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Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

South Africa-England 3rd Test day three as it happened


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

By Tom Fordyce


From Matt, studying for a law exam in South London, TMS inbox: "Can't you fix this Tom? Look - the weather's awful, I'm pretty sure we're getting close to the official most-miserable-day-of-the-year-as-calculated-by-scientists-with-too-much-time-on-their-hands and the current scoreline is doing little for the morale of the nation. As a licence payer, I demand that you lie to us to help us through the evening. So, let's have six wickets in six balls from Mr Ian Bell with a couple of doosras from Matt Prior for the loss of half a run and then Straussy launching an astonishing fightback by clubbing 70 of 5 overs while wielding two bats - something not noticed by the officials despite repeated referrals."

From Greg in Niagara Falls, NY, TMS inbox: "To Paul in Lancs: I'm currently running a 250,000-row spreadsheet…those 60,0000-row sheets are a thing of the past. As is, apparently, the England team's ability to take second-innings wickets."

1601: STUMPS SA 312-2
Swann beats Smith all ends up outside off, but it means nothing - that's our lot, and the South African skipper has played a marvellous captain's knock here. Hats off. And after-sun on. More of the same tomorrow? I'll be here for the 0830 GMT start. Let's stick together on this.

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "Pah, these youngsters. They don't know what proper mind numbingly dull office work is. Thomas in London has clearly never done a proper spreadsheet if he thinks they never end. They have about 60,000 rows, and then you have to carry forward the formulae onto the next 100 worksheets to do the main calculations."

Right at the death - always room for another from P-Dawg.

1558: SA 310-2
Onions looks battered and brow-beaten out there - sunburnt, weary and dripping with sticky sweat. Ladies - an orderly queue, please. Maiden.

From Maureen, waiting for the snow in Canary Wharf, TMS inbox: "Anthony in Johannesburg (15.24). I've followed TMS, silently, for as long as it's been around and yours was the first comment that spurred me to get involved having lived in Rome for years. Spaghetti alla Carbonara is quite categorically made without cream. I expect more from a pedantry-obsessed readership of a BBC-funded site."

1553: SA 310-2
32 overs now from Swann, a painful purgatory in these sizzling conditions. Oh, shot from Kallis, stepping back and puling with short-arm menace over midwicket for a four that's both creative and brutal.

From Helen, Ottawa, TMS inbox: "So, Thomas, London, are you dead? Because if so we all are, and I would anticipate an email from Paul in Lancs explaining which circle of Hell we have been assigned to."

1549: SA 304-2
Steady enough from Onions - Kallis as likely to chance his arm here as he is to - well, eat his arm.

From Paul, Spain, TMS inbox: "While informative and entertaining as ever, I'm not sure any of the updaters have really taken advantage of the apparent rupture in space-time today. The 'ether' into which these updates are disappearing is more than likely a gateway to infinite parallel universes, to which Mr Fordyce now holds the key. Tom, I'm sure that if you just start reporting things you would like to see happen, it'll then be a case of watching the most improbable of England victories unfold."

1545: SA 303-2
Singles milked from Swann, whose fingers must surely be too fatigued to Tweet tonight.

Text in your views on 81111
From Steve, snowy Bristol, text 81111: Question: is it worth further demolishing my BlackBerry's battery by repeatedly refreshing in the vain hope of a wicket, or should I save it for in case I can't get home tonight and have to call the wife/AA?"

1540: SA 300-2
Onions will have a joust in the remaining 20 minutes - wide of off, marmalised through cover for a brutal four from Smith. Oof - same delivery, same-aimed shot, misses the edge by half a margin. Three hundred runs! Here's my hope - Smith will be so characteristically cautious that he won't declare until the lead is 600, with only a day to get England out. A foolish hope, in retrospect.

1535: SA 295-2
Referral - not out

How's this for controversy - Kallis goes down on one knee to sweep, the ball hits something, cannons off the inside of Prior's toppermost groin and flies through - where Colly takes a remarkable one-handed diving catch. The fielder is Collyvinced there was bat on that - we'll have a referral, but it looks like Kallis's pad took the snick instead of the bat. Shame.

From Tom, an Englishman in Brisbane, TMS inbox: "Poor Strauss. England finally break the 230 run partnership, only to have Kallis stroll out to join the fun. Drinks are called: 'BRAAANDY!'"

1530: SA 288-2
He's reached 150

For some reason, Broad has decided to feed Smith with a plate of juicy filth outside off. Crash - four smashed through the covers. Wallop - two more, down the ground, held back from the boundary only by a tumbler of a save from the forlorn KP. 218 balls and 21 fours in the skipper's 150, and he raises his heavy blade to all quarters.

From Anthony, Johannesburg, TMS inbox: "Like strands of spaghetti tossed in a carbonara sauce, England are getting creamed."

1524: SA 282-2
Swann trotting in for his 29th over, and Smith works him through his favourite leg-side area for two more. And then a single. Torrid afternoon for England - torrid.

From Somerset, London TMS inbox: "How did I forget it was only Day 3?!?!? I was merrily thinking it was Day 4 and you lot were all doubting dickies. I now see that was me."

1520: SA 278-2
Smith's having a dash now - century in the bank, lead to almost 300, he's ready for a pop. Kaboom! Four down the ground. Kabo-oh - full toss, smashed out to the sweeper fielder on the cover fence.

From Thomas, London, TMS inbox: "A never-ending spreadsheet and one of the more purgatorial days of English cricket in recent memory. This email is a test to see whether I am dead."

1515: SA 271-2
The field spread far and wide for Smith, just one slip in and somewhere around two-and-a-half. Broad sends down six leave-alones miles wide of off; Smith does what it says on the tin for the first few and then fences feebly at the last before castigating himself furiously.

