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England v Ireland
Guyana, 30 March 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog

England 266-7 (50 overs) bt Ireland 218 all out (48.1 overs) by 48 runs

England have recorded their first victory of the Super 8s, beating Ireland by 48 runs but it was another unconvincing performance.

England's class finally told as Ireland were all out for 218 in the 49th over.

Andrew Flintoff took 4-43 to add to his 43 with the bat and Monty Panesar took two scalps.

Paul Collingwood's accomplished 90 was the cornerstone of the England innings, after the openers failed again as England posted 266-7.

By Ben Dirs


Wicket falls
49th over: WICKET - McCallan b Flintoff 5, Ire 218 all out
Flintoff wraps things up, castling McCallan with another yorker to seal a rather unconvincing 48-run win. Freddie finishes with 4-43 from his 8.1 overs, but that would have been a little too close for comfort for the England camp. Thanks for reading, I'm back in tomorrow. Everybody else, have a fun weekend.

48th over: 218-9
Mahmood can be trusted now and McCallan gets one for a nudge to point. Rankin gets one for a thick outside edge as Vaughan mis-fields. Slower ball from Saj and McCallan pushes him to mid-off for one.

Wicket falls
47th over: WICKET - Langford-Smith lbw b Flintoff 1, Ire 210-9
Langford-Smith is next in, and Flintoff cleans him up almost immediately. Dubious lbw that, it looked like it hit the face of Langford-Smith's bat. Umpire Doctrove never gives leg befores either. Odd. Flintoff and Nixon then think they've finished the innings off, Rankin appearing to get a snick, but umpire Doctrove thinking differently. Freddie serves up a bit of banter, Rankin is unmoved. "@#@*! hell," says Nixon. Rankin gets a couple with a push through the covers.

Wicket falls
46th over: WICKET - White c Nixon b Collingwood 38, Ire 209-8
White swinging his blade, pulling a half-tracker from Collingwood for four before getting a thick outside edge to the third-man boundary. White gets another couple for a smear to wide long-on. However, he takes one liberty too many, trying that scoop shot over his head and Nixon taking the catch over his shoulder. I think it ricocheted off his lid.

Jonathan Agnew
"England have been beating these so-called smaller teams, but they haven't been beating them as they should have been."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

Wicket falls
45th over: WICKET - Johnston b Flintoff 27, Ire 197-7
Freddie is back on and White gets two more for a push to mid-off. White digs out a yorker from Flintoff and gets two more. Clever shot from White, who shows good feet and moves to 27 with a clip through mid-wicket. Full-tracker from Flintoff and White picks up a single with a steer to point. But Johnston is out, Flintoff getting one to swing in slightly and uproot middle and leg. Belligerent knock from the Ireland skipper, but Freddie sends him on his way with a little 'bye bye'.

44th over: 190-6
Colly back on with his lollipops and White gets three with an uppish cut, Panesar saving the boundary. Another half-tracker from the military-medium Colly and White rocks back and carves him away for another boundary. The Irish have got their dander up here. White taking liberties now, scooping Colly straight over his head for a couple. Ten from the over.

"I just spent the last two hours trying to explain the finer points of cricket to a Swedish friend whilst following your coverage online. He's just turned to me and said, 'Mmmm cricket is fun! I've never learnt so much about waterfalls before'."
Ian, Stockholm, in the TMS inbox

43rd over: 180-6
Anderson gives White some width and he gets a couple with a carve to backward point. Full-bunger from Anderson, but Johnston only gets one for it, whipping the ball straight to Bopara at square-leg. Johnston gets a couple, including an overthrow after a shie from mid-off by KP ricochets off the stumps. Scruffy play by England at the moment.

"Anyone know of a bar showing the games in Boston, USA?"
Steve Smith in the TMS inbox

42nd over: 176-6
Mahmood is back on and Ireland go in for a bit of milking before White gets four for a top-edged cut. Handy runs, but is it all in vain now for Ireland? Mahmood strays onto White's legs and he moves to 10 with a clip to fine-leg. Johnston throws the kitchen sink at a wide one and it's another four for Ireland. Ireland are pretty much at the same point England were after the same amount of overs, so some hammer from these two could see them home.

"John from Stockton (see below) is right and wrong - Angel is taller, Victoria is wider, but the combination of Kaieteur's height and volume makes them the most powerful falls in the world. I've been there and it is stunning, trust me."
Jason in the TMS inbox

"Baker Street Bar, Corner of 1st Avenue and 63rd Street, New York, is showing all the games."
Trevor Turner, NY, in the TMS Inbox

41st over: 161-6
Anderson is back on and Johnston marmelises him over the mid-wicket fence for six. Brutal. A leg-side wide from Anderson and he and Johnston exchange verbals. Looks like a fiery character in his pyjamas, Johnston, not the sort to take any nonsense.

"If Thom Yorke out of Radiohead and the lady detective out of Life on Mars had a child, it would look like Ian Bell."
Komakino in the TMS inbox

"With Monty and Porterfield in the game, it's like the '73 Cup final again. Will we see Stokoe running around in his raincoat?"
Derek, Ottawa, in the TMS inbox

40th over: 151-6
Johnston tries to give Panesar the heave-ho and misses. Just one from the over and Ireland need 116 from 60 balls.

39th over: 150-6
Good flight from Vaughan and White gets in a bit of a pickle attempting a reverse sweep. Vaughan drops short and Johnston clobbers the ball over Monty's head for a maximum over the square-leg rope. Ireland need a lot more of that.

