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Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

South Africa v England 4th Test day three as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

To get involved e-mail tms@bbc.co.uk (with 'For Ben Dirs' in the subject), text 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) (with "CRICKET" as first word) or use 606 (Not all comments can be used)

ENGLAND SECOND INNINGS - CLOSE

By Ben Dirs

1600: That's all for the day, it's officially stumps. Thanks for the chat, join us again tomorrow...

1557: I'm not there, but the chaps on TMS reckon it's highly unlikely we'll have any more play today...

Bad light stops play
1534 - 48-3 Dale Steyn is back into the attack, he bowled a vicious spell from the Corlett Road End in England's first innings... but we won't see much of him, the players are off for light again... Pietersen and Collingwood look like they're running for the last train out of Romford, they don't need asking twice.

1529 - 48-3 Disappointing series for Strauss, just 170 runs. Collingwood is next out of the hutch, four slips in for him... but he blocks out the rest of Parnell's over...

Referral - out
1526 - WICKET - Strauss lbw b Parnell 22 (Eng 48-3)
It's Wayne Parnell's first Test wicket, and it's a huge one, the England captain. The issue there was height, and the replays showed it was clipping the top of middle. England getting a damn good thrashing.

Referral - waiting for verdict
1524 - 44-2 Only 199 behind now, after Strauss piles into a wide from Parnell, making the ball disappear to the deep point fence. South Africa think they've got Strauss lbw... it's a review...

1523 - 44-2 That's a horrible delivery from Strauss - the ball reared up off just short of a length and struck the England captain on the bat handle, like opening a letter bomb. Too straight from Morkel and Strauss helps him round the corner for one. Morkel switches to over the wicket to the right-handed KP, and KP plays that last delivery well, getting up on his haunches and dabbing into the ground.

1518 - 42-2 Steyn's off, Parnell's on from the Golf Course End. There's an appeal first ball, but that looked to have pitched outside Pietersen's leg stump. Bit of hoop away from the left-handed Strauss, as a replay shows that rather half-hearted lbw appeal actually pitched on leg and may have hit leg stump. Strauss pushes Parnell into the covers for a single.

1513 - 40-2 Strauss flips Morkel off his hip for a couple, before turning him round the corner for one more. Ripsnorter from Morkel, and Pietersen just manages to pull his noggin out of the way. Morkel loses his line and Strauss helps the ball to the long-leg fence.

1508 - 31-2 A watery, Turner-esque sunlight over the ground now, and we've got shadows for the first time in some time. Pietersen with a rock-solid forward defensive, before Steyn over-pitches and KP jabs him through the covers for four. Nice stroke, although Steyn won't be too fussed with that either. Too straight from Steyn, and Pietersen clips him rather daintily to the mid-wicket boundary.

1506 - 23-2 Morkel to continue to Pietersen, who stands tall and picks up a leg-bye off his thigh-pad. Not too clever from Morkel, digging a couple of bumpers in, which could easily persuade the umpires to dig out the dreaded light meters again. Still looks pretty gloomy out there, difficult to see how there's been any improvement since they went off first time.

1500 - 22-2 Right, England's batsmen aren't off the hook yet, they'll have to face a few more overs of Morkel and Steyn yet...

1458: The ICC have announced they will carry out "a full and comprehensive investigation" into technology issues and the decision review system used during the fourth Test after the completion of the match. Hasn't been a clever series for Trott, just one fifty, and all of a sudden...

1452 - 22-2 The crowd are staying fast, most of them clearly think we'll get more play tonight. But I'm not so sure, the umpires have gone very early, although it doesn't look particularly bad out there. That said, you wouldn't fancy facing Morkel and Steyn on this in any light, so you can't blame the England batsmen.

Bad light stops play
1445 - 22-2 KP comes storming out of the pavilion, swinging his bat like a broadsword, chin held high, chest puffed out. Only 44 in his last four innings, and he's off the mark with a clip to mid-on. Light meters are out... and that's that, not necessarily for the day, but for now anyway...

Wicket falls
1442 - WICKET - Trott c De Villiers b Steyn 8 (Eng 21-2)
Trott's gone, Steyn getting one to seam and swing away and De Villiers taking a waste-high catch at third slip.

1438 - 21-1 Trott whips off his legs for four - you have to say there's been a lot of questionable behaviour in this Test, that ball ended up resting on the boundary rope, yet Parnell didn't own up to it. "There'll be eye-gouging on the cricket field next," roars the chap sitting next me, who tends to exaggerate. That's a diabolical stroke from Trott, in any circumstances, a nervy, swordsman's twirl outside off-stump, before he picks up four off the back of his bat, Trott ducking a bouncer but leaving his periscope up. One for Trott with a deflection to third-man, before the crowd get on Strauss's back as he goes for a gentle spot of gardening.