From Stewart, Bristol, TMS inbox: "Please don't do this to me. We wait hours on end for a wicket, I do a cheeky manual refresh so I'm completely clear on the current commentator, and the wicket disappears. That's almost enough to make a man throw himself into a snowdrift."

1509: SA 271-2
Swann to Kallis - short, wide, slapped away by the be-timbered batting colossus for his first four of the day. Swanny grabs his dark blue cap from Umpire Hill and stalks off in search of a rare patch of shadow. Drinks.

1504: SA 265-2
With the long shadows of the floodlights spread across the outfield, the shape of giant fly-swats, Smith does some swatting of his own - woeful long hop from Broad, mashed high over backward point for another four. 137 now for the skipper, and he's taking the game completely away from England here. 13 overs until the new ball.

1459: WICKET Amla c Cook b Swann 95, SA 262-2
Wicket falls

I can't bring myself to celebrate. Is that wrong? Tired plop forward, inside edge straight down short leg's pouch. Good thing that it's only Jacques Kallis to com.... oh.

From Andrew, Cardiff, TMS inbox: "Re Michael's comment (14:09). Pranav, I have complete faith in your ability, not least because a robin has just landed on the fence outside the office window. This, as we all know, is a traditional January indication that we're due a harsh batting collapse. Or something."

1458: SA 257-1
I've changed my mind about Trott - Smith's just smashed him for four fours in the over. One through midwicket, one lofted down the ground, two crashed through point. The lead is 275. On Radio TMS, Duncan Fletcher has just said the word "minimum" without using a single vowel.

1454: SA 240-1
Gower's figures in Test cricket - 1-20 off 36 balls. You'd settle for that now, wouldn't you? Voosh - real rip from Swann, beating Smith with a big turner. Did that go through the top? I fear it did...

From Albert Freeman, Bradford, TMS inbox: "This is all going remarkably well; it's totally echoing The Ashes (albeit with one fewer tests). England scrape a draw, then go one up, suffer a humbling defeat to go into the final test 1-1, then turn it around to win the series 2-1! Good, well thought out plan, chaps!"

1450: SA 240-1
Trott again, trundling in - I don't mind a bit of this, it reminds me of watching Allan Lamb bowl. Remember when David Gower had a bash against, erm, India? No? Mark Butcher?

From Robert Stiles in Kettering, TMS inbox: "RE Rupert : If we pool all our unwanted Christmas Presents maybe we could coax Freddy out for one more test. With that in mind I will add a grow your own chilli kit, a yard of Jaffa Cakes (other chocolate covered citrus cakes are available) and a Harmonica to Rupert's non-Danish (but I'm sure, still quite lovely) girlfriend. COME ON FREDDY!"

1447: SA 239-1
So it has come to this. Truly, if Pranav cannot buy us a wicket, all hope must surely be abandoned. Still - I've produced a maiden first over on the resumption. Thanks Swanny. PS Manually refresh to turn Sonej into Ford.

By Pranav Soneji

1443: SA 239-1
Smith rocks back and absolutely pulverises two rank long-hops from Leon Trottsky through midwicket for successive boundaries. Might as well toss the ball to Matt Prior for all the good the other support bowlers are doing. Right, my tail is fully embedded between my legs, South Africa will never be Pranaved ever again. Back to Tommy. I'm sorry....

From Ben, London, TMS inbox: "Watched Indecent Proposal last night with the girlfriend, and despite all the moral and emotional dilemmas it poses, I would still give her away for Smith's wicket on 99."

1440: SA 229-1
Cobalt-blue, cloudless skies and a lady finessing the final brushstrokes to what looks a very fine painting are far more interesting than the two singles which extend South Africa's lead to 247 from Graeme Swann's 23rd over.

1436: SA 227-1
Oh dear, it's Jonathan Trott, coming on like the bloke in the village team who bowls like a catapult when the opposition has nailed the game. It's two runs from a limp over.

From Kev, Newcastle, TMS inbox: "Ref 1409 - As a fellow Ginger, I feel it's only correct to point out that Paul Collingwood's upper arm turning a yellow/orange colour is more likely down to his fair skinnedness coupled with a lack of sun cream in that particular area than the roughness of the Newlands turf."

Duncan Fletcher on Test Match Special:
Duncan Fletcher
"Lot of character from Andrew Strauss there. Shows he plays cricket in the right way. I was surprised to see Smith walking off though."

He's reached 100
1431: SA 224-1
Smith thumps a chunky straight drive down the track, but the outstretched hand of Graham Onions threatens to send the timbres asunder as the left-hander retreats into his white-lined refuge. Argh! Agonising for las cebollas, as they might call him in Spain, as Smith spoons a slower ball into green space. And to rub Maldon salt into the open wounds, Smith thumps a commanding drive through cover for four to bring up his 19th Test ton. Splendid stuff. But he's only gone and nicked the next ball to Matt Prior! But more agony for England as Prior signals as if he didn't take it cleanly as Smith kicks his bat in frustration walking back towards the pavilion. Andrew Strauss, standing at a hybrid second/third slip, confirms the ball did not carry. Awesome sportsmanship, especially when your team have not had a sniff of the sausages all afternoon.

From Scott, Sittingbourne, Kent, TMS inbox: "You think the cricket is disappointing, I've just started marking some A-level exam papers and realise I have obviously been talking to myself for the last four months."

1422: SA 220-1
Smith moves to within a single of his ton as Ian Bell makes a horlicks attempting to field a poke to midwicket off the thoroughly demoralised Swann. Wonder whether his ire will be taken out on his Twitter entry this evening. Amla bats out the rest of a toothless over, handing the strike to his barrel-chested captain to bring up a, dare I say it, match-winning hundred.

