Cape Town:Number 11 batsman Graham Onions batted out the last over for the second time in the series as England escaped with a draw on the fifth day of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands on Thursday.
England finished on 296 for nine after four wickets fell in the last hour. They also lost nine wickets in the first Test in Centurion.
The result meant England will go into the fourth and final Test in Johannesburg next Thursday with an unbeatable 1-0 lead.
A dramatic finish seemed unlikely when Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell batted together for almost four hours in a sixth wicket partnership which seemed to have earned a comfortable draw for their team.
But Collingwood was caught at slip off the part-time off-spinner JP Duminy with 13.3 overs remaining and as happened in the first Test at Centurion England found themselves in desperate trouble.
In Duminy's next over Matt Prior prodded a catch to AB de Villiers at short leg.
With up to seven fielders clustered around the bat, Stuart Broad survived without scoring a run for 22 balls before a ball from left-arm spinner Paul Harris bounced and popped off his glove for De Villiers to make another catch at short leg.
Fast bowler Morne Morkel was brought back into the South African attack and with his first ball had Bell caught at first slip by Graeme Smith after a 286-minute vigil in which he scored 78.
There were 17 balls left but Onions and Graeme Swann survived against Dale Steyn and Morkel, with Onions playing out the last over from Morkel with impressive calm.
South African hopes were high when they took the second new ball one over after lunch, needing five wickets to square the series.
But Collingwood survived a blistering spell of fast bowling from Dale Steyn, while the rest of the South African bowling attack made minimal impression on a pitch which played easily under a warm sun.
Steyn gave South Africa an important breakthrough 36 minutes before lunch when he bowled Jonathan Trott with a superb delivery which swung in late.
But Steyn and Morne Morkel could not separate England's last two specialist batsmen when they took the new ball.
Collingwood was given a torrid time by Steyn, who had him playing and missing at balls which swung away late, earning a wry acknowledgement from the batsman, and twice almost bowling him with deliveries which cut back.
But at the end of a six-over spell Steyn had not taken a wicket and Collingwood, having faced 29 of the 36 balls bowled by Steyn with the new ball, was still battling away, as he did when England escaped with a draw in the first Test in Centurion.
At Centurion, Collingwood batted for 159 minutes and faced 99 balls in scoring 26 not out. On Thursday he batted for 276 minutes, facing 188 balls and making 40.
While Steyn bowled superbly with no luck, Smith could not find any magic from his other bowlers until the unlikely intervention of Duminy in the last hour.
The tall Morkel could not recapture the controlled hostility which brought him five wickets in the first innings.
Friedel de Wet, South Africa's third fast bowler, needed an injection on Wednesday after suffering back spasms, and bowled only two two-over spells at greatly reduced pace, while left-arm spinner Paul Harris could not extract any significant turn from the pitch.
Collingwood had the decision review system to thank for his survival, however, as he was given out before he had scored, caught at slip off Harris.
Collingwood immediately asked for a review of umpire Tony Hill's decision. Replays showed the ball had gone off his thigh pad.
South Africa claimed the wickets of nightwatchman James Anderson and Trott during the morning as England batted cautiously, taking a victory target of 466 out of the equation.
With Trott batting solidly and Anderson defending with determination, it took South Africa 46 minutes to make a breakthrough, for which they required some luck.
Anderson swept Harris and the ball went onto his boot before squirting out towards backward short leg where Ashwell Prince made a diving catch.
Trott had made a watchful 42 off 99 balls when he fell victim to Steyn during the second of two three-over bursts by the fast bowler before lunch. A fast, full ball swung in late and sent Trott's off stump flying.