1432 - 10-1 Strauss mis-times a pull shot that ricochets off the flap of his pad and very nearly balloons to Amla at short-leg. Steyn comes over all Allan Donald, sending down a screaming 91mph bumper that Strauss does very well to evade, even if he does end up on his backside. Good comeback from Strauss, tugging Steyn round the corner for the first four of the innings.

1427 - 6-1 Trott, who looked like he'd had his Gatorade spiked with Dual-Lax in the first innings, is very nearly cleaned up second ball by a ball that keeps low from Morkel...

Wicket falls
1425 - WICKET - Cook c Smith b Morkel 1 (Eng 6-1)
Morkel looks perfectly in synch today, like a recently serviced grandfather clock, just tick-tocking away at the batsmen outside off-stump. Good leave from Cook... but that's a peach from Morkel, locating the edge of Cook's bat and Smith snaffling the catch at first slip.

1422 - 6-0 Steyn serves up a touch of rib music, and Strauss deflects the ball just short of Amla at short-leg. Crowd catch as the ball balloons off Strauss's thigh pad and straight to Amla, but no-one else is interested, before the England skipper tickles round the corner for a single. Cook is off the mark with a tuck to mid-wicket. Two for Strauss with a flick to deep mid-wicket.

"Further to Matt in Oxford's tale of early Boycott, it is believed that being a learned student of the game, Boycott realised the limitations of rhubarb as a blade and latterly switched to using a rowing oar. This contributed significantly to his lengthy stays at the wicket."
Finest regards, Martin, Worcester, in the TMS inbox

1418 - 2-0 Morne Morkel shares the new ball, and if Broad was getting something out of this deck, Morkel's likely to be a ruddy nightmare. Right on cue, Strauss is beaten by a jaffer, angling back in and beating Strauss' dangled bat. Strauss wants to keep a close eye on that off-stump - Morkel gets another delivery to jag back sharply, and all arms go up in the slip cordon. Morkel strays onto leg and Strauss picks up his second run with a nurdle off his pads.

1413 - 1-0 Steyn with first go with the ball, Strauss on a king pair... he watches his first delivery pass outside his off-peg. Atherton had a pair in Johannesburg in 1999, the same game as when Vaughan made his debut... not so Strauss,l who gets a gimme on leg-stump which he tucks away for one.

SOUTH AFRICA FIRST INNINGS

1407: Right, South Africa a massive 243 runs ahead, and we've still got stacks of cricket left today, although it's been getting dark about 1530-1600 GMT the past two days. Some bowling figures: Anderson 30-111-0; Sidebottom 31-98-2; Broad 29-83-3; Swann 23-93-2. Here come Strauss and Cook...

"Alex, I have reason to believe that Mr Boycott was the last in a dynasty of Boycotts including his mother and grandmother, who were noted for their peculiar habit of batting with a stick of rhubarb."
Matt, Oxford, in the TMS inbox

"Re Alex King (1337) - Geoffrey Boycott is a proud Lancastrian, born in Blackpool circa 1879, he played for Lancashire between 1898 and 1979, making 7,087 hundreds and taking two million wickets. He played just once for England, a one-day international in 1912 against Papua New Guinea, scoring 376 off 94 balls."
Dean, Ontario, Canada, in the TMS inbox

1359 - 423-7 Good over from Broad, getting plenty of zip and lift off the pitch and hurrying McLaren up. McLaren gets behind that one and picks up one into the off-side, before Steyn prods outside off and is beaten. And that's the declaration, and not before time - the lead 243, enough you would think. That pencil sketch of Boycott on his Wikipedia page looks like a rubber Boycott mask you might buy in a cricket-themed joke shop. If you were going to conduct an armed robbery, what cricketing mask would you don?

1354 - 422-7 You can understand Graeme Smith's logic here, it's not as if he's let England off the hook a couple of times already this series and there are loads of thunderstorms around. Dale Steyn is next up the ramp, but it's McLaren on strike because they crossed. A single for McLaren, before Steyn is off the mark with a wristy twist round the corner for one. McLaren picks up one more with a flick through mid-wicket.

"Re Alex King - Boycott didn't play for counties, just countries. Yorkshire and England."
Paul, Sunderland, in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
1349 - WICKET - Boucher c Trott b Swann 95 (SA 419-7)
Remarkable stuff from Swann again, for the second time today he's taken a wicket with his first ball of a spell - Boucher top-edging a sweep, Trott running in and pouching a low catch at deep square-leg. Still no declaration...

1348 - 419-6 This over rate would be laughable if it wasn't sending me to sleep, we're going at about a ball every 45 seconds at the moment. Boucher gets a short one which he tugs to deep square-leg for a single.