From Rupert, TMS inbox: "What would people give for 5 overs from Freddie right now? I'll start the bidding at a non-Danish girlfriend.....(I hope she's not reading!)."

1419: SA 219-1
Smith and Amla pick singles off Graham Onions as if they were blackberries on a thorn-free bush. Oh so simple as the white noise around Newlands is turned up a notch as Smith approaches yet another Test century against England.

From Rob, TMS inbox: "England are in a pickle. If we were stood on a roof with eclipse viewing sunglasses on, we are approaching Pickle Totality."

1409: SA 214-1
Even the internet is waving the white hanky like a captured prisoner, my updates are whizzing around cyberspace as you shake your fist at the screen lamenting the lack of updates. If you really must know, Hashim Amla punches a gorgeous back-foot drive through point for four off Swann to move to 87.

From Michael Pett, TMS inbox: "Anyone else feel that Pranav's place in the team is under threat? He only tends to produce wickets with England on top and lacks the bottle to produce in these 'bottle' situations. Shame on you Pranav."

1409: SA 210-1
Oooooof! Just seen a close-up of Paul Collingwood's upper right arm, which has turned a ghastly yellowy/reddy/orangey hue following his full-length grass burn dive in vain on the boundary a few overs ago. Also, someone has stolen my South Africa second-innings collapse mojo - if anyone finds it, please send it back ASAP c/o Andrew Strauss, Newlands, Cape Town. Graham Onions, he of formerly on the books of Napoli FC, attempts to dig a bouncer into the track to extract the demons of earlier this morning, but instead sees the ball loop pathetically past Smith's leg stump, past the sprawling one-handed dive of Matt Prior and down the boundary for four embarrassing byes. Very harsh on the wicketkeeper. Onions digs a second shorter delivery in, this time rushing Smith through a pull shot as the ball clatters into his arm just above the elbow. But really, if England's hopes of winning the Test match was a clapped out Volvo 340, the mechanic would be vigorously rubbing the back of his head. It's not good at all.

1402: SA 205-1
The Rainbow flags are fluttering like English hearts all across Newlands as Smith smites another muscley cut off Swann through point for four. More authoritative batting from the broad-shouldered skipper, using his fleet-footed skills to saunter down the track and smash the beleaguered Notts spinner over the infield for a treble to move within four of his 19th Test hundred.

1358: SA 197-1
Anderson dangles a wide carrot for Smith to chase - and an uppish square cut evades point on its way to the boundary. Anderson adopts a similar policy with the next delivery, countered by Smith, who takes two strides across his stumps to close down the angle, only to miss-hit his attempted drive through cover. I'm not a fan of this tactic, it reeks of desperation, but when your plans are unravelling like a badly wrapped kebab, what else can you do?

From Ed White, Wilts, TMS inbox: "I'm an Ed and I think this is cool, whereas Eddie is just too Rock'n'Roll, although at the age of 45 I use the word 'cool' very loosely. With Matt I think this is OK but Matty makes me think of Tales of the River bank."

1353: SA 190-1
"Oi Soneji! What's happened to this pitch?" bellows Chris "Captain Fun" Charles from across the desk as Smith takes two giant strides down the track to cream Swann through mid-on for a majestic boundary. Tis true - the pitch is as flat as a Medieval astronomer's map of the Earth right now. Both men move into the 80s, it's "help yourself" bowling right now. England need to flash the plastic and go shopping for cheap wickets.

1349: SA 181-1
Smith's blade is growing in size, swotting away two boundaries - the first through midwicket, where a sprawling Paul Collingwood doesn't do himself any favours protecting his dodgy finger attempting to pull the ball back before the rope, before a sumptuous on-drive which races past Jimmy Anderson's follow through. Beautiful shot. Smith is hitting through the 'V' now, a third boundary is only just topped by a tumbling dive by Stuart Broad at mid-on. Anderson is livid - he shatters Smith's stumps as the skipper thumps confidently down the track. The forlorn look on Anderson's face says it all right now.

1344: SA 172-1
The bespectacled Swann skips in with a hop and a bound, but Smith turns away a single into the leg side like he's flipping over a huge sizzling steak on a red-hot braai. Amla misses out on the buffet as he slaps a full-toss to midwicket, a juicy offering smothered in mustard and ketchup gone a beggin'.

1341: SA 170-1
Sir Geoff of Boycottshire is pontificating about the merits of a second spinner, someone like Monty Panesar to turn the ball away from the bat. And a full-bunger on leg stump from Jimmy Anderson to Amla only emphasises the point, clipping the ball through midwicket for three easy runs. Frustration aplenty from the 11 men decked in a variety of sunhats and blue caps.

From Mike, Notts, TMS inbox: "Why did I refresh, why!? All I wanted was to see Pranav's name in lights. Now I'm stuck in the past reading our miserable collapse all over again. Woe est moi."

1336: SA 165-1
Swann continues his around the wicket policy to Smith, who vents his ire at some chinoed fellow who keeps wandering around in one the corporate boxes. The very next delivery and the Proteas skipper is beaten by a ripper outside his off stump, spinning viciously past his outside edge and into the gloves of Matty Prior. Decent start for the off-spinner. If you are called Matt, is it safe to assume you're a shoo-in for a Matty? Like Ed and Eddie, surely? Any Eds/Matts agree/disagree?

1332: Out stroll the South African duo to Guru Josh - what is it about that track and the southern tip of the vast continent? Swanny to open up for England with 36 overs remaining until the close of play.

From Tom, an Englishman in Brisbane, TMS inbox: "Well it seems that the experts were wrong again. Yesterday was 'an excellent batting day', and appropriately 11 wickets fell. Today was meant to be a batting day as well, so where are the wickets? England put forward their few at the start of play, and now South Africa have to give up eight or so. It's only fair. But ah, a change in commentary. South Africa, prepare to be Pranaved."

