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Innings victory for SA
- Flintoff’s 142 goes in vain as England lose with day to spare

BATTERING ACTS! With the score on 208 for 6, Andrew Flintoff (top) threw his bat in a typically theatrical display as he made 142 off 146 balls (including 18 fours and five sixes) and splintering his bat in the process, for his second Test century and his first on home soil at Lord’s on Sunday. Makhaya Ntini finished with a match haul of 10 wickets, the first of his Test career. (AFP, REUTERS)

London: Makhaya Ntini took ten wickets in a match for the first time in his international career as South Africa wrapped up an innings and 92-run win against England in the second Test at Lord’s on Sunday.

Ntini kissed the ground after his second five-wicket haul of the game as England, needing 509 to make the touring side bat a second time, were dismissed for 417 to go 0-1 down in the five-match series.

England’s only consolation, following half-centuries for Mark Butcher and Nasser Hussain, came from an extraordinary century in a losing cause from Andrew Flintoff.

With the score on 208 for six and left with nothing but tail-enders for company, the big all rounder threw his bat in a typically theatrical display as he made 142 off 146 balls, including 18 fours and five sixes — his second test century and his first on home soil.

He was last man out, stumped off wrist spinner Paul Adams.

His brutal head-to-head with Ntini in particular roused the crowd on another sun-drenched day.

England captain Michael Vaughan said: “We need to pick up ourselves up and produce a better display at Trent Bridge. Freddie (Flintoff) just spared a few of our blushes.”

Ntini, hostile but erratic, hit Flintoff in the helmet but was also clattered for two sixes and a four off four balls, Flintoff splitting his bat in two in the process.

Flintoff had the pleasure of reaching three figures with another pull to the boards off Ntini, then scythed all rounder Andrew Hall over point and then into the midwicket stands.

When Pollock was brought on to end the fun, Flintoff, his weight on the back foot, blazed him over mid-on for four and then struck three consecutive boundaries as 20 came off the over.

Ntini, though, had the last laugh as he ended with five for 145 off 31 mercurial overs, to go with his five for 75 in the first innings.

It was Graeme Smith, however, who was left with the broadest smile after he and Ntini were declared joint men of the match.

The 22-year-old captain had made 259 — the highest score ever made at Lord’s by an overseas player and his second double century in consecutive Tests — out of a national record score of 682 for six declared as South Africa dominated throughout.

The chasm between two supposedly evenly-matched sides was underlined by the fact that South Africa effectively won with 10 men, quick bowler Dewald Pretorius missing the main action with a thigh strain.

Resuming on 129 for two after Marcus Trescothick and new captain Michael Vaughan had both failed on Saturday, England continued to misfire.

Having bowled badly and fielded abysmally, they fared only marginally better second time out after making 173 in the first innings.

Former captain Hussain, who gave Vaughan just three days’ preparation after suddenly resigning after Edgbaston, and Butcher raised spirits temporarily during their stand of 126.

But, from 186 for two with lunch looming, the top order imploded again.

First Butcher, on 70, chipped all rounder Hall lazily to square leg. Then three wickets fell without a run being added in seven balls around lunch.

Hussain, on 61, never got into position as he skied an over-ambitious hook off Ntini behind and Alec Stewart nibbled at a good delivery and was caught behind for a second-ball duck.

Hussain, warmly applauded for reaching 5,000 Test runs moments earlier, cursed himself all the way back to the pavilion.

Pollock dismissed the statuesque Anthony McGrath three balls after lunch, leaving Flintoff to delay the inevitable during an 89-run partnership with Giles, Ntini separating them with his first delivery with the new ball, and a 47-run stand with Darren Gough.

Without Flintoff, England could have sunk to their worst Test defeat while South Africa could have recorded their best test triumph.

Stands of 89 for the seventh wicket, however, 47 for the eighth, 27 for the ninth and 46 for the last put paid to that.

 

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