C'est tout for today - 0730 GMT start on Tuesday. Polish off that last slice of Christmas cake, get your feet up and we'll convene on the morrow.
1529: STUMPS Eng 386-5
One more after this? Kallis kontinues, Bell ducks under the bouncer. Non-stop revelry and sing-song from the Barmy Brigade, crisped pink like grilled salmon by the South African sun. Nope - that's us done - England's day, Bell overnighting on 55 and Prior on 11, the lead 43.
From Dom, Northants, TMS inbox:
"Bruce Fordyce! Amazing runner and not to be confused with the doddering dance show host. I remember when he came over to do the London to Brighton race. We'd never seen anyone before who could take a leak whilst continuing to run."
1524: Eng 385-5
Steyn in place of Big Morne, shadows creeping across the pi... oh, Belly, reaching for one that isn't there, almost thinning to the grimacing Boucher the Poucher.
1518: Eng 384-5
Kallis again, somewhat stroppily - he's upped his pace a touch here, and Bell ducks underneath that skiddy one. Bell will push for one, the lead to 51, Bell to 53. 10 minutes left before the close.
1514: Eng 383-5
Morkel will return for a final joust before stumps - beats Prior's airy waft outside off, but then drops short and is clattered away on the pull by Prior for a four cheering raucously by the Boozy Army.
1508: Eng 379-5
Dabber single from Bell, flicked uppishly off the pads by Prior for another. 20 minutes left in the day; Bell on 52, Prior on seven.
1504: Eng 377-5
Kallis getting karted here - short, wide, steered away with elan by Prior for four past cover. Oof - nudged straight into the hands of Amla at forward short leg and straight out again. Big chance. Kallis stares up at the cloudless evening sky and rails at the fates.
From Bob Young, TMS inbox:
"The curse of the commentator - has there ever been a commentator who could resist putting the kiss of death on a decent England performance? I mean you must have known exactly what you were doing?! As you typed those fatal phrases before Mr Collingwood's departure. Any South African lineage trying to get out?"
Ever heard of Bruce Fordyce, Bob? Two words: Comrades. Legend.
1500: Eng 372-5
Juicy full-bunger from Duminy, and Bell's all over that - drilling it out into the deep for the two that takes him to his half-century. Fearful of more mockers, I'm saying no more.
1455: Eng 367-5
Done well there, Colly - looks gutted, as you would, but he's done his job. Pink-eared Prior to the trenches, and Kallis grimaces with effort as he strains to draw some juice from the track.
From Derek Black, TMS inbox:
"Re the "Wednesday Boys' tune, originally "Marching Through Georgia" (American Civil War song as you may well recall)."
1450: WICKET Collingwood c Boucher b Duminy 91, Eng 365-5
Curses on you, veneer! Curses on you, self, for your foolish voodoo! Lame shot, to be fair, cutting at a flatter one and thinning behind. Heartbreak for Colly, but he had been becalmed.
1447: Eng 364-4
Awful ball by the trundling Kallis, dreamy drive by Bell - he's drilled that off the very definition of the middle. Four to the fence before anyone can move. Lead to 21, and this has been England's day without a doubt. So far. Saying no more. And touching wood. Veneer.
1443: Eng 355-4
Save me, JP, says Smith, but Duminy drifts calamitously legwards and is swept away fine by Colly for a four that takes him to 91. Partnership to 62, excitement building among the toasting tourists.
1439: Eng 355-4
Ntini switches to round the wicket. 0-75 off his 19 movers so far, the very definition of toil. Stick on some more - Bell guides that away to third man for a timeless four. The lead is 12, and there's still 14 overs left in the day...
1435: Eng 348-4
England drew level off exactly the same number of balls as South Africa needed for their totals. Spotters' badges to too many of you to mention. Colly to 85 with a single touched to leg off Harris, Bell to 33 with a déjà-vu drive.
1431: Eng 344-4
Singles all over the place off Ntini. According to Vaughan, Colly practises occasionally with a 4lb bat. When he then switches to his usual lighter one, it thus feels wand-like. Maybe that explains a friend of mine's tactics on the nightclub dancefloor. England lead!
From Gary Hayes, TMS inbox:
"Paul Collingwood- an apology. Many times I have doubted this mans ability as a Test batsman over the years and have often mused with tongue firmly in cheek (mainly to wind the missus up who rates him) that he is a club cricketer and would not get a game for Norley Hall Seconds. However, he really does know how to knuckle down and play for the greater good of the team. Colly I salute you."
1427: Eng 340-4
Thank you to the correspondents pointing out that Gillie could just as well have been born South African - he could still have played for England. Petty jealousy, my friends. Or the truth - one of the two. Easy singles off Harris, and England are just three runs from parity.
