Tue | Sep 26, 2017

England, South Africa draw

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:00 AM

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP):

England survived a late South Africa surge as the second Test at Newlands was drawn, with the tourists 159-6 in their second innings yesterday.

England finished 161 runs ahead, but had to fend off the South Africans, who took six wickets in two sessions on the final day to provide an unexpectedly eventful finish.

After four days of bright sunshine and perfect batting conditions, England were determinedly defending the draw under gloomy skies in Cape Town when bad light ended play just under two hours before the scheduled finish.

"It was a nervous finish, actually," England captain Alastair Cook said. "It's not ideal and we'll have a chat about it."

England posted a mammoth 629-6 declared in their first innings, their second highest score in South Africa, only for the hosts to respond with a defiant 627-7 declared. England still lead the four-match series 1-0 and are in good position for a first series win over South Africa in 11 years. There are two matches to play, in Johannesburg and Centurion.

South Africa, despite their progress at Newlands, were suddenly hampered with the unexpected announcement after the match that Hashim Amla was stepping down as captain immediately.

"If someone else can add more value, why wait and be a hindrance to the team for two more Tests?" Amla posed.

In a test where 1,256 runs were scored in the first two innings on a serene batting pitch where batsmen had few problems, it was a strange finish in Cape Town even before Amla's decision.

The surface began to offer spin, and nip and bounce for the quick bowlers and the searing heat gave way to a blanket of gray cloud cover and light drizzle.

Ultimately, England kept their nerve to maintain the lead in the series, while South Africa, under pressure to live up to their No. 1-ranking in Tests, found some momentum after a big 241-run defeat in Durban and a hammering for their bowlers at the start at Newlands.

"I know after a day-and-a-half a lot was being written and a lot was being said," South Africa coach Russell Domingo said. "For us to show that type of resilience with the bat was phenomenal."