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Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

South Africa v England 1st Test day one as it happened

First Test, Centurion:


e-mail (with 'For Tom Fordyce' in the subject), text 81111 or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) (with "CRICKET" as first word) or use 606 (Not all comments can be used)

By Tom Fordyce

1556: That's us done for the day - festive love for all the emails and texts, and we'll go again at 0800 on Thursday morning. Anyone for a spiced cider?

From Jono in Northwich, TMS inbox: "Bit of discussion at work as to how many mince pies it's acceptable to eat in one afternoon. Three would appear to be the cut off point between condonable festive indulgence and undignified gluttony. I've personally managed five, but two of those were pre-lunch so don't really count. Anyone for a Quality Street?"

From Dave Clark-Wilson, TMS inbox: "Re: Jacqui Wilson - a good call indeed. And as much as I loved 'Reet Petite' I think I may have preferred the Tracey Beaker series of books. Thanks again."

1546: SA 262-4
Crash - Shark pulls Broad away high over midwicket for a deal-sealer of a four, and that's stumps - magnificent innings of 112 from Kallis, and he's put his team in a great position. Tough ole day for England, and they need early wickets on the morrow to get back into this.

From Jacqui Wilson, TMS inbox: "Surely it has to be a slice of Wensleydale with a mince pie?"

A decent shout, Jacqui, and can I just take the opportunity to say how much I enjoyed your hits 'Reet Petite' and '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher'.

1539: SA 255-4
Jimmy toiling away with the heavy stoop of a man who wants a good lie-down. Kallis block-drives back past Trott at mid-off for two; one more over in the day.

From Paul, TMS inbox: "I was hoping that South Africa would be 7 or 8 down by now. Not very good for a BBC-supported site."

1535: SA 252-4
Hold on - is Onions coming back on? Michael Vaughan on TMS - possibly boosted by the breaking news that his beloved Hillsborough has been chosen as a stadium for the 2018 football World Cup bid, ahead of Bramall Lane - suggests the calf injury may have been cramp rather than something more serious. Slow bouncer that the batsman ducks under by sticking the Duminy derriere showily towards the square leg umpire.

From Adam, London, TMS inbox: "In your opinion should it be brandy cream or brandy butter with a mince pie? I'm tempted to go fro the butter but I feel you need to make sure that the pie is hot, so that the butter melts. Maybe the cream is a safer bet?"

Brandy butter every time, Adam. I've got a relative who enjoys referring to it as 'randy rutter', but don't let that put you off.

1531: SA 247-4
Three overs to go after this one from Anderson. Stutter stutter at the start of his run-up, a finding of rhythm and a shortish one which Duminy drills off the middle of the middle out to deep extra cover for a gentle stroller of a two.

From Michael Bell, TMS inbox: "Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Not very good for a BBC-supported site."

1527: SA 244-4
You'd have to say that Strauss's decision to stick South Africa in hasn't really worked out so far. The pitch has shown all the menace of Harbour Lights. Maiden from Broad, evidence of a little more uneven bounce.

1524: SA 244-4
Ooof - sudden lift from Jim, and Kallis jabs his blade down on the riser with agile alacrity. Two to third man; five overs left in the day. Will that uneven bounce punish England in the fourth innings?

From Andrew, Cardiff, TMS inbox: "Re 1510: On first reading I thought you'd written 'he looks impregnated'. Which is probably nearer the truth."

1518: SA 241-4
He's reached 100

Boozy bellows from the Army of Barmy as the hard yards of the lunch and the afternoon session hit home. Short from Broad, hooked - massive top edge, can Onions get there? No - maybe should have done, but for the second time in the match Kallis escapes. Smashing knock from the imperturbable Kallis - his 32nd Test ton, his sixth against England, and that puts him joint fifth with Steve Waugh on the all-time Test centurions list. Round of applause, Shark.

Text in your views on 81111
Anon, text 81111: "Have you noticed that KP in a helmet looks like Dale Winton?"

1515: SA 235-4
The slips sunken in shadow now as Kallis moves to 96 with a dabber to leg. Partnership to 77, Anderson's heavy eyebrows darkened with perspiration.

From Chris, Scarborough, TMS inbox: "Quite fancy one of those new Ford Eji's. My Fiesta starting to look its age."

1510: SA 235-4
Three slips, hands on knees like Sir Beef of old. Kallis watches three scoot past his midriff - no mean feat - and then drops one into the off side to trundle through for a single. **** start of blatant attempt to put the mockers on him ****** Just can't see Kallis getting out here - he looks impregnable. ***** end of blatant attempt to put on mockers ****

1507: SA 234-4
New ball? Not yet - Swanny will have one more twirl. Looks like Broad warming up most ostentatiously - what can Malfoy conjure up?

From Comrade Michael Bell, TMS inbox: "Leon Trotsky was born Lev Trotsky, and was 23 before he adopted the name Leon. Hope that is helpful."

1503: SA 234-4
Here's something to boost the flaggers - the new ball is due after this over, when there'll be ten overs left in the day. Who to take it? You'd say Onions, except he's limping like a man returning from the Napoleonic wars. On foot. Short and wide from Colly, bashed away with casual brutality by Kallis for the four that takes him to 94.