1422: Eng 337-4
A glance at some English fans basking in the warm evening sun - some big units there. Should the groundsman need another heavy roller or two... I'll say no more. Trumpeter Billy plays a tune I know best as, "Oh-oh, oh-oh, we are the Wednesday boys." Official title, anyone?
From Peter, wrapped in a duvet, freezing in Bournemouth, TMS inbox:
"Ian Bell could save my mother from a hungry brown bear and I'd still not trust him."
1419: Eng 336-4
What a shot that is from Belly, a skip down the track to Harris and a casual loft high over long-on for a super six. Bell follows that up with a single pushed to the man who's been forced out by the previous effort - clever batting. England trail by just seven runs...
1416: Eng 328-4
Interesting chat from Vaughany on TMS - he reckons England should carpe diem here and really push on hard in the remaining overs tonight. The name Adam Gilchrist is mentioned. Good old Gilly. How different life could have been if that man had been born British. Sigh.
1412: Eng 324-4
Harris's face glistening with perspiration, his forearms pinked by the harsh sun. Oh, showy from Bell, going down on one knee to dab-sweep away with the delicate touch of a watchmaker.
From Procrastinating Student (aka Richard), TMS inbox:
"Anyone else excited by Bell's highest score in South Africa? Proving his critics wrong, nearly reached his quarter-century! Go on Belly!"
1407: Eng 322-4
Shadows stretching across the outfield as Ntini turns and races in. Colly - was there bat in that? - deflection off the thigh guard, spilled by Boucher going one-handed in front of slip. Nah, no wood. Still 21 overs left in the day, with conditions set fair for at least another hour and 15.
1402: Eng 318-4
Harris doing nothing with the ball, and Bell watches it carefully to dab behind square for another. Here's a scenario for you - if England get a lead of 180 upwards, Swanny might fancy a heroic one on day five. Although the pitch is as spicy as sliced bread at the moment.
From Rodney, Halifax, TMS inbox:
"Ben (see below) I have just sent my wife off on the train to Meadowhall. Hope that's not her across from you. But then again, whilst she's doing that she's not melting the credit cards."
1357: Eng 316-4
Ntini will have another go here. Lord alive - short, long hop, dragged through midwicket by Bell for a dismissive four. Short and wide again, dabbed away with sweet timing by Bell for four more between point and cover. Single to midwicket - Ntini flagging badly, and if De Wet doesn't get the nod for Cape Town, he might as well apply for residency in the UK.
From Steve Martin (not the Steve Martin) in M25 jam, TMS inbox:
"This is the time for Belly to step up to the mark if he wants to stay in the team. How many times has this sentence been spoken?"
1350: Eng 307-4
Bell blinks owlishly as Morkel clatters to the crease - tucked away past the lumbering Smith at mid-on for two. Another single to leg, and then Colly pulls frantically - it's gone high in the air, out towards the sweaty-faced Harris at deep square leg - spilt, on the half-volley. Close.
1346: Eng 303-4
Right, says Smith to Bell - let's see if you fancy shouldering arms to Harris again. Colly on strike for the time being - gaagh, dreadful premeditated slog, missed, the off stump surviving by an extra coat of the sponsor's paint. Maiden.
1342: Eng 303-4
Morkel, gangling in, targeting the diminutive Bell with the short stuff - ouch, worn on the sternum by the leaping batsman. Nasty business.
1337: Eng 302-4
Steyn to Bell - jabbed down to the leg side for another single. Steyn toiling here, finding neither pace nor accuracy, coming in close to the stumps but dragging the ball towards first slip. England just 40 runs behind.
From Ben, TMS inbox:
Enjoying the TMS chat as its keeping my sanity whilst I'm on the train back home. Doesn't help when I'm sat almost directly opposite a couple groping each other. Who does that on a train?
1334: Eng 302-4
Morkel tests Bell with another snorter - deflected round the corner to get off the quacker.
1330: Eng 301-4
Now then - South Africa are awake again, clambering all over Bell... ooof, vicious lifter that nearly takes Bell's elbow off. Watch this, says Colly, steering a cut away as Steyn sends down a stinker of a wide dragger.
1322: WICKET Cook c Kallis b Morkel 118, Eng 297-4
Glimpse on the boundary of Friedel de We... Cook's gone! Morkel the man again, head and shoulders above his team-mates in several ways, angling one in to the leftie from round the wicket and finding enough jag off this dead track to take the edge. Fine innings from Cookie - is that the sound of a ringing alarm Bell?
From Jason in Herts via text to 81111:
"I can't believe that no one has mentioned that Paul Harris is a dead ringer for the loveable Mancunian layabout Paul Calf. I wonder if Harris has ever heard of his twin?"
