By Mark Gleeson
PRETORIA (Reuters) - England batsman Joe Denly believes his side are still in the contest against South Africa despite falling 175 runs behind their hosts after two days of the first test at Centurion Park.
Denly, who top scored for England with 50 as the tourists were skittled out for 181 in their first innings, feels there are still plenty of runs on offer despite 15 wickets tumbling on Friday.
"A 175-run deficit is disappointing, but I don't think there are too many demons in this wicket and to get them four down in the evening session means we are still very much in the test match," he said.
South Africa, put into bat by England and who made 284 in their first innings, were precariously placed at 72-4 at the end of day two, with England's bowlers trying to get their side back into the game.
Denly helped steady England's innings but once he departed they tumbled, losing their last seven wickets for 39 runs.
"It was very uncomfortable for Joe Root and myself just before the lunch break but I felt once the new ball wore off and their change bowlers came on, it was a bit easier and runs were a bit more free flowing.
"I didn’t feel as in as much trouble as I did while there was still shine on the new ball," added the 33-year-old, who only made his test debut this year.
"If we are honest as a batting unit, once the new ball wore off, there were some soft dismissals and I think it’s just a case now of building partnerships.
"It's a new ball wicket. In the second innings, if we can get through that new ball period relatively unscathed, I'd back us to chase down a target of hopefully less than 300.
"I think there are still runs to be had."
(Editing by Christian Radnedge)