1500: SA 222-4
Swann fires in a quicker one that Duminy cuts edgily, and then stands with arms crossed like Flavor Flav as the ball skips away safe. Slip, shot mid-off, but that's too short, and Duminy will cut into the crowd and away past point for a jogger of a two.

1457: SA 222-4
Be a love and hit F5, would you? Otherwise you'll be confusing your Sonejis with your Fordyces, and end with a Fordeji. Or Sondyce. Southern shadows creep across the Centurion track, the players' shapes dwarfed by the monstrous smears left on the outfield by the towering floodlight pylons. Toil du ginge from Colly, his face creased with concentration and consternation, and the South African pair are slowly squeezing the optimism out of England.

By Pranav Soneji

1451: SA 219-4
Trott is banished back into the field as Collingwood returns to the attack. Nothing taxing for Kallis, finessing like a Michelin star chef to flail a single down to midwicket My time is up - back to Tom. I love you all.

From Rich, Nottingham, TMS inbox: "Thanks to Dan in London for eloquently articulating the value of Freddie's contribution. I was in the midst of a 'Boycott' style rant which I'm convinced wouldn't have passed my company's own internal firewall."

1447: SA 218-4
Oh Kaypee, the former captain goes down like an aging hippo as Duminy thumps a back-foot drive off Swann through extra cover for four. Pietersen's fielding faux pas has delighted the SuperSport Park crowd.

1444: SA 214-4
The incapacitated Dale Steyn has somehow gravitated his way through to the lovely ladies, although a lady decked in a South Africa shirt commandeers the paceman for a photo. Meanwhile Trott is made to look like Dunny-on-the-Wold's over-75s third-change bowler as Kallis creams two successive boundaries through the covers.

From Andrew, TMS inbox: "Working in Reading and its snowing, possibly 0.5cm, do you think this is enough to convince my boss the roads will be dangerous so I had best head off home now and put the cricket on?"

1442: SA 206-4
Ahhh, the lovely ladies from earlier are still there (see 0922), dazzling in white, which is more than can be said for Swann's latest offering, with Kallis pushing a delivery around the corner for a single.

1440: SA 205-4
Strauss turns the clock back to 1995 and goes Leftfield and opts for Jonathan "Leon" Trott, he of 51 first-class wickets including a 7-39 against Kent in 2003. Leon. As in Trotsky. You're very welcome. With Prior standing up to the stumps, the Capetonian (cheers John) sends down six balls of unexciting dibbly-dobblers, of which one is pushed into the leg side for a single by Kallis.

From John, Valencia, TMS inbox: "It's Capetonian, Pranav (or Tom, whoever is really there). You're welcome."

1431: SA 204-4
Three simple singles from Swann's 19th over and England need to crack open the plastic and go shopping for wickets. Maybe the 12th man can discreetly slip Strauss a well-worn card during the drinks break.

1428: SA 201-4
Duminy brings up the 200 with another belting cover drive for four off Anderson, proper maker's name and all that. The funny angle on my TV in front of the window makes it look as if snow is falling on Jonathan Trott's head.

From Dan, London, TMS inbox: "Freddie's statistics will never tell the whole story. His sheer presence struck fear into any who were facing him, and often meant that other strike bowlers were able to get wickets. He often raised everyone else's game with his sheer enthusiasm, so whilst his figures may not be missed, his presence will."

1425: SA 196-4
Swann persists with his around-the-wicket line to Duminy, but the front pad is diffidently thrust down the track like the lance of a knight of yore. A bit of turn from the last delivery, but soft hands and the left-hander rides the bounce and turn.

1422: SA 195-4
Kallis's eyes puff up to golf ball size after watching a ball outside off stump squirt under his bat attempting a regulation back-foot defence. Meanwhile, the burly Cape Townian (Townite? Townie?) attempts a Virender Sehwag-style upper cut over third man to some short filth from Jimmy, but watches the ball sail past the edge into the mitts of Matty Prior.

1417: SA 194-4
A loopy Swann full toss on leg stump is met with a disdainful flick of the wrists as Duminy doubles up to deep square leg. No evident turn off the track for the Notts tweaker, maybe time for a blow?

1414: SA 190-4
Graham Onions is back on the pitch and once again Anderson sees Kallis milk a boundary off his very first delivery, this time dangling his bat like a divining rod to guide the 65-over ball down to the vacant third man area for four. The robust all-rounder looks like a man armed with a large plate with his nose pressed up against a window waiting for a Chinese buffet to open right now.

From James, Leeds, TMS inbox: "Yes Freddie's 3 five-fors in 72 tests will be greatly missed. Broad's already got that amount in 22 and Anderson's got 7 Michelle's. No doubt England will miss Freddie's inconsistent batting at seven too."

1410: SA 186-4
Duminy skips down the track and launches a not particularly bad delivery from Swann, just outside of off stump with not too much flight, straight over his head, over a vacant long-on and straight into the Hennops River End stand, a shot straight out of the Twenty20 bash'em up manual.

