1508 - STUMPS
. Unsurprisingly that's all for tonight folks, a reminder that we're back under way at 0730 GMT tomorrow and in all probability for the remainder of this match.
Still no word on play officially being called off for the day yet although a resumption looks highly unlikely now.
If that is
it, a reminder that we're due to start at 0730 GMT on the morrow. I wouldn't blame you if you slipped off now, to be fair.
1426: BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY Eng 103-1
Or is there? Another look, another conflab, and this time they're heading to the pavilion. That should be it for the day - Cook up to 31, Trottser 17, and a decent riposte from England after that spirit-crushing slapfest from Dale Steyn.
1423: Eng 100-1
Trott puffs out his cheeks and blinks ostentatiously as Harris, his sleeves tugged high to showcase his averagely-muscled arms, fires in his leftie darts. Single turned off the pads; Dar strolls over to his compadre Saheba for a wag of the chin, but the pair decide there's life in them there meters.
1419: Eng 100-1
Steyn replaces the tiring Morkel and bowls a maiden to the watchful-looking Cook. Before we can have another over the umpires consult about the light....but decide to continue for the moment at least.
1414: Eng 100-1
That's nice from Cook - with slip, leg slip, silly point and silly midwicket in, the Essex man hits hard with the spin and lofts a sweet four down the ground. Too full from Harris again, and Cook can drive again for three more to bring up the England 100. Decent ding-dong. Light-meters being checked - nothing yet, but that moment could be approaching...
1410: Eng 93-1
Morkel continues round the wicket to Cook - too short, feeding that favourite pull for his fourth four. Tempter outside off that's rebuffed, change of angle to over the wicket and dead-batted down into the turf by the anchoring Cook.
1406: Eng 88-1
Righty, says Smith to Trott - you didn't fancy Paul Harris at Centurion, so you can face him here. Three men round the bat, barrel-loads of chat - wide, floaty, crashed away through the covers for a confidence-booster of a boundary.
1402: Eng 84-1
Morkel careering in, Trott with eyes out on stalks - edged again, in controlled-ish fashion, backward of point for two. Short, nasty, turned just past the salivating Amla at forward short leg. Wouldn't fancy it out there, most of us.
1357: Eng 81-1
Two men in short on the leg side for Trott, Steyn turning to sprint in before Trott is settled - tasty. Short, lifty, turned away with elan from in front of the nose by Trott for four behind deep square leg. Spicy as you like out there at the mo. Edgy dab for one past gully to bring Cook on strike - ooof, nervy downward jab past the diving De Villiers for four more to third man.
1353: Eng 71-1
Justice? Don't think so, but South Africa are cockahoop - that's the one they wanted, and Jonathan Trott has a whole heap of pressure on him now as he strides in.
1351: Strauss b Morkel 54, Eng 71-1
No referring that - two stumps are cartwheeling through the air...
From Nick S and others in Kenya, TMS inbox:
"Matt and James - we're already here in Mombassa, Kenya, sipping Tusker beer on the beach and awaiting a nifty century from Mr Strauss - just discussing how the drive via Bordeaux may have been a more enjoyable choice than our flight here in an unnamed budget airline - my legs are still monarchaching. ahem."
1349: Eng 70-0
Steyn, a white towelling sweatband pushed halfway up his forearm in the style of Michael Jordan, is struggling with his line here - short, flagging, flogged over Harris at midwicket by Cook for three as Billy the Trumpet tootles the theme tune to Rocky.
Mike, BA pilot currently in Uganda via text to 81111:
"I was the captain of that RAF VC10 in Senegal. Agree with Steve - terrifying! Although it was the Air France pilot's fault...."
1345: Eng 67-0
Morkel very much the pick this afternoon, and Strauss is rattled - flashing front-foot drive, not to the pitch, the ball flying at catchable height past a gasping gully. Strauss did ask for that referral straight off, which makes me think he heard/felt the snick. Hmm.
1340: Eng 63-0
Still some chuntering about that referral, mainly because there was no clear error of Umpo Dar's to over-rule. If there was an inside edge - I reckon there was - it was supa-skinny. Took three and a half minutes for the decision to come. Steyn, serving up sliders around the 85mph mark, drops short and Cook latches on gratefully to batter a back-foot drive through cover for four.
