LEEDS: Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen combined to reduce South Africa to 239 for seven at tea on final day of the second test at Headingley on Monday but it was almost certainly too late to avert a draw.
After South Africa put on 120 for the opening wicket, part-time off-spinner Pietersen began the late England assault by taking the first three wickets before fast bowler Broad enjoyed an inspired spell of four wickets for 12 runs in 20 balls. He has four for 52 in total so far and Pietersen three for 52.
There were at least 29 overs remaining at the interval and in normal circumstances it would not be enough time for South Africa to bowl England out or for England to surpass the tourists' lead that stood at 233 runs at the break.
Jacques Rudolph's wicket began the drama in the last over before lunch when he was lbw to Pietersen. The spinner then had Graeme Smith caught at short leg by James Taylor off a leading edge, though he unsuccessfully reviewed the decision as replays were inconclusive.
When Hashim Amla drove a Pietersen full toss to Alastair Cook at cover, it was 182 for three. Broad then got involved, removing AB de Villiers (44) and JP Duminy (0) lbw in successive balls to make it 209 for five.
Vernon Philander (6) was Broad's third lbw victim while Jacques Kallis, batting after spending Sunday in his hotel room with back spasms, gloved Broad to wicketkeeper Matt Prior for 27. Alviro Petersen, coming in at number eight because of his hamstring injury, was ten not out and Dale Steyn was on naught.
England are 1-0 down in the three-match series after losing the first test at The Oval by an innings and 12 runs. They must win the final test at Lord's to prevent South Africa from leapfrogging them at the top of the world rankings.
South Africa scored 419 in their first innings after losing the toss, as Petersen hit 182. England replied with 425 courtesy of a sparkling century from Pietersen. Intermittent rain has taken important overs from the match including more than half a day from Sunday's play.