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Eng v SA 1st Test: day one as it happened

England 309-3 v South Africa (close, day one)

Kevin Pietersen fired a masterful century to revive England on the opening day of the series at Lord's.

In his first Test against South Africa, Pietersen struck 13 fours and a six to record his 13th Test century.

He shared a vital century stand with Ian Bell, who struck an attractive fifty, after three wickets had fallen for three runs in 13 balls after lunch.

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook gave England a fine start with a stand of 114 after the tourists opted to bowl.


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

By Tom Fordyce


1830: Eng 309-3
Lovely finale for England - a flick off the hips from Bell to pop Ntini away behind square for a casual four. England's day for all but that mid-afternoon wobble. KP closes on 104 not out, Bell on 75, and Skipper Smith will be sobbing into his soup at dinner tonight.

Round of applause for all the emails and texts; apologies as always if I couldn't use yours. Don't take it personally. Benjamin Dirs with you on Friday - result.

1825: Eng 302-3
Bell pops away a single off Steyn and that's Dale done for the day. 1-68 off 21 overs for Dangerous - a new nickname may be required when Dirs takes over in the morrow.

1820: Eng 300-3
Another standing ovatothon from the happy Lord's crowd as Bell flicks Ntini away to bring up the 300. Two overs left in the day, Steyn returns from the Nursery End for a final wobble.

1816: Eng 295-3
Let's not forget about Bell, eh? He's up to 63, not so much playing second fiddle as the triangle at the back of the room, but the partnership is now 179 off just 263 balls - a match-saver of an effort from these two.

From Shaun Pollock on TMS:

Shaun Pollock
"This definitely wouldn't be what South Africa wanted having won the toss. We got three quick wickets, but this has been a partnership in the true sense of the word. It's frustrating for South Africa, we've just got to hope that the new ball pays dividends."

1810: Eng 290-3

He's reached 100

Wait no more - Morkel serves up the width and KP is on it in a flash, battering it imperiously through point for the four that brings up a brilliant ton. He rips off his lid and punches the air before kissing his blade and pointing it to all corners of the crowd. 13 fours, one six, 123 balls - he made a century on his one-day debut against South Africa, and now he's done it in his first Test against them too. Joyous standing ovation from his adoring public.

1807: Eng 285-3
And so the wait goes on - KP finally gets on strike, only to drill what could have been the century ball straight to mid-off. Gulp.

1803: Eng 283-3
Morkel returns too as Smith fires up the big guns. Bell stays watchful before stealing another single at the death. KP is almost chewing his own helmet grille with frustration at the other end.

1758: Eng 282-3
Steyn is summoned by Smith for a final fling. KP thrashes him dreamily through midwicket for another blistering four to move to 96 and then drills him through point with eqaul force - only to find the man on the fence. Single it is. Bell then nicks the strike with a jabber last ball.

From Charlie Read, TMS inbox: "Fordyce and Dirs one and the same, surely not? Some great camera trickery and use of 'fat suits' then, when filming your blog from France last year following RWC.. The 'Habana v Cheetah' clip still makes me howl with laughter..."
Blog video: 'Habana' v cheetah - the rematch

1750: Eng 276-3
KP is now taking Harris apart as if he were a Kinder egg. He flips him away fine for two and then smashes a woeful leg-side long-hop down to the long leg fence to rattle along to 92. Comrades gather on the England balcony.

1744: Eng 263-3
Easy singles all round off the perspiring Harris. KP now on 84, Bell chugging along on 56.

1740: Eng 259-3
Kallis is kontent to keep klanking them down a foot outside off - I can't remember the last time he took aim at the timbers. KP klouts but can't make kontact.

From Chris Sage, TMS inbox: "Just saw your article about Hombre Nel and was wondering how you would describe your cricket commentary style. Do you just deliver your chat and try to get it in the right areas, a la Sidebottom, or do you have an alter ego who takes over when you sit down at the keyboard?"

Chris - who do you think Ben Dirs is?