"Re: Alex King. Geoffrey Boycott did play cricket. yes, but it must have been before cameras were invented, hence where most people have a photograph on their Wikipedia page, he has a jaunty little pencil sketch!"
Tim, London, in the TMS inbox

1344 - 417-6 Still 42 overs to play, but if we manage to get those in, my dad's 'BA' Baracus. Too easy for McLaren, just dropping the ball into the off-side for one. Boucher will be lucky to make three figures here, he's somewhat bamboozled by this angle of attack from Sidebottom, from around the wicket. Siders gets one to nip back in and clip the top of Boucher's pad, before Sidebottom pulls up halfway through his run-up, sinks to his knees and removes a pesky fly from his mouth. Sidebottom really feeling the yakka now, I think his wheels are about to fall off.

1337 - 412-6 Nothing wrong with that from McLaren, I'd like to laminate that cover-drive and rub it all over my bare chest. Four. McLaren with a rather jerky hook-cum-pull, and it flies off the lid and lands in no-man's land. I suspect that ball from Anderson has dislodged a contact lens, the physio is on...

"Having listened to TMS for a number of years now and enjoyed Boycott's views and opinions about the game, I couldn't help wondering whether he actually played himself. Do you know whether he did or not and for what county?"
Alex King in the TMS inbox

1331 - 407-6 Ambitious appeal from Sidebottom, coming around the wicket to Boucher, and not surprisingly it's turned down. Boucher, swishing across the line again, is rapped on the pad, but again the appeal is rejected - it hit him just outside the line. Boucher struggling with this angle of attack from Sidebottom, and he walks across his stumps and very nearly loses his off-peg. Boucher fends Siders square on the on-side for one, before Sidebottom loses his line and McLaren flips him round the corner for one. Full-blooded drive from Boucher, and that's a fine, sprawling stop from the bowler, who's still sweating cobs for his country.

1327 - 405-6 Anderson, from around the wicket, draws a genuine edge, the ball flies away for four, and there's the South Africa 400. Pietersen shifted to third-man, four men out on the boundary. McLaren gets off strike, before Boucher nudges Anderson to backward-point to bring up the fifty partnership.

1322 - 399-6 Short from Sidebottom and Boucher flogs him over mid-wicket for four, before Siders drags one down again and Boucher whip-cracks him through point for four more. I can barely see my TV, we've got technical problems, it's like watching the game through a pair of threadbare tweed trousers, spread taut in front of the face. Boucher 10 runs shy of his sixth Test ton now, and his first since November 2008. Spots of rain, McLaren steers into the covers for a single...

1318 - 389-6 Boucher plays and misses at a rising delivery from Anderson, taken at shoulder height by Prior. Cheeky single for Boucher, the old spring chicken, before McLaren wafts windily outside off and is beaten by a ball that shapes away.

"Toni (see below), start a discussion with the question, 'Why does anyone need more than two pairs of shoes?'. Floors 'em every time."
Mr Birrell in the TMS inbox

1312 - 388-6 Sir Geoffrey thinks the Saffers should have declared, but they're back out again, Boucher and McLaren out in the middle. Potentially a three-and-a half hour session, but there's little chance of that happening given what's gone before. Sidebottom to continue and McLaren moves to 13 with a punch to mid-wicket on the walk. Bit of in-swing from Siders, and Boucher stands tall and clips him backward of square for a single. leg-side from Sidebottom, and that's bread and butter for McLaren, who flips him away for four.

"Mr. Your bbc live commentary is pathetic... it is not funny... it is silly and childish! Very biased and gramatically rubbish... why don't you behave like a grown up, Hey?"
Tony in the TMS inbox

1300: To Toni (see below): "Get up, get dressed and go and make me a cup of tea"?

"My wife has just offered the following useful contribution to the debate: 'Oh my God, they can't still be talking about that, who cares whether the ****** microphone was turned up or not? Get a life, saddos...' How should I respond?"
Toni, about to leave Jayne to head for the game at the Bridge, in the TMS inbox

1256: ... play is set to resume at 1310 GMT...

1252: CMJ on TMS says the resumption "is imminent". The tractor is dragging a rope around the pitch to clear any surface water, and it looks pretty clear now, we should get a couple of hours in, before the light closes in...

1245: They took an early tea at 1240, and rain apparently ceased 20 minutes ago. Not sure what that means at the moment, or whether there is more rain expected. I'll endeavour to find out...

1212: "Any reason Kumar Sangakkara is not on your wicketkeeper-batsmen list either?" emails Daniel in Southend. As with Alec Stewart, despite scoring more than 7,000 Test runs, Kumar wasn't always keeping wicket when he scored them.

Rain delay
1208: Here comes the rain, on come the groundstaff, and if the storm to follow is anything like yesterday, that could be it for the day...

