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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 18:24 UK

England v S Africa: 3rd ODI as it happened

England 296-7 (50 overs) bt South Africa 170 (42.4 overs) by 126 runs

Samit Patel took 5-41 as England won the third one-day international and sealed the series as they beat South Africa by 126 runs at The Oval.

Andrew Flintoff (78no) and Ian Bell (73) impressed with the bat as England hit 296-7 on an overcast day.

In reply, Hashim Amla made 46, but Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers all failed on a fast-paced wicket that suited England's bowlers.

Patel then came in to destroy the lower order for his best figures ever.


By Mark Mitchener

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

1811: And the man of the match is... Samit Patel!

That's it from us - England may have wrapped up the series but we'll be back on duty for the last two ODIs as you'd expect - with Pranav Soneji taking the live text reins on Sunday. You can continue the debate (whether the "Bell Debate" or anything else) on 606 - but thanks for all your e-mails and texts, sorry if we didn't have room for yours. Take care of yourselves and make sure you join Pranav on Sunday!

1759: And Patel joins an august list of men to have taken five wickets in an ODI - no Tuffers there... TMS summariser Vic Marks, Darren Gough and Mark Ealham have done it twice, but the list also includes Colly, Harmy, Freddie, Craig White, Stuart Broad, Ronnie Irani, Mike Hendrick, Graeme Hick, Paul Jarvis, Matthew Hoggard and Ashley Giles. But will he get man of the match when his fielding and batting are taken into account?

Phil Tufnell
"This is a different England side than what we've been used to - everyone's contributed, the fielding's been really good and they're really buzzing. It was harsh when Swann was dropped, but Patel has done really well"
Phil Tufnell on TMS


Wicket falls
1756 - WICKET - Ntini c Prior b Patel 0 - SA 170 all out (42.4 overs)
The field is up for last man Makhaya Ntini - Patel has five balls left to earn his five-for. He tosses it up, Ntini edges it behind to Prior - and Patel has 5-41. England win the match and the series!

Wicket falls
1753 - WICKET - Botha b Patel 17 - SA 170-9 (42.1 overs)
Patel's golden afternoon continues as Botha chops the ball onto his boot and it ricochets onto the stumps! Four wickets for Patel!

1751 - SA 170-8 (42 overs)
Botha nudges the first ball of Harmy's ninth over for a single. Steyn off-drives, and nearly gets an overthrow when KP can't resist a throw at the stumps.

"Since mentioning the lengthy initials presently on show at the Oval you have caused quite a stir in the office. Surely in world cricket there are none longer than those of Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas?"
Dave in Burnley in the TMS inbox

1748 - SA 169-8 (41 overs)
Botha steers Patel for a single to short third man, Steyn runs a couple to the same area, then straight-drives a two to long-on.

Shaun Pollock
"Shaun Pollock is having a bad day - his country are getting a whipping and his county side have been turned over at Basingstoke!"
Jason, Cambridge, in the TMS inbox

1745 - SA 164-8 (40 overs)
Botha, eyeing a possible not-out here, steers Harmy for a single, while Steyn is off the mark with a prod for one. Botha keeps the strike.

1742 - SA 161-8 (39 overs)
They crossed on the catch, so new batsman Dale Steyn is at the non-striker's end as Botha sweeps the last ball for a single.

Wicket falls
1739 - WICKET - M Morkel c Broad b Patel 6 - SA 160-8 (38.4 overs)
Patel tosses it up, Morkel goes for the bait and is caught at long-on by Broad - three wickets for the boy Samit!

1738 - SA 159-7 (38 overs)
Harmy replaces Flintoff and keeps it tight until Botha manages to scuttle through for a single when a superb stop by KP at mid-on prevents a probable four.

1733 - SA 158-7 (37 overs)
Morkel sweeps Patel for a single, then Botha slog-sweeps and gets a top edge - but Harmy, running round at mid-wicket, can't quite get his hands to it and the ball bounces through for four.

1730 - SA 150-7 (36 overs)
Now then, will Flintoff offer Morkel some chin music after the lanky South African hit him on the head earlier today? Morkel is happy to get off strike with a single, then we finally have our first wide of the innings. A couple more singles, but England won't mind that at this stage.