1406: SA 180-4
Time to unleash the big guns, well, James Anderson anyway as Strauss summons his main strike bowler. Kallis tucks into an overpitched delivery on leg stump first up, smearing the ball through midwicket for four before lacing a cut through point for his second boundary of the over. Shark is smelling blood. Whose I have no idea.

1402: SA 172-4
Swanny is absolutely rifling through his overs. By the time I've looked up he's sent down his fourth delivery. Fortunately for me (and you), the only thing I've missed is a pushed single down the ground from Kallis.

From Mike, TMS inbox: "'Basildon Citizen' - come on Pranav - everyone knows it's called the Basildon Recorder, and hopefully the letters pages will be inundated with letters supporting Hamish the Guide Dog who got barred from a cafe for being too smelly. Hardly dull!!"

1358: SA 171-4
Liquid strokeplay from Duminy, leaning into a fullish length delivery outside off stump from Broad and caressing the ball through cover for the kind of boundary you want to marry. News for you - Graham Onions is off the pitch with what we believe is a strained calf. The muscle, not the baby cow.

From Richard, TMS inbox: "Can you tell my colleague Ian to stop reading out the TMS commentary and get on with some work so that I can read the commentary for myself?"

1355: SA 167-4
You know those really annoying delays when one of those corporate adverts, splashed all over the sightscreens, fails to turn all white at the end of the over? We've just had one of those, cue lots of daggers from England's fielders, although Shark and JP look unperturbed. A huge sheet of tarpaulin is hauled over the offending sponsor's logo and needless to say, after a painful wait, Swann's six balls are equally as dull.

From Martin, Sunderland, TMS inbox: "This is exactly the kind of situation Freddie would have loved - he'd have come out of that dressing room after tea snorting flames and demanded the ball so he could get stuck into Duminy. Talented though the current English bowlers are, I'm afraid none of them are able to muster the same fire and pace from a flat pitch."

1347: SA 167-4
After the barrage of the short and short-of-a-length allsorts, Broad lands one in halfvolleyland and Duminy, like treacle off a spoon, eases the ball through cover for four. Bit subdued at the mo, but that could be the morning liquid kicking in for the compulsory one-hour, post-tea crowd snooze.

1343: SA 163-4
Tweakery galore from Swann, but cussed straight blade resistance from Shark Kallis and it's the second successive maiden.

1340: SA 163-4
More short stuff from Broad, but Duminy, supposedly vulnerable to the short ball according to some wags, adroitly plays his six deliveries without any palpable concern. Maiden.

1337: SA 163-4
A hop, skip and away goes Swann, who pins Duminy with a series of shapely deliveries on and around off stick. The stylish leftie pushes the last delivery into the covers for another simple single. All a bit dull at present, a bit like glancing through the letters' page of the Basildon Citizen.

1334: SA 162-4
The recently sated Stuart Broad lumbers in and sees Kallis gently roll his wrists to guide a short ball down to fine leg for a simple single. The Nottinghamshire seamer, more of a short back-and-sides man these days, sees an attempted bouncer called a wide before the ball ends up in Alastair Cook's hands at short leg - via Duminy's thigh pad - but no willow was anywhere in sight.

1330: Hello team, I shall be your festive shepherd while Tom wolfs various wheat-based foodstuffs to replenish his semantic reserves. Give refresh a little loving or F5 if you're of that nature to see your new host at the top of the page.

By Tom Fordyce

From Bill, TMS inbox: "Totally in agreement with Nick. On another topic, very happy to see the England cricket team get their BBC award the other night. This Ashes series was truly Strauss's magnificent octopus, and right now the world is his lobster."

From Matt in Howden, TMS inbox: "Superb bowling from Swann. Everything you want in a spinner: Cunning, guile, variety and the ability to make shades look like the coolest thing ever (see Chris Gayle for more). A certain M. Panesar could learn a lot from this feather-haired tease machine."

Shaun Pollock
Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock on AB de Villiers's dismissal: "That's what happens when you play for the interval. He was a little tentative with that defensive shot - 10 minutes after tea he would probably have whipped that through mid-wicket for a single."

From Andy, Manchester, TMS inbox: "The referral system is a lot like trying to cheat at poker with x-ray vision. Sounds like a good idea but completely useless in practicality."

From Andrew, Cardiff, TMS inbox: "I'm beginning to think we have a plethora of text commentary first timers today."

1310: TEA - SA 159-4
A couple more deliveries, that's all - dead-batted away by Duminy, and that'll be tea. England will drink from the tea urn of relief after tha... dear oh dear, that'll never do. Tea. Who's for a digestive?

From Tom, TMS inbox: "The plural of nasturtium is 'nasturtia'. Not very good for a BBC supported site."

1306: WICKET De Villiers c Cook b Swann 32, SA 159-4
Wicket falls

Goner? He is now... Faster and flatter from Swann, AB sticks his bat out beyond his front pad and edges down Cook's throat at forward short leg. Badly needed - an over or two before tea to have a pop at JP Duminy...

From Nick, TMS inbox:"Nasturtiums? Why would you want to cast watercress (or any vegetation) on Colly's bowling? Perhaps 'aspersion' was the word you were fumbling for..."

