LONDON: Marcus Trescothick's maiden double century restored England's pride in the fifth and final Test against South Africa at The Oval here Saturday.
At stumps, on the third day, England were 502 for seven in reply to South Africa's first innings 484, a lead of 18, after Trescothick's career-best 219.
But with the Proteas 2-1 up, England's hopes of denying South Africa a draw that would give the tourists a first Test series victory in England since 1965, were nevertheless hanging by a thread.
From 480 for four England saw Trescothick's hard work undone by the loss of three late wickets for 22 runs.
Graham Thorpe, in his comeback Test, made 124 on his home ground, putting on 268 for the third wicket with fellow left-hander Trescothick.
And Thorpe's Surrey team-mate Alec Stewart, England's most-capped player, appearing in his 133rd and last Test before international retirement, weighed in with 38 as he shared a century stand with 27-year-old Trescothick.
Andrew Flintoff was 10 not out and Martin Bicknell nought not out at stumps.
Trescothick's innings was all the more impressive as it was his first Test century in over a year since his previous Test best 161 against Sri Lanka at Edgbaston in 2002.
It was only his second Test century in 50 innings and fourth overall. AFP