LONDON // Recalled England fast bowler Steve Harmison took two wickets in two balls and James Anderson captured three to help dismiss South Africa for 194 on Kevin Pietersen's first outing as Test captain on Thursday. At the close of the first day of the fourth and final Test England were 49 for one after South Africa replied to England's aggressive bowling by capturing the wicket of Andrew Strauss for six.
Pietersen, whose side have already lost the series, will have enjoyed the pace and swing his bowlers found on a largely overcast day at The Oval. All made contributions with the spinner Monty Panesar, who delivered only 2.5 overs, adding two wickets for four runs and Stuart Broad, expensive early on, also taking two in the South African tail. Andrew Flintoff claimed the first wicket of the day by dismissing Neil McKenzie before lunch.
Harmison dismissed captain Graeme Smith (46) and Hashim Amla (36) in the 32nd over of the day before Anderson, swinging the ball late, dismissed Jacques Kallis lbw for two. The wickets were a welcome boost for the South African-born Pietersen, who took over from Michael Vaughan on Monday after South Africa took a winning 2-0 series lead at Edgbaston at the weekend. Harmison, returning to the side after performing well for Durham, had watched Alastair Cook drop Smith off the first ball of the match in a frustrating opening session for England.
He and Flintoff beat the bat of both openers frequently on an overcast day before Flintoff had opener Neil McKenzie caught by Cook in the slips for 17 in a morning session shortened by a shower. FALLIBLE COOK Pietersen replaced Flintoff and Broad early in the afternoon after Cook dropped two more chances and the South African score had crept up to 103 for one. Smith attempted to pull Harmison but top-edged high to the long-leg boundary where Anderson took the catch.
With the next ball Harmison clean bowled Amla with a stunning yorker and Anderson's inswinger to Kallis next over reduced the visitors to 105 for four. Anderson had Prince, playing a loose shot, caught at cover by Ian Bell for four. He then dismissed Mark Boucher for three with an outswinger that the South African wicketkeeper edged to his counterpart Tim Ambrose behind the stumps. AB de Villiers held the South African innings together in the tea run-in, before falling lbw to Panesar.
South Africa's tail put up some resistance. Broad picked up the wickets of Morne Morkel, caught by a diving Bell at short leg for 17, and Andre Nel caught behind for four. Panesar put an end to a 22-run last wicket partnership between Paul Harris (13 not out) and Makhaya Ntini when Ntini played on. In the final 90 minutes, Ntini captured Strauss's wicket when the opener edged to Smith at slip. *Reuters