1301: SA 158-3
Referral - not out

Now then - this could be trouble. De Villiers has swept at Swann, got a skinny edge behind - and it's not been heard by Umpire Davis. Swann and Prior instantly ask for the referral, because they're certain there was a nick - but there's no way the third umpire can give it - he's only got four TV replays to go on, not a Snicko or Hot Spot. England distraught - that's their two referrals gone, and from AB's body language, he thought he was a goner....

1257: SA 158-3
That's 50

Tickle off the toes by Kallis off Colly, and that's his 52nd Test half-century. Lordy. A posse of steely-thighed cheerleaders bound down the steps of the stand to shake their purple pom-poms.

From Tom, TMS inbox:"Re: 1242: Not sure Colly would mind nasturtiums being cast on his bowling that much. watercress (nasturtium microphyllum) and other plants of the genus nasturtium are noted for their peppery, tangy flavour - ideal for a mid-over salad snack."

1253: SA 152-3
The smoke of a hundred barbecues/braais drifts slowly through the afternoon air, sending the scent of grilled meat tantalisingly close to Kallis's nostrils. Could be a a good tactic, this. Still remember the day at Canterbury when Rob Key was given out caught behind by the aroma coming from a burger van. fury from Swann as Broad day-dreams at mid-on and allows Kallis to steal a single.

1249: SA 152-3
Five men on the leg-side for Colly, with two shortish midwickets. It's keeping the runs down, but it's a tactic with all the penetration of a sponge torpedo.

Michael Vaughan
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on TMS: "I used to take the mickey out of Colly all the time when he was bowling - his follow through nearly overtakes the ball."

1245: SA 151-3
Where's this next wicket coming from for England? Swann's tied up his end, but there's a casual net atmosphere out there at the mo. Kallis and De Villiers strolling about, the partnership to 58.

1242: SA 150-3
Don't want to cast nasturtiums on Collingwood's bowling, but when you see him handed the ball halfway through the first day of the first Test it hardly fills you with optimism. Full toss, smashed wide of midwicket by Kallis for a help-yourself four.

1239: SA 146-3
Swanny doing his job here from the City End, keeping it tight in conditions that are as helpful to him as blancmange shoes. Is Strauss giving Colly the eye?

1235: SA 145-3
Big heave-ho from Kallis - the ball spirals into the sunny sky, but Onions is snoozing at mid-on and can't get round before it buries itself in the turf. Under the playground 'one hand one bounce' rule he was a goner. Oh, splendid from De Villiers - a steering cut through point for four, followed by a swivelling pull through midwicket for four more. Ominous.

1231: SA 134-3
Jimmy's into a decent rhythm here. He's only shipped 29 runs off his 14 overs so far, but at the same time he's not been hugely threatening. Not much lateral wobble with this Kookaburra ball, and this could be a long hot day of toil without a wicket soon.

Jonathan Agnew
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on TMS: "We hear it's snowing in London and I would say 'rug up' - but I better be careful with Vaughany around."

1226: SA 134-3
Not much tweak for Swann after that first over. Single apiece worked to leg with the spin. A man in the crowd wearing a straw cowboy hat rubs sun-cream into his exposed shoulders and then glugs a happy mouthful of foaming lager-beer.

From Rory, Reading, TMS inbox:"I have a friend who became a teacher simply so he could enjoy the long summer holidays and gloat about watching cricket while everyone else was at work. During the early summer Test he used to leave at 3.30 to join in the afternoon (drinking) session in any London Tests. He never gave any homework as marking would interrupt catching up on the cricket."

1222: SA 132-3
Tight like the JBs from Jimmy, and there's nothing there for thunkage. Two singles, decent ding-dong out there in the parching middle.

From Simon, TMS inbox:
Kevin Pietersen/David Brent
"Reckon you could be on to something with the KP beard observation, I've attached a picture of KP in shirt and tie to compare."

1217: SA 130-3
AB, face shadowed by the peak of his olive-green helmet, takes a big step forward to Strauss and clips the ball straight to Cook at forward short leg - the ball's flung back at the timbers, there's an explosion of limbs and blade and bails - is that run out? Prior's celebrating, Cook's cavorting, Swanny's crowing.... no! A direct hit would have sent De Villiers packing, but Prior had to gather and scoop. How important could that be?

From Mr P, TMS inbox: "Paul (11.45) re Dave (11.18). What the poor child is trying to do is reconcile mythologies, Santa's reindeer reputedly being inspired by Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse, from pagan seasonal gift-giving customs. Credit where it's due."

1212: SA 129-3
It's almost as if Strauss went for that one just because it was Kallis, and because he hadn't bothered with the previous ones. To be fair, all the decisions have been spot-on. Eventually. Kallis flicks Jim off his hips like an aristocrat dismissing a toadying waiter. That'll be drinks.

From Scott, Cambs, TMS inbox: "Dave (1118): are you sure that the reindeer has seven legs? Or could the beast, perhaps, be a more traditional quadruped standing in front of three stumps? Perhaps your daughter's teacher has indeed been indoctrinating her."

