a half sessions to survive. The openers saw off the new ball but Swann got Prince (16) in his first over, Bell taking a fine low catch at silly point. Hashim Amla missed a drive and was bowled by Swann for six to give the spinner a wicket with the final ball before tea. Kallis (three) was next to go as Broad got one to nip back off the seam and catapult off-stump.
The substitute fielder Luke Wright, on for Paul Collingwood who dislocated his left index finger in practice, agonisingly missed Smith's stumps in an attempted run out, but the next wicket was not long in coming. De Villiers was lbw, not playing a shot, to Broad for two, despite a referral attempt. Broad then got Duminy for a golden duck, skittling the stumps. Smith was last to go for 22, lbw to Swann. The South African captain used up a referral, checking that Aleem Dar had made the right decision. The Pakistani umpire was correct, as usual, to leave England and their fans cock-a-hoop. @Email:email@example.com
Every one of the England batsman's Test hundreds has come after one of his teammates has already got to three figures: 162 v Bangladesh in June 2005 - Marcus Trescothick (151) * 115 v Pakistan in November 2005 - Kevin Pietersen (100*) 100* v Pakistan in July 2006 - Alastair Cook (105) 106* v Pakistan in July 2006 - Cook (127) 123 v Pakistan in August 2006 - Pietersen (135) 109* v West Indies in May 2007 - Cook (105); Paul Collingwood (111) 199 v South Africa in July 2008 - Pietersen (152) 119 v New Zealand in March 2008 - Andrew Strauss (177) 141 v South Africa in December 2009 - Cook (118) (* Bell got in before Pietersen, but Pietersen got to his century quicker)
South Africa (first innings) 343 England (first innings, overnight 386-5): Andrew Strauss b Morkel 54 Alastair Cook c Kallis b Morkel 118 Jonathan Trott c Boucher b Morkel 18 Kevin Pietersen lbw Harris 31 Paul Collingwood c Boucher b Duminy 91 Ian Bell c Boucher b Steyn 141 Matt Prior b Duminy 60 Stuart Broad c Kallis b Duminy 20 Graeme Swann c Prince b Steyn 22 James Anderson not out 1 Graham Onions not out 2 Extras: (10lb, 6w, 1nb) 17 Total: (for 9 wickets decl., 170 overs) 575 Fall of wickets: 6-477 (Prior), 7-536 (Broad), 8-565 (Swann), 9-569 (Bell). Bowling: Dale Steyn 34-6-94-2 Makhaya Ntini 29-4-115-0 Morne Morkel 31-6-78-3 (3w) Jacques Kallis 14-1-43-0 (1nb) Paul Harris 38-4-146-1 (1w) JP Duminy 24-1-89-3. South Africa (second innings): A Prince c Bell b Swann 16 G Smith lbw b Swann 22 Hashim Amla b Swann 6 Jacques Kallis b Broad 3 AB de Villiers lbw b Broad 2 JP Duminy b Broad 0 Mark Boucher not out 20 Morne Morkel not out 7 Total: (six wickets; 32 overs) 76 Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Prince), 2-37 (Amla), 3-40 (Kallis), 4-44 (Villiers), 5-44 (Smith), 6-50 (Duminy) Bowling: Anderson 7-1-24-0 Onions 4-1-12-0 Swann 12-3-22-3 Broad 9-2-18-3.