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

England 593-8 dec v South Africa 7-0 day two (close)

Ian Bell struck a magnificent 199 as England made South Africa toil in the field on day two of the first Test.

England piled up 593-8 before declaring in the final session after Bell fell one short of a double century, when he was caught and bowled by Paul Harris.

Kevin Pietersen was earlier out for a superb 152 and Stuart Broad made his highest Test score of 76 as England punished the wayward visiting attack.

South Africa were 7-0 when rain and bad light ended play at Lord's.


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

By David Ornstein

1837: So where do we stand? England declared on 593-8 their first innings and, realistically, should be the only side with a chance of victory in the Test. The weather, of course, could destroy any such hopes, as could the South African batsmen.

The tourists face a daunting total to chase down and, weather abiding, England's pace attack will really crank up the volume tomorrow morning. Early wickets will be high on the agenda for Michael Vaughan's men and, with the wicket offering increasing pace and bounce, they will be confident of making inroads.

The weather forecast suggests light showers on Saturday but, should they hold off, day three should be another corker.

Thanks for all your contributions throughout the day. It's been a ball.

1830: TMS has gone off air, the covers are draped all over the Lord's wicket and, with regret, I can inform you day two of the first Test between England and South Africa is over.

From Rafa fan on 606: "200 is an overrated number. Belly had proved that he could get there by being just one run away from the total and clearly got out on purpose to allow his captain to declare and to leave himself the target of reaching his first double century for the next time he bats. Good plan Belly. Erm.... Heartbroken for him!"

Nice touch Rafa fan, nice touch.

1825: While I would never dream of advising you away from this gripping text commentary, it seems this could be it for the day. Either way, I'll let you know as soon as we learn of any developments.

What a shame it would be if the weather hampered yet another Lord's Test from offering a result.

Two balls into Jimmy A's second over, the umpires offer Smithy and Macca the light (not to mention the rain), which they accept without hesitation.

1814: SA 7-0
Rain, rain go know the rest. McKenzie gets onto the front foot and drives a delightful boundary but we could be off for rain shortly ladies and gents.

1808: SA 3-0
A nice bit of swing from Jimmy A early on. The light is poor and there is rain in the air. Openers Smithy and Macca begin circumspectly, each prodding singles.

Belly, by all accounts, is the eighth batsman to make 199 or 199 not out in Test cricket. Messrs Nazar, Azharuddin, Elliot, Jayasuriya, S Waugh, A Flower and Y Khan are thought to be the others.

No batsman had previously clocked up 199 at Lord's.

1804: SA 1-0
This is a massive series for Sidey, I think you'd all agree. He starts in positive fashion by beating Smith's outside edge, to the crowd's immense pleasure. Smith snatches a single on the last ball to deny Sidey a maiden. A solid start all round.

1800: So it's Sidey to Graeme Smith. Let's get ready to rumble.

From tmx468 on 606: "And there are batsmen that complain at the pain of being out for 99... 199. That's pure agony!"

1749: WICKET - Bell c & b Harris 199, Eng 593-8 declared

Wicket falls
Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. I never thought I would feel sorry for a highly-paid, highly-skilled international cricketer who has already made his highest score in Test cricket. But I do.

The crowd are on their feet. The office is on its feet... well, me at least. The much-mocked Paul Harris bounces to the crease and send down a shortish ball that Belly skips towards. The blonde-streaked number five unleashes a venomous on drive but, in a flash, Harris intercepts, taking a simply outstanding catch.

Vaughany calls his men in and that's the innings over. Talk about anti-climax! Belly, we believe, is the first Englishman to be dismissed on 199 in Test history.

1747: 593-7
Steyn and Sidey are having a right old battle out there, a battle within a battle you could say. The seamer's unrelenting use of the short ball is becoming a source of amusement for the crowd and one loose delivery grants England four leg byes. The hosts edge towards 600, Bell edges towards 200. Will both achieve?

1744: 588-7
Another reverse-sweep from Belly off Harris keeps the would-be double-centurion on strike. Is this the over? I must say, Belly's timing really has been of the highest order for the best part of two days. An absolute pleasure to behold.

1737: Eng 587-7
Bell gives Sidey a well-earned pat on the back after he sees off Steyn - one bouncer only surprisingly - and now the man of the moment will face Harris's "average" (as described by Mr Boycott on TMS) spin.