1321: "Innnnn the reeeeeeed cooooorner, slaaaayer of South Africa second innings in Durban, Prrrrrannnnaaaav "Pranav" Sooooooneeeeeejjjjji!" Sorry, just turning down the Rocky theme tune, couldn't hear anything but Tom's fingers sizzling in a bowl of ice-cold water. So, has it come to this? I could be the Red Adair of text commentaries, piling in and dousing all sorts of England crisises with my combo inane drivel and adequate cricket knowledge. And to be fair, England are in a crisis - to quote the great Edmund Blackadder: "It's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall". PS - refresh your web browser to see my name at the top of the page, although I fear if you do that, you may find Hugh Tayfield bowling to Tom Graveney judging by the back to the future refreshes I have experienced today.

By Tom Fordyce

1312: A little mood-lifter before I hand over to Pran - the record fourth-innings total to secure victory at Newlands in a Test is the 334-6 that Australia made to beat South Africa by four wickets in the second Test in March 2002. The damage was done by Ricky Ponting, who made an unbeaten 100. Smith, Kallis and Boucher all played in that match. I'll say no more.

1310: SA 164-1
Hello - time for a little Trotter in the last over before tea. Trundle trundle, just the single, and that's the session - a long hot one, with 109 runs for no wickets off 29 overs. Hard yards.

From Joss, France, TMS inbox: "Ref Matthew. The Saffers will bat and bat until they're so far on top that they'll have forgotten to give themselves some time to bowl. They have too defensive a mindset. Expect a declaration mid-morning tomorrow and then a Strauss-led rearguard action for a magnificent draw."

1306: SA 164-1
Look, I know I've failed to bring you a single wicket in this session, and to that end I'm going to bring on Pranav 'Collapse' Soneji after tea. Who could forget his devastating burst of four wickets in an hour last week? Certainly not Pran, which is one reason for bringing him on on a flat old toiler of a track like this. Maiden from Swann.

From Russ, Surrey, TMS inbox: "Can I sue TMS or the BBC or the England squad, or other TMS contributors? I'm supposed to be preparing an important workshop on time management, and I've been so distracted by the failure of England to make a serious breakthrough and by all this chat about Danish women and mad girlfriends that I find I've run out of time and now face embarrassment and financial ruin."

1306: SA 164-1
Broad still grumping about like the old boy halfway through Up - Smith strokes him through the covers for three, and as the ball comes back in Broad flings it away like a petulant pre-schooler. A brace of singles rubs salt in the wounds.

From Matt, Exeter, TMS inbox: "On the subject of foreign girlfriends/wives, my lovely other half is from Romania and she says us 'English boyzz' pronounce Dynamo Bucharest wrong. Its should be pronounce 'DIN-ARR-MO'. Her father also slaughters their own meat."

1300: SA 159-1
I've got my timings bandy here - tea's not until 1310 GMT. Apologies. That's tidy enough from KP, mainly because Smith would rather eat his own foot than risk getting out to The Traitor.

From Greg, Hanwell, TMS inbox: "I went to a meeting in Copenhagen once, and at lunch they served us Danish open sandwiches. lets be clear about this, a sandwich is only a sandwich when said filling is sandwiched between 2 slices of bread. Nothing wrong with the Danish bread based snack, but sandwich it ain't."

1256: SA 158-1
Broad fuming like a fumarole out there - he's gone wide and across Smith, and the big man has slashed him over gully for another four. No point in giving it the grump there, Stupots - wild delivery, got what it deserved.

From Jannik, a Dane in Accra, TMS inbox: "Oh brave chaps of England! May ye concentrate on sporting matters. Womenfolk from our sandy isles and sole peninsula are indeed worth a fine discussion. But willow is striking leather at the tip of Africa and you should fix your attentions there - for that is where they are needed."

1252: SA 153-1
Whoopsie - KP lets go too early and sends a grenade of a full toss down to Amla, who's too shocked to do anything but clunk it out to deep point for a single. Two overs till tea.

From Ed, Dubai, TMS inbox: "At last, a specialist subject I can contribute to. I married a Danish girl. Too many positives to mention (just in case she's reading this) but watch for the following: the cheeky lunchtime beverage, schnapps, turning you into a mixture between Jeremy Paxman and Phil from Eastenders; father-in-laws not minding being naked during conversations; and confusingly Christmas Day on Christmas Eve. And they have won an international football competition more recently than us."

1248: SA 151-1
Broad now, seeking reverse with the new ball, but there's just one slip in. Volumes. Amla jousts with relative impunity outside off, and he'll pick up four more here, the ball squirting away off the toe-end through the vacant third man slot. Signs of that reverse, but with this pair well set they've got time to adjust. Lead of 169. We're getting close to the tipping-point...

1244: SA 144-1
To be fair, says Strauss, we're struggling here - let's have some KP. Glamourpuss likes this - he comes in like Bishan Bedi, and goes out like the Bishop of Canterbury - easy runs all over the park.

From Edward, Bristol, TMS inbox: 'Nice pastries though' (Steve, 12:20). I wouldn't expect the BBC to allow such innuendo through before the watershed... Standards, Tom, Standards."

1239: SA 141-1
A man in the crowd wearing a yellow and green tufted wig smears a palmful of sun-cream on his exposed shoulders as Swann tip-toes in, shirt plastered to his back. Nice variety in there, flatter and faster following loopy-loo, but Amla won't be tempted from his hutch.

1234: SA 139-1
That's 50

In-dip from Anderson, and Amla will on-drive merrily - four through midwicket, and that's his half-century. And the 100 partnership. Trouble. And there's a little more - wide of off, slashed away past point for four more. Pitch, where is thou sting?

