| Gary Kirsten pulls one en route to his 130 at Headingley on Friday. (AFP)
Leeds: England fought to wrench back the initiative from South Africa in the fourth Test on Friday, on a day when the sides seemed to swap their collective personalities.
South Africa, so dominant at the start of the series, eked out 342 in their first innings, thanks mainly to a magnificently obdurate 130 from Gary Kirsten, before England rattled along to 197 for three as bad light cut short the second day.
Shrugging off their frustrations — Kirsten had put on 150 with Monde Zondeki to equal South Africa’s record for the eighth wicket — the home team scored at more than four runs an over in an attempt to make up time.
Michael Vaughan fell cheaply, a block against Makhaya Ntini spinning back into his leg stump, before Mark Butcher (77) and Marcus Trescothick (59) put on 142 for the second wicket.
Both, however, fell shortly before the close. Perhaps unwisely, they had accepted a break for light shortly before.
So dominant before the interruption, Trescothick was caught and bowled by Jacques Kallis, who threw himself right to take the chance, just nine balls after the teams returned to the field.
Butcher, whose innings was peppered with square cuts and forces, then drove at the same bowler and edged behind, leaving Nasser Hussain and Ed Smith at the crease.
South Africa, despite still being stuck at 1-1 in the five-match series after losing the third Test on a poor pitch, have got used to setting the agenda, though, not at Headingley.
While England’s remodelled seam attack at Headingley latched onto a disciplined off-stump line, the South Africans bowled wide and short for the first time.
Indeed, they looked just like the home team had done in the first two Tests.
Without Shaun Pollock’s the tourists seemed determined to feed Butcher’s favourite cut shot and he feasted on it.