1735: I'm afraid I can't fathom this British summer malarkey. Rain. Sun. Rain Sun. Dark. Light. Dark. Light.

The good news is we're about to get going again. The players are in the middle and Steyn is charging in to bowl at Sidey. A bouncer maybe, Dale?

1732: Now, I told you about the crowd's booing at 1708. Here what our very own man at Lord's made of it.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett: "For a horrible minute, it looked like we might have a Pakistan at The Oval (2006) incident on our hands. Of course, if you do refuse to play you get a guaranteed draw nowadays. Graeme Smith and the South Africans finally emerged to the loudest boos I've ever heard on a cricket field."

From Jim in Leeds, TMS inbox: "Re: 1708 entry - Surely it'd be BellyBottom?"

Good call, Jim. BellyBottom it is unless anyone comes up with a better suggestion. And, in the meantime, your thoughts on the match are more than welcome. It really is living up to the pre-series billing and I think many have been surprised by what England have produced, especially at a ground where England have lost each of their three Test matches against South Africa.


1724: Eng 587-7

Rain delay
South African frustrations are understandable. The rain is coming down pretty hard and they want to go in. Smithy can't believe what he is seeing and shakes his head in disbelief. Bell and Sidey want to stay out because the former is three runs short of 200 and the crowd, obviously, want to see it.

But the tourists get their way, quite rightly as it is now raining cats and dogs out there. Rain stops play I'm afraid.

1721: Eng 584-7
Like with Morkel earlier, England see off the seamer without taking any undue risks and then lay into spinner Harris. Bell, crafting by a country mile his finest innings for England, takes five off three balls and closes in on his double ton.

1715: Eng 579-7
What is Dale Steyn playing at or, as I like to say, what is his beef? The seamer exposes Sidey to a barrage of bouncers (four out of his six balls, all of them short and wide). He finishes the over with a dreadfully wide ball. After each delivery he decides to treat Sidey to some verbals. What's the point at this stage?

Sidey must be relishing the chance to bowl at the South Africa's batsmen after that unnecessary exchange.

1710: With a face like thunder and to ironic cheers, Graeme Smith leads his players onto the field. Smith appears to have a mini set-to with umpire Harper. Smith is not a happy bunny.

1708: Belly and Sidey (does Bellyside work?) are out, as are the umpires. But there's no sign of the tourists. Perhaps they simply can't face another stint in the field?

The crowd are beginning to boo, hiss and jeer.


Rain delay

"Not again" I hear you sigh. Yes, again. This time the clouds rolling towards headquarters look pretty disgusting, although it has actually stopped raining. Light could be an issue so Billy Bowden and Daryl Harper are out inspecting.

Previously, Belly had employed the reverse-sweep to devastating affect, notching his first boundary for quite some time and moving within eight runs of his first Test double-century. This is already the Warwickshire number three's highest Test score.

From Daniel, TMS inbox: "England's strategy surely has to be to only bat once - they might as well stick around to set a bigger target for SA to avoid the follow on, especially since the match will surely lose time for the weather..."

1651: WICKET - Broad b Harris 76, Eng 574-7

Wicket falls
Some of us predicted Broady was going to make a century. How wrong we were. But take nothing away from the youngster's knock. He was bowled by Harris attempting to thrash the spinner through midwicket. Maybe his concentration was affected by drinks, as he went just three balls after.

Sidey's in to partner Bell amid gathering clouds, and nasty ones at that.

1651: Eng 574-6
Belly plays Ntini to third man for two and that's the 150-partnership.

1648: Eng 571-6
Harris is proving you (and me) doubters - although it's a case of too little too late - as he weighs in with a maiden.

But...the clouds overhead are of a horribly-coloured variety. The type that are more commonly associated with SW19 at this time of the year.

1643: Eng 571-6
I like Maka Ntini a lot so it's nice to see him go for just two off his first over back in the attack. He was crashed all over the park in the opening two sessions but he seems to have found a nicer rhythm this time round.

From many, many people, TMS inbox: A lot of people living west of London are saying that there are heavy showers heading in... Booo.

From Ian, Eltham, TMS inbox: "Re statistical comment at 1618 - that was two days before I was born. Makes me feel not quite so old..."