"Sorry, Dimi, but I'm glad you were in Basingstoke rather than at the Oval today!"
Alison, a Hampshire fan in Manchester, in the TMS inbox
REPORT: Ervine inspires famous Hants win at Basingstoke

1726 - SA 146-7 (35 overs)
Patel has had a great game today - a good innings, two wickets, two catches and nearly a run-out - if he managed to nip another couple out here before the end, he'd have to be in the shake-up for man of the match? Botha reverse-sweeps for a single, Morkel's off the mark with one of his own, Botha tickles a single to short fine leg, Morkel tries a big heave but isn't as clean a hitter as his brother and can only manage one.

1722 - SA 142-7 (34 overs)
New batsman is Morne Morkel, but you still wouldn't fancy South Africa here if they'd sent Albie Morkel out for a second dig in his brother's shirt. He shoulders arms to his first ball from Flintoff.

Wicket falls
1720 - WICKET - Duminy c Prior b Flintoff 18 - SA 142-7 (33.5 overs)
Colly's off after four overs and Flintoff returns. Botha steers a single, then JPD steers a four to leg, and play is held up while Shah has to retrieve the ball from beneath a tarpaulin. A well-run two to point takes Duminy to 18, but it's all over for him as he feathers an edge and gives Matt Prior one of the more straightforward catches of his career.

Text in your views on 81111
"South Africa haven't turned up for these one-dayers but England look like a different team under KP's captaincy"
Baz, Manchester, via text on 81111

1716 - SA 135-6 (33 overs)
New batsman is Johan Botha, who sweeps at his first ball but is hit on the pad. A single off the last over, and Patel has 2-23 from five overs.

Wicket falls
1713 - WICKET - A Morkel c & b Patel 16 - SA 134-6 (32.4 overs)
Morkel goes for the big one, hoists Patel high towards mid-wicket, but is brilliantly caught one-handed... in the back row of the stand by a man holding a pint in his other hand! Morkel then takes aim at the media boxes, and it's another huge straight six! But when he tries to hit out again, it squirms and Patel takes his second excellent catch of the innings! One-handed, low to his right! The Morkel cameo is over.

1710 - SA 122-5 (32 overs)
Duminy turns a single to leg off Colly, a KP misfield allows Morkel to run one and JPD then steers a single to Flintoff on the mid-wicket boundary. Morkel opens the face and they trot through for a single to point - just those four singles from the over.

Graham Thorpe
"England have earned the right to be in this position - they recovered well and Flintoff played a good, senior innings"
Former Surrey and England batsman Graham Thorpe on TMS

1707 - SA 118-5 (31 overs)
So, will A-Morkel look to take on Patel and go out in a blaze of glory? He can't time the ball at the moment, Patel isn't turning it but are they playing for turn which isn't there? Surely they must have faced Paul Harris in the nets? But it's another maiden for Patel as Bell at short cover makes a good stop.

1704 - SA 118-5 (30 overs)
A leg bye brings new batsman Albie Morkel on strike - those of you who remember the World Twenty20 last year may recall this man's huge six-hitting abilities, but surely not even he could rescue the Proteas from here? He's off the mark with a single off Colly, and his fellow leftie JPD rotates the strike. The required rate now is nearly nine-an-over.

Wicket falls
1700 - WICKET - Boucher b Patel 19 - SA 114-5 (29 overs)
Boucher is finally in gear, swatting Patel down past Shah at long-on for four before steering a two to the cover sweeper. A single brings JPD on strike, he can only turn a single to mid-wicket. Boucher tries to give himself room to cut, but is comprehensively castled by the beaming Patel.

"Re: Andy [1553]: clearly it's only a matter of time before there is an inter-planetary Twenty20 tournament funded by an extra-terrestrial billionaire. That is if it doesn't clash with the Martian Premier League, and doesn't feature players from the rebel Martian Cricket League. Alternatively, the World XI could just play Australia again"
Mark in the TMS inbox

1657 - SA 106-4 (28 overs)
Aggers and Tuffers on TMS are increasingly concerned at a plane circling above them, but England will be less concerned as South Africa can only milk Colly for five singles. We haven't had a boundary for 10 overs now - the last one was a fluent four from ABDV.