From Jez, TMS inbox: "Right collective action needed. At 12.30 precisely, everyone (Danish girls, blokes in pants, crazy ex-girlfriends included) needs to say out loud, "My word, South Africa are batting superbly today, I can't see them losing a wicket all day". Bound to work."

1231: SA 130-1
Swannage, purveyor of canny off-tweak, is rummaging deep into his bag of tricks but can't find the squirty flower thing to stun Smith into surrendering his wicket. More appealing from around the wicket as Smith is rapped on the front pad, but after another conflab, no referral is sought. Interestingly, HawkEye says the ball would have just - and I mean just - clipped the top of leg. Still, would have been the umpire's call, so the original decision would have been upheld. Maiden over.

1227: SA 130-1
Punchy back-foot drive from Amla, pushing the ball through backward point for a couple off Jimmy Anderson. More woe for the Burnley Express as Amla plunders a boundary with the same shot, courtesy of some sloppy KayPee fielding at backward point. Runs are flowing like the Babycham in an Essex nightspot right now as Smith pummels a single to mid-off and the lead extends to 148.

From Steve, West Sussex, TMS inbox: "RE: Danish girls. I had a big crush on a Danish girl at university, but did nothing about it. Years later, once Facebook was invented, I managed to find her, and she refused to accept me as a friend. So in short, forget them. Nice pastries though."

1220: SA 120-1
Swann slakes his thirst and comes again to Smith. Brusher off the pads - two, the ball dribbling past Anderson on the 45. This sums up England's day so far - straight through Smith, past Prior too, and the ball bounces onto the helmet on the grass behind the stumper for five penalty runs. Swann again, round the wicket to the skipper - prodded to extra cover.

From Matthew, TMS inbox: "I don't want to be melodramatic here, or let years of miserable English cricketing capitulation take too firm a grip of my morale, but….we're doomed."

1214: SA 113-1
Still a shaking of heads in the England ranks over that one. Smith behaves and keeps a sneaky smile from appearing on his chops. James Anderson for a joust - oof, vicious late in-dipper that Amla inside-edges away for the streakiest of twos. Drinks.

1210: SA 111-1
Referral - not out

How important could that be? Swann traps Smith in front, looks plumb - sweeping, ball hitting halfway up his front pad - yup, Umpire Tony Hill has given it, but after an age Smith asks for a referral. In line - oh, HawkEye is saying that's going just over the top, and Smith has escaped. I thought that was hitting. So did a lot of people round here. Could that really have cleared the timbers from there?

1204: SA 111-1
That's 50

Onions struggling, and Smith will drive that away straight - that's the skipper's half-century, and he's leading this from the front here. There's one off the pad to bring Amla on strike, and then four more - runs leaking fast now, and South Africa are starting to get away...

1200: SA 104-1
Shot, Skipper Smith - big stride, clip on the half-volley past the toiling midwicket for his fifth four. They're not letting Swanny settle, here - he's gone for 42 off his 11 overs so far, and that'll give Strauss a real headache.

Text in your views on 81111
From Pete, Basingstoke, text 81111: "Will u please stop updating the cricket. I'm trying to follow the girlfriend thing."

1154: SA 91-1
Tempter from Onions, and Amla is drawn in - edge, well wide of second slip, four to the fence. That's not the ball - short, wide, authentically cut away this time for four more. All manner of makeshift sun-hats being fashioned in the crowd - newspapers, '4' cards, spare shirts. Lead of 109.

From Michael, TMS inbox: "Stiff upper lip sir, your sage nuggets of literary description are, somewhat belatedly, filtering through again. Oh that they would convey news a little rosier."

1151: SA 82-1
Touch of turn there for Swann, but Smith's mighty stride smothers it. Too full - much too full, and Smith will bottom-hand that away through midwicket for a feisty four. 50 partnership, the lead to 100, and that spells O-M-I-N-O-U-S.

From Peter, Heathrow, TMS inbox: "Ref Ida Maria. I have had a soft spot for the women-folk of Denmark since happening upon the Aalborg University women's volleyball team whilst travelling around New Zealand a couple of years ago. My respect for them as a collective has only increased following Ida's message. Long live the Danes!"

1147: SA 78-1
Onions - oof, Smith, you jammy unit, jousting at one miles outside off and somehow not thinning through. Strangely flat period of the game - run-rate of just over two an over over the last 10, and that seems to suit both sides.

From Dave, Solihull, TMS inbox: "I'm sitting in a rather empty office with only one other bloke and we're both keenly watching the commentary. Would it be off of me to suggest we sit here in our pants for a bit, just for a laugh?"

1142: SA 77-1
Swann, dark hair plastered to his forehead - round the wicket to Amla, patted back with the stoniest of faces. No-one's reading this, are they? Lead of 95.

1140: SA 76-1
Hello? Can anyone hear me? Why, IT, why?

From Mad Maureen, Milton Keynes, TMS inbox: "Justin! I've found you again!!!! I've decided that we'll have three children (one of each) and they'll be doctors. Our front room will be a soft peach with a brown leather suite. Nearly there now...just got to pinpoint you."

1136: SA 73-1
Swann's bowling flat and fast, and Smith stays watchful. Lead to 91. Hush around the ground as the heat bakes the banter out of the sweltering spectators.

1134: SA 72-1
Tight as you like from Broad, and Amla won't bother with any flash or dash in this scenario. Pitch not doing much, new ball bereft of shine, batsmen set. Hmmm.

From Thomas in Norfolk, TMS inbox: "Re Justin from West Sussex. Be careful, you are not safe anywhere, I once knew a girl from Chichester who refused to leave my bathroom until I promised to 'reconsider' . She finally gave in after I played Opus: Live is Life for an hour outside the bathroom door."