My sincerest apologies, Ian. Don't worry, you're still younger than my father and he ran his second London Marathon this year.

1640: 569-6
One was both right and wrong about Harris. England did try laying into him. Belly attempted an 'inside out' lofted drive over extra cover but a four was stopped by a super piece of fielding by McKenzie.

From Bruce in Ontario, Canada, TMS inbox: "If England hang around for Bell and Broad to reach 200 and 100 respectively, the game will surely end in a draw - and all the heroic batting will have been for nought."

Bruce, if they do that and then England take a couple of early wickets tonight or tomorrow morning a win is very much on the cards for England. I don't think England would keep the Belly-Broady combo out there is it was going to hamper the hosts' chance over a victory.

1636: 567-6
The Belly-Broady combo seem to me to be targeting Harris. Broady snatches two down to third man off Morkel in the 146th over but no risks are taken. They may be now with Harris.

From Phil in Romsey, TMS inbox: "Please remember that the last time the South Africans came to England to tour, Graeme Smith scored two double hundreds and the South Africans hammered England in the first two Test matches - so there is a long way to go in this series yet."

1632: Eng 564-6
Ah, perhaps Tuffers meant to say "hitting out". Broady clubs Harris over the top for four and in doing so engineers the first cheer for some time. The innings had fallen into something of a lull, not that the England supporters will be complaining. Their side is still going along at four an over.

1628: Eng 559-6
That's better from Morkel. The paceman's generating decent bounce and pace, limiting Belly to just a single.

Phil Tufnell
Phil Tufnell on TMS: "Broad moves on to 72, he'll be sniffing a cheeky century here, peak time."

Can somebody translate that for me. I don't really understand the "peak time" part!

1625: Eng 558-6
Harris gets it all wrong, sending down an absolute shocker - his first of the day to be fair. Belly sweeps him for four, slog-sweeps him in fact.

1622: Eng 553-6
Nowt exciting to report in the few overs that have followed tea. A whiff of declaration in the air perhaps? Morkel goes for five off the 142nd over - standard - and England continue to tick over nicely.

1618: BBC Sport Interactive's in-house historian Stevo has unearthed another vital statistic.

England's highest seventh-wicket stand in history is 197, attained by MJK Smith, JM Parks against West Indies in Port of Spain on 25 March 1960. I have no shame admitting that I wasn't born then, were you?

The Belly-Broady combo has made 135 runs.

1613: Eng 548-6
Another neat six balls from Harris. Belly doesn't want to be taking undue risks when his double-ton is so tantalisingly close.

1613: Eng 547-6
Forgive me for getting a little over-excited, and I do appreciate the pressure is not really on, but Broad, technique-wise, is batting better than many a number four or five I've seen in world cricket.

He takes to boundaries off Morkel to bring up his highest Test score, passing the 64 he made at Trent Bridge against our all-too familiar friends from New Zealand.

1607: Eng 537-6
A run for Belly, a run for Broady. A tidy little over from our friend Harris (any other Paul Harris' out there?)

Phil Tufnell
Phil Tufnell on TMS: "In the years to come you could definitely see Broad batting at six or seven."

1603: We're about to get re-started, the final session of day two is upon us. If the previous two are anything to go by, I'm excited. Harris to Belly. Here we go.

Belly's previous best score was 162 against Bangladesh at Chester-le-Street. I'm backing him to make 200 before England declare at something in excess of 600.

Via text: "There are actually only 1,755 Paul Harris's in the UK (and 387 Pauline Harris's and 159 Paula Harris's). From Paul's brother Rolf."

1558: Well, wasn't that another barnstorming session from an English perspective?! This lad Broad is getting better with every innings - some would say he is a better batsman than he is bowler. What do you think?

The Notts man is certainly laying down a firm marker to play as an all-rounder for England in all forms of the game.

Belly, meanwhile, could not have timed this immaculate knock any better. He really needed to score heavily against high-calibre opponents and that's exactly what he's doing.

A Belly-Broady combo anyone? Sounds delicious to me.