1736: Eng 257-3
Harris spins, Bell spurns. Drama-free maiden.

1733: Eng 257-3
More Zhaark, although he's been nowhere close to a breakthough. KP swats a nose-tickler away for two to deep square leg and then marmalises a leg-peg aimer straight ot the man on the midwicket rope. Long shadows stretch across the Lord's outfield.

1728: Eng 253-3
Now that's a shot - Bell leans back to Harris and times him with elegant ease through point for a head-nodding four. Reckon he can push on? 15 overs to go.

1723: Eng 247-3

That's 50

Bell squints down the track at Zhaark as Skipper Smith chomps gum behind yellow-tinted shades at first slip. He waits for a wider one and chops it behind square for the two he needs to bring up his 50. Five fours and 89 balls in the knock, and the partnership is now worth 130. Big runs.

1715: Eng 238-3
A disappointed silence hangs in the air as KP lines up two big thrashes at the lumbering Kallis and bottom-ends them both to cover. Drinks break at Lord's; sun beaming down.

From James Evans, TMS inbox: "Earl Grey a breakfast tea? This is insanity. The perfumed taste is dishwater to the morning mouth - and any fool could tell you that to clear the drowsy head a robust assam is called for. After 4 pm, however, Earl Grey is nectar - drunk without sugar and (I would say, though I accept there is controversy on the point) without milk."

1710: Eng 238-3
Steadiness from Harris to Bell. KP pogos impatiently at the non-striker's.

From Peter Evans, TMS inbox: "I have always found Wheat Crunchies the perfect accompaniment to any strong foreign lager. Their strong flavour, yet dry texture just adds to the experience. I warn all to avoid beer with Salt and Malt McCoys. The aftertaste lives long and is most unpleasant. On their own however McCoys are superb, as is a strong foreign lager. A bit like the Lampard and Gerrard debate I guess - they never work well together."

1706: Eng 236-3
Coos from all corners as Steyn strays a fraction off straight and is creamed between midwicket and mid-on in dreamy fashion by KP. I think he might be up for this...

From Richard Ambler, TMS inbox: "Donald - you should have stopped at 'What a disgusting thought. Earl Grey'. I once had the displeasure of tasting this stuff - similar to licking the entrails of a working mans' club ashtray. Perhaps it was because (being a Breakfast Tea as you point out) it was served to me at about 2am by a lady I had just walked home. Perhaps if I had made it to breakfast, I would have enjoyed the Earl Grey at the right end of the morning, and appreciated its molten signature."

1659: Eng 227-3
Steyn, snorting his way to the crease like Phil DeFreitas, tries to land one on KP's nose and is pulled away dismissively to the midwicket fence. No-one dare leave their seat even to refill empty pint-pots - the sun is out again, and KP is ready to make sweet hay.

From Rob Morris, a ship somewhere in the Timor Sea, TMS inbox: "Just wondering whether I could claim credit for the Mindy nickname? Here I am on a ship in the middle of a remote Asian sea with nothing but the excellent BBC website coverage to keep me happy over the last 5 weeks of epic sport! The least you could do is allow me to have the kudos of publishing my post!"

From Tim Haveron Jones in Holyport, TMS inbox: "Oy Fordyce - I note that you've appropriated the nickname 'Mindy' without proper acknowledgement. Shame on you! Or was I just one of about seven thousand correspondents to come up with such an obvious monicker?"

I'll let the emails speak for themselves, my friends.

1655: Eng 222-3

That's 50

Behinds are shifting closer to the edge of seats now as KP shifts into fifth. He flicks Harris away with a pop over his shoulder to bring up his half-ton and the 100 partnership, and as the applause rings round Lord's he crash-pulls again for his seventh four.

1651: Eng 215-3
Smith calls for Dangerous Dale - new-ball just a few overs away. KP waits regally for the new arrival at court and then dismisses him through cover with an airy wave of his mighty blade. 48 now to KP, and he's accelerated past Bell with effortless ease.