"Derek Pringle in The Daily Telegraph says hotspot costs £5m to hire. Mike Atherton says the system costs 40 grand. I think I'll retire now, re-mortgage the house, buy a hotspot system and hire it out at £1m a time."
Peter Agius, Havant, in the TMS inbox

"That's great news, Evan (1152), however, if your fiancee has relied on a home pregnancy testing kit you may wish to refer the findings. Then again..."
Keebs, Leicester, in the TMS inbox

"According to this morning's Telegraph, a hotspot camera is £5m to hire. To HIRE mind! Five million quid! Small wonder the SABC haven't forked out for one."
Tim, Hungerford, in the TMS inbox

Bad light stops play
1200 - 382-6 Generous delivery from Anderson and Boucher clumps him through the covers for four. Boucher scampers a quick single and the lead is now 200. Floodlights on now, before a couple of flashes of sheet lightning sends one or two fans scurrying for cover. McLaren nibbles off his pads for a single, before the players pre-empt the rain and take their leave....

1155 - 374-6 Swanny drags one down leg-side, and McLaren drags him down to the long-leg fence. Swann, around the wicket, has two slips and a silly point in for McLaren, as one or two brollies are unfurled in the crowd. Boucher tucks Swann round the corner for one more.

1152 - 368-6 Boucher is squared up the Anderson, who's back into the attack, and he picks up a couple to third-man. One more for Boucher with a tuck to fine-leg, and it's like someone's closed the curtains in Jo'Burg, very gloomy now. Andrew asks why Alec Stewart isn't included in the list of 'keepers who have scored more than 5,000 Test runs. That's because he wasn't always keeping wicket when he scored his 8,000+. McLaren nicks the strike.

"At the exact same time De Villiers was out, my fiancee told me she was pregnant. Talk about timing! I don't know which event to feel more excited about... this must be a sign that England are going to win. Right?"
Evan in the TMS inbox

1147 - 362-6 Boucher turns Swann square for one, and the off-spinner will have four goes at McLaren. Huge leg before appeal, but Umpire Hill's having none of it. No reviews left for England...

1144 - 361-6 Boucher turns Broad round the corner for one. McLaren still on nought, and he gets a short one from Broad, which he plays well. The TMS boys can hear the thunder rumbling in, as Broad sends down another bumper, before McLaren gets off the mark with a squirted outside edge for four.

1141 - 356-6 I rejoin you as England fluff a golden run-out chance, a ropey old throw from Anderson allowing McLaren, on Test debut, to make his ground. Boucher moves to 66 with a clip to mid-wicket, and that's his 5,000th Test run - he's only the second wicketkeeper after Adam Gilchrist to pass that milestone. McLaren pokes at Swann and misses, and I'm not sure he's going to last too long against the Notts tweaker. Swann has left-handers on toast.

By Paul Grunill

Wicket falls
1133 - WICKET - De Villiers c Collingwood b Broad 58 (SA 355-6)
A mistimed pull off Broad is safely pouched at mid-wicket and De Villiers is out - no arguments this time. His exit brings Ryan McLaren to the middle for his first Test innings. "In my opinion, he's not a genuine all-rounder," Geoff Boycott tells TMS. TVs still on the blink, so it's good time to hand back to Mr Dirs.

1130 - 351-5: De Villiers lofts Swann back over his head but doesn't time it perfectly and Sidebottom is able to chase the ball down and restrict South Africa to three. The picture quality on my TV has just gone haywire so the description of the next few overs may involve a fair but of guesswork - like the time I covered a Wellingborough Town v Milton Keynes (not MK Dons) football match and the visitors turned up with white numbers on the back of white shirts.

1127 - 346-5: Another lbw shout from Broad against Boucher but this one is too high. A bit of hesitancy by the batsmen gives England a run-out chance but Pietersen's throw misses the stumps at the bowler's end and Collingwood has to go full length to prevent four overthrows. Meanwhile, the weather is closing in.....

That's 50
1123 - 343-5: Swann now utilising the defensive leg-stump line so beloved by John Emburey in years gone by, but De Villiers picks up a single to reach his fifty off 108 balls. Given the controversies of the morning, it won't go down as one of his best.

1120 - 338-5: A classy looking off-drive by Boucher is fielded off his own bowling by Broad, who produces a beauty next ball and yells confidently for lbw. Umpire Steve Davis says no - and England have no referrals left.

1110: OK, back to the action. Swanny has the ball in his hands and England need to break this partnership pronto. Boucher tries a sweep and the ball runs down to fine leg off a thin edge and South Africa pick up three. A full toss is despatched through the covers for four and the hundred partnership comes up when Boucher slices the next ball past slip for another boundary. Expensive over and it looks like South Africa have decided to open up.....ominous.