1316: Eng 296-3
Steyn not at his best in this match. Don't know if he's feeling that hamstring a little, or of Smith's asked him to do a containing job, but his surprisingly average record against England - 14 wickets in six matches, ave of over 44 - continues. Single to Colly.
1312: Eng 295-3
Runs aplenty for the well-set pair. Cook swivels on a short one to pull down to deep square leg for one, Colly drives happily for two. If the rest of this new ball is seen off... I'm getting ahead of myself. Rude.
1309: Eng 290-3
Funny old tactics from Steyn, offering up a succession of chasers outside off. Colly batters one through cover for three; Cook prefers to leave alone. Bit of a problem for Smith, here - Steyn's not looked like taking a wicket, Ntini is short of pace, Kallis at half-nick and Harris well below his first Test form.
1304: Eng 287-3
Thank you, Benjamin. Morkel to begin, way down leg, four leg byes. Nothing in this pitch at all for the bowlers, and with England just 56 runs behind, they have to be looking at a lead of at least 100 on first innings. At least.
1248 - 281-3
Right, Fordyce is back, I'll say goodnight...
1246 - 281-3
All this anti-Pietersen stuff is frankly bizarre. The facts are he scores more runs than Collingwood and has a far higher average. I don't remember too many people calling Colly reliable when he was scratching about for runs during the Ashes series. England cricket fans appear to have very selective memories.
"I have to say I totally agree with Collingwood being a Volvo and Pietersen being a Lambo. One will not let you down or be a pain to maintain, one will break down a lot and be expensive to run. I know which one I'd rather see going down the street but I also know which one I would rather own..." Mark from Reading in the TMS inbox
1239 - 281-3
Steyn with a vociferous leg before shout, but that was sliding well down leg. It's starting to look pretty desperate for the hosts. Steyn over-pitches and Collingwood, with an almost imperceptible flourish of the bat, hits him straight down the ground for four. And that's that for the session, England trail by 62 runs, this partnership now 126.
1235 - 277-3
Ntini on already after just a couple of overs from Morkel. Cook nurdles him to leg for one. Not sure about this Collingwood over Pietersen chat, it's a bit like choosing a Volvo estate over a Lamborghini Gallardo. Big lbw shout from Ntini against Cook , but there was wood on that, before Cook picks up four with a thick outside edge.
"A response to Rodney's comment at 12.18: Paul Collingwood - Test batting average: 42.83; Kevin Pietersen - Test batting average: 50.18. I think this says it all really. No-one can deny KP's style, but there you can see his substance. He may throw his wicket away frequently but we are only disappointed because we know he is capable of."James in the TMS inbox
1230 - 271-3
The most expensive seat in Durban is 90 rand, which is about seven squid. To put that in perspective, it cost about 100 quid to watch the Ashes Test at Lord's this year. Short from Steyn and Cook rolls his wrists on it and picks up a single.
1226 - 269-3
Lots of emails coming in about people being locked in places, no idea why. I got locked in the Ye Olde Green Dragon in Shenfield once, ended up falling over their Christmas tree and got myself barred. Happy days. One more for Collingwood, and Cook wants nothing to do with the rest of Morkel's over.
1223 - 268-3
Steyn gets a hint of swing back into the left-handed Cook and the Essex opener squeezes to square-leg for one. Three slips now in for Collingwood, but he's not having a nibble at anything outside off-stump. Colly nicks the strike with a nurdle off his pads.
1218 - 266-3
Morne Morkel back into the attack, and I'm told he's been the pick of the South African bowlers so far. Morkel loses his line and Cook nibbles him off his pads for a single. Michael Vaughan on TMS complaining about the volume of the Barmy Army, and it's true, they've been pretty subdued so far. Collingwood squared-up, and he only just manages to jab his bat down on the ball.
"I wonder how long it will be before we reflect on Colly's contribution to England, and come to the conclusion he should have been rated higher than KP? He knuckles down when he needs to, scores vital runs, and often has to get England out of the mess that KP helps to create. Substance over style any day."Rodney Lowe, Halifax, in the TMS inbox
1211 - 264-3
I am Ben Dirs
, Tom Fordyce is having a break. Dale Steyn back on, and he's clutching a brand new cherry. Collingwood gets on top of the bounce and drills Steyn into the covers for one. Cook drops into the off-side and nicks a single, not much going on with that second new ball.
1206: Eng 260-3
Cherry available, but Smith decides to give Harris one more. Cheers. Oof - Colly down on one knee to sweep, the ball popping up from his front foot and falling just safe. Morkel and Steyn warming up for cherry charges. Tickle away to leg, and Colly has his 18th Test half-century. Super effort - barely noticed him getting there. 106 balls, four fours.