1336: Eng 59-0
Et voila. Rain absent, light just about doable, Strauss rehearsing his back defensive. Morkel from the Umgeni End, wide and hapless, zipping in and useful. Oh, that's vicious - fast and nasty, barrelling in the back pad - huge appeal, Dar's finger goes up - and Strauss will refer this. What a big moment this could be - not given! I'm thinking there was an inside edge there, and that must be what's saved him - height wasn't an issue. Lordy.
From Steve, TMS inbox:
"I was almost killed in Dakar; RAF VC 10 on final approach and the fun-loving Senegalese sent an Air France Airbus trundling out onto the main (only) runway to take off! Laugh? I thought my skiddies would never dry."
What's that? Starting again at 1330 GMT? Right you are.
From TC, in sunny-ish Las Palmas
: "To Stanley in France. It's obviously a festive booze run. Pick up the Bordeaux, over border into Spain and down for the Rioja and then a schelp to Jerez for the sherry followed by ferry from Algeciras to Tangier. Hubbly-Bubbly."
And now the biggies. Good news. Umpires out there, light-meters uplifted - should be good to go in 10. Both umpires wearing Britney-style face-mics, and looking vaguely self-conscious as a result.
Covers... coming off. At least, the green ones covering the bowlers' run-ups are. Keep the faith.
From Matt and James near Bordeaux, TMS inbox:
"Stanley - Santa didn't bring us a compass, but we assume that if you leave the UK and keep the sea on your right, you get to Africa sooner rather than later. Please advise if incorrect."
Don't want to worry you, but the covers are being dragged on at Kingsmead - nothing too heavy, but brollies are exploding up in all corners.
From Stanley in France, TMS inbox:
"Re Matt and James. Heading for Dakar? What on earth are you doing near Bordeaux? Do you need a compass?"
1243: TEA Eng 59-0
On comes Paul Harris for token tweak before tea - strayer down leg, turned away by Strauss for the single that takes him to his fastest Test half-ton (49 balls, donchaknow). Cook now, hanging on - sweep, struck on the front pad, the ball snagged by De Villiers at silly point - big appeal, and they'll refer... for what? Front pad miles outside off, ball nowhere near bat. Wasted effort by South Africa, and little Brucie bonus for England - the hosts are down to just one referral. That's tea, and a solid start from Skipper Strauss. Grab a handful of peanuts and we'll reconvene in 15.
1238: Eng 58-0
The contrast between Cook and Strauss is as wide as that between Boycott G and Day Doris. Cook prods fearfully at Morkel and edges just shy of De Villiers at third slip - stolen single - and then Strauss crashes another muscular drive through the covers for another three. Cook's barely moving his feet at all - nightmarish times for the doe-eyed opener, and those halcyon days of his first year in Test cricket must seem an awful long way away. 49 to Strauss, just eight to Cook. Hmmm.
From Matt and James, TMS inbox:
"Currently driving a 25-year-old Renault 4 van from the UK to Dakar in Senegal. Just passing Bordeaux and the turkey sandwiches have run out already. We hope that Cook can take a leaf out of the Collingwood book and 'win ugly'. Leaving only Bell left in the 'fail elegantly' camp."
1234: Eng 54-0
Switch again from Smith, throwing the returning Steyn back into the fray - oh, what a shot from Strauss, footwork as spot-on as G Rogers, head over the ball, effortless drive through extra cover for his eighth boundary of the afternoon.
bigheadscfc on 606:
"I don't think Ntini will make it to the third Test if he continues bowling like that. Two failures and de Wet breathing down his neck. Nice to see Strauss going out and trying to score at a decent lick. It's the only chance England have of forcing the result. Just need Cook to drop anchor and people to play around him IMHO."
1229: Eng 50-0
Round II of Morkel vs Cook - succession of angled full ones, jabbed away in knock-kneed fashion by the battling batsman. Tea in 10.