38th over: 140-5
White is the new man and he's beaten by a lavishly-turning delivery from Panesar. Maiden over from Monty and he lopes back to his fielding position on the boundary like a small boy running to a sweet shop clutching a five pound note.

Wicket falls
37th over: WICKET - N O'Brien st Nixon b Vaughan 63, Ire 139-6
The danger man is gone, beaten in the flight by a beautifully-looped delivery from the England skipper and stumped by Nixon. Made to look a monkey there, but that was another decent knock from O'Brien. England, however, are in the driving seat now.

"Niall O'Brien looks a fine player and is having a really good World Cup. Kent must think they have a really world-class first-team wicket-keeper-batsman if they can afford to release him..."
Gary P in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
36th over: WICKET - K O'Brien lbw b Panesar 12, Ire
Kevin O'Brien hist his second boundary, an inside-out, lofted cover-drive. But he's out next ball, padding up to an arm ball - umpire Taufel had no doubt about that one.

"I said I'd give him the money for the flowers (see below), though I was a bit dubious at the price. Do flowers really cost that much for a small bunch?"
Simon Dover in the TMS inbox

35th over: 133-4
Umpire Doctrove turns down another lbw appeal, this time from Vaughan against Kevin O'Brien. Umpire Doctrove gives a little smirk, like he's just heard an old lady pass wind at the bus stop.

34th over: 129-4
Kevin O'Brien, the first right-hander in the Irish batting line-up, gets one for a clip to mid-wicket before Niall O'Brien scampers a single after a guide to third-man. Poor throw from Anderson, Niall O'Brien may have been struggling if it had been a better one.

33rd over: 127-4
Vaughan still on and he's doing a pretty good job for England here. The O'Brien brothers are happy to yank away at his udders and there are six from the over.

32nd over: 121-4
Good lbw shout by Monty against Kevin O'Brien, but umpire Taufel presumably thought it was missing his off-peg. Not sure why Warney gets all these lbws when every other spinner in the world can't even buy a decision. Niall O'Brien gets one for a mis-hit reverse sweep, but Ireland are going to have to shift up a gear here.

31st over: 119-4
Kevin O'Brien is the next man in and he's about twice the size of his brother Niall. England rattling through the overs here, and there are three singles from Vaughan's over.

"Ian Bell cannot possibly be similar to the Lemur from Madagascar. The Lemur sang 'I like to move it, move it'. Quite the opposite of Bell actually."
Paul Ketley, NYC, USA

Wicket falls
30th over: WICKET - Botha c Flintoff b Panesar 18, Ire 116-4
Bye, bye Botha. The big man attempts to give Monty some biffda and only succeeds in holing out to Flintoff running in from long-off. Hands like baseball mitts, Freddie, he was never going to shell that one. Monty bounds around the place like a three-year-old chasing a butterfly in the park, Freddie plays it cool.

That's 50
29th over: 115-3
O'Brien brings up his fifty and gets another couple with a straight drive. That fifty came off 66 balls and it's his second of the World Cup and third overall. Good, nuggety little player O'Brien, ex of Kent and now of Northants.

"Hoi, Dirs, stop peddling duff info. The Kaieteur Falls is nowhere near the largest single drop waterfall in the world, that's the Angel Falls. I was so surprised at your claim that I looked it up! Kaieteur is the 122nd highest single drop waterfall!"
John, Stockton, in the TMS inbox

28th over: 110-3
O'Brien tries something different and almost drags a reverse sweep onot his stumps. He grabs a couple with a mow to deep mid-wicket and gets another with a whip to square-leg. Monty asking questions, but Ireland chugging along pretty comfortably to be honest.

27th over: 106-3
Botha tries to smear Vaughan over the top and sends the ball steepling to mid-on, where Mahmood is just unable to take the catch. Not sure how no-one got to that, it was in the air for about 10 seconds.

26th over: 102-3
O'Brien clips Monty to mid-wicket for one and, while Ireland are doing well, someone is going to have to play a bllistering innings for them to win it.

25th over: 100-3
Still Vaughan, and he's doing a pretty good job here - Nixon's loving it anyway, lots of natter behind the stumps. Botha rocks back and carves the England skipper to point for one to bring up Ireland's ton.

"Was mum's birthday yesterday and my brother still owes me £17.50 for half of the flowers we got her. Can you give him a gentle reminder?"
Colin Dover in the TMS inbox

24th over: 95-3
O'Brien gets three for a very fine sweep, Vaughan preventing the boundary. The England skipper looks a bit ginger as he gets to his feet. Panesar and Nixon have a vociferous appeal for caught-behind against Botha turned down by umpire Taufel. Bit of booing from the Guyana crowd, not often that happens to Monty.

"He's a very fine all-rounder Vaughan - they say he can bat a bit as well..."
Christopher Martin-Jenkins on TMS

23rd over: 91-3
Vaughany's going to have a bowl - peculiar. O'Brien clips him off his pads for one and Botha plays a similar shot for a single of his own. All left-handers so far for Ireland.

22nd over: 89-3
It's Monty time and Botha gets a couple for a ropey old inside edge. Bit of turn for Panesar and it's a good, probing opening over from the Northants left-armer.

"In response to 'has anything new happened in England in the last two decades?', how about Chavs and speed cameras?"
David, Middlesbrough, in the TMS inbox

21st over: 84-3
Crackerjack stroke from Botha, getting down on one knee and carving Flintoff through point for four. Time for Freddie to have a blow.

