England v South Africa, 2nd Investec Test, 4th day
Headingley – Perhaps fittingly, in the shadow of the Olympics, this Test looked to be heading towards a draw as heavy rain hit Headingley during the afternoon session with South Africa's openers having survived a tricky period against the new ball. England had gained a slender lead of six after Matt Prior hit a vigorous 68, but could not separate Graeme Smith and Jacques Rudolph before the clouds rolled back.
In their anxiety to make good use of a tiny bowling window before lunch, England conceded an umpiring review when Rod Tucker's refusal of an optimistic James Anderson lbw appeal against Smith was upheld.
Before the over could be completed, a flash of lightning sent the players scurrying for the pavilion. Rain began to fall seconds later, forcing lunch to be taken a few minutes early and restricting South Africa's time at the crease to 2.3 overs. The new ball was swinging and South Africa were grateful to reach lunch unscathed in the hope of more settled weather ahead.
After the interval there was a more sustained period of cricket and England passed - or found - the edge on a number of occasions without reward. Rudolph, opening in place of the injured Alviro Petersen, edged over the slips when a ball took the shoulder of the bat and also edged short of gully. To have a realistic chance of forcing a result, England needed early wickets but that has not looked likely from the attack at any stage in this series.
Earlier, Kevin Pietersen's outstanding Test century turned out to be only a Saturday spectacular. He fell to the second ball of the morning, lbw to Morne Morkel. After a quick glance at his batting partner, Prior, he strolled off with a broad smile and no thoughts of turning to DRS.
The mood initially was very much that of the morning after the night before. The packed Headingley crowds of the first three days had not entirely been repeated in a patchy fourth-day attendance and Pietersen, advancing slightly to work Morkel into the leg side, found that another adrenalin rush was beyond him.
England, 1-0 down in the series, needed the match to progress quickly, a situation that eminently suited Prior, who is a counter-attacking cricketer by nature. He despatched the quicks crisply through the off side, while the Yorkshireman, Tim Bresnan, resisted pawkily alongside him before he edged Vernon Philander to slip.
It needed Imran Tahir to quell Prior by bowling his legspin around the wicket into the rough outside leg stump. Tahir also made inroads for South Africa with three wickets. Stuart Broad miscued a pull as he was defeated by a quicker delivery, leaving the substitute Faf du Plessis to take a slick catch running backwards at mid on and leaving Broad with only one Test half-century this calendar year.
Prior was ninth out when he top-edged a sweep to long leg and Anderson, who steered Dale Steyn wide of the slips to put England into the lead, was then bowled by Tahir attempting a slog-sweep.
South Africa were under physical strain. Smith, the South Africa captain, did take the field with a knee heavily strapped after injuring himself on Saturday evening when he slid to prevent a boundary. But that was only one of South Africa's problems. Jacques Kallis had developed lower back spasms overnight that ruled him out of bowling or fielding for the rest of England's innings.
Add the grade one hamstring strain suffered by Alviro Petersen during his mammoth century in South Africa's first innings and they were in disarray, a situation exacerbated by the ICC's controversial change in playing regulations last year that will prevent any of the three injured players batting with a runner. Rudolph fulfilled the role of opener in Petersen's absence, leaving him and Kallis scheduled to bat as low as No. 7 or No. 8, or once the amount of time they have been absent has passed.