1225: Eng 50-0
Kallis is like a toy soldier with depleted batteries - trundling away manfully, but at a pace that's a threat to nothing but his stats. Half-volley as juicy as a leg of New Zealand lamb - four on the drive through cover; short and sitting up on middle for four more, pulled high over midwicket. Just the start England wanted, and South Africa have bowled pretty poorly so far this arvo. After 13 overs of their innings, the hosts were 15-2 - after 10 of England's, the half-century stand is up.
1222: Eng 40-0
Nothing easy on the eye about Cookie at the moment - every delivery is being treated like a rusty hand-grenade, every shot that once flowed is now dammed with indecision. Morne maiden.
1218: Eng 40-0
Double change from Smith - Shark Kallis gets the nod as Ntini trots down to fine leg with a doleful tug of the green cap. Big old unit, Kallis - he's only coming in off half a run-up here, trying to muscle the ball through Strauss's defences, but there's no kiss or skid in the track so far.
1213: Eng 38-0
Skipper Smith signals for Plan B - the bounce and angle of Morne M. Round the wicket to Strauss, looking for some of that in-angle and lift that did for him in the first Test, and there's something there straight away - controlled edge from Strauss past third slip for four more. Soggy overhead; if it wasn't for the humidity, you could be in Leeds in May.
1208: Eng 33-0
Dreamy combo from the skipper - pull off the 'dl' of middle through midwicket for four, a big-stride drive past a motionless Morkel at mid-off for four more and then - ole! a biffer of a cut past backward point for four more. 24 to Strauss from 28 balls, and Ntini is starting to show his age in this series. De Wet or de veteran?
1204: Eng 18-0
Yup, a misty drizzle, but it drifts across Kingsmead like a bad smell and we'll press on. Succession of wide leave-alones outside off stump from Steyn, with a fuller straighter one at the death that Strauss steps into to drive crisply down the ground for three. Slow old outfield, this one.
1200: Eng 18-0
Surprise in some quarters that Ntini got the nod ahead of Friedel de Wet - the one-cap man was far more impressive than the 101-er at Centurion - and that's another struggler, short and long-hoppy and pulled away by Strauss for four more. Fuller but leggish again for two more, squirted through cover for a single as the veteran over-corrects. Is that a little rain in the air?
From Andrew in Sheffield, TMS inbox:
"The silver-tongued Swann had an added incentive apart from a five-for to persuade Strauss to keep him on until the death there - one more wicket would have been 50 wickets for 2009. With his 430 runs he is the leading candidate after Mitchell Johnson (who needs 22 if he bats in Australia's second innings) to be only man to reach 50 wickets and 500 runs in 2009. Broad (43 wickets and 411 runs the only other candidate)."
1156: Eng 11-0
Come on Cookie - what's left in the larder? Oh, feed him there, Dale, and he'll feast all day - short, leggish, pulled behind square for his first runs of the match. All sorts of trouble next up, though - that classic stiff-legged half-pace forward, the ball jagging back in, and only a late inside edge keeping the lbw bellows at bay.
1152: Eng 5-0
Smith calls for another slip - in about fifth, with a gap to his right before third. Shortish from Ntini, and Strauss swivels with that muscular style to pull past the ponderous Harris at midwicket for three. Oof - fine leave next up, an in-dipper coming around like a boomerang and almost kissing the toppermost of offermost.
1147: Eng 1-0
Now then - real atmos round the ground now as Steyn paws at the ground like a bellicose bull, the England skipper in his sights, three slips and a gully waiting. Dipper onto the pads, tipped away by Strauss for one. Cook on strike, crouching, on a horrible trot of scores - oooh, tempting line from Steyn across his bows, and the Essex man leaves alone with wide eyes.
SOUTH AFRICA FIRST INNINGS 1132: WICKET Steyn c Prior b Anderson 47, SA 343 all out
Leaden-footed waft outside off, skinny edge, and England have finally polished things off. Precious runs, those, and a score that most wise old men seem to think is now well above par. Steyn to tear in to Strauss and Cook with dander up - big hour coming up before tea...
Dwaldo on 606:
"Great tail end bowling by England, how to lose a Test match in half an hour."