20th over: 79-3
O'Brien is worked to square-leg for a couple before O'Brien picks up one to mid-on. A bit untidy from the Durham man, a wide with his penultimate ball before Botha slashes another widish delivery down to third-man for one.

Wicket falls
19th over: WICKET - Porterfield c Bell b Flintoff 31, Ire 72-3
Porterfield has a slash at Flintoff, who looks like he's struggling a bit out there, what with his didgy guts. Porterfield gets one for a thick outside-edge. Many thanks to our North American readership who are filling up the TMS inbox as the Brits file down the pub. Good rebuilding job this by O'Brien and Porterfield, who are now both on 31. However, Porterfield perishes, getting a leading edge to Bell at short-cover. A dolly for Belly, and in comes Botha. England needed that.

"I'm sitting at home, doing a nasty little dissertation. May I suggest Ian Bell reminds me of that little lemur with the big eyes from the film Madagascar, or is that a bit racist?"
Ben, Tunbridge Wells, in the TMS inbox

18th over: 71-2
Porterfield clips Collingwood off his legs for one and I think England need a dose of Panesar.

"Kingston, Jamaica is the first place I've been to in my life that didn't have an Irish bar..."
Arlo White on TMS

17th over: 68-2
One from Flintoff's over. Apparently the Guyanese papers billed this match as 'The Battle of Britain'. Dear oh Lord, did they miss the last 90 years? "At least Jar Jar Binks set the tone for the rubbish Episodes 1-3, whereas those ruddy Ewoks ruined what had been a very good trilogy up to Return of the Jedi."
Mark Wightman, Durham, in the TMS inbox

16th over: 67-2
Collingwood gives O'Brien some width and is carved away for four. You can't bowl long-hops at that pace. England then have a run out shout against O'Brien, but he just beat Bopara's direct hit. Players have a wet.

"Only Fools and Horses, Rick Astley, Bagpuss? It's like I never left. Has ANYTHING new happened in Britain in the last two decades?"
Steve, Vancouver, in the TMS inbox

"At a few thousand feet, the Guyana rainforest looks like a vast plate full of broccoli..."
Arlo White on TMS

15th over: 62-2
O'Brien tucks Mahmood round the corner for four and England don't really look like taking a wicket here.

"I'm in class right now at the University of Waterloo, near Toronto. Nothing livens up an engineering lecture like some TMS cricket on the laptop!"
Rajat in the TMS inbox

14th over: 55-2
It's time for Colly's dibbly-dobblies and O'Brien chips him to deep mid-wicket for a couple. O'Brien gets another two for a drive through the covers. Bell gets a hand on it, and that maybe saved four. Interestingly, Robert Luker has just suggested that me suggesting Mahmood looks a bit like a camel is racist. So is it racist if I suggest, as I have done, Heather Mills McCartney looks like a bit like a camel also? Thought-provoking chat...

13th over: 50-2
Porterfield is beaten for pace by Mahmood before the Irish opener is almost caught by Bopara at point, but the ball just falls short. Maiden over from Mahmood, this is one of the most economical spells I've ever seen the Lancashire man bowl.

12th over: 50-2
Glorious square-drive by O'Brien for four and Flintoff decides to change the angle of attack to over the wicket. Porterfield collects a couple for a flick off his pads and Freddie is going for runs here. Lovely off-drive by Porterfield and only a fine save by KP saves four. Has everyone gone home? I need some more of your nonsense to sift through.

11th over: 42-2
Mahmood is back on for the ruddy-faced Anderson. Mahmood looks a bit like a bloke I went to school with who looked like a camel. And if he looks a bit like a camel, then he must also look a bit like Heather Mills McCartney. And if he looks a bit like Heather Mills McCartney, I suppose he must look a bit like Jar Jar Binks out of Star Wars. What a rubbish character he was. He was to the Phantom Menace what Damien was to Only Fools and Horses. Joyce isn't having a good day, and he shells a pretty straightforward chance off O'Brien at mid-wicket. He should have snaffled that. Ireland get a run for that. Mahmood throws in a slower ball and the ball trickles to Nixon behind the uprights.

10th over: 41-2
Typically tight stuff from Flintoff, but the Irish batsman don't look threatened by his pace. Porterfield pierces two fielders with a nicely-timed cover-drive - Bell saves four, bit Ireland pick up three. Dicky tummy, Flintoff, but he's putting everything into every delivery. Porterfield clips his last ball off his legs for one.

9th over: 35-2
Nixon giving it some chirp behind the stumps and England have a short mid-off and a short mid-wicket in for O'Brien. No slips, however. Anderson showing some strain out there, he's sweating like Alan Sugar at a bear hunt. Porterfield gets a couple for a nurdle to leg and another for a thick outside edge to third-man.

8th over: 32-2
Flintoff into the attack instead of Mahmood. O'Brien gets a streaky four, the ball flying off the inside of his bat, missing the timbers and running away to the fine-leg boundary. Porterfield gets one for a tuck to mid-wicket.

7th over: 26-2
Dreamy straight drive from Porterfield takes him to 15 and Anderson gets a bit lary next ball, digging one in short only for Porterfield to yank him away for a couple. Porterfield plays inside a decent Anderson delivery, but the Ireland opener is doing a good repair job here.