1646: Eng 211-3
And take charge he does - galloping down the track to smack Harris down the ground for four and then topping it next ball with a brutal skimmer of a six to the same spot. Harris, frightened out of his mind, no-balls like a panicking parson.

1642: Eng 198-3
KP's looking to take charge here - he aims a big slap at the toiling Mindy and toe-ends a three down to long-on.

From Tom O'Shea, TMS inbox: "In response to Barb from Haythe, I fully agree with your choice of flavours; but if you are fortunate enough to get hold of a vintage Tab Clear you are in for a real treat. When mixed with the balsamic vinegar Burts Crisps it is truly mind-blowing."

1637: Eng 194-3
KP eyes Harris's tweak with the wide-eyed relish of a fox in a chicken-coop. He goes down on one knee to mow a four through square and then bottom-hand bashes another through midwicket to roars of applause from the warmed-up patrons.

1634: Eng 186-3
Good squeeze here from the tourists - just a no-ball and scampered single off Mindy's menace..

From Linda in Newbury, TMS inbox: "Nicknames - If Macca plays at Surrey's ground does that make him Ovaltini? Sorry..."

1630: Eng 184-3
Harris one for some tweak - probably surprised to find himself thrown the ball with a meal-break not just around the corner. He drifts in six dippers and Bell stays watchful for a maiden.

From Donald stuck in the office, TMS inbox: "What a disgusting thought. Earl Grey is a breakfast tea - Darjeeling for the Haves at 4 pm. Cucumber sandwiches (no crusts), possibly a scone with organic cream, followed by some strawberries. For the Have-nots, steak pie and a bucket of Bovril. But I find it hard to believe that a cricket lover knows what crunchy oat cereal is, let alone eats it."

1627: Eng 184-3
Mindy slams one into the Bellybutton, the England man oooffing as the ball hits home. Bell then sprints a single before KP leaves with ultimate ostentatiousness.

1622: Eng 183-3
Hoots of derision this time as Boucher the Poucher dives leftwards to a Ntini in-dipper and thumbs the ball down to the long leg fence for four byes. On the England balcony, Stuart Broad is deep in discussion with a depressed-looking Michael Vaughan.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's: "In reply to Michael Johnson, (1604). Not much tea going on outdoors - it's mainly drink of the alcoholic variety behind the Compton and Edrich stands. In the media centre, three varieties of cake on offer - carrot and walnut with a sort of creamy icing (9/10), chocolate sponge with choc icing (6/10) and a glazed fruit cake (didn't get time to try)..."

1617: Eng 178-3
Howls from the slips as Mindy spears one through KP's lunge and just past the bail bridge. KP, riled by the miss, leans back and crashes a muscled pull though midwicket for a take-that four. Nice. Or narce, depending on your accent.

Phil Tufnell
From Phil Tufnell on TMS: "That fourth ball from Morkel was the perfect length, Pietersen not quite knowing whether to come forward or to go back. The last ball, it was almost like he was waiting for the short ball. He was primed."

1613: Eng 171-3
Bell goes to 38 with an inside-edgy push off Macca. Key times, these - clouds gathering overhead, and we could have some swingage.

1610: Eng 169-3
Mindy to continue from the Pavillion End, coming right in close to the umpire before banging in some back-foot jumpers. Singles apiece to KP and Bell.

From Barb from the school office in Hythe, TMS inbox: "Re: 1347 - being something of a traditionalist it would have to be Diet Coke and Kettle crisps - sea salt and cracked black pepper flavour."

1604: Eng 167-3
Macca Ntini to get us underway again from the Nursery End, and that's nice angle - Bell prods uncertainly at two which hold their line and picks up two off the edge before swatting a shorter one down to deep square leg for a stroller of a single.

From Michael Johnson, TMS inbox: "Following on from Bretters' various luncheon menu, can someone let us know what is being taken at tea-time? High tea for the Haves could be Earl Grey and a nice slice of Victoria Sponge, whilst the Havenots will be tucking into Waggon Wheels and Irn-bru to give them the much needed energy to see out the rest of the day."