1129: SA 343-9
Swann gets another chance - stodgy skippering from Strauss, you might think, and squirters off the outside edge take Steyn to 47. Partnership to 57, and that's the highest stand Ntini has ever been part of in his 101 Test matches.
From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox:
"Grrr, this sticky Ntini is certainly taking the shine off my Xmas Day Wii tennis triumphs over my 3 year old grandson. Silenced are the cries of triumph which once echoed round the lounge."
1125: SA 335-9
Now it's Anderson's turn to be the flayed, dropping short in search of a rib-crusher but being pulled instead with lip-smacking relish by Smasher Steyn. Strauss is on the point of chewing his own chin off here - looks like Graham Onions has been told to loosen his shoulders, but is he going to give Swann one more?
1121: SA 335-9
Dance dance WALLOP - Steyn playing like King Vivi out there, clouting Swann for an even bigger six. Unbelievably, that's the 50 partnership from 10 and 11, and these could be game-changing runs. Steyn now on 40 off 45 balls, and England are feeding him in the slots.
1119: SA 324-9
What a shot that is from Steyn - the sort of back-foot drive that echoes like a gun-shot around the ground and hits the boundary boards before Anderson has polished off his follow-through. In the crowd, a woman dressed as a daffodil watches on balefully.
1117: SA 319-9
Smash - Steyn plants a foot down the track and marmalises Swann back over long on for another enormous six. This little comedy cameo suddenly isn't so amusing for the tourists - Colly chewing furiously at slip, Cook tugging at the brim of his lid at short leg, Bell scratching his be-creamed nose at point.
1112: SA 312-9
Yup, the skipper's seen enough - Jimmy will have a chance to hutch the bunny instead. Ntini wafts away contentedly - maiden, but 27 precious runs have already been added by this last-wicket partnership.
1108: SA 312-9
All too loose this from England, Ntini gleefully smearing Swann high over midwicket like a golfer with eight-iron in hand pitching onto an elevated green. The batsmen sprint three, and Steyn then waltzes down the track like Freddy Astaire to smash a mighty maximum over long on for the first six of the match. Strauss shakes his head at slip.
1104: SA 302-9
Dear oh dear - Broad strays legwards again and again, onto Steyn's hip for one, then even wider to Ntini for four leg byes. Cheers around the quarter-full Kingsmead as the South African 300 comes up. Boycott grumbles with a sound like a dumper-truck going uphill.
1101: SA 297-9
Fraction sloppy from Swannage, going too full in search of the yorker and getting clipped and slapped away. Who'll have the final one?
1057: SA 293-9
Wasted shot at the bunnies from Broad, going too short and wide to be left alone and then dinked off the hip by Steyn for two.
From Mark in Newmarket, TMS inbox:
"This year for Xmas my parents sent my daughter outdoor cooking equipment and a picture of the ex mayor of London Mr Livingston. Worst Barbie and Ken set ever."
1053: SA 289-9
"Comeonquickerflatterletshavehimoutswannyboy!" raves Prior behind the timbers, and he nearly has his wish as Ntini shoulders arms to a sharp tweaker turning into his unprotected front pad. No referrals left, and Swann buries his head in his hands before flashing his gleaming pearly whites at Umpire Saheba.
Dave now of London via text to 81111:
"Stansted. I used to live there, although a village, it has 8 pubs,1 wine bar, 3 Indian restaurants, 1 Chinese, 1 Italian, a deli', a main line station to London and an international airport. Great place to live. Still trying to sell my house though."
1049: SA 288-9
Cheers greet the arrival of Makhaya Ntini, hoots of laughter his first successful block. Broad kicks away some dust in his footmarks , narrows his eyes and races in again - bouncer, too short, way over the batsman's retracting lid. Another short one, dabbed away edgily past the full-length gully for two. Swanny hunting his second five-for of the series now...
1046: WICKET Morkel lbw Swann 23 South Africa 285-9
Swann bowls the first over after lunch and Morkel drives at fresh air as the ball turns past the left-hander's outside edge. Clearly there are signs of genuine turn. And now there's the wicket. He's gone lbw, South Africa failing with the referral.