1207: SA 125-3
Crunch - what a shot from De Villiers, whipping Swann through leg-side with vim and vigour. Anderson takes the ball at the other end - thunk! Kallis is hit on the pad again, appeal, turned down by Aleem Dar, referred! Let's have a look - nah, huge inside edge. England are down to one appeal, and Strauss laughs at the madness of it all.

1203: SA 118-3
Kevin Pietersen

Jimmy, racing in - glorious cover drive from De Villiers, the sort of shot you'd retire on or boast about in the bar until the end of your days. Here's the KP pic. Thoughts?

From Mike, TMS inbox: "Is there a Sunbrella iPhone app (other expensive gimmicky phone applications available)?"

1158: SA 114-3
Slip and a forward short leg (Cookie) in for Swann to Shark Kallis. Ooof - their only involvement is to crane their necks and watch open-mouthed as a mighty, mighty mow sails way over long-on for a monstrous six. Crash - there's another, sailing out to deep midwicket and landing just inside the ropes for four more. Shark's trying to batter Swann out of the attack here, knowing Strauss will want to give him a long controller of a spell. Now then - faster and flatter, slapping into the back peg - appeal, turned down, no referral. Hitting outside off. even to me.

From Mr P, TMS inbox: "My entire A-Level history class are watching the 'teachers are wasters' debate unfold (whilst eating toast and drinking tea). Doesn't seem right. Roll on 3.30."

1152: SA 104-3
Not the greatest shot, that, from Prince - failed to get to the pitch of the ball and yet pushed out regardless, but Swannage doesn't care. In comes AB - drives Broad to KP at mid-off, wild throw, four overthrows. Dear oh dear. If you've not seen KP's new elongated goatee look, it's more than a little David Brent. I'll do a pic.

1145: WICKET Prince c Collingwood b Swann 45, SA 93-3
Wicket falls

Swanny gets the shout. Let's hope his spinning fingers aren't too fatigued from all that Tweetage. Ripper outside off against Prince - edge - bagged! Colly snaffles at slip, and Swann has struck in his very first over...

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "Dave, Dave (1118). You need to stand back and look at what your daughter may be really trying to say with her roughly hewn seven-legged reindeer. Is she suggesting through her art that the true meaning of Christmas is being contorted by cheap commodification, and that modern society's consumerist desire for the 'perfect Christmas', as advertised by Stephen Fry and Twiggy on TV, is really without value as compared to the genuine loving sentiment she seeks to invoke through her apparent gawky scribblings? Look at her work again, and you may see parallels with Picasso's synthetic cubist period, in which he seeks to draw out 'the truth' in shape and form through almost child-like innovation with collage."

1141: SA 92-2
Kallis, impassive like a stone Buddha, waits for a shorter one from Onions and muscles it behind square for brutal four. Onions gives him a little stare, stalks back to his mark, turns with fresh fury in his stride and clatters one into Shark's back leg - screaming banshee of an appeal... turned down by Davis again. Come on - you've got to get that referred! Nope - they won't. Good job too - going miles over. Never bat in a match I'm umpiring.

From Leggy, Leeds, TMS inbox: "Can I suggest a Swiss Army Sunbrella. Attachments include a mini radio to keep you abreast of the goings on in the TMS box, a bottle opener/corkscrew, binoculars, flip-flops, sun cream dispenser, an autograph book, an inflatable cricket set, and a spork. All cleverly concealed within the skin of the Sunbrella for convenience."

1136: SA 88-2
Sun battering down overhead, beverages being sunk in all corners. Graeme Swann there, tucked under his navy cap, tweaking his fingers like a wizard warming up. Brace of singles off Broad as he pitches it up, searching for the ell bee or skinny edge, and then Prince thunks a flamboyant-looking slap-cut off the toe of the bat for two into the covers.

1131: SA 84-2
Old-fashioned ripper from Onions - wicket to wicket, lifting and darting up to beat both the flicking blade and off-peg. Anguish in the in-field. Mais non - that's too short, and Prince goes up on tippy-toes to drive that off the back foot through cover for four. 43 now to the leftie opener, and there's perspiration aplenty among the England fielders.

From Adam, abroad, TMS inbox: "Manxrhino; embrace the meaningless Christmas task. My Y3s are doing some fabulous Christmas-based colouring whilst I sit in the Cairo sunshine following the cricket. Happy days indeed."

1126: SA 77-2
That's better from Broad, slightly fuller and cramping the twitchy Prince. Strauss, parked under a stiff-brimmed sun-hat at first slip, slaps his meaty palms together as Colly reciprocates a few paces to his right.

Text in your views on 81111
From Rory, Newcastle, text 81111: "Clive, 1029, you are not the only teacher because I can see my economics teacher doing the exact same thing while we're 'reading through our notes'. Just as well I've got BBC Sport on my phone as well, otherwise it'd would be highly unfair."

1121: SA 77-2
Aye-yai-yai - Onions angles a tempter across Prince, draws the leaden-footed waft and howls in anguish as the ball flies straight through the vacant third slip slot. Three slips in for Broad but only two in for Onions, and it's cost them the breakthrough. Prior trots up to put an arm around the shoulder, and Onions looks ready to rip it off and lob it over the sightscreen.