MJ - I've gone for a yoghurt, but only because I've eaten everything else I brought along. In an ideal world I'd be halfway down a large bowl of crunchy oat cereal.


1541: Eng 163-3
Harris returns for a token pre-tea tweak. He floats in some left-arm round-the-wicket easiness and Bell stays safe with straight-batted sensibleness. That's the break - South Africa's arvo, but the match is hanging in the balance like a hot-air balloon's basket.

1538: Eng 162-3
Kallis kontinues with his outside-off angle, trying to tempt Bell into a flat-footed flay. Looking a touch larger round the middle compared to the last time we saw him, Zhaark - almost certainly a thick band of abdominal muscle, of course.

1533: Eng 160-3
Good jousting out there. Macca gets one to hold up on the slope to have KP poking hopefully at thin air, but then darts one the other way and is creamed through midwicket for a dreamy flamingo four.

1528: Eng 154-3
Replica shots from the England pair - back-foot steers to the third man ropes for three apiece as Ashwell "The Fresh" Prince hares after the ball and hauls it back with pacey zing. Looks like Macca Ntini readying for a rumble from the other end.

1523: Eng 148-3
Dangerous is fizzing them into the blockhole, searching for more of the last-gasp away-zip that scuppered Skipper. KP jams down a heavy willow on a toe-cruncher. Nervy times.

From Edward Little, TMS inbox: "If Bell maintains his current strike rate until the close of play, he should have approximately 230 runs by then. If Pietersen can match him, England will be approximately 580 for 3. I do not yet see grounds for pessimism."

1519: Eng 145-3
Zhaark again, steaming in like a bulldozer with the hand-brake off, and he serves up his usual leave-alones. KP paces the crease like a riled tiger.

From Nigel Payne, TMS inbox: "'Laugh-on' (see 1412 comment) seems to know more than the rest of us. Put him in charge."

1514: Eng 143-3
Here we go - Dangerous has indeed swapped ends, and a brutal lifter smashes KP on the back of the lid as he rears like a speared bull. KP hits the deck, remembers what sort of image he's trying to give off and leaps back to his feet. South African fielders trot over to express concern of the laughing kind.

1508: Eng 137-3
Interesting - Smith decides to pull Dangerous out of the attack. End-swappage or madness? Zhaark thunders in and is edged away for successive fours by the nervy Bell - once along the ground through gully, once wildly over the top. Chirp ripples round the slip cordon.

From Carole in Maidenhead, TMS inbox: "I have just had to pretend the little strangled gasp I emitted was entirely due to a very interesting Powerpoint presentation on my screen. Not sure I have got away with it."

1503: Eng 128-3
Heavens be praised - it's a maiden. KP leaps around like Zebedee on a trampoline as Mindy bangs in some rip-smashers, but England stay alive. Zero chat from the fielders to KP so far - starve that man of the spotlight and he wilts like Charles Hawtrey.

From Anonymous via text: "Go into a meeting buzzing at the fact that we've got the ton up, come out 21 minutes later to find we're three down - brilliant."

1457: Eng 128-3
Please - can I just get through an over without another wicket going down? Such has been the frantic horror that we haven't even had time to mention KP - and the first time the chance arises, it's for the classic KP Red Bull single. Eyes on stalks after draining a can of his pre-innings tipple of choice, he tips the ball straight to Ntini at midwicket, sets off for a suicidal one and is a metre short when the ball shaves the stumps at the non-striker's end. Gulp. Bell lines up a Dangerous Dale full 'un and pops him away through the leg-side for a sweetly-struck four.

1451: WICKET - Cook c De Villiers b Morkel 60, Eng 117-3

Wicket falls

What have I done? Mindy slams down a short one and Cook can only shoulder it high into the cloudy sky, and De Villiers trots in from second slip to bag the easiest pouch of his life. ReMorkelble.