"Well said, Gina in Gloucestershire [1558] - Dimi is better than Wright, Bopara, et al. in every aspect of his game - bowling, fielding and batting. Maybe KP is just doing his county a favour on the sly by ignoring him!"
David in London in the TMS inbox

1653 - SA 101-4 (27 overs)
JPD advances down the track and smacks Patel to long-on for a single to bring up three figures for the Proteas, while Boucher pinches the strike off the last ball.

1651 - SA 99-4 (26 overs)
A double change in the bowling - new bowler, same county as Harmy is replaced by Durham team-mate Colly for some military medium. He has an lbw appeal off the first ball against Boucher, who then on-drives but is denied by Harmy, who sinks to his knees at mid-off. The unshaven Colly grits his teeth as a cutter is missed by both Boucher and Prior (standing up to the stumps), and shoots straight through for four byes. Boucher and Duminy prod a single apiece, but the run rate needed is above eight an over - 198 runs needed from 144 balls. So if England lose from here, it'll be a "gross" defeat...

"Why is a quality bowler like Bresnan, wasting his energy as England's second sub fielder, when Yorkshire are playing a crucial game without their best bowler, and in need of some second innings wickets? Could they not have released him back to us and got some talented Surrey youngster to field for them and carry on the drinks and towels? I'm sure if one of the team stalwarts hadn't made the XI, they wouldn't be abused like this"
Duncan, Leeds, in the TMS inbox

1646 - SA 93-4 (25 overs)
Freddie takes a breather and it's time for some slow left-arm spin from Samit Patel, who seems to be taking to international cricket quite comfortably, having batted well earlier today and taken a good catch. He's not the biggest spinner of the ball and doesn't have a classical left-armer's action in the mould of a Bishen Bedi (or even a Monty Panesar), but he has Duminy tied down and that's a maiden over - job done.

1644 - SA 93-4 (24 overs)
Ali Cook is back on the field again, sub-fielding for person or persons unknown. Just a single apiece from Boucher and JPD off Harmy, the atmosphere has gone a little flat as it sometimes does in the middle of 50-over innings.

1640 - SA 91-4 (23 overs)
Boucher knocks Freddie away from a couple, he's playing himself in very quickly. A slight misfield from Colly brings another single - SA have a left-hand/right-hand combo in now, with JPD and Boucher. A couple more singles - England were 138-1 at this stage.

"In response to Mike's comment [1523] about giving Bell some slack because 'he could well develop into a world-class player in time' - he is now 26, made his debut in both forms of the game four years ago, and has 43 Tests and 72 ODIs to his name. How long does someone need to prove themselves?"
Andy, Bristol, in the TMS inbox

1635 - SA 86-4 (22 overs)
England are buzzing now - Shah and Flintoff in as two slips for Harmison. Boucher adds another single, then Duminy paddles a single to deep square leg - Anderson's bullet throw hits the stumps and ricochets away so the batsmen run an overthrow!

Arlo White
"England fans may be starting to rue the postponement of next month's Champions Trophy, as they'd be in very good nick going into it"
Arlo White on TMS

1631 - SA 83-4 (21 overs)
New batsman Mark Boucher is off the mark with a single.

Wicket falls
1628 - WICKET - de Villiers run out (Harmison) 12 - SA 82-4 (20.5 overs)
ABDV can't reach a searing bouncer from Flintoff. But he then steers a single to leg, comes back for an awful second run that was never there, Harmy's throw is fast and accurate and Prior has to make the smallest of adjustments to catch the ball and break the wicket in one action. ABDV dives full-length for the crease, but umpire Taufel doesn't even need the third ump - he's gone!

1626 - SA 79-3 (20 overs)
JPD is backing up a long way, but sent back by ABDV when angling for a quick single. A brutal delivery from Harmy nearly cuts ABDV in two, and he can only manage a single off the final delivery. That's it for the powerplays, and Shaun Pollock feels SA are "well behind" where they should be.