1118: SA 72-2
Let's have a look - three slips and a gully in for Broad as he races in to Kallis. Consensus among the Yorkshiremen in the TMS commentary box (Vaughan, Boycott) is that Broad needs to pitch the ball up a fraction more - risk the runs, draw the dicey shot. Shortish on leg, spooned through midwicket by the vast-chested Kallis for two.

From Dave, TMS inbox: "If only my daughter's teacher did follow the cricket during class. I might have something to talk to her about at home time other than pretending to be wowed by the days achievement of a poorly rendered picture of a seven-legged reindeer."

1114: SA 70-2
Hello again - all good? Bit confusing, this 10.45am lunch - instinctively reached for the sandwiches, and then realised it was barely apple time. We'll have Onions to re-start, the pick of the crop so far - on the money like Adam Smith, dead-batted back by the crouching Prince.

Get involved on 606
From Manxrhino on 606: "I too am a working teacher, just checking the score in my break, having taught Y11 Compound Shapes and about to give Y9 an assessment. I don't want the public to get the impression that all teachers waste their time on the internet whilst their pupils do meaningless Christmas tasks."


From Clive, TMS inbox: "As a working teacher, I was intrigued by the great spelling debate, but then got to wondering how many other teachers out there are watching commentary on their class whiteboards whilst their kids 'tidy their drawers out' or do Santa colouring. PS I'm Head of Sixth form. "

1029: SA 70-2
Jimmy Anderson for what might be the final one before lunch, looking at the clock again - Kallis is as likely to play a racy shot here as Joe McElderry is to be still releasing albums in 10 years time. Yup - maiden over, and that's lunch - intriguing old ding-dong, possibly shaded by Graeme Smith's men.

From Stephen Catling, TMS inbox: "Sunbrellas - what a great idea. I'd like to propose myself as marketing guru. What we need is an exotic, foreign-sounding name. Perhaps "para" for 'protecting against', and 'sol' for 'sun'. Oh, wait a minute..."

1024: SA 70-2
Time for maybe three more overs before the interval. Prince isn't distracted by thoughts of crusts-orf sandwiches though - shot of the morning, that, leaning back to Onions and crashing him over midwicket for a crunching howitzer of a four.

From Alex, Wandsworth, TMS inbox: "Re Clown Umps. Perhaps Tom we could take it further. Referral decisions could be requested by the captain running up and squeezing the umpire's bright red clown nose, making a "Honk-Honk" noise all round the ground. If the umpire was wrong, a third umpire could appear from a trap door behind him and pour a bucket of custard over him... or have I taken the idea too far?"

1020: SA 63-2
Jimmy going over the wicket - full, straight, drilled straight back down the ground from Prince for a help-yourself four. That one's shorter and leggish and gets tucked away off the hip for two more - 29 now to the squashy-faced opener.

From Jon Sofier, an England fan, TMS inbox: "Davis would have looked more like a clown if his decision had stood. Correct decision made - now we can forget about it."

1015: SA 58-2
The session in the balance - if England bag one more before the break, it'll have justified Strauss's decision to stick South Africa in; if Kallis and Prince are entrenched on a pitch that's not doing much, the sun roasting any remaining moisture from the track, they'll lunch with contented smiles. Onions again, wicket to wicket in a slightly G McGrath fashion, driven off the back foot by Prince past the stumbling Trott at cover.

From Chris White, TMS inbox:"I say, standards really are slipping. Time was we would have had a full Carry-On 11 sorted out within three overs of the first mention. Come on, England. Babs always looks like she might open, with Jim Dale in the coveted number two already and Ken Williams following close behind."

1010: SA 56-2
20 minutes to lunch, and England are clambering all over new-man Shark Kallis here. Anderson bends a slower one into Prince's pads - loopy flick, Cook leaps at midwicket like Beth Tweddle off a springboard - ach, fingertipped over the bar! If he'd somehow held on to that, it would have been the greatest catch of his life. Kallis covering the crease with his massive, square bulk, as obdurate as a sulking elephant.

From Judge, Dublin, TMS inbox: "With regard the Sunbrella I think it should have a little motor in it so it can rotate (at an appropriate speed) during the days play. It could also have a design or some wording on each panel to remind you of what you should be doing at that specific moment in the days play. An eight panel sunbrella could work like so: You start it off at the start of play, that's panel 1, panel 2 Champagne, 3 Cold beers and lunch, 4 Snooze, 5 beer and afternoon tea, 6 a cheeky beer and singing with the Barmy Army, 7 a bit more signing and beer, 8 stumps (time to go home). I'd buy one."

1006: WICKET Amla c Collingwood b Onions 19, SA 51-2
Wicket falls
Onions very much the pick of the attack again, tempting Amla into a slash outside off that flies just past third slip. Hold on - fuller, late movement, airy drive - GONE! Super low-down tumbling catch from Colly at second slip, and the Durham combo have struck...

1000: SA 46-1
Why don't they go the whole hog and make Umpire Davis wear a red plastic clown's nose, some out-sized shoes the shape of canoes and style his remaining hair into green bunches above his ears? Jimmy produces his fourth maiden in seven - just nine runs shipped by Burnley Bullet, but not much sniff of a wicket. Is that harsh?

