Paul Collingwood gave England a fighting chance of victory with a gutsy century that guided them to a 214-run lead over South Africa at Edgbaston.
Collingwood, batting for his Test career, showed bags of character and skill to frustrate the Proteas, finishing the day on 101*.
South Africa, who ended their first innings with a lead of 83, sensed victory when they had England at 104-4, but a 115-run partnership between Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen (94), steadied the innings.
However, spinner Paul Harris gave the Proteas the ascendancy, dismissing Pietersen who had a rush of blood and tried to go to his century with a six, but instead only managed to pick out AB de Villiers in the field. Four balls later Harris had Andrew Flintoff back in the pavillion when he was caught at short-leg by Hashim Amla.
But Collingwood was ably supported by Tim Ambrose and the pair saw out the day’s play. England, despite their relatively precarious position, will be consoled by the fact that no team has chased more than 208 to win a Test match at Edgbaston.
Day four is poised to be a belter. South Africa will be aware that early wickets are crucial, while England know that 50 more runs will put them in a strong position to level the series.
England first innings – 231 all out.
Alastair Cook 76, Ian Bell 50, Andre Nel 3-47, Jacques Kallis 3-31.
South Africa first innings – 314 all out.
Neil McKenzie 72, Jacques Kallis 64, Andrew Flintoff 4-68, James Anderson 72-3.
England second innings – 297-6.
Kevin Pietersen 94, Paul Collingwood 101*, Paul Harris 2-60.
England lead by 214 runs with four wickets in hand
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