"Surely England have to move on, what's done is done. Sometimes in cricket the decisions go against you and if you start brooding on it it tends to pull your whole game down. Best to accept these things happen and hope the next dodgy decision goes your way."
Rabbie, on holiday in France, in the TMS inbox

1058: According to Mr Clarke, players "dislike challenging umpires' decisions - it's not the way they were brought up to play the game". Well, this match is certainly doing nothing for the long-term future of the review system.


"I know we've moved on from the films thing now, but watching a Test like this always feels a bit like watching 'A Perfect Storm' or 'Open Water' - you know in your heart there's not going to be a happy ending but for some unknown reason you keep watching anyway. How I'd love KP to prove me wrong with a scintillating double century in the second innings."
Dave, Somerset, in the TMS inbox

ECB chairman Giles Clarke
1050: Hello, one and all - please refresh your browsers. Cricket used to be such a simple game - and now where are we? ECB chairman Giles Clarke had told Test Match Special that a "well-meaning" attempt to improve decision-making is "resulting in the authority of the umpires being destroyed".

By Ben Dirs

1045: Right, I'm off for some lunch. Maybe Daryl Harper just isn't very good with technology, like my nan. She was so befuddled by technology that she'd often ask me who'd just won the big race when the snooker was on. Paul Grunill to fill in for while, see you anon...

"Other possible album names: I Don't Like Being On Top - Ashwell Prince; My Best Is Already Gone - duet by Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook. (The second one is based on this series, I hope it's not true!)"
Katie, Geneva, in the TMS inbox

"This Smith referral issue reminds me of Mrs. Alice Richards (no, not Keith's mum), the deaf old bat with the hearing aid in Fawlty Towers' classic Communication Problems episode. As Basil pleads with her to turn it up, TURN IT UP, Mrs. Richards remonstrates, 'but it wears the batteries down'!"
Tim in the armchair, Dubai, in the TMS inbox

1033 - 324-5 A play and a miss from Boucher outside off-stump, and this is all very frustrating for England. But they've got to suck it up and not act like girly-men, that won't get them anywhere. A single apiece for Boucher and De Villiers, and the former is one run away from his fifty. And there it is, too straight from Sidebottom and he's turned away for one. That's his 32nd fifty in Tests, and it was a very useful one. "Whatever happened to walking in cricket?" emails Louise. Alas, Louise, it went the way of avocado bathroom suites... that's lunch...

1029 - 313-5 The ECB have asked for a review to be reinstated in light of Graeme Smith's 'dismissal' yesterday. Good luck with that chaps. Boucher slashes Swan through the covers for four. I'm going to level with you, I don't like this review system, it just seems like it's all I'm writing about these days. One more over from Sidebottom before lunch...

1025 - 313-5 Boucher thinks about the cut shot but aborts at the last moment, the ball from Sidebottom just shaving his off-stump. Boucher hops and dabs Siders to leg for a single, before Boucher should have been run out - sent back by De Villiers, but Bell, with a full set to aim at, misses by a mile from short-leg. This is all a bit of a dog's dinner to be honest - De Villiers has absolutely smashed that, huge inside edge, but Umpire Davis, like a shop-window dummy, is unmoved. England, obviously, have no reviews...

Referral - not out
1020 - 311-5 Swann loses his line and Boucher paddles him away for a couple. Would have been four, but for a fine piece of fielding from Sidebottom at long-leg. We've got ourselves another referral - Boucher sweeping across the line and missing, Umpire Hill giving it not out, and Umpire Harper agreeing. No more reviews for England, and that did strike him outside the line of off. Sharp turn from Swann, but that's a nice shot from Boucher, steering through teh covers for four. They should call Boucher 'The Splinter', because he gets under your skin and stays there...

"There's one sure way to work out whether Harper had his volume down on his telly or not: find out whether he had his wife with him at the time. My ex used to insist I muted any sporting event I was watching as she found the noise 'irritating', so much so that I didn't hear the delightful sound of leather on willow from my telly for 16 years, which probably qualifies me as a Test level international umpire..."
Matt, Lancs, in the TMS inbox

1014 - 305-5 Anderson's got a problem with the ball, but Umpire Davis hasn't, and tosses it back to Sidebottom. Boucher nurdles to leg for a single, before De Villiers tickles one round the corner and picks up a brace, but it could be a costly brace, as he appears to have tweaked a hamstring. AB calls for the physio...

1010 - 302-5 This is one of the strangest sessions I've ever witnessed - Boucher, staying back, misses one from Swann, Swann gives a half-hearted appeal, but Prior doesn't go up. Replays suggest it was hitting leg stump, about halfway up... KP getting plenty of gip down on the boundary rope, as he fluffs a sliding stop, and Boucher picks up one. That's the South Africa 300, before De Villiers uses his feet and nurdles to leg for a couple.