From Mark, Reigate, TMS inbox: "I'm glad that the Sunbrellas are going up over there, must be delightful. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the temperature in the south of England. I actually saw a brass monkey crying on my way to work this morning."

0955: SA 46-1
Onions, coming in at pace - another big ell bee shout, and this time Davis gives it! Hold on though - maybe Prince will ask for the referral. Quick chat with his pardner Amla, and yup - he's sent it upstairs. Let's have a look at the replay - nope, not a no ball, no bat in it - but was it a fraction high? Third umpire Amiesh Saheba thinks it was, the message works its way downstairs, and Davis is forced to change his decision. Thoughts? They've made Davis look like a clown, in the Fordyce book....

0951: SA 44-1
Jimmy Anderson to return in place of the wet-shirted Broad, who has trotted down to long leg to be admired by weak-kneed local ladies. Amla flicks away to square leg for an easy two.

From Jonathan Post, TMS inbox: "Michael, Midlands - Carry On icon Sid James was of course born (as Solomon Joel Cohen) on Hancock Street in Johannesburg. He remains probably the greatest South African of modern times (there are other contenders, admittedly)."

0946: SA 41-1
Onions again, pinging one back in to Amla - another huge appeal, another shake of the head from Umpire Davis - will they refer this one? More scratching of chins, and they decide against - quite rightly so, as replays show that was going just over the top. I'd be terrible at these referrals - appealing for everything like some sort of giddy schoolgirl, or Dominic Cork.

From Stewart, Bristol, TMS inbox: "This is an exciting day for me. For so long I have been the student avoiding essay writing by listening to the cricket, and now I've finally become the working professional avoiding work by listening to the cricket. I'm wondering how my listening experience will differ."

0942: SA 41-1
Who's on board for the Sunbrella? We'll need some sort of marketing whizz, a team of hard-nosed salesmen, and someone with a pretty face to stand underneath one in the advertising campaign. Applications to the email address above. Broad toiling in Stakhanovite fashion, and the SA pair can only scamper a single apiece.

0937: SA 37-1
Sun umbrellas (memo to self: possibly pitch new product called The Sunbrella to next series of Dragon's Den) sprout like red-topped mushrooms around the boundary as Onions wipes the isotonic tonic from his lips and sprints in. Ooh, in-dipper smashing into Amla's front pad - big appeal from all and sundry, turned down by Umpire Steve Davis. Now then - are England going to ask this to be referred? Onions scratches his chin like a yokel being asked the quickest route to Upper Slaughter, and Strauss quite rightly decides this indicates too much doubt.

0930: SA 37-1
Only an hour in, but the pitch is doing very little for England here. Both Prince and Amla digging in after that early breakthrough, and this has the horrible look of a long, sweaty day for the tourists. Maiden from Broad, and that'll be drinks. Is it too early for something fizzy?

0926: SA 37-1
Those women must be real - they're still there. One of them looks a little like Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings, although she's ruining the look slightly by tugging on a cigarette like a Scouse builder. Onions again, a set of five just shy of a length outside, and then a touch over-strayed - Amla steps in to meet it and creams it casually back down the ground for a happy four.

From Carl Legge, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Fox. Either 'spelled' or 'spelt' are acceptable past participles. Yours in pedantry..."

0922: SA 33-1
Five young ladies in the crowd, all dressed in flowing white dresses and droopy, wide-brimmed hats, sipping from flutes of champagne. Have I just had a vision? Could be the last over for Broad in this spell - he wants a final joust at the twitchy Prince, but the regal batsman ducks and sways with balance and bearing.

From Michael, Midlands, TMS inbox: ""No, no, no, no, Chris Robson. Charles Hawtrey played Sir Roger de Lodgerley in Carry on Henry. Please! The script was based upon a 'recently found manuscript by William Cobbler'. Hence the story was 'all Cobblers'. Aahhhh, Carry On films. Bet you don't get them in South Africa."

0918: SA 32-1
"Take a blow, Jimmy," says Strauss, signalling for a serving of Onions for breakfast. Oooh, that's nice from England's own Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, testing Amla with a rigorous combo of straight-as-a-die and late in-dip.

From Phil, Southport, TMS inbox: "I came in half an hour early to work today to catch the cricket. As I arrived my boss said 'eager for work, that's what I like to see'. Fantastic."

0913: SA 32-1
"What a good area that is, pal!" chirps Prior admiringly from behind the timbers, as Broad spears in a rapid toe-crusher which Amla just digs out. Shorter one next to Prince - he doesn't like it up him, and he has a fearful slap at that one - the ball flies high off the top edge, spiralling down to fine leg... but just shy of the on-rushing Graham Onions. Clutching of caps in the slip james corden.

0909: SA 28-1
Jimmy's turn to stray, plopping one onto Amla's pads, and he'll flick that away with wristy pleasure for four more. Crowd filling up nicely now, some spreading out picnic blankets on the grassy banks, other sticking up the sort of over-sized logo-heavy parasols that look like they've been nabbed from a boozer beer-garden.

From Andrew Lewin, TMS inbox: "Do you think this is Eric Wandner's first time on live text?"