0959: LUNCH SA 284-8
I've just heard that Geoff Boycott writes his signature on his own hats. That could be the best definition of egotism I've ever heard - giving yourself autographs. Broad calls for Bell to come in at silly point as Steyn shuffles back - short of a length, defended away. Final ball before lunch - low full toss seeking the yorker, turned away for three, and Broad is fuming. That'll be lunch - probably even Shakin' Stevens in that past two and a half hours, maybe the hosts with their Saffa snouts just in front. Let's get the teas in, and I'll see you in 30.
0955: SA 281-8
Swanny now, Morkel waiting, two overs before lunch - round the wicket, straightener, into the front pad - looks to be missing leg to me, and smugness rises as England's last referral is lobbed away.
0950: SA 281-8
Dale Steyn the new man in, Stuart Broad sniffing a cheap one - short leg in, but the batsman gets dead bat in the way to keep the bowler at bay.
From James in TMS inbox:
"Re Gary at Market Harborough : All I got was an empty box, was told it was an Action Man deserter."
0944: Harris lbw b Swann 2, SA 280-8
Still grey and soggy all around. Swann goes round the wicket, fullish, Harris late on the sweep - big appeal, out! Harris will refer this, which kills the moment stone dead, but after a tedious two minutes it's confirmed. Swanny's second of the morning, and we're in the balance.
0941: SA 277-7
Harris is enjoying this - he might have a dash too. Shuffle back and jab down late, and then a bottom-handed drive off a slower one which just eludes the bowler as he flings himself sideways in his follow-through. Jerusalem now from the trumpeter, complete with showy key-change finale.
0938: SA 275-7
Morkel's going to have a pop at Swanny now - big heave-ho down the ground for two, followed by a lean-back slash-cut past the despairingly showy dive of KP at backward point for four more. Trumpet tootles from the Barmy Army bugler - Jingle Bells, the Quartermaster's Stores.
0934: SA 269-7
Big beamers all around from the England fielders - that was the wicket they needed, and Harris is nearly back in the hutch from the off too, waving a skidder past his off stump as Swann gasps at third slip. Best estimates of a par score on this track still grouped in the 270-300 mark, so this last 25 minutes before lunch could be a key period.
0930: De Villers c Prior b Broad 50, SA 269-7
Broad - full - wafty drive, edge - pouched!
From Gary in Market Harborough, TMS inbox:
"I got a rubicon cube in a cracker yesterday."
0928: SA 269-6
Morkel, playing a little stiffly off the back foot, punches a single into the covers off Onions, De Villiers hops back into his crease and steals another quick run to move closer to his half-century - before Morkel pulls one round the corner and a Barmy Army bugler plays "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" as De Villiers drives down the ground for a couple. All very easy for South Africa, with De Villiers reaching his half-century from the last ball of the over.
0921: SA 263-6
Anderson to continue, sweat sticking his hair to his temple - absolute jaffa, straight through AB and on to Prior off the top of the front pad - they're asking for a referral, but that one's going nowhere - well over the top. Morkel tries a crazy single and is sent back - rapid work from Bell zipping in from cover, but the long-limbed languorous one stretches out to make his ground.
0915: SA 263-6
Three slips in for De Villiers, but they're left motionless as the batsman leans onto a leg-stump drifter and middles the diminishing cherry away for a purist-pleasing four through midwicket. Onions wipes his nose on his short sleeve and plods back to his mark.
0909: SA 257-6
Over-pitched from Anderson, smashed past Broad at mid-off with front elbow classically high by the gangling Morkel. Jacques Kallis in the SA dressing-room there, fiddling with the plastic strap on a surprisingly effeminate pair of flip-flops. Wonderful check-drive off the back foot from AB for two on this thick carpet of an outfield before Anderson ripostes with a vicious leaping in-jagger. De Villiers to 41, Morkel to 10.
0906: SA 250-6
Andy Flower chews on his thumb-nail on the England balcony as Onions tears in - nightmarish delivery, snaking in like an Exocet and winking at the top of off as it zips past. Gradually filling up now at Kingsmead, and South Africa have reached Aggers' 250 rubicon. KP back on the pitch, leaning forward at point with hands on knees in the style of Sir Beef of old.