1007 - 299-5 De Villiers only has to play at one of those balls from Anderson... I can't help feeling Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn would be making this new ball sing rather shriller than the England seamers have thus far...

"So we've now got a system where a batsman is out, is given out, but then isn't out. Now that's what I call progress..."
Alex, Macclesfield, in the TMS inbox

1002 - 299-5 A Touch of Swing from Broad, which sounds like an album by Benny Goodman. One single apiece for Boucher and De Villiers, who now has 1,000 Test runs against England.

0959 - 297-5 Boucher opens the face and picks up three to third-man. England, all sheets to the wind for the first hour, have been drifting since the new ball. Mike Atherton on Sky reckons hotspot (see below) costs in the region of 40 grand, although my mate Nashy reckons Abdul, who he works with at Piccadilly Circus, can pick it up for a couple of grand.

"Can you tell TMS readers how much 'hot spot' actually costs? My wife will pay for it if it stops me shouting at the television."
John Cox in Norfolk in the TMS inbox

0954 - 294-5 This pair are very nippy between the wickets, and they're turning the screw on England now. Boucher with a quick one into the covers, Broad not making De Villiers play.

0952 - 293-5 Anderson gets one to nip away and beat De Villiers' lunge, and he repeats the trick next ball. Leg-side and De Villiers picks him off for a single. Anderson gets one to swing back into Boucher, but South Africa's doughty 'keeper squeezes him round the corner for a single. Tick-tock, tick-tock... Facebook, what's it all about? After you've tracked down all your ex-girlfriends to see if their new blokes are better-looking than you, you've pretty much sucked the marrow out of the thing.

"Another Harper horror show. Regardless of whether he hit it or not, Harper's brief is to PROVE CONCLUSIVELY that he did not hit it, which from those replays he surely could not do."
Huw Davies, Leicester, in the TMS inbox

"I am glad Daryl Harper is not a Court of Appeal Judge."
Gary Jones in the TMS inbox

0943 - 291-5 Boucher continues to ride his luck, inside-edging Broad down to fine-leg for one. One more for De Villiers with a tuck off his hip, and this pair have rather drawn England's sting here. Drinks.

"I am going to request being a friend on Daryl's Facebook site. When he accepts me I will refer his decision to a higher Facebook authority and get it overturned and withdraw my request. Boy that will teach him."
Gary Jones in the TMS inbox

0939 - 289-5 Anderson over-pitches and De Villiers shows the maker's name and times him through the covers for four. Good comeback from Anderson, getting one past the edge of De Villiers' bat, but the rest of the over is too wide from the Lancashire paceman.

0935 - 284-5 Pietersen looks like a right spare one out there after that bit of fielding - quick single, Pietersen swoops and shies and the ball races away for four overthrows. Pietersen raises his hand to apologise, but the rather strained expression on his face is further proof that sorry is indeed the hardest word. De Villiers and Boucher exchange singles, as the replay of that De Villiers 'dismissal' that wasn't is played over and over and over again, every replay chiselling away at Daryl Harper's sheen of competence. Did I mention that, as well as hitting the back of De Villiers' glove, it also hit the back of his bat?

0931 - 277-5 Bit harem-scarem this from the Saffers - Boucher drops into the off-side, scrambles down the other end, and a direct hit would have got rid of De Villiers. Can't get my head round this crowd - it's sunny, it's Jo'Burg, it's Saturday, the hosts are playing England, and there are still empty seats. Anyone got Barry Hearn's number?

0927 - 275-5 Sidebottom in tandem with Anderson, and De Villiers picks up four with a tickle off his hip, very fine. Hesitant from South Africa, Boucher calling De Villiers through after the latter drops into the off-side, before De Villiers sends him back. Bell onto it, one overthrow. Bit leg-side from Sidebottom, difficult to see whether it's swinging much or not to be honest.

0922 - 269-5 New ball, and England take it immediately, Jimmy Anderson with the shiny one in his hand. Just three slips and a gully in for Boucher, as Anderson gets a bit of late away-swing. Sharp single from Boucher courtesy of a drop into the leg-side. Little short from Anderson in that first over. The thing is, Daryl, how many of these 2,187 "friends" have you ever actually met? I've got about 400 Facebook "friends", but I still sometimes worry that if I die in my flat, no-one will know until Dawn next door starts complaining about the smell.

Umpire Daryl Harper tells his 2,187 online Facebook "friends" that host broadcaster SABC is to blame for yesterday's fiasco: "The commentator, Matthew Hoggard, [said] there was no sound - so Smith would be given not out. Five minutes later, they found a sound and blamed me! Other networks found the sound immediately, but we didn't get their sound feed. Sadly when the technology fails... and that means that some engineer has failed to do his job... they must find a scapegoat, and the umpire is an easy target."

