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CRICKET: Decision haunts duo; Bad light call could cost England as wickets fall.

Byline: MYLES HODGSON and DAVID CLOUGH

MARCUS TRESCOTHICK and Mark Butcher paid with their wickets after going off for bad light at a time when they thought they had South Africa in trouble at Headingley yesterday.

Butcher, the second of the two to fall after a 30-minute stoppage,felt he and his partner were in a no-win situation which would come back to haunt them whatever they decided.

As it was their 142-run second-wicket stand ended only nine balls after the restart when Trescothick fell to a smart return catch by Jacques Kallis for 59 -and six overs later Butcher (77)himself was caught behind off the same bowler.

England nonetheless finished day two of this pivotal fourth npower Test on a promising 197-3 in reply to 342.

But they will set out again with two relatively new men at the crease,and Butcher acknowledges it could have been much better.

``We were in the ascendancy. I was very aware of the fact we had them on the ropes a little bit,''he said, reliving his and Trescothick's decision to go off even though they had added 54 runs in only nine overs since tea.

``But it was felt that should one of us get out while the light was bad and the ball started to do a little bit more as the cloud came over it would be very awkward for a new batsman.

``As it has turned out we have come back out and lost a couple of wickets and it looks the worst decision in the world.''

On balance they probably did just that, and South Africa coach Eric Simons certainly was not complaining about the turn of events.

Asked if he was surprised to see the bats men go off,he said: ``I was pleased they did.

``But it was a tough decision,and our fielders - particularly the ones square with the wicket - were saying they were having trouble picking up the ball.''

The two late wickets amounted to reward which the South Africa pace attack did not really deserve.

They were mostly off target on a helpful surface,and Simons admitted: ``I don't think we were up to standard and I think the guys accepted that. We will have to pick it up tomorrow.

``The bowlers just need to get their minds in the right place rather than anything technical.

``We had a few words about it,and some oft hem were fairly harsh.'' Even so the tourists' coach believes a first innings lead is still there for the taking on the third day of the penultimate match in a series level at 1-1.

``The game is very evenly poised as far as we are concerned,''he said. ``It is the kind of wicket where you could knock over two or three bats men in a row if you start to get it in the right place.'' But England's cautious approach to the the fourth npower Test cost them the chance to establish a strong advantage over South Africa at Headingley. Their unadventurous approach prompted a chorus of boos from the 15,000 crowd and, with three more days remaining,could cost them.

It seemed inconceivable that England would accept the offer of bad light from umpires Billy Bowden and Simon Taufel at around 4.30pm such was their dominance over a South African attack missing all rounder Shaun Pollock and fast bowler Monde Zondeki.

Trescothick and Butcher had plundered six boundaries in the 45 minutes play after the interval and almost effortlessly overcame the early loss of captain Michael Vaughan in the eighth over of their reply.

But no sooner had they resumed after a 30-minute delay for the light, which did not seem to have improved when they returned, the partnership was broken while another wicket fell six overs later.

England had begun the second day attempting to wrap up South Africa's first innings, which had already recovered from a perilous 21-4 to reach 260-7 overnight thanks chiefly to an unbroken 118 run stand between Gary Kirsten and debutant Zondeki.

They continued their partnership for a further 13 overs of frustration before Lancashire seamer James Anderson finally broke their stand when Zondeki edged to Mark Butcher at wide third slip after they had added 150.

That score was a South African eighth-wicket record against England and equal led the South African all time record for that wicket.

England were thwarted in their hopes of wrapping the rest of the innings up quickly, though, with Makhaya Ntini arriving at the crease and adopting an aggressive policy to compliment Kirsten's more conservative approach.

Ntini's influence perhaps rubbed off on Kirsten, who then mistimed an attempted drive down the ground off Kabir Ali which looped up to Martin Bicknell at mid-on.

Four overs later James Kirtley claimed the last wicket when Dewald Pretorius was caught behind,but South Africa's last three wickets had added a crucial 200 runs to guide them to a competitive total.

That score took on an even healthier appearance following the loss of Vaughan, bowled by Ntini in the eighth over when he played forward defensively and allowed the ball to spin back onto his stumps.

It was a crucial period of the match but England responded with Butcher and Trescothick exploiting South Africa's understrength attack, only to undermine their efforts with the bad light call.

ENGLAND V SOUTH AFRICAOvernight: South Africa 260-7 (GKirsten 109 no,J A Rudolph 55,M Zondeki 50 no).

South Africa First Innings G Kirsten Bicknell b Kabir Ali .................

