Pretoria:Paul Collingwood and Graham Onions withstood South Africa's attack for 19 balls in a last-wicket stand on Sunday to save England following a middle-order collapse and ensure the first Test was drawn.
England lost five wickets for 13 runs in the last session of the match at SuperSport Park to leave the team on 219-9 chasing 364 to win. That left Collingwood and Onions to bat through 3.1 overs from fast bowlers Friedel de Wet, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini.
No. 11 Onions faced the entire last over from Ntini, punching the air after the sixth ball to celebrate England heading to the second Test from Saturday in Durban still level in the four-match series.
England looked to be cruising to the draw at 205-4 with 15 overs left in the match, until the loss of Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann within 11 overs.
De Wet bowled with accuracy and hostility with the second new ball to take 3-11 before finishing with 4-55 on his Test debut after coming in to replace injured pace spearhead Dale Steyn.
England finished on 228-9, still 135 short of South Africa after the hosts had declared their second innings closed on 301-7.
"After England had got through the new ball early today, there wasn't much in it for the bowlers and it took a great spell with the second new ball by Friedel de Wet to get us back in the game," South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. "It's nice to see guys coming through from the domestic scene. He handled himself very well."
Smith pointed to Swann's 85, Broad's 17 and James Anderson's 29 in the first innings as reasons for not winning the Test.
"We lost our way ... not getting (batting Nos.) 8, 9, 10. We let it slip there," Smith said. "It's probably an area we can look at before the Durban Test."
Collingwood batted for 2 1/2 hours Sunday to score 26 after it had looked like Kevin Pietersen and Trott had saved the Test for England.
The pair put on 145 in just over four hours after England was in trouble at 27-3. Pietersen made 81 and Trott 69 before the two South African-born batsmen had a mix-up and Pietersen was run out with both stranded at the non-striker's end.
De Wet then brought the game alive with his first over with the second new ball. He hit Trott on the gloves and A.B. de Villiers took a great one-handed catch diving back and to his left at third slip to leave the hosts on 205-5 with 14 overs left.
Trott hit seven fours in 318 minutes with seven fours.
De Wet had more in store, though. Two overs and two runs later, he found the outside edge of out-of-form Ian Bell on 2, and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher took an excellent diving one-handed catch to his right.
Prior was out for a duck with one added to the total in De Wet's next over in a similar dismissal for the young paceman.
Five balls later, Broad on 0 feathered an edge to Boucher off spinner Paul Harris and England was tottering at 209-8. Broad referred the decision to the TV umpire but the decision stood.
Morkel made his contribution when he trapped Swann, the eventual man-of-the-match, in front for 2 in the 93rd over. Another decision referral failed for England, and Onions had to come in and save the game for his side with Collingwood.
Morkel finished with 2-46 and Paul Harris with 2-51.
England resumed the day on 11-1 and South Africa took two wickets before lunch.
England lost nightwatchman Anderson in the day's third over after a ball from De Wet hit his glove and he was caught down the leg side by Boucher to make it 16-2. Anderson made 10, with two fours in 28 minutes.
Opener Alastair Cook was caught at leg-slip by Smith for 12 off Harris. He tried to nudge a ball to the leg side but it hit his glove and pad before being caught by the Proteas captain.