0917 - 268-5 De Villiers moves to 27 with a work to leg off Swann. Too short from Swann and Boucher tucks him round the corner for a single, before Swann sends down a quicker ball, which De Villiers manages to jam down on.

0914 - 264-5 Anderson with one warm-up over before the new ball, as replays show the ball that almost did for De Villiers in the previous over rolled back onto his stumps, but failed to dislodge the bails. All a little bit Twilight Zone out there at the moment, three men on the boundary and Boucher's five not out. Short from Anderson and Boucher flogs him through mid-wicket for four.

Referral - not out
0909 - 258-5 The impish De Villiers use his feet to Swann, but that's well-fielded by the man at mid-wicket. A couple for De Villiers with a glide to third-man... we've got drama every over at the moment - Swann with a huge lbw appeal against De Villiers, Tony Hill gives him out, it's referred, and Hawkeye says it's going over... AB riding his luck at the moment.

0906 - 256-5 De Villiers nudges Colly to mid-wicket for a couple before rocking to leg and swinging the bowler away for four. Outside edge for four more, before De Villiers nicks the strike with a nibble off his pads. Three overs to the new ball, but will England take it with Swann turning the ball so prodigiously?

0902 - 245-5 Boucher sweeps Swann for one. England think they've got De Villiers next ball, but Umpire Harper, the beleaguered man upstairs, decides that wasn't out after a few looks at the replay. A few more looks at the replay reveal the man in the middle was probably right, it looked to have clipped De Villiers' glove for a catch... Oh, Daryl... Swann really giving it a rip out there, it's turning a ruddy mile every ball...

Michael Vaughan
"I've got a feeling that the new ball will be really, really difficult on this pitch now, although, for some reason, the new ball doesn't always do much."
Michael Vaughan on TMS

0852 - 241-5 Collingwood is going to have a little burst, six overs until the new ball is due. This pitch is breaking up like a creme brulee, that ball from Collingwood has taken off from just short of a length and rapped Boucher on the top hand. Nasty. 74mph nasty, but nasty nonethless. Like being bitten on the hand by a Shih Tzu. Drinks.

0848 - 240-5 Bellamy's beard! That ball from Swann has pitched outside off, turned a mile and raced down to the long-leg boundary for four. Every ball's a grenade, but Boucher is off the mark with a tuck off his pads for one.

Wicket falls
0843 - WICKET - Duminy c Collingwood b Swann 7 (SA 235-5)
Here's Swanny with some of his spin, and I think it's a nice time for it... say night night JP - Duminy lunges forward to Swann's first ball, edges and Collingwood takes a sharp catch at first slip.

"Me and the one-year-old girl are listening to and reading the cricket, whilst I explain why you can't blame Graeme Smith for not walking but that doesn't mean you cannot criticise him in a completely partisan fashion. She smiled and then headbutted me on my top lip. Lovely stuff."
Ben, in a very windy West Cumbria, in the TMS inbox

0843 - 235-4 Broad looks to be in synch this morning, nice line and length so far and making De Villiers play. Bit of lift with his sixth delivery, and De Villiers flirts with that before pulling out of a hook shot.

0840 - 235-4 Dumniy stands on tippy-toes and crunches Sidebottom through mid-wicket for a couple. That's some super-charged fielding off his own bowling from Sidebottom, preventing a single before flicking the ball towards the non-striker's end while still prone. England full of beans this morning... shouldn't have said that, beans make me feel a little bit sick... and sweetcorn... BobProle (see below), no, haven't heard from Gina... come to think of it, haven't heard from Mitchener either... you don't think?

0834 - 233-4 Broad losing his line and De Villiers flips him through mid-wicket for two sets of two. Broad tickles De Villiers' ribs and the batsman fends to square-leg for a single, before Duminy nicks the strike.

"Well done Mr Dirs, much better than Mr Fordyce - keep the wickets coming and you may well counterbalance Mr Harper. PS. Have you heard from Gina this morning after a hopefully successful Friday night? PPS. Are you any relation to Jamin Dirs who did a bit of live text before Xmas? PPPS. What's happened to Mr Mitchener - he used to get a few wickets in the summer?"
BobProle, in soggy Brighton, in the TMS inbox

0831 - 227-4 Duminy is off the mark with an inside edge for four off Sidebottom. Rock-solid remainder of the over, before Prior and Trott race each other to the other end, like a couple of schoolboys acting the goat. You wouldn't have caught Pat Pocock doing that. Little bit immature if I'm being honest. No need for that.

"My cat is attacking the TV every time Sidebottom is bowling. For the sake of my TV, get Anderson on."
Alex the no longer snowbound science teacher in the TMS inbox

0826 - 223-4 De Villiers fends Broad just wide of Cook at short-leg and picks up a couple, before Broad gets De Villiers hopping with a short one. Collingwood appears from nowhere at mid-on to prevent a run, before Broad beats De Villiers for pace and bounce - plenty of gremlins in this deck, and they're not those nice, fluffy ones, they're those cackling reptilian fellas.