13-13-13-13-13-0 M Zondeki Butcher b Anderson .............59 M Ntini not out ......................................32 D Pretorius c Stewart b Kirtley ................9 Extras lb20 w2 nb7 pens 0 ......................29 - Total (114.4overs) 34-34-34-34-34-34-34-34-34-34342 Fall: 1-2 2-2 3-16 4-215-116 6-142 7-142 8-292 9-316 Bowling: Kirtley 29.4-10-74-2 Bicknell 27-1150-2 Kabir Ali 22-3-80-3 Anderson18-7-631 Flintoff 18-5-55-2 England First Innings Close M E Trescothick c & b Kallis .....................59 M P Vaughan b Ntini ...............................15 M A Butcher c Boucher b Kallis .................77 N Hussain not out ..................................14 E T Smith not out ....................................0 Extras b2 lb15 w3 nb12 pens 0 ...............32 - Total 3 wkts (47 overs)19-19-19-19-19-19-19-19-19-19197 Fall: 1-27 2-169 3-193 To Bat: A J Stewart,A Flintoff,M P Bicknell, R J Kirtley,Kabir Ali,J M Anderson.

Bowling: Pretorius 9-0-58-0 Ntini12-3-341 Hall 14-2-50-0 Zondeki1.5-0-10-0 Kallis 10.11-28-2 Umpires: B F Bowden and S J A TaufelCOLLATED SUMMARIESFIRST TEST MATCH Karachi: Bangladesh 288 (HabibulBashar 71)& 163-3 (HabibulBashar 82 no) v Pakistan 346 (Yasir Hameed170,Rashid Latif 54no) FRIZZELLCOUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIV ONE Old Trafford: Lancashire 734-5 dec (CL Hooper 201, S G Law 144,M B Loye 137,M J Chilton 125,C P Schofield 58no) v Middlesex 156-1(AJ Strauss 99 no) Grace Road: Surrey 501(RClarke 139,G P Thorpe 87,I J Ward 59,M R Ramprakash 55,J N Batty 50) v Leicestershire 127-7 Colchester: Sussex 612 (MW Goodwin 210,M J Prior 153 no,R R Montgomerie 97,J D Lewry 70,Mohammad Akram 5-130) v Essex 283 (DD J Robinson 64,W I Jefferson 55,A Flower 50, Mushtaq Ahmed 4-87)& 209 (W I Jefferson 59, B V Taylor 4-50)Sussex (22pts)beat Essex (5pts)by an innings and 120 runs FRIZZELLCOUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION TWO Derby Derbyshire 138 (RM Khan 76,J W Cook 4-35)& 278 (MJ Di Venuto 116,L D Sutton 56,J F Brown 4-60) v Northamptonshire 647-5dec (DJ G Sales 200 no,P A Jaques 123, M E K Hussey 115,J W Cook 85,M J Powell 50,K J Dean 4-145)Northamptonshire (22pts)beat Derbyshire (1pts)by an innings and 231 runs. New Road: Somerset 296 (MBurns 89,M J Wood 53)& 147 (MHayward 5-46) v Worcestershire 331 (SD Peters 103,G J Batty 52 no)& 116-2 (SD Peters 54)Worcestershire (20pts)beat Somerset (5pts)by 8 wkts.

Riverside: Durham 515(ML Love 273,G J Pratt 66) v Hampshire 211(JD Francis 65,N Pothas 50,G D Bridge 4-47)& 125-5(NKilleen 4-34). Bristol: Glamorgan 331 (MP Maynard 85,D L Hemp 69 no,J Lewis 5-66)& 291 (MJ Powell 90) v Gloucestershire 263 (AP R Gidman 68,T H C Hancock 64, A G Wharf 4-53)& 280-7 (JN Rhodes 57,T H C Hancock 53,A P R Gidman 50 no,R D B Croft 4-61)Gloucestershire (9pts) drew with Glamorgan (10pts)WEEKEND FIXTURES TODAY: (11am unless stated)First Test Match (day 4 of 5)Karachi: Pakistan v Bangladesh (06.00)Fourth npower Test Match (day 3 of5) Headingley: England v South Africa (10.45) Frizzell County Championship -Division One (day 3 of4)Old Trafford: Lancashire v Middlesex Grace Road: Leicestershire v Surrey Frizzell County Championship - Division One (day 4of 4)Colchester: Essex v Sussex Frizzell County Championship - Division Two (day 4of 4)Derby: Derbyshire v Northamptonshire Riverside: Durham v Hampshire New Road: Worcestershire v Somerset Second Women's Test Match (day 4 of 4)Taunton: England Women v South Africa Women TOMORROW: (1pm unless stated)First Test Match (day 5 of 5)Karachi: Pakistan v Bangladesh (06.00)Fourth npower Test Match (day 4of 5)Headingley: England v South Africa (10.45)Frizzell County Championship Division One (day 4of 4)Old Trafford: Lancashire v Middlesex (11am) Grace Road: Leicestershire v Surrey (11.00) National Cricket League Division One (1day) Colwyn Bay: Glamorgan Dragons v Yorkshire Phoenix Edgbaston: Warwickshire Bears v Kent Spitfires New Road: Worcestershire Royals v Gloucestershire Gladiators National Cricket League Division Two (1day)Derby: Derbyshire Scorpions v Northamptonshire Steelbacks Riverside: Durham Dynamos v Hampshire Hawks Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire Outlaws v Sussex Sharks

CAPTION(S):

Jimmy Anderson (right) takes a wicket yesterday; England captain Michael Vaughan trudges off after being clean bowled by Makhaya Ntini yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2003
Words:1618
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