1446: WICKET - Vaughan b Steyn 2, Eng 117-2

Wicket falls

And as Daniel Warren departs - or Warren Daniels, as he's known Down Under - so does Skip, cleaned up hook, line and sinker by a perfect pitched-up away-swinger from Dangerous Dale. Exact replica of the ball Steyn bowled to Vaughan in the 2005 series in South Africa - Vaughan holds his forward-defensive pose for two or three seconds afterwards in trademark fashion despite his stumps listing behind him. No point, Vaughany - you're re-hutched.

By Dan Warren

1435: WICKET - Strauss lbw Morkel 44, Eng 114-1

Wicket falls
Strauss monsters one away to the boundary and on to 44. He's looking in great touch. Two balls later - he's out. Morkel's smacked one on to the pads and after a moment's thought Daryl Harper raises the finger. Replays suggest it pitched just outside leg, but no matter. He's back in the pavilion and how South Africa needed that breakthrough.

1435: Eng 108-0
Maiden from Harris. Meanwhile, Tony Lewis sits next to Richie Benaud in the stands, the commentating legend peering through some expensive-looking binoculars. And rightly so.

From Ed, TMS inbox: "(Re: 1347) Fanta with Pringles? Flame Grilled Steak flavour I hope. The sour cream and onion require the more robust liquorice notes of a Lucozade or Um Bungo."

Now I'm back on safer ground, debate-wise. Good work, Ed.

1433: Eng 108-0
Morkel runs in, two more added. The run rate has risen to an eye-popping 3.17 per over for this session - heady days indeed for those of us who watched the run-free early stages. Incidentally, 'Billy Bowden's sunblock overload' (see previous entry) - surely one of the great unused funk band names?

1429: Eng 106-0
South Africa return to the spin of Paul Harris. No alarms, no surprises as a certain miserablist indie band might have it. Looking much brighter over Lord's right now, maybe I was harsh to batter umpire Billy Bowden's sunblock overload.

1425: Eng 104-0
Morne Morkel - the man of a million nicknames after this morning - is back in the attack. It's a quiet start for the man dubbed 'Mindy' - among many other things. Just your basic single.

1421: Eng 103-0
A quick cheeky one from Cook moves England to the brink of three figures. And Strauss confirms the extra scorecard digit with a handsome straight drive which races past Paul Harris on the way to the boundary.

From Alan, TMS inbox: "(Re: 1347) Claret? Who on Earth is drinking claret with crab? Sancerre definitely, Chablis perhaps, but never claret. Inform Oliver Brett immediately."

To be fair, I've never been in the middle of a debate in which I've been so far out of my depth. What's wrong with that fizzy wine stuff? What's it called? Champers or something?

1416: Eng 98-0
Steyn goes for nine off the over, the highlight being Strauss venomously clattering one to the boundary. Is that the sound of an accelerator gently being pressed?

From Tim, TMS inbox: "(Re: 1347) Claret with crab? What kind of people are they letting into Lord's these days? A Montrachet with crab surely?"

1412: Eng 89-0
Delicious-looking cut from Cook, although it's only worth one as it races straight to the fielder. Chuck another single into the mix and you've got your classic two-run over. Graeme Smith might be a little worried at how few alarms there are out there for the England batsmen at the moment.

From laugh_on on 606: "The two openers will set the bar high after this good start - partnership of around 120. The middle order will then provide some serious errors of judgement to see England slump to all out for 297."

1407: Eng 87-0
Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher looks less than impressed as he attempts to glove a massively wide away-swinger from Steyn and succeeds only in deflecting it to the ropes. If it helps, it was also a huge no-ball. If you're going to fail, fail big.

1402: Eng 82-0

That's 50
Cook has a flighty waft at a wide one from Ntini and edges it between the slips and sees it race away for four. Ntini is aghast, holding his head in his hands. A subsequent dink brings up another single and that's an accomplished half-ton for the Essex man.

1357: Eng 77-0
Another maiden over, this one from Steyn - South Africa struggling to make things happen out there. Umpire Billy Bowden is sporting a particularly high-factor sunblock on his lower lip. Optimistic.