"It is not just slower balls that Saj overdoes, it is rank bad balls full stop. He is the worst of England's quicks and shouldn't even be anywhere near coloured clothing, let alone in the side at the World Cup."
Spaceman in the TMS inbox

6th over: 20-2
Bit of intent from Porterfield, lacing Mahmood through the covers and Vaughan testing that gammy knee out on the boundary, just dragging the ball in before it reaches the rope. Three runs. Another artful shot from Porterfield, clipping Mahmood towards the mid-wicket rope and the loping Panesar saving four. Three more for Ireland and they can breathe easier after that.

5th over: 11-2
Plenty of pace from Anderson but no evidence of any swing. Colin Croft on TMS reckons it never swings this late in the day. Anderson gets one past Porterfield's defensive prod. Ireland have weighed anchor here and are in danger of being caught in a nasty little storm.

Wicket falls
4th over: WICKET - Morgan run out (Mahmood) 2, Ireland 11-2
Nice work from Mahmood, fielding his own bowling from Porterfield and throwing down the stumps at the striker's end. Ireland in a little bit of a hole here, Niall O'Brien the next man in.

"With his penchant for pedalo antics, surely Freddie is more of a water biscuit."
Will, Edinburgh, in the TMS inbox

3rd over: 10-1
Play and a miss from Morgan but Anderson strays onto Morgan's legs and is clipped away for a couple. Sedate start by Ireland.

2nd over: 6-1
Mahmood shares the new ball with Anderson and he's Jonny On The Spot with his first six deliveries. Maiden over.

"If it's biscuit comparisons you want, may I suggest some more. Vaughan is the Abbey Crunch of the side. He was once a very classy proposition, but I have not really seen anything of him in a couple of years and he is now generally missing from our shelves."
Soft Alan in the TMS inbox

Out for a duck
1st over: WICKET - Bray c Bopara b Anderson 0, 6-1
Players are out and it will be Anderson to have first bung. Porterfield gets Ireland off the mark with a clip off his legs for three. Anderson then gives up three leg-side wides. But Bray is out next ball, carving a ball to Bopara at backward point. Sharp take by the Essex man, and it's Morgan next up.

"Flintoff is Kendal mint cake? I don't fancy stuffing him in my rucksack and carrying him up Skiddaw..."
Carole in the TMS inbox

"I'll have you know that Chris Tavare teaches me Biology, and I will not have you bad mouth him (although he is as slow a teacher as he was a batsman)
Henry Wardley, Kent, in the TMS inbox


"Is it true the Irish fans were singing 'What shall we do with a drunken sailor' when Admiral Flintoff came on?"
Henke, Dublin, in the TMS inbox

"Have I been transported, Life on Mars style, back to the start of the 70s, to the early days of one-day cricket when this type of pedestrian plodding was the norm? Times change, England don't."
Jeremy in the TMS inbox

"Following up from William and Tom's earlier comments, could you additionally please restrict yourself to nouns and verbs only, and could you also please not use sentences of a form other than subject-verb-object. Something along the lines of 'O'Brien bowls. Flintoff hits ball. Ball hits deck. Ball crosses rope' Oh, and please steer clear of metaphors, similes, litotes, meiosis or auxesis too. Thank you for your co-operation in this matter."
Jon in the TMS inbox

"Ben, any chance you can keep an eye on England's spit ratio when they take the field? I've a sneaking suspicion this canny new plan to slow down the pace of the outfield is not working - how England must be regretting the one-day retirement of chief saliva producer Steve Harmison."
Dickie Davies, Leicester, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
50th over: WICKET - Collingwood run out (White/Johnston) 90, Eng 258-7
Collingwood and Bopara share singles before Colly is out, pushing to mid-on and getting himself run-out by White, with the throw, and Johnston. Mahmood is in next. Smart running from Bopara, beating a wild throw from Langford-Smith at long-off. And Bopara slams the last ball of the game, a low full-toss, straight down the ground for four. Ninety four off the last 10 from England, and they seem to have dug themselves out of a hole there.

"Rick Astley's three big hits were Never Gonna Give You Up, Together Forever and When I Fall In Love. Obviously, Stock, Aitken & Waterman's hit factory never made it across the Channel."
Michael Gale in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
49th over: WICKET - Nixon c Morgan b Botha 19, Eng 245-6
Hammeroo from Nixon, nine-ironing Botha over the wide long-on fence for a maximum. But he's out next ball, lofting to long-on where Morgan takes a fine catch over his shoulder. Bopara is next up the ramp, and I think he's worth his place in the team instead of Jamie Dalrymple. If Dalrymple is a Rich Tea biscuit, Bopara is something altogether more sturdy, like a bourbon, or a Penguin. Something that might stand up to a bit of extended dunking. Pietersen is a Chocolate Viennese, Flintoff is a slab of Kendal mint cake. Collingwood scampers one after a flick to mid-on. Bopara picks up a single on the leg-side to get off the mark before Collingwood slaps Botha over the long-on fence. Ooh, you beast.

48th over: 239-5
Rank full-bunger from Johnston and Colly whips him away for four. Nixon lollipops the ball up to long-on, but he finds open space and scampers one. Collingwood then opens up again, clobbering Johnston over the deep mid-wicket fence for another maximum. Johnston then goes up for a caught and bowled and umpire Taufel goes to the third umpire after chat with his mate Doctrove. I thought that was out, but the ball cannoned off the ground first and then on to his boot before looping back to the bowler.

47th over: 227-5
Botha has a confident lbw appeal turned down against Nixon - that pitched outside leg - before Collingwood creams him over deep mid-wicket for six. Nice catch by some chap in front of the stand, he'll be dining out on that for years. Much confusion from the last ball of the over, Nixon larruping Botha to wide long-on and Porterfield, diving full-length, almost taking a tremendous catch. Credit to him, he tells the umpires to go upstairs and the third umps decided he shelled it. Good sense all round.