1203: Eng 260-3
Delicate from Colly, deflecting fine for four as Duminy strains. That's the 100 partnership, from 194 balls, and a very, very useful one for England. New ball due.
From Tim, TMS inbox:
"10 years ago while sharing a first floor maisonette in Fulham the outer door knob fell off bathroom door resulting in a 90-min bath to keep warm until non-working flatmate woke up. He tried to open door with various kitchen implements until he disappeared for 10-mins. Upon his return resorted to escape from first floor window into back yard. Hanging by finger nails my feet could just touch his shoulders at full stretch when towel fell off, much to neighbours amusement. Resulting pebble dash scrapes to whole of now naked front of body not so funny."
1200: Eng 252-3
My racing-loving colleague Honest Frank tells me that the Flintoff-owned horse Freddie is at 12-1 for the Welsh National at Chepstow, should the inspection give the track the thumbs-up. Trained by a Vaughan, interestingly. Harris milked like an old heifer.
1156: Eng 249-3
Spin-twin time - Duminy to tweak with short-armed enthusiasm. Simple singles run away.
1153: Eng 247-3
Leaky Harris back for a final two before the cherry - classic Colly deflecting sweep for three to fine leg, same shot for one from Centurion Cook.
From Gary, TMS inbox:
"I mentioned previously that I thought Paul Harris looked like Bobby Davro but I was wrong. It is in fact Duncan Norvelle he is a spit for, especially when he pushes up his short sleeves up near his shoulders before he bowls. I keep expecting him to bowl and then reel away shouting "chase me, chase me."
1148: Eng 242-3
Warm applause for Cook from all concerned, and why not. Next task for England - see off the new ball, which is due in four overs. 101 behind, seven wickets in hand - if it wasn't mockers-inducing, you'd say England are set fair. So I won't.
From Landlord of Erik in 1993 (re 1134), TMS inbox:
"I thought you told me your girlfriend was eight and a half months pregnant and her waters had broken so you had no option other than to break the door down? Bill for damage is on the way."
1143: Eng 237-3
Cook prods Ntini back past his bootlaces for the single that takes him to 98. Cut away by Colly to third man to get Cook back on strike for the final ball of the over - clip off the pads, and there it is! Cook's 10th Test ton, and what a splendid piece of battling that is. 324 minutes, 218 balls, 10 boundaries - a marathon effort, and a wonderful way to celebrate his 50th cap.
1138: Eng 237-3
Cook, 95 not out, steps back and away to drive through midwicket for two. Ooof - possible century-inducing boundary spurned as Kallis goes short and wide, the attempted cut toe-ending into the gully. Cross things, find wood.
1134: Eng 235-3
Wobble in the focus from the England pair. Feet stay nailed as they take it in turns to inside-edge into the back legs as the slips ooh and aah. That's more like it - width from Ntini, cut away with fast hands by Colly backward of point for four. Deficit down to 108.
From Erik in Kendal, TMS inbox:
"My girlfriend was locked in the toilet for 5 hours while I was playing football in Preston in 1993. She was not alone and friends fed her cigarettes through the key hole to keep her going. I returned home and after taking five minutes to assess the situation kicked the door in. I felt like a knight releasing the fair maiden and although it was rented accommodation I took the moral high ground with the landlord and got away without having to pay for the damage."
1129: Eng 229-3
Smith has seen enough Harrisment - Kallis for another thunder-thighed trundle. Loose down leg, touched away by Colly for a strolled single; short plopper outside Cook's off stump, cut away to the boundary sweeper for one more. Watermelon Man having a whale of a time down there. Expect tears by tea-time.
From Ben in Cambridge, TMS inbox:
"I went to visit a friend at Reading University a couple of years ago and took part in the university hockey club's annual three legged pub crawl. The rules were simple - boys' names went in a hat and each girl picked one out. The new duo's legs were then strapped together for the remainder of the night across a series of pubs and ultimately a club. Imagine my surprise when the girl I was with turned out to be Alistair Cook's girlfriend, Alice. A lovely girl she was too."
1124: Eng 226-3
Balmy conditions at Kingsmead as Ntini prepares to use up the rest of the old ball. Single to Cautious Colly, four leave-alones from Cook as he eyes the big three numbers.
From Bob in Manchester, TMS inbox:
"Re: James in Exeter trapped by broken doorknob. A few months back I broke the knob on my bathroom door. All of the inner mechanisms fell out onto the other side of the door and I was therefore locked inside. My girlfriend wasn't due home for another five hours. After an hour and a half, I noticed a picture hook on the wall and formulated a plan to escape. First, I used it to unscrew the outer casing of the lock and then bent it into a shape which could be used to pick the inner part of the lock. Within a few minutes I was free. Naturally, I now regard myself as the new MacGyver."