By Jonathan Stevenson

Geoffrey Boycott
"There's no reason why Broad shouldn't come out after tea, have a swing and get to a hundred. England should push for 600 because you want to put the opposition under some real pressure."
Geoff Boycott on TMS


1542: Eng 535-6

That's 50
Ntini has picked up where the other quickies left off - he's pulled expertly by Broady for four. The soon-to-be-great Stuart Broad then brings up a super fifty by slaughtering him through the covers for four, before testing Ntini's patience with a streaky edged four through the vacant second slip area. Michael Vaughan looks so relaxed he could be on the balcony of his holiday home in Alicante. Tea.

Via text: "Sorry that Paul Harris is feeling the pain brought about by the inadequacies of his namesake. I'm remarkably upbeat. Sincerely, K P Belly, Exeter."

1537: Eng 522-6
It's actually a bit dull watching Paul Harris bowl (apologies to the 17,000 Paul Harris's out there). He just doesn't do anything with the ball. There's just a single off the over and I'm pretty sure Belly played one of those balls with his eyes closed just for a laugh.

From another Paul Harris via text: "Where has all this criticism come from in terms of Paul Harris?! Let's praise the batting. Besides, every time I hear his name it reminds me of when my left arm spin gets carted across the park. From another Paul Harris namesake, Paul Harris."

1534: Eng 522-6
Belly and Broady have put on 100. They touch gloves and the sun comes out on another bright new dawn for English cricket. Can you hear those Australians quaking in their shoes? Oh happy days.

1530: Eng 519-6
Broady swings Harris into the leg side for four, before taking three more with a little paddle sweep. He's got every shot in the book, this kid. I can't remember when it was last so much fun watching England bat. Oh yeah, Edgbaston, the 2005 Ashes. Remember it?

1526: Eng 512-6
Makhaya Ntini comes back into the attack and Belly slashes his first ball past point for four before beautifully opening the face and running Ntini's second ball past keeper Mark Boucher for four more. Ian Ronald (thanks Pranav) Bell is now 169 not out, his highest Test score. Broady takes three into the leg side - 12 off the over.

From Paul Harris's namesake Paul Harris via text on 81111: "Hi all, could we please lay off Paul Harris? I am getting disheartened at my desk on this Friday afternoon."
Paul Harris's namesake Paul Harris

1520: Eng 500-6
Harris trundles in and bowls a maiden to Stuart Broad. I'll refrain from criticism, just this once.

1518: Eng 500-6
Steyn is varying his length here - the sign of a man not quite sure how to take his next wicket. Broady takes two more from another short ball and England steal a third from an overthrow as the ball hits the stumps. The crowd give England a standing ovation for reaching 500 and the word fuming does not even come close to doing Steyn justice.

1513: Eng 496-6
Harris gets excited as Belly clips one off his pads marginally in the air. Broady puts the slowie back in his place by caning him through mid-wicket for four crunching runs. Graeme Smith looks ponderous, as well he might. These two have put on 74 now.

1509: Eng 491-6
Steyn continues to pepper Broady with the short ball and a couple cause a problem, the youngster fending one ball off with it popping just over Hashim Amla at short-leg. The next one is a snorter but Steyn ruins it with some more ill-timed chat. Broady takes two - just tell him the score, son. Easy. Meanwhile, there's a bit of rain around. Boo.

1504: Eng 487-6
Oh goody Paul Harris is back, so the 500 won't be far away. The cameras focus on Mark Boucher, who has been South African wicket-keeper pretty much since time began. Boy he must be aching right now. Two added.

Via TMS inbox: (See 1444) A few more honourable mentions for Murray Walker and of course Bill McLaren, chiefly for phrases including 'Digging like a demented mole', 'He's like a buffalo leading a stampede' and of course 'They'll be celebrating in the streets of Kelso tonight'.

1459: Eng 485-6
Steyn sends down a bouncer to Broady and gives him some verbals too. Something this South African side really need to improve on, the banter. Like Kallis earlier giving Pietersen some chat after he'd dropped him - timing, boys.

1454: Eng 485-6
Kallis bowls an attempted bouncer to Belly, but it only gets up waist-high and the England centurion pivots on his back foot and swings it away behind square on the leg side for four more. Belly is seeing it like a football now, this is pure class.

From John, TMS inbox: "My South African colleage who sits opposite me says that 152 should be deducted from England's score on the basis that it was scored by a South African."