0902: SA 249-6
De Villers waits, green-fingered gloves gripping his white bat handle, a small flannel tucked into the waistband of his trousers - beaten by an absolute doozy of a lifter from Anderson. That's a stinker up next though - short, wide, and crashed high over gully for a pressure-busting four. Big grin from Cruella.
0857: SA 245-6
Luke Wright on as sub fielder for KP, who's asked the England physio to check his - ooof, Morkel cut in half by Onions' in-swinger, fine diving snag from Prior behind the timbers. Glimpse of Dale Steyn up there in the SA dressing-room, blinking balefully with those clear-blue eyes before wedging his thumb up his left nostril for an old-fashioned rummage. Maiden.
0851: SA 245-6
Here we go - cherry is taken, Anderson summoned, and England need to hutch the remaining four wickets in the next 20 overs. Grey and gloomy up overhead, the floodlights still on, and Morkel will tuck a leg-side lifter away for a single to long leg. Three slips and a gully in for De Villiers - huge appeal from behind the timbers, but he was nowhere near that one. All over the next one, cutting high and mightily for four to the point fence.
0846: SA 239-6
Swanny fancies another here - he knows this is his last over before the new ball is due, and he twirls with vim and vigour. De Villiers prods forward watchfully, smothers the sniff of danger and signals for a beverage. Drinks all round.
0842: SA 238-6
Funny old wicket, that one - Strauss really wasn't sure about asking for the referral, but the afterthought paid big dividends. KP might have a twirl here against new-man Morne Morkel - ai-yai-yai, slashing drive, skinny snick straight over Colly's grasping palms at slip. England alive again....
Steve in Stansted via text to 81111:
"Re 0811 - Stansted Airport I'm afraid - no windmills here unless there's some Red Bull Style Racing going on that I don't know of!.Last time I was there though, the 'mill looked as though it was keeping well - had put on a bit of weight - but who doesn't this time of year?"
0837: WICKET Boucher lbw Swann 39, SA 233-6
Swanny again, big stride forward - thudder into the front pad, and England might ask for a referral here... Interesting - he is
a long way forward, but that looks on the replay to be pitching in line, hitting in line, bouncing low.... GONE!
0832: SA 233-5
We'll have some Colly here to rattle off these remaining old-ball overs - edged away by De Villers for two more to move to 22, and then - oh, dreamy from Cruella, driving like a technical masterclass for four between extra cover and mid-off. Partnership to 63, and this is ominous for England.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox:
"Just back from dropping a nephew at the bus station for his return trip to somewhere not in Lancs and his life of continued skimmed surplus value at the hands of a ruthless owner of the means of production. Why have young people stopped hitching lifts? Don't they understand that it's free and they're skint? At least that what they told me when they arrived present - and boozeless."
0825: SA 221-5
Glimpse of Geoff Boycott in the stands there, chewing the ear off Chris Broad. Broad Snr wearing a startling combo of short-sleeved red shirt with yellow polka-dotted tie; Boycs in regulation beige short-sleeved shirt with pockets on chest, like an expat English businessman in Malaya circa 1962. Maiden from the younger Broad, new ball five overs away.
From Nick in Nottingham, TMS inbox:
"Re: 0811 - Steve in Stansted. More savoury than a desert? That's pretty harsh there, sir. All that sand wouldn't be too sweet. Did you, perchance, mean dessert?"
0822: SA 221-5
Swann might go round the wicket again here - yup, and Boucher stays watchful until the final ball - clipped into the leg side, fine diving sprawler of a save from Anderson at midwicket.
0818: SA 221-5
Short and wide from Broad, and Boucher is onto that as quickly as Rob Key on a bonus sausage - cut with rapid flashing wrists backward of Kevin Pietersen at point. Broad strains for a straightener and gets clipped in front of midwicket for three more. That's the 50 partnership, and Strauss scratches his square patrician jaw ruminatively at slip.
0814: SA 214-5
Michael Vaughan on TMS bemoans the state of Sheffield Wednesday's season, and celebrates Saturday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle as the start of the revival. Swann twirls away, a cunning flatter one almost yorking De Villiers before a ricochet off his own boot slips a single. Still only a smattering of punters around Kingsmead Park - the occasional blanket spread on the grass, the mint-coloured seats in the grandstand infrequently interrupted by perspiring spectators.
