A big century from Alviro Petersen kept England in the field for a full five sessions and carried South Africa to a solid 419 all out before Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook ensured a solid reply at Headingley.
England made a solid start to their reply after South Africa stretched their first innings total to 419 all out on day two of the second Test at Headingley on Friday.
Captain Andrew Strauss and his opening partner Alastair Cook batted confidently, aided by some wayward bowling by the South Africans, as the home side reached 48 without loss before bad light ended play prematurely.
South Africa's innings lasted until shortly before the tea break. Alviro Petersen made a career-best 182 as the visitors ground out an imposing total, casting doubt on England's decision to pick an all-seam attack and decision to bowl first.
Petersen injured his right hamstring toward the end of his innings and did not field. Assistant coach Russell Domingo said he had gone for a scan but a preliminary assessment suggested the right-hander would be sidelined for up to 10 days.
After Petersen's fine vigil ended midway through the afternoon session, JP Duminy hit an unbeaten 48 as the last three wickets added 66 runs.
It was ironic that part-time off-spinner Kevin Pietersen took his side's first wicket of the day after Petersen and Jacques Rudolph had batted most of the morning across a stubborn sixth-wicket stand of 59.
England left out specialist 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 Strauss tossed the ball to Pietersen, whose second ball turned 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 pushed part of his foot behind the line in time, and was duly given out stumped.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad sent down six successive maidens at the start of the day.
In the fifth over Petersen was given out lbw to Anderson by umpire Steve Davis without adding to his overnight score of 124. But, for the second time in his innings, he called for a review and was reprieved when replays showed the ball would have missed leg-stump.
Petersen went past his previous Test best of 156 against New Zealand in Wellington in March before he was caught behind off Broad after batting for 530 minutes. He faced 365 balls and hit 23 fours.
As they had in their innings and 12-run 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 otherwise largely off target.
Vernon Philander also seldom made the batsmen play and captain Graeme Smith brought Dale Steyn into the attack after four overs. Philander later 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.
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