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Flying Finn leaves Proteas reeling
Steven Finn struck three times in seven balls as England made an outstanding start to the must-win Lord's Test against South Africa.
James Anderson administered the first blow for the hosts, with the wicket of South Africa captain Graeme Smith. But after Finn had justified his inclusion, ahead of Tim Bresnan, by shifting Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla in the same over - and then Jacques Kallis, in controversial circumstances - England were well under way in their mission improbable.
They had South Africa stumbling to 65 for four, and in big trouble, after Smith had chosen to bat first under cloud cover. England need victory to share this Investec series and stop their opponents knocking them off the top of the International Cricket Council world rankings in this final Test of three.
Smith, setting a new world record as captain for the 94th time in a Test match, soon knew he and his opening partner Petersen would be in for an examination of technique and judgment as England's pace bowlers found movement in the air, and a little off the seam.
He and Petersen covered the line and controlled the edges in the first half-hour, and the nearest new-ball pair Stuart Broad and Anderson came was a play-and-miss each against the right-hander. But Anderson then opted for a new line of attack against Smith, with immediate success.
He retained the lop-sided leg-side field England have favoured against the opposition captain. But having gone round the wicket from the pavilion end, he pushed one further up and wide. Smith followed it down the hill - and although his bat hit the floor as well as the ball, Kumar Dharmasena's initial not-out verdict for caught-behind had to be overturned when England requested DRS.
Smith's early exit was an evident relief for the hosts, at a ground where he has made a double-century and another hundred too from three previous Test innings. Much more was required, though, while overhead conditions continued to favour the bowlers - and Finn (three for 22) did not disappoint, on his home ground.
It was not until his fifth over, after replacing Anderson, that he made his telling impact. First a little extra bounce undid Petersen, who gloved a catch behind down the leg-side. Kallis was off the mark with a leg-side single first ball - putting number three Amla back on strike, where he was to depart to a very good delivery, bowled between bat and pad by Finn.
England's 6ft 8in seamer was not finished either. In his next over, he took his third wicket for just three runs when lynchpin Kallis became the second batsman to go caught-behind to him down the leg-side.
This time it seemed, after England reviewed Dharmasena's initial not-out verdict, that - in a near action-reply of Petersen's dismissal - the bottom glove might well have been off the handle when it was hit. But after much deliberation, and to the obvious dismay and disbelief of Smith and others on the South African balcony, third umpire Rod Tucker ruled otherwise.