0811: SA 211-5
Strauss has seen enough - he signals for Stuart Broad, and Malfoy steps forward to work some magic. Leggish, woody noise, Prior goes up.... no, says Umpire Saheba. I'd have given that one, but then I've got four trigger fingers and a frisky thumb to boot. Steve in Stansted (see below) - how's the windmill in your home town?
From Steve in Stansted via text to 81111:
"Re: 0722 - is it secret option (c) and is it the nicknames for the English starting XI? Graham Onions has obviously been excluded as he is more savoury than a desert.."
0806: SA 211-5
Looks like it's Swanny-time out here, and the South African pair will look to attack here - a mighty mow from Boucher, straight into the unprotected calf of Alastair Cook at forward short leg. Ouch. Same shot next ball, this time through the long legs of Cook for four to the midwicket fence. Swann over-corrects and is driven past Bell at point for three more, and then De Villiers - oof, bat prodded out in front of pad, inside edge down into Cook's left boot. England need a wicket sharpish.
0802: SA 196-5
The slim figure of Onions again, all whip and slide, and De Villiers will tickle again for another. Another down leg, two noises, Prior dives - four runs finer than fine, and that was a quarter of a chance there....
0759: SA 196-5
Anderson will have another, his hair stuck up in slightly Jedward fashion. Over-strainer down leg, tickled fine by Boucher for four to the fence. 12 overs to the new ball, and England will be ticking them off if this lack of razzle-dazzle continues.
From Hugh in Taunton, TMS inbox:
"'Morning Tom. I am still officially asleep and this somnambulist ramble is just to let you know you're not alone in early Sunday morning 'net-land. I'll wake up when we get our first wicket today. In fact I have vowed not to have breakfast until we do."
0755: SA 191-5
No further sign since the first over of much hoop, and the pitch is doing less than a stoned sloth. Just two slips in now for Onions, and a half-asleep mis-field from Anderson at mid-off. Flags hanging limply in the misty-mosty morning.
0751: SA 189-5
Ominous from De Villiers, going up on tippy-toes to check-drive off the back peg through cover for an effortless four. Spookily quiet out there, like a match played with the mute button on.
From Andy, TMS inbox:
"Morning all. Up at 0400 for policing sunny Lewisham (south-east London) have done for the last three days and havn't been home yet. I can only dream of all the food on offer that Gatts might of been dreaming of."
0748: SA 186-5
Cautious start from the South African pair. Chat from Aggers overnight was that England need to rattle the hosts out for around 250, and De Villiers - glistening droplets of sweat appearing on his snout - lifts and sways from Onions' tempters.
0742: SA 185-5
Ooof - cunning late in-dip from Jimmy A, and Boucher leaves it late with a nervous late. Scampered single, and then more late in-swing is clipped away flukily through midwicket for a streaky two. Humidity climbing slowly up the humidometer.
0737: SA 180-5
Graham Onions, his plastered hair looking like the plastic barnet of a small doll, scampers in tight to the wicket - edged along the ground to third slip by AB de Villiers. Not many punters in so far, and you can't blame them - sticky, soggy start, and it's not even 10am yet on the KwaZulu-Natal coast.
0732: SA 180-5
Here we go - James Anderson to open out for England, grey overhead in Durban, Mark Boucher blinking under his lid - first ball dipping in towards leg stump, clipped off the toes through midwicket for four. AAARRGGGHHH! scream the three slips, stumper and bowler - skinny inside edge onto the pad to save the lbw, and then another which looks to be hitting top of leg - strangled appeal, and replays show England should have gone louder for that one...
Lemon crunch pie. Brandy snaps. Christmas pudding. Sherry trifle. Bakewell tart. Gateau Dianne. Fruit salad. Chocolate mousse. Belgian fudge cake. Amaretto soufflé. Is this (a) what Mike Gatting was heard mumbling in his sleep last night, or (b) the pudding spread available at Mama Fordyce's on Christmas Day?
Morning all - what are you doing up at this time?