Text in your views on 81111
"As the only England player to play in the IPL, I hope Dimi is not being punished by the selectors. Surely he should be in the squad before Wright and Bopara"
Paul in Manchester, via text on 81111

1621 - SA 78-3 (19 overs)
We've really got plenty of initials at the crease now as ABDV is joined by the left-handed JP Duminy. (Where's JPR Williams when you need him)? As they ran on the catch, ABDV is on strike and he steers another single.

Wicket falls
1618 - WICKET - Kallis c Patel b Flintoff 9 - SA 77-3 (18.2 overs)
ABDV knocks Fred for a single to fine leg. But Kallis's innings is ended as he tries to pull through mid-wicket, hits it up into the air and the burly Patel gets back very quickly to take a good diving catch over his shoulder - watching the ball every inch of the way. Well held, sir.

1616 - SA 76-2 (18 overs)
Kallis tries to off-drive Harmy and somehow steers a single to deep backward square leg. A very well-timed cover drive from ABDV finds the gap perfectly for four - and he pinches the strike with a quick single to mid-on. England were 116-1 at this stage.

Shaun Pollock
"I don't know what's going on out there with South Africa - some of the running between the wickets has been very casual"
Shaun Pollock on TMS

1613 - SA 70-2 (17 overs)
Kallis turns Flintoff for a leg bye off his hip to fine leg, then ABDV is off the mark with a single. Kallis tries to turn another one to leg, and they dash a single as Prior's throw just misses the stumps.

1609 - SA 67-2 (16 overs)
After an impromptu drinks break and visit from the ground staff, South Africa are ready to resume with new batsman AB de Villiers at the crease. He sees off the last two balls - Harmy has a wicket maiden.

Wicket falls
1605 - WICKET - Amla c Prior b Harmison 46 - SA 67-2 (15.4 overs)
Umpire Simon Taufel signals the third powerplay, whirling his arms before holding three fingers aloft to indicate that England can have three fielders outside the circle in this five-over spell. Amla walks across his stumps again, is struck on the pad well outside off stump - and while there's no appeal from bowler or keeper, there are a few half-hearted ones from the infield... But then Amla's luck finally runs out as he wafts at Harmy and gets an inside edge which flies through to Prior, who takes a good low catch.

1602 - SA 67-1 (15 overs)
More cheers as Flintoff replaces Anderson. Amla continues to ride his luck, getting a top edge over Prior for four - then walking across his stumps and flicking him through square leg for four. He rotates the strike with a single - can he keep it going?

Text in your views on 81111
"Bell scored only five fewer runs then Freddie. Batted more aggressively, scored more boundaries and did it at number one. What does if have to do to stop the doubters?"
Nick, Hull, via text on 81111

1558 - SA 58-1 (14 overs)
A few cheers around the ground as Harmison replaces Broad. Amla uppercuts, Anderson stretches out a hand at third man... he's a foot short of taking a catch but it sails through for four. Amla carves Harmy away for a well-run two, then a single. An expensive over concludes with Kallis finally recording his first boundary with a cover-driven four.

"Mark - Sorry, but Bopara and Wright and Denly are all side issues. What has Dimi Mascarenhas done wrong - smacked all opposition bowlers out of cricket grounds, bowls well, gets dropped?"
Gina in Gloucestershire in the TMS inbox
[As a Hampshire fan, I'd have to agree. He has the best six-hitting ratio, per balls faced, in the whole of ODI cricket, but was still dropped! MM]

1553 - SA 47-1 (13 overs)
Harmy's still stretching at mid-on, but Jimmy's still bowling and fires in a bouncer to Amla. The bearded maestro then beautifully on-drives off his legs for four. Amla is deceived by a slower ball but a fumble by Prior behind the timbers produces the first bye of the match. Kallis tips-and-runs a quick single to mid-on.

"Re: Mark in London [1518] - Who would a cricket World XI play against?"
Andy (also in London) in the TMS inbox

1549 - SA 40-1 (12 overs)
Amla reaches from outside off stump to waft Broad towards long-on - Wright and Patel give chase, and the Sussex-Notts tag-team combine well as Wright acrobatically stops the four and Patel throws the ball in. They run three. Kallis finally doubles his score with a single, then Amla nearly chops Broad onto his stumps but the ball lands safely. Broad looks like he's running short of the blond hair dye he's been using for most of the summer, his flowing locks have more of a light-brown hue to them now. Amla steers the final ball to third man for a single, he has 25 now. England were 89-0 at this stage.