Bitterest man/woman in the world. To be fair, I'd still take 328-6, any day.

1448: Eng 480-6
Steyn tries a couple of lifters at Broady, but the big man gets on to his tiptoes and defends the ball manfully. Maiden over and there haven't been too many of those in the last couple of days (19, to be precise).

1444: Most people are in agreement that Richie Benaud is a class act (see 1428 entry). But other names are featuring prominently among emailers to TMS - including Brian Johnston, John Arlott, Sid Waddell, Peter Alliss, Ted Lowe, Barry Davies, Jonathan Pearce and, er, Stan Collymore (absolute class).

1443: Eng 480-6
Broady tucks a couple off his pads from Kallis and it's a walk in the sunshine this for England. The all-rounder takes three more to mid-wicket, Ntini just managing to save the boundary, before Belly clips two more into the leg side. Kallis is all over t'shop with his line.

From Danny on Oxford Street via text on 81111: "My South African colleague on the opposite desk is still trying to claim England's batsmen are rubbish. Can you increase the size of text please, especially the score?!"

1438: Eng 473-6

He's reached 150
Bell brings his 150 up with the most sumptuous straight drive off the world's current best fast bowler Steyn. The next ball is carnage as Belly and Broady muck up a single and AB de Villiers misses with two stumps to aim at. England closing in on the magic 500 here.

1433: Eng 467-6
Sharks Kallis pounds back into the attack and beats Belly with a lovely little outswinger. Bell responds by bagging a brace to the extra-cover boundary. "He reminds me so much of Geoffrey Boycott," says Jonathan Agnew on TMS of Bell.

1428: Eng 464-6
Broady squeezes the returning Dale Steyn through cover point for four - I thought this was the guy who cleaned up tails for fun? (You can't curse a team on 464, don't worry)

From Ben, Tunbridge Wells, TMS inbox: "To Paul in Lancs (see 1411 entry). So right! Of course the rot set in some 30-40 years ago with that Aussie commentator... 'Benno' I think his name was."

Long live Richie, the greatest commentator in the history of sport. That's not even up for discussion.

1423: Eng 459-6
Never mind Geoff Boycott's, I think my mum could play Paul Harris with ease. Broad gets three ticked behind squad on the leg side, before Belly rocks back almost on to his stumps and punches the leftie through the covers for four. Expensive stuff from Harris, time for him to go now.

1419: Eng 450-6
England stroll on to 450 as the nonchalant Ian Bell drives Morne Morkel for two and then clips one off his pads for a single. Tell you what, even England would do well to lose from this position.

From Andy (Abingdon) via text on 81111: "What did Chris Read do wrong to be so far down the pecking order?"

Good question.

1414: Eng 447-6
The entirely unremarkable Paul Harris continues and there's just an unremarkable single from Ian Bell off the over. Oh and another no-ball, which is simply inexcusable for a slow bowler.

1411: Eng 445-6
Tough crowd, you lot - a two-footed challenge that one, Paul from Lancs, in association football terms anyway. Bell rocks on to the back foot and guides Morkel through the covers for a lovely three and that's over 118 all wrapped up.

From Paul in Lancs, TMS inbox: "Dear Mr Stevenson. Am I right in thinking you are the gentleman who often covers the association football on the BBC's text-based website? I think you will find the cricket text readership a rather more refined group, and I do not think calling you 'Stevo', or the use of any such public house nomenclature, will be appropriate. Should this cause you a problem, I note that Mr Fletcher is attending to the cycling in France; we have had dealings with him previously, and would be prepared to consider an exchange."
Fletch covers the Tour de France right here

1406: Eng 441-6
I just can't see what Paul Harris brings to the party. He's on the money most of the time I guess, but there's no real turn, no real variation, no real problems for the batters. Broad is watchful, it's a maiden - in what must be said is glorious sunshine now at the home of cricket.

1403: Eng 441-6
Stuey Broad gets in on the act by crashing Morne Morkel through the gully area for four, before Ian Bell cuts gorgeously through the same area for another boundary. Morkel responds by banging one in to Belly and the ball hammers into his rib cage. Ouch.

From Neil D, TMS inbox: "Re: 1349 & 1350 entries ¿ Good work Stevo. I haven't seen a finer case of the mockers since I said that Chelsea had the Champions League wrapped up as Terry stepped up to take that last penalty..."