46th over: 215-5
Expansive from Colly, Johnston sending down a full-bunger and the batsman, eyes lighting up like a Hummer's headlamps, slapping him through extra-cover for four. Nixon gets in on the act, picking up Johnston and depositing him to the wide long-on fence. Another low full-toss from Johnston and Colly swats him to the wide long-on boundary. Good over from England, they needed that.

That's 50
45th over:
Nixon gets one for a whip to mid-wicket before Collingwood picks up his 15th one-day international fifty with a drag to long-on. A smattering of applause, the sort of applause you'd expect to hear at a very small bandstand in Westcliff-On-Sea.

"Dripping is underrated. In its best form, it's essentially the juices and fat from a decent roasting joint (say a wing rib) that might otherwise have been used to make a quality gravy. Delicious on toast. As run-rate could be a telling factor in coming 4th or 5th in table, England need to get on the hurry up."
Owen in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
44th over: WICKET - Flintoff b Johnston 43, Eng 194-5
Down goes Freddie, attempting to guide Johnston down to third-man and only succeeding in playing on to his stumps. Decent knock by Flintoff, but he was never really in nick. Nixon, as Colin Croft suggested, has leapfrogged Bopara in the batting order and England will want a little bit of crash, bang, wallop from the Leicestershire Gob. Nixon off the mark with a clip to long-off for one.

43rd over: 192-4
Expansive-looking shot from Flintoff and he gets a couple for it to long-off. Freddie then misses out on a low full-bunger, getting just one for it to mid-wicket. He has another smear at O'Brien and gets one for it to mid-on. Collingwood then shows his macho side, slapping O'Brien straight down the ground for four.

"I really don't understand this approach by England, I reckon this is a 300-plus pitch..."
Colin Croft on TMS

42nd over: 181-4
Another one of those shovel shots from Collingwood, getting down on one knee and whipping him over his shoulder for four. Colly misses out on a full-bunger. News in that Rankin will not be bowling again, he has succombed to a dose of cramp. It's new ball time, fourth umps Steve Bucknor running to the middle with a box of pills. That's the quickest he's moved since he stopped crawling. Flintoff picks up one with a prod to mid-off. Memo to Freddie - less prodding, more putting manners on the ball.

"Rik Waller - I'm sat looking at a guy in work who looks like Rik Waller, from this distance he sort of looks like a small ball on top of a big pile of dirty washing."
Ian, Preston, in the TMS inbox

41st over: 175-4
Collingwood trots down the track and flicks McCallan away for one and there are just three singles from the over. Morgan puts himself in the way of a full-blooded drive from Flintoff. You brave, brave boy. Ten overs, 1-38 from McCallan, a heroic effort indeed.

40th over: 172-4
Flintoff gets a scampered couple for a push straight down the ground. Botha has a bit of a chunter, that was pretty geriatric fielding. This is a struggle. Not sure what a good score is from here - 230?

"Just to back up William's earlier point, please cut the humour and fun aspect out of your commentary immediately and make it as mundane as possible, focusing purely on what is happening in the game."
Tom Twort in the TMS inbox

39th over: 168-4
Freddie strides down the crease but misses out with another mighty smite. Colly gets one for a clip to square-leg and England still grinding here, as as if they're stuck behind a tractor on an A road. Freddie nicks the strike with a nurdle to leg.

"I would go with Paul Nixon next, bump him up the order to give it a bit of crash, bang wallop."
Colin Croft on TMS

38th over: 165-4
Bit of improvisation from Colly, making room and shovelling Botha over his shoulder for four. Really struggling here, Flintoff, but he does pick up one with a club into the covers.

37th over: 159-4
Flintoff opens his shoulder and heaves McCallan over deep mid-wicket for four, one bounce into the fence. Freddie picks up one more with a clip to long-on and Collingwood nicks the strike with a similar shot. We need some humpty dumpty Freddie, and we need it now.

"I don't know what's happening out there, England just don't seem to be worried at all..."
Colin Croft on TMS

36th over: 152-4
Freddie picks up a couple with a push into the covers, but it wasn't clever running, he looked like he was dragging a fridge. No real need for the man upstairs (not God, the third umpire), he was miles in.

35th over: 149-4
Freddie is still persevering with that fluff around his chops. Is it fashion, or rank laziness on his part? Contentious subject, facial hair. I saw Richard Madeley was sporting a bit of designer stubble a few weeks ago. GROW UP MAN, YOU'RE 50! England pick up three leg-side wides, but Flintoff's timing is all at sea at the moment. He charges McCallan and misses completely with a wild and windy woosh.

34th over: 144-4
Ireland's seventh bowler enters the fray, off-spinner White. Flintoff gets one with a push to long-on before Colly picks up three with a drive through the covers and England are boring my office to ruddy tears.

33rd over: 139-4
Two singles from Freddie and one for Colly and that's just three from the over. Manful bowling from McCallan, I like the cut of his gib.

"One of the Irish 'wits' in the office just offered a thought that Vaughan's sick notes for the year outnumber his runs. I manfully laughed it off, but the truth can hurt."
Stephen Miles in the TMS inbox

32nd over: 136-4
Handsome from Flintoff, clubbing Langford-Smith over mid-off for four. He follows up with an absolute huckleberry of a flick to the wide long-on fence. Langford-Smith gets down well to a solid straight drive from Freddie to save another boundary. A much-needed injection of urgency from the Lancashire all-rounder.