1130: SA 72-1
I'm told these updates are taking an age to get through - I can only apologise. Some sort of labyrinthine IT shocker. The best minds are on it. You would hope. Smith takes a big stride forward forward and uses that dominant bottom hand to crash a flatter one through midwicket for four. Swann wipes his fingers on the grassy deck, twirls again - and nearly foxes the skipper with a loopier one, the leading edge falling just shy of Trottsky at short mid-off.

1127: SA 66-1
Maybe the pressure - Broad goes full and on the money to Amla, and the solid no.3 gets right forward to block like a man digging in for days. Ominous.

From Gareth, Dubai, TMS inbox: "Re. Ida Maria - 1006. In contrast, my wife - also called Ida, but from Singapore - has failed to grasp even the most basic elements of the game. Her most quoted line: 'any activity where they stop for tea is not a sport' shows how wide of the mark she really is - can you talk some sense into her for me?"

1122: SA 66-1
Slip, leg slip, short extra cover in for Smith as Swann twirls with fingery fury - might as well try to get one through Table Mountain as that defence. Where's the wicket coming from?

From John, Slovakia, TMS inbox: "My girlfriend, Elena, doesn't even speak English but is totally hooked on cricket. I have to translate TMS as we go, but whenever possible we drive into Vienna and watch it live at Flanagan's Irish pub. She says (in Slovak) that she reckons England are going to have an unpleasantly long struggle today."

1120: SA 65-1
Stuart Broad, from his favoured Kelvin Grove End - full, inside edge from Amla past his own toes for a streaky single. Aaghh - woeful waft way outside off from Graeme Smith, and Broad snorts like a stroppy pony./CPS:EVENT>
From Justin, TMS inbox: "Re Mark in Milton Keynes. Rory from London is undoubtedly correct. Having briefly dated a girl from Milton Keynes, I decided to flee once she had decided on the guests and wedding venue after the third date, also having planned which flowers would grace our garden to accentuate our children's colourful attire and rosy cheeks. I ended up changing my phone number, Facebook name with fictitious picture, and moved to West Sussex. I went to back recently to visit my mother for Christmas, and found her following me through the shopping centre. Run, now."

1114: SA 62-1
Here we go - Graeme Swann to have a pop, and the South African pair will have a joust here - aggressive mow by Smith that only picks up one, and then a one-knee sweep from Amla that's worth four, fine to the fence. Key period here - if South Africa lead by 200 at tea, wickets in hand, they'll fancy this big-time.

Text in your views on 81111
From Rory, London, text 81111: "Re Mark in Milton Keynes. Safe? In Milton Keynes? I can only assume that's a joke? Having grown up there I can assure you you're anything but safe. Get out while you still can."

From Ben, Zippy, George & Bungle, Cape Town, TMS inbox: "Tom, can you think of a finer setting for a Test match than Newlands in mid summer? SCG, MCG, Lord's - surely none can compare? Edgbaston might come close but then Table Mountain as a backdrop might just edge out Spaghetti Junction."

From Mark, TMS inbox: "Mark in Bracknell. I also have a ex girlfriend in Bracknell who wouldn't leave alone for a very long time, maybe its something in the water, or even the same person. I'm now safe in Milton Keynes."

1030: LUNCH SA 56-1
Ai-yai-yai - Broad angles one back in off the seam, Amla leaves alone and the ball fizzes just over the top of off. Broad goes full and straight, and the bearded batsman defends again - that's the break. Mockers didn't work, and it may be that we have to call on Soneji-power (see Kingsmead, day four, evening session) to shift some wickets if this carries on after the break. How's the mood?

1027: SA 55-1
Mis-field by Broad at mid-off, and they'll steal more singles here. That's Swann done before the break - just one more from Broad to come. South Africa's morning so far, he writes, in a blatant attempt to induce the mockeroos.

From Ian Mills, TMS inbox: "Ida Maria - 'Queen of the World' ! I wonder if that's 'the' actual singer Ida Maria of 'I like you so much better when your naked' fame?"

1024: SA 52-1
Broad reddening of face in this scorchio scenario, his blond hair flapping as he dashes in - a pair of scampered singles, but the rest are watched, er, watchfully. Time for two more before the sandwiches?

From Nadia in The Wharf, TMS inbox: "Message for Mark, Bracknell's ex-girlfriend: Leave Mark alone, after all you can do much, much better."

1020: SA 50-1
Swann, men chuntering all round the bat, and Amla doesn't look like he fancies this much. Dicey edge past slip for a single, and Smith sees off the rest. Lead to 68. How much would England fancy chasing? More than 250 and the nerves would be clanging like Fireman Sam's big brass bell.

From Lee Price, TMS inbox: "Re: Mark, Bracknell: Just kop off with her mate and stick it on Facebook, job done."

1017: SA 49-1
Broad fancies a bit of Amla here, straight and full - well, that's the idea, but that's way down leg - help-yourselfer for four to the fine leg fence. That's more like it - oof, edged past a diving second slip for the streakiest of repeaters. 13 minutes until luncheon - can England wriggle another one out?

From Louise, TMS inbox: "Mark in Bracknell, surely we need more of the facts before we can determine whether indeed you should be left alone, or in fact deserve to be stalked to your a grave by a wronged woman. Tell all! Louise, Loughborough."

1012: SA 40-1
Graeme Swann has got Ashwell Prince out three times in five balls, an eagle-eyed man behind me tells me. Smashing stat. Hashim Amla off the mark with a jab just past short leg, and then Smith tucks in - cutting with rippling forearms behind point for four, and then sweeping fine for four more - wait, that's come off his pad. Byes. It's all happening.