1359: Eng 430-6
Paul Harris continues to wheel away without looking even remotely dangerous. Words that may come back to haunt me, but there you go. As a left-arm spinner, he's going to have to up his game to impress me. Belly agrees, dances down the pitch and hits the straightest drive you could ever see for six over Harris's head.

1354: Eng 422-6
Stuart Broad, Nottinghamshire's finest, strides out to the crease. Probably only took him four or five to get to the middle, in fairness to the big unit. It's land of the giants as he leaves alone three balls from Morne Morkel.

1350: WICKET - Ambrose c Smith b Morkel 4, Eng 422-6

Wicket falls
And I was just getting comfortable in my seat, too. Morne Morkel continues the over that was so rudely interrupted by lunch and with the second ball of the session, poor Tim Ambrose gets a nick and Graeme Smith snaffles the catch at slip.

1349: The players are out at Lord's. South Africa will want to wrap things up pretty quickly here - for my money, they've been shocking so far. What happened to the most feared pace attack since the Windies in the 1980s?

1340: Can we have one of your internet round of applauses for young David - I'll bet not a single one of you would have guessed that was his first crack at doing the cricket lives? After that display, I'll bet it's not his last, either. Super stuff. By the way, I'm Stevo and I'll be leading you through the afternoon session, which is due to get under way at 1350 BST. Oh, and I'm not an Aussie.

By David Ornstein

1333: The news from the middle is reasonable. The covers are off and the clouds are broken. There still looks like the potential for some belting showers, but I'd say there's a good chance of re-starting on cue.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's:
"David Cameron swept into the media centre about 15 minutes ago while journos were chomping on their swordfish steaks. Cameron had a bit of a Kevin Pietersen swagger about him. You can hear him on Test Match Special at lunch, I believe."

A heavy "band" (as the Voice of Wimbledon and weather-folk call it) of unseemly weather sweeps into St John's Wood and everyone runs for cover.

They're going to take an early lunch so why don't you too.

Geoffrey Boycott
Geoff Boycott on TMS: "I thought it was a great morning for England, they scored very quickly. When Pietersen got out the run rate slowed down. The South African seamers didn't seam to have a clear plan. I counted five balls in the first few overs into the pads and if you do that at this level you're going to be hit for four every time."

1255: Eng 418-5
Tiny Tim drives Harris through extra cover for three runs and looks pretty fluent, although it's still early days.

1250: Eng 414-5
New boy Tim Ambrose tucks his first ball through the leg side for one but that's a super over from Harris. With "the shadow of Flintoff" looming large over the England dressing room, Collingwood must surely be fearing for his immediate Test future now.

He was, it must be remembered, unfortunate to be given out but will the selectors see it that way with Freddie pushing so hard for a return?

From Michael J, TMS inbox: "To John (see 1204 entry). At about 20 past 12 and a couple of hundred runs short. Taxi for one for Lady Fate. Ready meal for one for John "

1243: WICKET - Collingwood c Amla b Harris 7, Eng 413-5

Wicket falls
Dear oh dear oh dear - and this time it's not the rain. Colly's woeful Test form with the bat continues, Hashim Amla snapping up the Durham man at short leg off Harris. Harris is making amends for his day-one mauling.

Television replays suggested Colly was somewhat unfortunate. Some would say Colly completely missed the ball... but the tourists went up as one and the Billy Bowden finger came up in a flash.

1240: As my colleague Dan aptly put it, that was the shortest rain delay I have ever seen. No word of a lie. The hovercraft-style cover came on and the was pulled straight back off by the groundsmen. The effervescent Billy Bowden calls the players back out and we're soon to be under way again.


Rain delay
Dear oh dear oh dear. The brollies are up, the players are scampering (umpires ambling) to the pavilion and we're off for rain. Boooooo.

1233: Eng 412-4
Colly is up and running with a delightful pulled four off Morkel. Very nice start from the one-day captain. Mork's exposing Colly to some short stuff but he pulls another three.

1230: Eng 404-4
It's amazing what a wicket can do - Harris, yes Harris, chalks off the first maiden over of the day! Paul Collingwood has joined Belly after KP fell for 152 but it is Belly himself who fails to score off the spinner.