31st over: 128-4
Nice shot by Flintoff, walking down the pitch to McClallan and clipping him to long-on for one. Someone pointed out to me last night that Muralitharan looks like Carlton out of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and you know what, he's right.

"I think if William Davies (see below 15th over) was a pop star he would be Leonard Cohen."
Ian Melding in the TMS inbox

"It's 'Niagara', not 'Niagra', and we understandably get a little tetchy about the spelling of our name..."
Gregory Duke, Niagara University, in the TMS inbox

30th over: 125-4
Flintoff moves to eight with a turn off his pads and Rankin has hit the deck with a spot of cramp and the players take the chance to take on fluids. Just three singles from the over and there's not much rubbish coming down from the Irish bowlers.

"Re. your comment in the14th over, I work with a Hammerette (retired two years ago). Would you be interested in an introduction?"
Steve Daniels in the TMS inbox

29th over: 122-4
Flintoff watchful, McClallan tight. Freddie nicks the bowling again with a flick off his legs. Nice, easy action from McClallan and the pressure is being cranked up by the Irish.

"Perhaps KP ought to be referred to as King Crimson, with 21st Century Schizoid Man as his walk to the wicket theme. Daniel Vettori is Thomas Dolby, perhaps? Freddie is Keith Moonm, and Lasith Malinga is The Crazy World of Arthur Brown."
Jon Lee in the TMS inbox

28th over: 121-4
Rankin back on and Collingwood rolls his wrists and drags him away for one. Rankin drops short and Freddie carves him away for a couple. Flintoff nicks the strike with a guide to third-man.

"I, for one, would like to know what Rick Astley's 'three good hits' were."
Danno, La Rosiere, France, in the TMS inbox

"Is Spunkiness one of the family-Ness. I must have missed that episode."
Nick Stratten in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
27th over: WICKET - Pietersen c Poterfield b McCallan 48, Eng 113-4
That's the big man out, attempting to whip McCallan through mid-wicket and Porterfield taking a fine catch on the dive. Big celebrations from the Irish, the witch is dead. Freddie is next in and his first ball is timed through wide mid-off for four. Deadly. England will be struggling to make 250 at this rate.

26th over: 112-3
Thick inside edge from KP and his timing is all over the oche. He and Collingwood share two more singles. Jonathan Elllis has just pointed out that my 'thousands and islands' comment (see below was utter nonsense - of course, I meant to say 'hundreds and thousands'. I stand by by Ice Magic comment though. Lovely stuff. Collingwood rocks back and slaps Kevin O'Brien to the point boundary for four.

25th over: 104-3
KP goes from some hammer but can only manage a leading edge to mid-off for one. Plenty of rabbit from Niall O'Brien behind the sticks as McClallan continues with his right-arm tweakers. Collingwood gets a single with a punch to long-on, and at the half-way point, you have to say the Irish are on top here.

"I think I remember 'crackerjack square drive'. Wasn't it a quiz game with Leslie Crowther and Peter Glaze? And some cabbages?"
Jim Churcher in the TMS inbox

24th over: 100-3
Uppish from KP, but he gets a couple into the covers. He gets one more for a leading edge and England's 100 rolls over.

23rd over: 97-3
Just had another look at that Bell dismissal, and you could have driven a Hummer between bat and ball. Dreamy drive from Colly, and he gets four for it. No flourish, he really is DI Regan next to Pietersen's Jason King.

Wicket falls
22nd over: WICKET - Bell c N O'Brien b K O'Brien 31, 89-3
Bye, bye Belly. The Shermanator perishes, feathering Kevin O'Brien to his brother Niall behind the timbers. Bell isn't happy with that. In fact, he looks startled, like a dog looks when you blow in its face. Umpire Taufel, however, had no doubts. Collingwood is the next man in and he's off the mark with a push to wide long-off.

"Boyd Rankin, Trent Johnston, David Langford-Smith - surely no nation has spawned more cricketers that sound like moody detectives at the centre of a two-part drama series."
Victor Ward in the TMS inbox

"I blame Frank Lampard."
LV, London, in the TMS inbox

"Ian Bell looks like the type that used to hold his crisps tight round the bottom of the bag in the playground so you couldn¿t get too many out when he was forced to share."
Paul Lokucewicz in the TMS inbox

21st over: 89-2
Pietersen gets one for a clip to mid-wicket and Bell picks up a precious run with a drive to mid-on. Another single each for the England batsman - someone fetch me some matchsticks...

"Back to the whole cricketers as pop stars thing - based on the way Michael Vaughan's been batting recently, surely he'd be the one-armed bloke from Def Leppard?"
Matti, East Sussex, in the TMS inbox

20th over: 85-2
KP scampers a quick single after a rock-solid forward defensive. Bell has 29 from 70 balls. That makes Chris Tavare look like Andrew Symonds. The Irish, however, have been bowling well.

"You have to understand that Bell is under unstructions not to be belting the ball around, Pietersen can do that for England."
Colin Croft on TMS

"My dad still eats dripping as well. It is something I have never understood and I've never had the guts to try it. Not that appetising either, I can't get that image out of my head - the solid block of grease (in its natural form as it is removed from the fridge) with the brown jelly beneath."
Rob Temple in the TMS inbox

"What Nick Grimes (see below) doesn't seem to realise is that Vaughany is simply an ambassador for the nation, proudly displaying the country's national costume when in hot climes/near a beach. Nick's obviously never been on a Thomson holiday to Alicante."
Michael Gale in the TMS inbox

19th over: 84-2
Botha is tighter than Rik Waller's knicker elastic in this over, maiden over. KP will have to start giving it some tap-tap-tapparoo in a minute.

