England have replied strongly in the First Innings against South Africa on the Second Day of the Second Test in Durban.

South Africa made 343 in their First Innings, which would have been a slightly smaller score had England not been frustrated in taking South Africa's last wicket. England's best bowler of the innings was Graeme Swann, taking 4-110. Stewart Broad took 2-44.

In reply to SA's 343, England were magnificent, putting on a fine display of batting to put on a score of 103 for the loss of just one wicket. Cook and Strauss put on 71 in 19 overs as England look to get at least 300 on the board in the First Innings.

England's score at the end of today's play would have been more than 103-1 had bad light not prematurely stopped play but, just 240 runs behind in the First Innings, England will be confident when play resumes tomorrow at 7.30am British time tomorrow.

End of the Second Day of the Second Test

England VS South Africa (at Durban)

1st Innings
South Africa: 343
England: 103-1

South Africa lead by 240 runs

England's Cook and Strauss put on 71 inside 19 overs in a positive stand

By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport

England built a solid reply to South Africa's 343 before bad light str uck Durban on day two of the second Test.

Andrew Strauss, who fell for 54 after contentiously surviving a referral, and Alastair Cook put on 71 for the first wicket before England closed on 103-1.

They had earlier been frustrated by Dale Steyn's 47 at number 10, in which he struck three sixes off England's best bowler Graeme Swann (4-110).

But Strauss played some scintillating shots in an encouraging response.

When South Africa's ninth wicket fell on 285 soon after lunch, England appeared to have the initiative.

But Steyn's bold last-wicket stand of 58 with Makhaya Ntini - who himself played an intelligent hand, surviving for 47 minutes - was the cue for the home fans finally to drown out a typically well-represented Barmy Army.

In fact, South Africa's innings would have ended on 289 if Ntini had been given out lbw to Swann, but despite the evidence from the replay going in England's favour, Strauss had already had two unsuccessful referrals and could do nothing about it.

Conditions at the start of the day, with the floodlights on and murky cloud cover resolutely in position, appeared for all the world to favour the bowlers.

But South Africa had few genuine problems as they advanced their precarious overnight score of 175-5, with AB de Villiers on eight and Mark Boucher five.

James Anderson got a ball 61 overs old to swing impressively into the two right-handers, but they read most deliveries well, and while Boucher seized on anything straight enough to punch through the on-side, De Villiers favoured the off-side with some cultured strokes.

Cook gradually grew in confidence after some nervy early moments

As the threat of a really dangerous stand loomed, once again it was Swann who showed up the inconsistency shown by Anderson, Graham Onions and Stuart Broad by grabbing a desperately-needed breakthrough to end a partnership of 63.

Boucher, on 39, played down the wrong line to a ball delivered from round the wicket, and England - slightly reluctantly - referred the not-out verdict from on-field official Amiesh Saheba to the TV umpire. Eventually Boucher had to go, lbw.

The new ball was soon available and the tail was now exposed, but a further 36 runs were added before De Villiers fell for exactly 50, Broad sending down a fairly harmless-looking delivery just outside off-stump which the batsman tickled to Matt Prior from an attempted pushed drive.

The long two-and-a-half hour morning session finally came to an end with the score on 284-8 after Paul Harris had become Swann's third victim as he attempted to sweep a ball that was too full and departed lbw, and just one run was added before Swann picked up his third lbw with the wicket of Morne Morkel.

But Steyn, who famously hit 76 in a match South Africa won in Melbourne exactly a year ago, produced some memorable blows and England had stopped seeing the funny side of it by the time he finally nicked a catch to Prior off Anderson.

Strauss blew away the frustration with a series of breathtaking pulls and cover-drives off South Africa's seamers. Ntini was the most profligate and England's skipper played one brilliant cut shot for four off the 101-Test superstar to a delivery angling sharply into him from around the wicket.

Stuart Broad took 2-44 but rarely hit top gear at Kingsmead Park

The tea interval gave South Africa a 20-minute respite, extended by a further 30 minutes when a rain shower swept across the ground.

Strauss did not look the same batsman in the murky conditions late on and was troubled by Morkel, who needed two attempts to remove him.

The England captain successfully referred an lbw shout, third umpire Steve Davis appearing to take the decision into his own hands after pick up a barely detectable inside edge via the stump microphone.

It took him three and a half minutes to overturn Aleem Dar's decision, however, and if Strauss had gone on to make a big score South Africa would have had every reason to grumble.

In the event, Morkel made no doubt four overs later when flattening two of the left-hander's stumps via an inside edge.

Cook's form looked decidedly ropey before tea, but in contrast to his skipper was an improved player later on. He hit some decisive pull shots against the seamers and produced welcome aggression against the spin of Harris.

At 4.26pm local time (1426 GMT) Saheba and Dar decided the light could be offered to Cook (31) and Jonathan Trott (17), and that was that for the day.
Monday's play will start at 0730 GMT as every effort is made to make up time lost both on Saturday and Sunday.