My pal Stevo was beginning to trawl the history books for England's biggest fourth-wicket stand and, although it matters not a jot now, I didn't want to let Stevo's research go to waste.

It was 411 by PBH May and MC Cowdrey against West Indies in Birmingham on 30 May 1957. And that is a fact.

From Anonymous teacher via text: "I'm in two minds over the rain. I am enjoying sitting here, listening to the cricket whilst marking my year nine's work. But the other half of me wants it to chuck it down up north as the rest of the department are at Alton Towers for the day."

1220: WICKET - Pietersen c Boucher b Morkel 152, Eng 403-4

Wicket falls
No sooner is the Lord's crowd welcoming KP's 150 than they are commiserating his departure. I was already planning an ode KP for when he reached his double-ton.

But ambition shows no bounds with this guy and, attempting to hook a short Morkel delivery for six, it all goes wrong for KP and he gloves to Boucher.

As standing ovations go, that's the loudest I've heard in some time, What an innings!

1218: Eng 397-3

He's reached 150
There's the 150 for KP. The boy works Morkel through midwicket and there it is.

David Cameron will be taking a view from the boundary on TMS at lunch time and then Giles Clarke at tea.

1215: HOT OFF THE PRESS - A blueprint has been prepared for a Twenty20 tournament to be staged in England which will rival the Indian Premier League, so we at BBC Sport towers understand.

1210: Eng 392-3
You can imagine South Africans dropping to their knees as Paul Harris comes on. He was battered all over Lord's by the KP-Belly combo yesterday but he does all right to be fair to the lad. Bell takes three off the over but that's relatively economical by South African standards today.

1204: Eng 389-3
I was right for once in my life (although I do tell my other half I'm always right). It was only a matter of time before Maka Ntini with hauled out of the attack and that boy Morne Morkel is introduced. Belly taps a single outside off and drinks are upon up.

From John, TMS inbox: "Without wishing to brazenly flirt with lady fate, at what time tomorrow morning, or possibly tonight, do you think Pietersen will pass Lara's record?"

From Rob via text: "Re: 'KP-Belly Combo' - sounds delicious, a sort of nutty pork bbq dish!"

Brilliant Rob, brilliant. I'm licking my lips at tucking into more of this combo, it makes for great viewing.

1200: Eng 388-3

He's reached 100
The crowd are on their feet and the home dressing room rises too - Ian Bell seals a beautiful century, his eighth in Tests and third at Lord's. And you will hardly see a more expertly crafted ton. That was sumptuous.

1156: Eng 384-3
It surely won't be long before Ntini is withdrawn from the attack. Try as he might, he is struggling for line and length and the short stuff just isn't working. Two more boundaries to KP but now Belly will bid to bring up his ton off JK.

1151: Eng 373-3
South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has had enough off Steyn and brings ex-Middlesex man Jacques Kallis - playing at his former home ground - into the attack. JK almost makes an immediate impact but DROPS KP's blistering drive. It would have been an outstanding caught and bowled but, like everything this morning, it went England's way.

1149: Eng 371-3
Under glorious sunshine - for the time being at least - KP treats Ntini's short stuff with disdain and his pull for four on the last ball of the over is probably shot of the day.

1143: Eng 362-3
The short stuff is most definitely back on the menu as first Maka Ntini and now Dale Steyn send down a series of bouncers. KP talked last night about how he had been exposed to "hour on hour" of short balls in practice, facing the angles of every South African bowler time and time again. So it comes as no surprise that he clubs a half-length delivery from Steyn square for four and pushes the pair towards their 250 partnership.

Some expert fielding from AB de Villiers at midwicket prevents another KP boundary.

From BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's: "I've just heard South African cricket writer Pat Compton - son of Dennis, no less - say to a colleague: "That's about the worst half hour of bowling I've seen". Not that many in the crowd are complaining. They knew it was wise to get here on time and are being entertained by Pietersen once again."

1140: Eng 358-3
At last a chance for the tourists... but it goes begging. KP gloves Ntini high up in the air, slightly down leg as he attempts to pull, but Boucher fails to turn poucher as the ball drops just short.