18th over: 84-2
KP gets one with a clip to mid-on and Bell grabs an easy single with a similar shot. Low full-bunger from Johnston, but KP only gets one for it, Kevin O'Brien fielding at mid-on, collapsing towards the turf like a stack of Jenga bricks.

Jonathan Agnew
"Again, it's a very small crowd. They said there would be about 3,000 school children in today, but I don't see any school uniforms out there..."
Jonathan Agnew on TMS

17th over: 80-2
Single for KP to mid-on before Bell flips Botha off his pads for a couple. Fine stop by Kevin O'Brien to prevent the boundary. Just seen Duncan Fletcher on the England balcony. He looks like he's just been told by his wife that he can't go and play golf because he has to pick her mother up from Bluewater.

16th over: 76-2
Johnston pushes to leg and scurries a single before KP gets one for a glide down to third-man. Not exactly pulling up any trees here England, nagging stuff from the Irish.

15th over:
Fine stop by McCallan to deny Pietersen, but KP does get one with a clip to mid-wicket. Bell punches the ball to long-off for a single. Sky are showing pictures of Kaieteur Falls, the world's largest single drop water falls, measuring 741 feet. Apparently it's five times taller than Niagra. Extraordinary. Have a look at the BBC's guide to Guyana.

"Why is the BBC persisting with this ridiculous commentary? Using the puerile name of 'Ben Dirs' is not funny, and his inane comments are grating and completely irrelevant to the cricket. Please can we have someone who understands that his role is simply to accurately convey what is happening?"
William Davies in the TMS inbox

"What with 'fannying' the other day and 'spunkiness' now, do you have a slang version of a medical dictionary?"
Stephen Coates in the TMS inbox

14th over: 69-2
There's Mello, the World Cup mascot, being a ruddy idiot and annoying everyone as usual. It's one of my lifetime ambitions to be a mascot for a day. I'd also like to go out with a Hammerette. KP gets one for a steer to third-man.

13th over: 68-2
Botha into the attack for Ireland, and he's strictly military medium. It's a good first over, though, just a couple from it.

"Vaughan can't be Rick Astley - he was Never Gonna Let You Down, and I think Astley had a least three good hits."
David, London, in the TMS inbox

12th over: 66-2
Ireland skipper Johnston is into the attack and his first ball is a lollipop, smothered in thousands and islands and Ice Magic. KP larrups it through the covers for four and follows up with a crackerjack square-drive for another boundary. KP gets another couple with a trademark whip from outside off-stump to leg. Pietersen, opening his legs now, times Johnston down the ground for another four and that is just what the quack ordered for England - 14 from the over.

"Oh, how I chuckled when my mother-in-law (visiting from Ireland), upon seeing the reverse hawkeye replay of all of a bowler's deliveries in a spell (you know, the one which highlights where the ball pitches and where it has come on to the batsman), queried if all those balls were delivered at the same time in real life."
Robert, London, in the TMS inbox

11th over: 52-2
KP hitting his straps, clipping Langford-Smith through wide mid-on for four. Bread and dripping for Pietersen. My mum and dad still eat bread and dripping, I think they think it's still the war. Square-drive from Pietersen and he gets a couple for it.

"I blame England's lacklustre performances and Vaughan's lack of runs on those sleeveless vests he's been spotted wearing on the balcony. It's hardly likely to inspire confidence in your team-mates and not the way the captain of a great nation should dress. What would Nelson or the Duke of Wellington have to say about it?"
Nick Grimes in the TMS inbox

"Great start for our boys. Just to let you know that, despite media comments to the contrary, cricket fever has not struck Ireland. It's more like an infrequent sneeze. You're aware just before it what's about to happen and you're definitely consumed by one during the event. But in between, life (ie. rugby, GAA, etc.) goes on."
Jame, Dublin, in the TMS inbox

10th over: 45-2
Rankin rips the fingers across the seam and gets one to nip back at Pietersen before KP latches on to a rare long-hop and larrups it to the mid-wicket fence. KP gets another three with a whip off his legs. Spunky from KP, and England need some spunkiness right now.

"Freddie Flintoff would quite clearly be Deep Purple...Smoke On The Water..."
Ian Melding in the TMS inbox

9th over: 38-2
KP tries to work Langford-Smith to leg and gets a leading edge. Pietersen, the best one-day batter in the world at the moment, is scratching about here. He gets one with a sketchy, sliced cut down to third-man. This is tense.

"We have a guy in the office passing wind every time the Irish get a wicket. Would appreciate no more wickets."
Simon Dollner in the TMS inbox

8th over: 36-2
Sketchy runs for Bell, four over the slip cordon and the ball making a mess of some poor cameraman's five grand snapper on the boundary. Rankin drops short and Bell yanks the ball through deep mid-wicket for three.

"If Vaughan was a pop star, he'd be Rick Astley."
David Dafter, Newcastle, in the TMS inbox

"I'm another Andrew Brooke, add me in too, even though I don't have anything interesting to say, but it passes a bit of time on a Friday afternoon whilst I'm supposed to be working."
Andy Brooke in the TMS inbox

"Surely Lord Brocket must be worth a recall at the top of the order now?"
Jeremy Leese in the TMS inbox

7th over: 26-2
Another wide from Langford-Smith, but he almost cleans up the Shermanator next up, Bell jamming down on the ball and almost squirting it onto his stumps. Funereal progress so far by England.