0822 - 221-4 Duminy shoulders arms extravagantly to his first ball from Sidebottom. CROWD CATCH! Cook rolls to his left and pouches one, but it came off the thigh-pad. On second viewing, he dropped it anyway. Three slips, a gully and a short-leg in for Duminy, but that's not much use if you don't make the batsman play.

0818 - 221-4 Has there ever been a better fast-bowling fielder than Jimmy Anderson? Devon Malcolm maybe? You have to say that's magnificent from De Villiers, Broad over-pitching and AB creaming him straight down the ground for four. So sweet, so sensual. Broad gets one to nip back and De Villiers shoulders arms and lets the ball ride over his off-stump. Three slips in for De Villiers, Strauss attacking while he can, but he survives that over from Broad.

Wicket falls
0812 - WICKET - Kallis c Anderson b Sidebottom (SA 217-4)
AB de Villiers is the new batsman, and this could be a very dangerous partnership: if De Villiers plays his fluid, natural game, that will allow Kallis to dig in and grind England's bowler's to dust. Great catch that from Prior, he's improved ten-fold as a wicketkeeper. Sidebottom still getting some nice shape back into the right-handed Kallis... AND KALLIS HAS GONE! Bizarre dismissal - Siders getting one to rear up just short of a length, Kallis getting himself into a right old pickle looking to hook, gloving it, and Anderson taking a splendid catch scampering in from gully.

Wicket falls
0806 - WICKET - Amla c Prior b Broad 75 (SA 217-3)
Slightly iffy, uppish stroke from Amla off Broad and he picks up a single into the covers. Derek (see below), now is a quiet moment, and I can explain that no, the sound of a gloved thumb on rubber bat handle is not the same as the sound of a bat on ball. Broad has broken through! Amla drives waftily, edges and Prior takes a very good catch diving to his right.

"When I played cricket, many years ago, batsmen wore gloves, which, depending on the manufacturer, had varying levels of padding. I cannot understand how a padded thumb, even with the most basic of protection, could make an audible 'click' against a bat handle, which usually has a grip of some sort, which further increases the padding. Perhaps, during a quiet moment, someone could explain this?"
Derek (not so sunny Corfu, Greece) in the TMS inbox

0802 - 215-2 Sidebottom bowls the first ball of the day - plenty of shape, Kallis right behind it. A short-leg and two slips in for Kallis, it's Cook under the lid. Bit of extra bounce for Sidebottom and Kallis takes his right hand off the handle, and that's a maiden.

0758: Getting back to the cricket, this first session could be key for the entire series - England are teetering on the brink here, they must be hoping Kallis will weigh anchor and play one of those innings of his where he acquires barnacles. Here come Kallis (7) and Amla (73), we'll have play in a couple of minutes.

0754: Fifty-thousand dead in Haiti and the Daily Star is going with 'BB's Katia Laughs All The Way To Bonk!'. Since when did Graeme Smith have wooden thumbs by the way?

The sun is out
0749: The good news is it's sunny in Jo'Burg, that torrential rain has been swept away, although they are predicting mid-afternoon storms again...

0746: Hello you. England coach Andy Flower has been seen stomping around this morning clutching an ICC statement, and apparently he's ruddy annoyed. Last night Flower claimed ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama told him third umpire Daryl Harper had his volume turned down when making a decision on that Graeme Smith caught behind. This morning Mahanama's saying he didn't say that all. Hmmm...



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Live Scores - South Africa v England

 

  • South Africa beat England by an innings and 74 runs
  • South Africa: 423-7 (119.0 overs)
  • England: 180 & 169 (42.5 overs)

England 2nd Innings

All out
Player outReason Bowledby Runs
Total all out 169
Strauss lbw b Parnell 22
Cook c Smith b Morkel 1
Trott c de Villiers b Steyn 8
Pietersen c Boucher b Parnell 12
Collingwood c Morkel b Duminy 71
Bell c Kallis b Morkel 5
Prior c Smith b Morkel 0
Broad c Boucher b Morkel 1
Swann c de Villiers b Steyn 20
Sidebottom b Duminy 15
Anderson not out 1
Extras 6nb 1w 6lb 13

see also
England to lodge umpire complaint
15 Jan 10 |  England
Reprieved Smith makes England pay
15 Jan 10 |  England
England escape in thrilling draw
07 Jan 10 |  England
England wrap up emphatic Test win
30 Dec 09 |  England
England scrape draw in first Test
20 Dec 09 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in South Africa 2009-10
17 Jan 10 |  England


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