1137: This from our weather-obsessed office man: "The met office has issued a severe weather warning for extremely heavy showers in south-east England on Friday afternoon"

1133: Eng 355-3
Steyn is horribly off-radar this morning. Proving he is by no means solely a leg-side merchant, KP connects with a wayward half-volley outside off stump and bludgeons it through extra cover. Wow. KP has not played a better innings for England - so says former England seamer Mike Selvey on TMS.

1128: Eng 344-3
South Africa must be praying for rain... who would have thought it? The 96th over begins with a Pietersen-esque four through midwicket from Bell and ends with a Bell-esque punch through the offside to the same effect from KP. The middle of the of the over sees Mark Boucher - yes, he's having a 'mare again today - fails to grasp an Ntini delivery that flies past him for four byes.

1125: Eng 331-3
I was away for a few days at the beginning of this week but I returned to stories of how the South African quicks were going to obliterate England in the first Test. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth as things stand. The KP-Belly combo keeps the run-rate ticking over, let's just hope the weather allows the lads to continue their exhibition of fine stroke-making.

1122: Eng 327-3
While England captain Michael Vaughan tucks into an un-named, gossip-filled British tabloid newspaper on the home balcony, Bell continues in serene fashion, angling Ntini through the slips and gulley for another four. The Warwickshire boy looks in terrific touch, I must say.

From Egg, TMS inbox: "I once had a dream that my missus was having an affair with Ian Bell. I have found it hard to like either of them ever since."

1116: Eng 323-3
Steyn is becoming a tad frustrated with his inability to find a consistent line and length. The England pair take another few runs through clever leg-side placement and neat running between the wickets. Belly is edging towards his eighth Test century and, should he make it, none will have been more deserved than this. It will also be nice to see him kicking on from the 60s and 70s for a change.

1112: Eng 317-3
KP, like Belly, picks up where he left off last night. After a dot ball, Ntini, like Steyn before him, is worked through midwicket second ball for four and before KP cautiously sees out the over. By and large England batted with superb discipline yesterday, dispatching the bad balls and defending solidly against the good'uns. The trend has continued today.

From Rich, TMS inbox: "Hi David - I also dreamt about England last night, Pietersen was out early but a terrific partnership between Bell and Broad saw us to 500-odd. Sadly I was woken up before the SA innings, by the sound of urban foxes mating outside my window - a noise not unlike the squealing of disapproving MCC members every time they see Pietersen's switch hit¿"

Ah, the switch hit! I was waiting to see how long it took for someone to bring up the switch hit. Imagine the storm it would cause if KP unleashed his trade-mark shot at Lord's in front of the MCC members.

1105: Eng 313-3
Before play began today, Morne Morkel was speaking on the boundary about the small margins for error and how important it was for the South Africa pacemen to hit the right areas. So, after Belly leaves a Steyn deliveries that was wide outside off stump, he clips another poor ball through midwicket for four.

A lovely start from an in-form player. Now it will be Ntini to day-one centurion KP.

1100: Belly on strike, Steyn steaming in from the Nursery End.

1058: The players and umpires are on their way out to the middle. Here we go ladies and gentlemen.

1053:From James, TMS inbox: "Last night I dreamt of England declaring on 650-6 with our South African import ratcheting up a double ton. In the cold light of day I anticipate a rapid collapse for 450."

Interesting James. As much as I think about cricket I'd be fibbing if I said I dreamt about the Test match last night. Did anyone else out there and what are your predictions for the day ahead?

1052: "I saw an MCC member walking to the ground this morning with cerise-coloured trousers, red and black shoes, and a jacket that looked like it came from Lee Mead's wardrobe at the Adelphi Theatre. And I also saw a vicar sternly declining a free banana milkshake."
BBC Sport's Oliver Brett at Lord's

1051: PITCH/WEATHER REPORT: The Lord's track is pretty cold and rock hard with a few cracks beginning to emerge. Expect more pace than yesterday for the tourists' quicks to feast off - or at least attempt to.

The much-anticipated rainfall is yet to arrive. Ominous-looking clouds are gathering over the home of cricket but there is some sunshine breaking through and play should get under way on time.

1046: In my far-from-humble opinion yesterday was a barnstormer, I enjoyed it more than any day of the New Zealand series.

1040: Morning everybody. You well?

see also
David Cameron talks to Aggers
11 Jul 08 |  Cricket
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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