Finn strikes give England hope
Steven Finn took two big wickets in successive overs to put England back in the reckoning in the must-win Lord's Test against South Africa.
Finn (four for 60) twice found telling movement up the slope, on his home ground, to see off centurion Hashim Amla and then AB de Villiers with the second new ball.
Before his first intervention, South Africa appeared increasingly comfortable on 259 for four. But by teatime on day four, that had become 306 for seven - and a lead of 300 meant England's hopes of salvaging a drawn Investec series in this final Test of three, and therefore their world number one Test status, were still just about alive.
England had received scant reward for their efforts before lunch, and did not help their own cause by dropping another crucial catch.
Amla (121), South Africa's first-Test triple-centurion in their landslide win at The Oval, was yesterday dropped by Matt Prior on just two.
Then this morning De Villiers escaped on eight when James Anderson put down a straightforward low chance at midwicket off Graeme Swann - the eighth catch missed by England in this series.
Finn and Anderson tried to apply the pressure from the outset on another searingly hot but increasingly cloudy morning.
But it was not until Andrew Strauss made a double-change that Stuart Broad made short work of nightwatchman Dale Steyn, trying to fend off the latest in a succession of short balls and offering a simple catch off the shoulder of the bat to short-leg.
De Villiers announced himself with successive boundaries from his first two balls, pulled fine off Broad and then down the wicket to hit Swann over mid-on.
It looked a hammer blow when Anderson then continued his uncharacteristic recent trend of missed catches after Swann had deceived De Villiers in the air.
That impression was underlined as England began to settle into damage limitation before the second new ball, setting no slips to Anderson and apparently pinning all hope on reverse-swing or an improbable South African mistake.
After an unexpected lunchtime shower, Amla passed his 182-ball hundred with a skilful cut for his ninth four - and it was only when Finn began to gather momentum from his favoured pavilion end that England had a lifeline.
Finn had bowled Amla through the gate in the first innings, with one that nipped down the slope; this time he got one to go the other way, beat the defence and hit off-stump to end a stand of 85.
Twelve balls later, he had De Villiers too - edging a little extra bounce to slip where Strauss took his 121st catch, the most by any fielder in English Test history.
Finn was not finished either, and before tea had Jacques Rudolph edging behind to Prior.