1120: Eng 225-3
Ropey old filth from Harris - short, wide, smashed on the cut through cover by Cook to move into the nervous nineties. Single away, more nonsense short and wide for Colly, and he'll put that away for another four to the mirror spot. Single clipped down the ground, and Harris is leaking like Kim Philby.
From Gavin, TMS inbox:
"Locked myself out of my car at Glasgow Airport this morning, luggage, passport, Saudi visa etc in aforementioned car. Result, missed flight and onward connection, but now able to enjoy 1 more day of TMS coverage before getting the 'not available in your territory' message for the next couple of months."
1116: Eng 215-3
Ntini to return, leaning away towards cover in his delivery stride - watchful from Colly. Over-pitched, driven straight for two as Smith labours round from mid-orf. England chipping away slowly at the SA lead
1112: Eng 212-3
Harris, hair tufted by the stiff breeze, zinc cream smeared all over his face and barely rubbed in at all. Sloppy. Easy one for Colly clipped down the ground; squirty one into the off side from Cook for one more. England trail by 133; Smith resting Morkel until the new ball in 12 overs, you'd imagine.
From Graeme, shopping in Romford, TMS inbox:
"The other half has made me come sale shopping in Romford! Yes, your bum does look big in that. Probably because it is big."
1107: Eng 209-3
Animation on the grassy banks from a group of fans wearing watermelon helmets. Very seldom that the wearing of a watermelon helmet isn't accompanied by regular lager-based refreshers. Two singles off the straining Steyn, and South Africa are letting this drift a little here.
From Tony in sunny-ish Las Palmas, TMS inbox:
"Dear old Cook, as watchful as the Home Guard - and about as menacing. I can quite imagine him going out of an evening wrapped up in Private Pike's scarf."
1102: Eng 206-3
Harris to the front in place of part-timer JP. Slip, forward short leg, slashed away on the cut by Cook for three to move to 83. Kallis chases after that from slip with all the enthusiasm and speed of a sloth in concrete boots.
1058: Eng 201-3
Steyn again, punters laying about on the grass banks covered in sun-cream, glugging happily. Nice shot from Colly - head still, playing late, timing it away past Ntini at cover for his first four of the day.
1054: Eng 197-3
Duminy to Colly is no-one's idea of a matinee treat. On TMS, Michael Vaughan is bigging up his 6.30am gym session. Lead down to 146.
1051: Eng 194-3
Steyn hurls one across Cook for the 400th time today, and for the 400th time Cook leaves it alone. Bit of token chat from Steyn, and Cook doesn't even bother looking at him.
From Jamie McLean, TMS inbox:
"Re: Ferris Bueller comment. I think Ian Bell could be likened to the headmaster (Rooney) - hardworking, determined and even creative in his attempts to succeed, but ultimately fails time after time before walking home dejectedly. Come on Bell, make me eat my words."
1047: Eng 194-3
Duminy to continue where he left off before lunch. Drifters into the rough outside Cook's off-stump, but that's a nice shot - dabbed off the pads, run hard for two. A blonde woman in the crowd wearing a stripy bikini manhandles a massive sausage into a saucy bap. Honestly.
From James in Exeter, TMS inbox:
"Just hastily tried to leave my bedroom in order to attend to my morning toilet. In my urgency I managed to rip the knob clean off the door, thus trapping me inside. In a spate of uncharacteristic manliness, I managed to locate a swiss army knife and quickly repair the mess. The message to Ian Bell, look what can be achieved in desperate times."
1042: Eng 188-3
And we're back - Dale Steyn to open out from the Umgeni End, Cookie waiting, the wind lifting and tugging at flags and shirt-sleeves. Over the wicket, going across the leftie, four left and two prodded back to the bowler.
From Aidan in Ireland, TMS inbox:
"A quiet day in the office, so following the Test helping to keep me sane. Hope I am wrong, especially for Cook's sake, but I get the feeling there's a mini-collapse on the way; then it will again be up to Swann to dig England out of a hole."
From Phillip Wray, TMS inbox:
"Re: Ferris Bueller and his friend Cameron. I had a thought that KP is much like Ferris, with his sense that life is for living and don't worry about the consequences, whereas Alistair Cook would be Cameron, generally looking a bit worried about life and needing to get out of his shell. Any thoughts for little sister (jealous, but supportive deep-down - maybe Belly?) or the headteacher?"
0959: LUNCH Eng 188-3
Is this the last before lunch? Duminy beavers away, dabber single from Colly - yup, that's the session. Intriguing morning, Cook England's rock on 75 not out, Colly nine. Right in the balance, this match. I might grab a mid-morning tea. A bientot.