"Ian Bell looks like the sort of chap whose bedroom hasn't changed since he was five years old, possibly with matching Superman curtains and duvet cover - on his cabin bed..."
David Simmonds in the TMS inbox

"If, after say 20 overs, if England aren't doing very well, can we all Boo them really very loudly?"
Sean, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
6th over: WICKET - Vaughan c N O'Brien b Rankin 6, Eng 23-2
Good golly, as the Welshman to my left just exclaimed, the England skipper is out! Prodding at an on-the-money Rankin delivery and edging to O'Brien behind the timbers. England in bother, KP is next in. Pietersen gets off the dreaded nought with a push for a couple into the covers. If Pietersen was a rock group, he'd be a 70s prog rock outfit, like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or early Genesis. I can just see him now, dancing down the track dressed as a giant flower and clobbering Rankin over long-off. Nixon would be Go West.

5th over: 22-1
Doozy of a drive from Bell, the ball running away to the extra-cover boundary. Leg-side wide from Langford-Smith and he slings down another for good measure. Bell flicks Langford-Smith off his legs for a couple and gets another single for a clip to backward-square. Vaughan shows the maker's name and is beaten. Watchful start by England.

"There seems to be a dominance of people called Andrew on the TMS commentary today. Can you add me to make it 3 out of 3?"
Andrew Baines in the TMS inbox

4th over: 12-1
Nervy old start this from England. Vaughan screeches a lady-like 'no!' at Bell after a dab to point. The England skipper looks as nervous as Nathan Bracken walking through a red light district. Maiden over.

"Has Joyce, racked by guilt for not representing Ireland, thrown his wicket on purpose, thus proving blood is thicker than water?"
Neil, Sheffield, in the TMS inbox

3rd over: 12-1
Vaughan gets one for a clip off his legs. Bell is beaten outside off-stump by Langford-Smith and this is a dicey old start by England. Bell does get one for a flick off his pads. Not much atmos in Guyana's Providence Stadium, it sounds like a Keith Pont's benefit match out there. Seems like a decent bloke, Bell. In fact, he's the sort of bloke some girls' mothers might be a bit suspicious of. As in, 'I'm not sure about that Ian, he just seems a bit too nice...'.

"I'm having chips for lunch without salt and vinegar, but watching Joyce's wicket fall has made me pull an acidic face like Esther Rantzen, with my gums pulled back from over my teeth."
Damian Le Bas, Covent Garden, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
2nd over: WICKET - Joyce b Rankin 1, Eng 6-1
Joyce is out! Shouldering arms to the burly Rankin and losing his off-stump. Whoops-a-daisy, Martin Hayesy. Not sure what Joyce was thinking there, that hasn't just shaved his off-stick, that's almost snapped the blighter in half. Bell is next up the ramp and he's squared-up by a good length delivery from Rankin. A handful, Rankin, but Bell survives the over.

"Someone said this game was a potential 'banana skin' for England. When half your family are Irish and you are visiting them over Easter, it is much more significant than that. Personally, I would class it as England's most important Super 8 contest."
Andrew Heath in the TMS inbox

"I'm eagerly awaiting the match to start sat here in my office, but I must say I am amazed to hear you are still in London and the BBC have not sent you to the Caribbean. This is a farce, a farce I say!"
Andrew Brook in the TMS inbox

1st over: Umpire Doctrove, looking like the Man from Del Monte in his Panama hat, signals the start of play and Langford-Smith gets one past an airy drive by Joyce first up. It was, however, a no-ball. Joyce is off the mark with a thick outside edge down to third-man. Crackerjack stroke from Vaughan, timing the ball through mid-wicket for four. Six from the opening over, a comfortable one for England.

1429 BST: Players are out and battle is about to commence. Langford-Smith to have first go with the pill.

1428 BST: Vaughany needs a few runs today to keep the wolves from the door. No question of him being dropped, of course, but it's becoming clearer and clearer that he's not in the team for his runs at the moment.

1418 BST: Mixed loyalties today for Ed Joyce - a native of County Wicklow but opening up for England. I was reading The Sun yesterday, and his old man said he wanted Ireland to win. Fair enough. I was in an Irish pub last night and a man who has never lived in Ireland in his life spent most of the night putting me in a headlock and singing the Fields of Athenry very noisily in my ear. Eejit.

1415 BST: As I made my way to work this morning, I got the feeling that the mucking about was over and the serious business was about to start. Then I saw a woman at London Bridge station flogging papers with teabags on her eyes and I realised the Cricket World Cup doesn't really matter that much.

Ireland: J P Bray, W T S Porterfield, E J G Morgan N J O'Brien (Wkt), K J O'Brien, A C Botha, D T Johnston (Capt) W K McCallan, A R White, D Langford-Smith, W B Rankin.

England: M P Vaughan (Capt), E C Joyce, I R Bell, K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, A Flintoff, R S Bopara, P A Nixon (Wkt), S I Mahmood, J M Anderson, M S Panesar.

1404 BST: Hello everybody. England skipper Michael Vaughan has won the toss and England are going to have a bat. Ireland have made two changes - Trent Johnston is back from shoulder trouble and replaces John Mooney, while Dave Langford-Smith was also passed fit following back spasms. England are unchanged from the side that beat Kenya.


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