1347: Eng 77-0
Lovely little leg-side clip from Cook races away to the ropes and moves him on to 45. News hero Sir Trevor McDonald ponders the action from the stands. The epitome of 'suave', that man.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's: "A brief shower at lunch was a bit of a dampener for those spreading out their best picnic rugs for the mid-day feast. Asparagus, crab and claret in the Coronation Garden; Pringles, Fanta and lager on the Nursery Ground. So much for classless England..."

1343: Eng 73-0
Steyn at the other end and Cook nibbles a couple. A relatively sedate start post-lunch.

1343: Eng 71-0
Ntini gets a genuine edge off of Cook, although it looks like it dropped just short of Jacques Kallis at third slip. Maiden over. Weather fans everywhere will be pleased to see the sun poking through at Lord's after a tiny snifter of lunchtime drizzle.

1340: Ntini to bowl the first over of the afternoon sesh.

1338: A relaxed Graeme Smith leads South Africa back on to the field, swiftly followed by England's Cook and, erm, 'Strice'. No, I can't pull off that nickname thing like Tom. It'll have to be Strauss. Sorry, alternative nomenclature fans.

1337: A few people over on 606 are suggesting England should be looking to push on towards 400 after their good morning session. Optimistic, I say. Let's get 100 on the board first, chaps.
Join the debate on 606

1335: Afternoon. Tom F is off to give his still-smoking fingertips a well-deserved ice bath. Fear not, Fordyce fans, he'll be back soon, but I'll be here to guide you through those all-important post-lunch overs.

By Tom Fordyce


1300: Eng 71-0
Dangerous finally gets his dander up in the last over before buffet. Strice ducks under a nose-grazer and then jabs down at a nipple-crusher, but like Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle, he's a survivor - England go to lunch with brows untroubled.

All around, learned old heads chunter about line, length and areas. Distinct lack off all three from the South Africa speedy-guns so far, and as the England openers stroll off for isotonic sandwiches, Skipper Vaughan stands on the balcony and beams like Doris Day.

1255: Eng 71-0
Harris it is, who if you haven't seen him before looks like a cross between Aussie leftie Michael Clarke and a bloke you might see down the pub. Steady left-arm twirl; little turn, no runs.

1252: Eng 71-0
Success of sorts for Dangerous - a mere single off his skiddy non-troublers. Might be time for some twirl from Paul Harris already. Where's Angry Andre when you need him?

1248: Eng 70-0
Short wide slider from Macca, and Strauss goes up on tippy-toes to slash it backward of point for four more. Chirp not in much evidence from the remaining close fielders.

1243: Eng 66-0
He was, and he probably wished he hadn't - a strayer down leg is touched away by Strice for two, another tickled square for a single and a full-up boomer outside off popped away through point for the 10th boundary of the innings. Smith takes off his sunnies and stares at the turf with exaggerated interest, as if he's just spotted a four-leafed clover.

1238: Eng 59-0
Smith waves at Macca Ntini, and the old toiler's going to get another trundle - this time from the Nursery End. He plops one down in the short slot outside off and Cook uses the pace of the ball to chop him through square for his sixth four of the session. Attacking fields of earlier now forgotten - there are men out on the deep square leg and long leg boundaries. Is Smith waving at Dangerous Dale too?

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's: "Just been outside to pick up a bit of crowd vibe. Lord's is always quiet, and nothing seems to have changed. Non-existent queues at the bars and the food stands - let's hope that's not a sign of the impending recession. It's also very windy, which won't help the bowlers."

1233: Eng 55-0
A lot of votes now for 'Morkel Mindy' - and quite rightly so. He slides two across Strauss and then tries a short one into the body - Strauss jabs it down behind square and sprints through for a fleet-footed double. Touch cloudy overhead now.

1228: Eng 53-0
Zhaark gets one to spit and leap at Cook and finds the outside edge again - only for the ball to fly straight through the slot where third slip has been standing all match. Until now. Zhaark stares up at the sky with the facial expression of a man ready to tear his own arms off with frustration; Skipper Smith hides behind his mirrored shades.