0957: Eng 188-3
Come on Colly, concentrate... Nervy jab at Morkel's lifter, edge, snagged by the simmering Kallis at second slip - but on the half-volley...
0952: Eng 187-3
Duminy bowling very full here, and Colly's bat sounds like it's made of mouldy concrete. Quiet little period pre-lunch, crisp lagers being poured down parched throats under the sponsor's umbrellas.
0948: Eng 183-3
Barely a cloud up above to break up the blue. Colly bedding in here, playing in the style of a man involved in a serious family game of French Cricket.
From Andrew on a dive support ship in the North Sea, TMS inbox:
"Sorry "Jon in Auckland" but the car ruined in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off was actually the Ferrari owned by the dad of Ferris's friend, Cameron, and not his own father. Sorry, but new to this, so can't think of a witty way to end this message."
0944: Eng 181-3
Three slips in for Cook as Morkel goes for the angler - nicely driven by Cook through extra cover for two more. Short, spotted straight away by Cook and swivel-pulled behind square for four. 73 now for the doughty opener, and somewhere in the distance the unmistakeable opening bars of Gaga's 'Poker Face' ring out.
0940: Eng 175-3
Now then - Duminy to Cook, ball off the front pad to Amla at short square leg - screamed appeal, given out by Umpire Saheba! Hold on, though - Cook's appealing this straight away, certain he hasn't hit it. Replays back him up, and the decision is over-turned - thumbs-up for the referral system. Cook steps away to cut very late for a single to get off strike and mop his fevered brow.
0934: Eng 174-3
Morkel, the elongated Suggs - short and rising outside off, and Colly won't go anywhere near that. The ninth maiden of the morning. Don't expect fireworks before the luncheon sandwiches.
From Jon in Auckland, TMS inbox:
"I have just returned from packing to go away camping for the New Year only to find KP has gone. I feel a bit like Ferris Bueller's dad when he comes home to find his car trashed by his errant son - disappointed but not entirely surprised."
0930: Eng 174-3
Yup - Duminy for some right-arm off-spin, hoping to use the bruising breeze and a little rough outside Cook's off stump - tight, treated with exaggerated caution by the batsman, maiden. Half an hour until lunch, with the session extended to two and a half hours after Sunday's early finale.
0929: Eng 174-3
Morkel less effective in this spell, over the wicket to Colly - two angled away, few fears. Is JP Duminy warming up?
0924: Eng 172-3
Better from Cook, relaxing a little in his new role as senior partner. Harris drops short outside off and Cook is on it in a flash, cutting with rapid wrists for his seventh and eighth fours. Very much even stevens out there - draw slight favourite at the mo?
From Paul O'Connor, TMS inbox:
"We need to locate and disable KP's self destruct button. It's like a dark urge to get himself out in the most stupid way. In the Third test KP is out using his new 'upside down , back of the bat shot'."
0920: Eng 164-3
Youch - Colly almost wears a Morkel lifter on the chin, but sways out of the way in matador fashion. England still 178 runs behind. Turned off the toes by Colly for two to deep square leg. On the England balcony, KP sits alone, rummaging through his nose with his smallest finger.
0917: Eng 162-3
Harris, dander up, twirls away to Anchorman Cook - tickle fine for one. Colly, pink ear-pads wedged into his England lid, takes a big stride and blocks like Trevor Bailey.
From Mr J Belshaw, TMS inbox:
"I'm pretty certain I just spotted the Action Man deserter who was reported missing yesterday - row three Old Fort Road End dressed as Santa, drinking a lager, he's got a scar on his cheek and keeps glancing left and right in a furtive manner."
0912: Eng 161-3
Morkel will return here as Smith looks to press home his advantage - short, lifting, anxious top-edged hook from Cook for a fine-leg four. Colly the new man, KP on the England balcony with a stoical look on his sunburned snout. Why, Kevin, why?
From Owen, TMS inbox:
"Nihau (Hello one and all) from the 40th floor of -5 degrees Qingdao, China. I went to work on Christmas. And Boxing Day. And yesterday. Think about it. Send me some love."
0905: Eng 155-3
A shot of heartbreaking ugliness from Pietersen, and that's a hammer-blow for England - down on one knee, mighty mow, plumb in front. Harris is galloping about like a pony on speed, and who can blame him - he's egoed out the kingpin...
0902: WICKET Pietersen lbw Harris 31, Eng 155-3
Clips and pulls from Cook to move to 47, a sweep off Harris - that's his half-century, his 21st in Tests, and the crowd rise to him. Aagghh - KP!
From N Langmead, TMS inbox:
"Morning! Sat watching Rollie Pollie Ollie with my kids as potentially another 'playing with christmas presents day' gathers momentum! Got me thinking perhaps if Sharks Kallis could be aka Rollie Pollie Ollie and G. Smith could be PC Plum from Balamory! What other kids TV characters could these guys be?"