1007: WICKET Prince lbw Swann 15, SA 31-1
Wicket falls
Referral - out

Come on, Swanny - your country needs yo... HAAARRZAAAAT? Refer all you want, Ashwell - that's caught you bang in line, hitting the middle of middle. Wasted referral, happy double days for England...

From Ida Maria, Copenhagen, TMS inbox: "Having been introduced to cricket by my English boyfriend about six months ago, I am now officially hooked, and this series really proves to me how brilliant a game it is. I was thrilled to get the Ashes 2009 highlights dvd for Christmas! My boyfriend thinks I may be the only Danish girl actually following the live text (and with great enthusiasm at that!) Can that really be true?"

1006: SA 31-0
Double change - we'll have some Stuart Broad from the Kelvin Grove End. Two slips, gully, straightish extra cover - uppish, tucked round the corner for a brace of singles. 25 minutes to go until lunch; lead to 41.

1002: SA 29-0
A dose of Graeme Swann now and the tweaker goes around the wicket to the left-handed Smith and immediately has a useful lbw shout turned down by umpire Tony Hill. You can see Swanny is itching for a referral, but is talked out of it by Matt Prior and Andrew Strauss. Good job too as the ball would've missed off - but encouraging turn first up. Oooooof! An edge just evades the left hand of Collingwood at slip before Smith plants that enormous right leg down the track and smash a punchy sweep through midwicket for four. He attempts the same to the next delivery but skies a top edge high into the sky, but agonisingly for England, it lands into green space on the 45 behind square with Colly in desperate chase. Intriguing first over for Swann.

0948: SA 22-0
Anderson wipes his forehead against his elbow at the end of his run-up and turns, accelerating in - rock-solid forward defensive Smith. Tickle to leg for a single, and Prince defends the remainder. Lead to 40, and that's drinks.

From Mark, Bracknell, TMS inbox: "Can someone tell my ex-girlfriend to leave me alone?"

0948: SA 21-0
Oh, Graham Onions - fizzed straight through Prince's guard and somehow past his off-peg. Testing maiden. Onions stands with hands on hip, a toiling teapot steaming from all orifices.

From Andy, Haslemere, TMS inbox: "Re that Leicester vs Arsenal game (0927), I believe it might feature one of the better goals ever seen - a three-touch masterpiece from Denis Bergkamp - still no competition for Aussies on the floor though!"

0943: SA 21-0
I'll be honest - I'm all over the shop here. Six overs without a wicket, and I'm already fearing a South African run-marathon, England toiling all day long under this brutal sun. Jimmy again, Smith glowering, just a brace of singles. Stiffen the resolve, Fordyce.

From Matthew Lock, TMS inbox: "Something peculiar happened to me on the train to work today, an elderly gentleman appeared to start playing footsie with me. I am not sure whether it was the gloomy, yet romantic setting of the Jubilee line but I retreated frantically to the safe havens of St Johns Wood."

0937: SA 19-0
Strauss calls Trottsky out from third slip and in to a very short straight mid-off against Smith - smell that pressure. Or don't - loose down leg, touched away for two into the open spaces down at deep square leg. WAAGGHH - it's missed! How did that happen? Inside edge from Prince, into his back pad and then on, revolving slowly past leg stump. Agonised clutching of faces in the slip cordon. Too short, next off - Prince fancies that, and he'll short-arm jab over midwicket for his first four of the match. Short again, and that will go away for two more.

0932: SA 11-0
Looks sweltering out there. Re that last over nonsense from Umpire Harper - I think he must have thought Prince was walking, and decided to send him on his way in official fashion. Two punched into the covers off the back stick by Prince.

From Jane, TMS inbox: "I'm in Adelaide and Fox Sports, in their wisdom, have decided not to show Test cricket. Instead they are showing Blackburn v Chelsea from 2003 and then Leicester City v Arsenal from 1997. Leicester City! No-one even watched that at the time, did they?! Has someone forgotten to tell them that this is Australia? My theory is they're super-cross at the way it's going against Pakistan at the SCG so they are not showing SA v Eng because one of us might win. The Aussies are terrible losers after all."

0927: SA 8-0
Referral - not out

Perfect blue sky above Newlands, the geometric bulk of Table Mountain cut sharp on the horizon - Smith calls Prince through for a suicide single, Colly gathers at mid-off and throws - ach, I think that's actually hit Prince. Colly has his head in hands - he reckons that was hitting if the panicking batsman hadn't got lucky. Full, wide, crashed through cover for three by the perspiring Prince. Fast and full on leg - snaffled down the leg side, big appeal - Harper's given it out! Initially seemed to turn it down, and Prince will ask for the referral. Hold on - he's a mile away from that. Clipped the pad, bat a foot away. How did Harper initially give that?

0922: SA 5-0
Graham Onions will take the other end. Slight straying onto the pads, singles tickled away by both batsmen. Oof - absolute ripper across Smith's bows, poked at but missed by the tiddliest of fractions. Lifter up onto the hip, tipped round the corner for one more. Nervous times.

0917: SA 1-0
James Anderson with the gleaming cherry, Prince shaking in his boots, three slips and a gully in, man in at a backward short square leg - jabbed down to gully, and then again. Nice line. He's off another quacker this time, though, turning the ball off his hips for a rapid one behind square. Quick favour to ask - you couldn't manually refresh, could you? IT nonsense.

From Rick Theobald, Dubai, TMS inbox: "Well you can't say it's not exciting. What's the over/under on the number of runs KP will manage in the second innings? Another disappointment, or a match-winning century? I'll bid 33. Higher or lower?"

0911: SA 0-0
Here come Graeme Smith and Ashwell Prince - Strauss and his men waiting - here we go...