From Tim via text, hiding the fact he's texting by hiding his phone between his legs, thus looking like he could be doing a far more sackable offence!: "How about reMorkelble or unreMorkelble, depending on how he's slinging the ball down?"

1223: Eng 48-0
Dangerous waftage from Cook outside off. He gets squared up by Ultimatum and watches in wide-eyed horror as the ball flies between gully and backward-point for a flukey four to the fence, and then pokes with nailed-down feet at one slid across him. Nasty business.

1215: Eng 42-0
Short and wide from Zhaark, and Strauss fancies a slice of that - he whips his hands through outside off and crashes the ball to the point boundary. Decent pre-lunch buzz building up from the stands as thirsty throats are soothed.

From Matthew Warne, TMS inbox: "Surely it's gotta be 'Morne Has Broken'?"

1210: Eng 38-0
Short again from the steepling Ultimatum, and Strauss leans back to crash a bottom-of-the-blade pull through midwicket for a hurried three. Dangerous Dale, with time on his hands, amuses himself by trying to do keepy-ups with the ball when it's returned. He manages four before toeing it sideways.

From The_Torres_Bounce on 606: "I faced Steyn on cricket tour of South Africa seven years ago. I managed to give him some tap for a few a balls while all those around me crumbled. He proceeded to break the box and resistance of my first partner and then bouncer the second on to his own stumps."

1205: Eng 35-0
Single apiece to the England braves, Cookie getting a crumb of luck as a thick inside edge squirts past his leg timber. Nice bit of stat-chat for you: of all the deliveries bowled by Steyn, Ntini and the Morne Ultimatum this morning, only one would have hit the stumps. Hmmm.

From Neil Shilladay, TMS inbox: "How about Morne To Be Wild?"

1156: Eng 33-0
Last over before the drinks break, and Morne serves up a tray of steady eddies - just shy of a length outside off. Strice keeps his willow sheathed.

From Graham, TMS inbox: "Re: Morne nicknames - the Morne Ultimatum."

1156: Eng 32-0
More of the same from the chuntering Zhaark - six leave-alones four inches outside off. Who said "protecting his average"?

From Anonymous via text: "Surely it's got to be Shane Morne? I'll get my coat - too ashamed to put my name to it."

1152: Eng 32-0
Morkel switches to the Pavillion End, and he's all over the shop like a hyperactive shelf-stacker. His first effort pings down leg for four byes while his fourth is full and wide - Cook reaches out and drills it between third slip and gully for another four. Up in a corporate box, former England skipper Mike Brearley accepts a flute of champagne from a weskitted flunky.

1146: Eng 23-0
Zhaark Kallis on for a beefy trundle, and he flings all six wide of off. Anyone ever seen Zhaark smile?

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "Aubrey in Leeds -I understand why you should want make the most of your last chance to cheer on your country of birth, but if you cheer them on to a victory in this Test that would significanlty decrease your pleasure in the next test because England would then be one down when you're cheering for them. It's an immediate versus deferred pleasure thing - very difficult."

1142: Eng 23-0
Ntini plops one halfway down the track and is boffed away delightfully off the back peg by the long-lashed Cook for another four through cover. The next ball pitches on off-peg and then darts away towards second slip like Shane Williams side-stepping.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's: "First observations from the media centre? The South African press corps are already venting some disappointment about the lack of pace in the wicket ("It's like plasticine," says one). Upstairs, BBC Radio 5 Live's Pat Murphy says all the hype about their three fearsome pacemen could prove to be just that - hype. Early days yet though, early days...."

1138: Eng 19-0
Snorkel Morkel - I know it's rubbish, but it's a start - drops short, and Cook leans back to crash him high over gully for his first fence-slapper of the day. There are ones and twos all over the place and the England pair scamper as happily as well-fed puppies.