0857: Eng 149-2
Harris and KP staring at each other like pitbulls in a pub car-park on a dodgy estate. Slap-sweep attempt from KP, yelps from the close-in crew as the ball balloons off the front pad past Boucher. He's middled that one, though - crashed straight through Ntini at deep square leg for his fourth four of the morning.
From Graeme Smith, Loughborough, TMS inbox:
"I am in bed, watching live text and chuckling occasionally - usually when the South African captain's name comes up and I think it's the same as mine! Add to that the fact I have South African grandparents and I'm experiencing an identity crisis the like of which KP himself must have experienced."
0853: Eng 143-2
Ntini's coming round the wicket to KP, looking to ruffle the big man's feathers. Dabber to point, sprinted single. Two widish slips in for Cook - ooh, in-angler that Cook edges into his back leg. Almost a repeater of the ball that saw off the skipper on Sunday.
From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox:
"I'm just in from undertaking (relatively) youthful activity to find Trott is gone. I feel quite like how the young narrator in Bernhard Schlink's wonderful The Reader must have felt when he returns to Hannah's flat in expectation of her calm but alluring presence, only to find her vanished from his life with no explanation."
0849: Eng 142-2
Harris tip-toes in, Amla now in so close in under the lid on the leg side that he's fielding at stupid mid-on. Funny old slow-mo pull from Cook for two, and then a squeaky push-drive that almost finds Amla's hungry hands.
0846: Eng 139-2
Krackeroo - KP kompounds Kallis's kares with one of his flamingo specials, going up on one leg to flick the ball away imperiously through midwicket. Dreamy. Cook leaves the remainder alone - hold on, has he lost a bail? Wind not ball. Breath again.
From David, TMS inbox:
"Greetings from Singapore, where it's 30 degrees and I've got the packers in. Nothing like moving house between Christmas and New Year. Enjoying the coverage as always between the shrill blast of the packing tape being pulled over boxes. KP to deliver in 3 figures please."
0841: Eng 136-2
Harris to KP, slash outside off - dropped! Kallis the man at slip, hands on knees like Sir Beef, and he came up way too quick. Haydos would have bagged that, Twinny Waugh would have taken it, Colly bien sur - big let-off for El Flamboyante.
0837: Eng 134-2
Cook to 40 off 112 balls with a steering dabber of a pull as Ntini drops short for once. Blustery like John Prescott out there now - Aleem Dar's hat has blown off, and he chases it across the outfield like a tongue-lolling hound fetching a frisbee. Round of applause from the Kingsmead crowd as the umpire regains his head-gear and raises it ostentatiously to all corners.
From Dave Mason, TMS inbox (re. Will Jones - see below):
"The Swiss Tourist Agency, in order to promote Switzerland on the Indian sub-continent, arranged a cricket match on a glacier. Players included Kapil Dev and sundry Brits - who the Swiss have never heard of. Height? - not sure the exact altitude but there was snow and it was summer - and so I imagine it was higher than 1850m. You should go somewhere with proper mountains!"
0832: Eng 133-2
Harris it is, and after KP slaps a single down to long-on, Cook takes his foot off the brake - two, driven uppishly backward of point, two more swept out to Steyn at deep square leg, two more driven edgily backward of the square leg umpire. Definite tactic this from England - don't let Harris settle, don't let him tie an end up, just as South Africa tried to slap Swannage out of the England attack.
From Roger in Denmark, TMS inbox:
"Is it me or is life becoming more and more surreal? Dark and damp here and three degrees (though not singing very sweetly), you in London describing cricket being played under the African sun and most of your English followers still in bed (going by the lack of comments from them). That's all I wanted to say, you sound so lonely."
0829: Eng 125-2
Stiff sea breeze coming over from the east, ruffling the shirts of the slip fielders and fluttering the flags draped around the boundary boards. Ntini in the groove, six balls pitching on middle-and-off and continuing across Cook's nose, and the batsman leaves the lot. Looks like Paul Harris loosening up in the deep.
From Gary in Market Harborough, TMS inbox:
"Morning - just got up and seen Trott is out which is a real unsettling feeling as he is my rock. I feel like Whitney Houston waking up in The Bodyguard, looking out the window and seeing Kevin Costner isn't there anymore."
0821: Eng 125-2
Kallis, beads of perspiration glistening on his thinning pate like fake diamonds on a plastic tiara - right into KP's slots, crashed through cover on the drive for a silky four. We'll have some drinks - can someone get the espressos in?
