England made a solid start in reply to South Africa’s first innings of 419 on the second day of the second Test at Headingley on Friday.
England were 0-48 when bad light ended play with 22 overs still to be bowled.
England captain Andrew Strauss and his opening partner Alastair Cook batted confidently, aided by some wayward bowling by the South Africans.
South Africa’s innings lasted until shortly before the tea break. Alviro Petersen made a career best 182 as South Africa ground out an imposing total, casting doubt on England’s decision to pick an all-seam attack and send them in.
After Petersen’s marathon innings ended in mid-afternoon, JP Duminy hit an unbeaten 48 as the last three wickets added 66 runs.
There was irony for England when part-time off-spinner Kevin Pietersen took his side’s first wicket of the day after Petersen and Jacques Rudolph had batted for most of the morning in a stubborn sixth wicket stand of 59.
England left out front-line spinner Graeme Swann, opting for four specialist seam bowlers. But the quick men could not make a breakthrough despite bowling accurately in overcast conditions.
Finally, England captain Andrew Strauss tossed the ball to Pietersen, whose second ball spun sharply past the bat as the left-handed Rudolph stretched forward defensively.
Wicketkeeper Matt Prior whipped off the bails and television umpire Asad Rauf ruled that the batsman had not got part of his foot behind the line in time.
As they had in their innings win in the first Test at the Oval, South Africa gave the new ball to Morne Morkel in an attempt to extend Strauss’ struggles against the tall fast bowler. Morkel produced one rearing delivery that hit Strauss on the glove but was mainly off target.
Vernon Philander also seldom made the batsmen play and captain Graeme Smith brought Dale Steyn into the attack after four overs and Philander switched ends but without a significant increase in menace.
Strauss hit sweetly timed off-drives for four off Philander and Steyn in successive overs.
The score moved quickly to 47 off 13 overs before Jacques Kallis and an improved Morkel bowled a better line and length, conceding only one run in five overs before play was called off.