Michael Slater and his pink suit
Some light relief - remember that chat about Michael Slater's suit?

Duncan Fletcher
Former England coach Duncan Fletcher on TMS: "There is still something there for the bowlers - it's up to them to make the most of it in this morning session."

0902 So - breathless start to the day, and the net result is that South Africa have a lead of 18 going into the second innings. It's level pegs, in effect, and England will have two big things on their mind: Smith and Kallis. Shift those two mighty lumps in this morning session and they'll fancy this; toil into the scorching afternoon and the scenario will start smelling a little grim.

0900: WICKET Prior b Steyn 76, Eng 273 all out
Wicket falls

Steyn again, men back on the fence to stem the Prior attack - four! Top-edged over the keeper for a streaky one. Another bouncer, attempted hook - alas, bottom-edged this time, straight into the timbers...

0855: Eng 269-9
Prior's not going to mess about here - he's seen enough. Crash - splendid mow through the covers for four. Smash - four more, this time clipped with easy elegance through midwicket. Relieved roars from the Army of Barmy. He'll take a single again off the fourth - come on Oignons - one prodded down into the ground and away to gully, the last ball of the over - what the? Massive swipe, thick edge... dropped! More like tipped over the bar, to be fair, by the leaping Smith at first slip - the ball will race away for four, and Onions allows himself a cheeky beam. 13 precious runs off the over. Ole!

From BBC Sport's Joe Wilson on Twitter: "Desperate battle to find shade at the ground for fans, 42 degrees forecast, hotter than Multan!"

0851: Eng 256-9
Steyn bowling like a dream here - that's an old-fashioned doozy, drawing Prior in, arcing away late to just miss the edge. Beating Bradman, that one. Clip to midwicket for two, racing through as Amla's throw comes in slow and loopy - single taken to deep point again, leaving Onions for his customary two - well, he's getting nowhere near those. Too good. Dale - lower your standards, old boy...

0846: Eng 253-9
Morkel, five wickets to the good, cantering in with windmill arms - flashed at by Prior, four! Just over the top of the slips. That's loose down leg - four more! Leg byes this time. Prior then takes a single, leaving Onions to face two again - ah, well played, Senor Bunny. Deficit down to 38.

0842: Eng 244-9
If you're just logging on, I'm sorry. I really am. Dale Steyn now, sniffing and snorting like Daffy DeFreitas of old - aaghh, how did that miss? Prior fenced, the ball arrowed away and winked at the top of off as it sizzled onwards. Clip for two off the toes, drive out to the sweeper on the cover fence, and that leaves Onions to survive t... ouch, right up in the rib-cage. Ouch pt.II - rearing up like a branded bronco, smashing into the gloves. He lives.

0836: Eng 241-9
Morkel on a hat-trick - only no.11 Onions in his way - he'll never have a better chance... short, nasty - left alone. Whoosh. What an over, though, and what a start - two brutal lifters, the first gloved to first slip by Swann, the second tickled off a frantic edge to see Anderson back in the hutch for only the second duck of his Test career.

From Chris in gloomy (and cold) Dartford, TMS inbox: "50 runs behind and 50 degrees c too - who's up for a wager that we catch up more runs than degrees this morning then?"

0833: WICKET Anderson c Smith b Morkel 0, Eng 241-9
Out for a duck

Déjà vu. Two words, but what pain they bring - what pain...

0832: WICKET Swann c Smith b Morkel 5, Eng 241-8
Wicket falls

Morkel, white zinc cream smeared along his lips - short, brutal lift - oh no....

0825: Here come the players, roared onto the pitch by the sweltering spectators - looks like Morne Morkel to open out, M'sieur Swann to receive...

From Dave, Brighton, TMS inbox: "Coffee brewed, eggs for omelette whisked and ready, phone call to work made (terrible food poisoning). Come on Swanny and Prior, lets see it thrashed like a Victorian schoolboy."

Michael Slater and his pink suit
If you get the chance, take a gander at the pics of former Aussie opener Michael Slater decked in an all-pink suit for Australia's second Test match against Pakistan in Sydney. It's truly a work of art - it makes Huggy Bear look like Compo off Last of the Summer Wine. It's all in honour of the McGrath Foundation to raise cancer awareness. Nice touch.

0810: What's that? It's going to be 40 degrees C in Cape Town? Have they stolen our degrees?

0806: Deficit of 50, three wickets in hands, gleaming cherry, wearing wicket. You'd have to think that England need to be at least level before South Africa come out to bat again - there's a result in that there track...

0800: Now then. This is massive. Series-deciding session coming up, you'd have to think...

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Live Scores - South Africa v England


  • South Africa drew with England
  • South Africa: 291 & 447-7 (111.2 overs)
  • England: 273 & 296-9 (141.0 overs)

England 2nd Innings

Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total for 9 296
Strauss c Amla b Harris 45
Cook c Boucher b de Wet 55
Trott b Steyn 42
Pietersen lbw b Steyn 6
Anderson c Prince b Harris 9
Collingwood c Kallis b Duminy 40
Bell c Smith b Morkel 78
Prior c de Villiers b Duminy 4
Broad c de Villiers b Harris 0
Swann not out 10
Onions not out 0
Extras 1nb 1w 1b 4lb 7

see also
Test honours even so far - Cook
05 Jan 10 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
04 Jan 10 |  England
Third Test day two as it happened
04 Jan 10 |  Cricket
South Africa v England day two photos
04 Jan 10 |  England
Kallis century holds up England
03 Jan 10 |  England
Middlesex hopeful of Ntini deal
03 Jan 10 |  Middlesex
England wrap up emphatic Test win
30 Dec 09 |  England
Michael Vaughan Q&A
31 Dec 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England

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