0816: Eng 121-2
Two slips, gully, point - acres of open grass on the leg side, but the angle across Cook is designed to keep him housed. Decent line from Ntini, forcing the batsman to play around his off peg - another maiden, and Cook is becalmed. One run in the first 45 minutes of the day - admirable restraint from one perspective, fearful strokelessness from another.
0812: Eng 121-2
24 C out there now, humidity around 75% - oh, dreamy from KP, klipping Kallis off middle to deep midwicket with wristy relish for two, ducking under a I've-still-got-it bouncer and then strolling towards off again to flick away two more. Could be Ntini to replace Steyn at the other end - gamble from Smith, because it was buffet o'clock when the old stager came to the party yesterday afternoon.
From Will Jones, TMS inbox:
"Good morning from the roof of Europe! We're made of pretty tough stuff up here in val d'isère, but with a white out, snowfall and high winds forecast, i think it's going to be less skiing couloirs and more extreme cricket watching today!! PS; TRIVIA can anyone tell me if our end of season cricket match (alt 1850 m ) is the highest cricket fixture in europe ?
0809: Eng 117-2
Steyn, cantering in with the wind billowing out his shirt-front like a spinnaker - wide of off, left alone by the furiously-concentrating Cook. The pattern repeats three times, and Steyn continues down the track for a bark in Cookie's ear-hole. The batsman squints up at the sky and goes off for a stroll towards square leg.
0805: Eng 117-2
Is Smith calling for Kallis? Surprised he's taking Morkel off - the big unit has been running into this stiffish breeze, but the bigger unit struggled badly yesterday. Half-volley first up from Shark, creamed back down the ground by KP for the sweetest of fours. Tighter from the next four, blocked with elan by the glossy-skinned show pony, and a wide leave-alone that dribbles through to Bouncer on the second bouche. If you know what I mean.
0801: Eng 113-2
Glimpse there of Strauss in the England dressing-room, thumb wedged up nostril as Trott plops himself down next to him with a blue towel wrapped around his waist. Cook can't get into Steyn at all here, refusing to take the juicy bait offered outside off; the bowler switches to round the wicket for some in-angle, but the batsman stays cautious. Maiden.
0756: Eng 113-2
What a ball that is from Morkel, the same one that did for Trott - tempting length, drawing the defensive push, biting on the track and snaking past the edge. Nervous times out there under the African sun.
0753: Eng 111-2
Punters still strolling into Kingsmead, the grassy banks beyond the deep square leg boundary a popular spot for baking and boozing. Steyn pushes more leave-alones across Cook's front pad before straying leggie and getting clipped for one - with another to KP to the mirror side.
0748: Eng 109-2
Thick stripes across the lush outfield - in the verdant sense, rather than the Gavin and Stacey - and KP twitches with adrenaline as Morkel canters in. There's a man in at short midwicket for that flamingo drive - ooof, straight to him on one bounce. Morkel feeds the monster and this time gets bitten - into that slot again, clipped past the fielder by KP for his first runs of the day. Cook still to score a run this morning...
0743: Eng 104-2
KP will have to wait - Cook on strike to Steyn, two slips in and a fine gully, mid-on and midwicket, backward point, cover and mid-off. Steyn's radar was awry on Sunday, and he's seeking control rather than expensive wickets here - six angled across the bows, watched dolefully by the doe-eyed opener.
From Sean, TMS inbox:
"Good morning from a cold Heathrow T.3. I'm looking forward to today's play. Cookie, Bell and maybe KP really need to show us what they can do and put us in command of this test. Mmm, now for the turkey sarnies for brekkie!!"
0739: Eng 104-2
Morkel and his team-mates are cock-a-hoop, and rightly so - big wicket, delightful delivery. Angled in a fraction, going up and away a little off the track and taking the hesitant edge through to the stumper. Now then - who's this coming in? The ego has landed...
0736: WICKET Trott c Boucher b Morkel 18, Eng 102-1
Morkel, the pick of yesterday's attack - edged, caught!
0735: Eng 104-1
Trott clips Steyn's second ball, a late in-dipper, into the leg-side for a squeaky single before Cook stays steady on the other two. Anyone see the Coogan retrospective last night? IRA spokesman on helium from The Day Today?
98 overs to be bowled today, which is about as likely to happen as Cookie is to switch-hit the first ball for six. Particularly as it's Trotty on strike.
Big old session coming up - with the exception of Morkel, South Africa's bowlers were all over the shop on Sunday, and already the new ball looks a spent force. At the same time, Alastair Cook was batting with the fluency of a rusty robot, and Skipper Strauss - silky in the afternoon - is back in the hutch. England 240 behind, the pitch staying steady, batting conditions overhead a delight.
Brrr. Shiver. Gulp. Far from toasty en Angleterre this morning, but it's looking like an old-fashioned scorcher doon in Durban toon.