0905: SA 24-1
With the sound a balloon deflating through a wet neck, the pressure leaks away - short and leggish, tickled fine for four by Prince; short and wide of off, slash-cut from Prince past a motionless point for four more. Pitch still not doing anything, and drying out fast. Has Strauss got this one right?

0901: SA 15-1
Skipper Strauss stands with hands on hips, squinting into the bright Centurion sunshine, as Jimmy A scampers in and pings in a succession of steady-eddies just outside the Fresh Prince's off-peg. 24 balls without a run - 20Schmenty.

From Chris Robson, TMS inbox: "Wasn't Friedel de Wet was played by Charles Haughtry in Carry on Henry?"

0857: SA 15-1
Short from Broad - maybe a foot too short, and Amla will leave those alone. Behind the stumps, Prior nibbles ruminatively on the webbing of his red and white gloves.

From Mr Fox, Pelaw, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Wandner. It is spelled 'spelled'. Yours in irony."

0853: SA 15-1
That's better from Jimmy - he switches to over the wicket against the flashing blade of Prince, and there's the first sign of zippedy-doodah. Prince plays and misses at a ripper outside off and then reaches out with extended arms to poke one streakily to point. First time since May 2008 that England have won the toss and put the opposition in.

From J Whipp, TMS inbox: "Eric Wandner you just made my day."

0849: SA 15-1
Broad, his blond locks swept back with early sweat, canters in to the bearded statue of calm that is Amla. Short and outside off, and that's a whole heap of leave-alone. Super conditions overhead, should you be seeking a sun-tan - the brightest blue, a fearsome baker of a golden sun. Sizzle.

0844: SA 15-1
Ooof - Prince wears one on the chin-strap - four byes, between diving slip and Poucher Prior - before new-man Hashim Amla leans into a fuller one to pick up two behind point. That's too full from Jimmy, and Prince will step into that and drive with flinty-eyed aggression down the ground for four more. Thrust, parry.

From Eric Wandner, TMS inbox: "It is spelt 'debut'. Not very good for a BBC supported site."

0838: SA 1-1
Broad is heading off in the direction of Mozambique, skipping like happy lamb, pursued by his grinning team-mates - big, big wicket for England, and a streaky one at that. Ball wasn't doing much - just a semi-lifter down leg, and Smith should have stuck it down to fine leg for his first runs of the day, but he nibbled and was nabbed.

0836: WICKET Smith c Prior b Broad 0, SA 1-1
Wicket falls

Stuart Broad to Ashwell Prince, the vast stand behind Matt Prior only smattered with punters so far. Scampered single from the fresh Prince, and then Broad - down the leg side, clear nick, Prior tumbles - he's got him!

0832: SA 0-0
Here we go - Jimmy Anderson to open out to Skipper Smith, three slips in and a gully, point, midwicket, mid-off - two steady loopers across the bows, two coming in a fraction, but nothing of menace there. Early doors, but there was no zip off the track there at all. Hmmm.

Michael Vaughan
"England have had an incredible morning already. It will be a big Test for Graeme Smith this morning with all this happening."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan (wearing shorts) on TMS

0808: Last year, De Wet was playing for Chorley in the Northern Leagues. Big day for the lad. Interestingly, Graeme Smith says he would have batted had he won the toss - seems to think the early greenness won't last, and that the pitch could crumble on the fourth and fifth days. Who's made the right call? Big first two hours about to be served up.

0800: ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS and put South Africa in. Big news that - this pitch looks as if it might be lively early on - and bigger still is the news that Steyn is definitely out - late injury woe. In comes 29-year-old Friedel de Wet for his Test dayboo. It's all happening...

0750: No official team news, but rumours that Bell is in at six, with a bowling attack of Anderson, Broad, Onions and Swann. And even bigger rumours that Dale Steyn might be a dramatic late drop-out...

0741: Centurion, a bright summer's morning, the strip gleaming with greenish menace in the mid-morning sun. That's more like it.

0740: "Boom boom boom," sang the Outhere Brothers. "Let me hear you say wa..." Hold on - that's not working...

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Live Scores - South Africa v England


  • South Africa drew with England
  • South Africa: 418 & 301-7 (85.5 overs)
  • England: 356 & 228-9 (96.0 overs)

England 2nd Innings

Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total for 9 228
Strauss c Boucher b Morkel 1
Cook c Smith b Harris 12
Anderson c Boucher b de Wet 10
Trott c de Villiers b de Wet 69
Pietersen run out 81
Collingwood not out 26
Bell c Boucher b de Wet 2
Prior c Boucher b de Wet 0
Broad c Boucher b Harris 0
Swann lbw b Morkel 2
Onions not out 1
Extras 11nb 10b 3lb 24

see also
SA v England: 1st Test day one photos
16 Dec 09 |  Cricket
Kallis century frustrates England
16 Dec 09 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
15 Dec 09 |  Cricket
England's last tour of South Africa
15 Dec 09 |  England
Sidebottom shines in England draw
12 Dec 09 |  England
Harris aiming to put England in a spin
11 Dec 09 |  South Africa
Swann hits top form for England
10 Dec 09 |  England
Rain hands England one-day series
04 Dec 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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