From Chris Jones, TMS inbox: "I was once a Brit but now I am living in Johannesburg as a fully-fledged South African. It is so much better being near the top of the rankings in 2nd than wherever miserable England are."

You light the blue touch-paper, Chris, and I'll wait for the explosion.

1133: Eng 10-0
Macca Ntini drops short and Strauss spins on his back peg to waft him away over square leg for the first four of the day - Strauss's first pull-shot since last December. In the crowd, a man rips open a tin-foil parcel and withdraws what looks like your classic cheese and tomato sanger.

From John somewhere near Ascot: "I'm in a sales class listening to some guy droning on. Thank heaven for my mobile."

1127: Eng 6-0
Hello - Morne Morkel's coming on for a joust in place of Dangerous. After a mere three overs, England have already seen off the Steyn threat. Easy. More bounce from the long-armed Morkel, and Strice gloves a lifter down and away for a scurried single. Suggestions welcomed for a Morne nickname good enough to see us through the series.

From Nick Skey, TMS inbox: "Dale Steyn reminds me of one of the Muppets, but I'm not sure which one - or it could be a Fraggle?"

1121: Eng 3-0
Dangerous Dale goes round the wicket and is creamed off the outside edge by Strice for a slow-roller of a single to point. Touch more bounce in that over; bright sunshine bathing upturned faces in the burgeoning crowd.

1116: Eng 2-0
Roars from all corners as Cook jabs down on a fullish one to squeak the first single of the day past cover. England already rattling along at a run-rate superior to the one they managed in the last match between these two sides - that mournful spanking they received during the last World Cup.

From Aubrey Coldrey, TMS inbox: "I am South African living in Leeds and become naturalised British next Thursday, so this is the last time I will be cheering for South Africa."

1112: Eng 0-0
In a boon for those of us updating live scorecards, Strice lifts his blade high and dry and lets another Dangerous Dale maiden drift by.

From Bruce Snadden, TMS inbox: "I am sitting at work at the moment with absolutely nothing to do. I have exhausted Google as a means of entertainment and am thrilled that the cricket starts today."

1108: Eng 0-0
Macca Ntini from the Pavillion End. Four slips wait with hands poised as Cook pokes at a tempter but misses with blinking eyes. Pitch looking as lively as a pensioner after a heavy lunch.

1103: Eng 0-0
Dangerous Dale Steyn it is, steaming in from the Nursery End. His first ball comes off the pitch with all the bounce of a brick hitting blancmange, and there's not much wobble around either. Strice stays compact and sees off a maiden as the slips bark like hungry hyenas.

1057: Here we go - Strice and Cook to the middle, the South African fielders eyeing them with silent menace.

From Jesse in the Netherlands, TMS inbox: "My folks are in Rome on a holiday. Called them to ask to burn a candle for good 'ol England in the Vatican. Maybe we'll see a lightning bolt coming down to take out Steyn."

1045: South Africa's decision to pick spinner Paul Harris is a heart-breaker for those of us looking forward to a slice of Nel pie during this match. For web-users among you, here's a cheeky link to a chat I had with Angry Andre the other day. What a man.

1038: Pitch news: it's looking a touch squelchy after Wednesday's stinking downpour. Considered opinion is that it'll swing like 1966 out there - could be a big toss to have won, that one. Weather looking dry for the duration of the day; probably best not to worry about Friday's sogginess until it happens.

1032: News from the toss: Graeme Smith calls correctly. "We're going to have a bowl," he says. "We're as prepared as we can be. Hopefully we can execute things properly this morning and get amongst them. It's going to be competitive."

Skipper Vaughan does his best to look chirpy. "We'd have liked to have a bowl," he admits. "I think it'll swing about in the first three days.

1030: Goodness me - if you're not looking forward to this morning's action, expect to have your membership revoked with immediate effect.

see also
South Africa's man of steel
09 Jul 08 |  England
Behind the Dale Steyn fairytale
08 Jul 08 |  South Africa
Cricket's craziest man
07 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa target England pair
08 Jul 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
14 Nov 07 |  Cricket

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