"Re: Neil in the Isle of Man [1513] & Iain in Glasgow [1414], wouldn't Bell-bashing be better termed 'Belligerance'?"
Trevor, Bradford, West Yorks, in the TMS inbox

1544 - SA 35-1 (11 overs)
The second powerplay is signalled with a flourish by umpire Llong. Amla forces Anderson away for a single, but Kallis can't beat Colly at backward point - he has just one run from his first 12 balls, and Jimmy has 1-11 from six overs.

"Well down for publishing the ICC rankings site address - can't get on it now as it's so busy - can we get together to crash some other sites?"
Savo, Tring, in the TMS inbox

1540 - SA 34-1 (10 overs)
KP scowls at Patel for not backing up the captain's throw at the stumps as South Africa run a couple of undeserved overthrows. Kallis is defensive at this stage.

"At this point in time, I don't think Bell is a 'great' player - not yet. I think he has great technique and goes about his work in an unassuming manner. Every now and again he'll pull shots out of the bag that would make even Vaughany proud. He doesn't always convert his starts into big scores, no. But he does score runs on a consistent basis. When he does start to convert those starts on a consistent basis - and this is probably more a case of examining his mental approach - he may well become a 'great' of the game"
Jonny Mardling in the TMS inbox

1537 - SA 31-1 (9 overs)
Steve Harmison is warming up at mid-on but it's still Anderson for his fifth over. A single from Amla takes him to his highest ever ODI score - a mighty 17 - while the scoreboard operators at The Oval are showing plenty of confidence as neither is displaying the Duckworth/Lewis par score.

Text in your views on 81111
"In keeping with the spirit of today's Bell debate, is KP worth his place after such a dismal failure with the bat today?"
Tony, Verwood, via text on 81111

1533 - SA 30-1 (8 overs)
Amla reaches double figures with a four through the covers, then a wristy flick off his legs guides the ball down to fine leg for four. A single rounds off the over.

1528 - SA 21-1 (7 overs)
Time for a captain's innings from Jacques "Shark" Kallis if South Africa are to stay in the series? The TMS crew reckon that without Smith, they may have needed Gibbs to "tee off", but what can Kallis do? He's off the mark with a single, Amla keeps the strike with another.

Wicket falls
1525 - WICKET - Gibbs c Shah b Anderson 12 - SA 19-1 (6.3 overs)
Freddie is back in as the solitary slip for Anderson - while TV replays continue to show different angles of the run-out from the last over. But after a single from Amla, whatever the benefit of the doubt Gibbs got last over, his participation in the day's events is ended when Gibbs prods the ball straight to Shah at short cover point!

1523 - SA 18-0 (6 overs)
Gibbs punches Broad through mid-wicket for three. Amla scampers a quick single, Patel's throw from backward square leg hits the stumps and umpire Nigel Llong refers it upstairs to third ump Peter Hartley - whose verdict is "not out". Just. So Gibbs survives, and he celebrates by gloriously flaying Broad through the covers for four. Flintoff signs a couple of autographs (and gives Graeme Smith a friendly pat on the head) before rejoining the action at the end of the over.

"Geoff is right and wrong. Bell is patently not world-class for the reasons discussed but he has the potential to be if he can mentally raise his game. Ask any professional and they rave about his technique and his talent. Give him some slack, he could well develop into a world-class player in time"
Mike Gore in the TMS inbox

1518 - SA 10-0 (5 overs)
Paul Collingwood makes a diving half-stop at backward point which restricts Gibbs to two rather than four. A single to leg brings Amla back on strike, and I'm reminded this is only Amla's fourth ODI. His previous scores are 9 not out, 16 and DNB (did not bat). Looking at the ODI schedule for next year, Simon Mann and Tuffers on TMS feel staging an ODI at the Riverside for late September is somewhat optimistic weather-wise...

"Re: Geoff [1409] and David [1423]: I think this brings us back to a particular bug-bear of mine, i.e. the confusion between 'international class' and 'world class'. A man with a Test average of 44 is clearly an international class player, but to be a 'world class' player I always think you need to be generally regarded as a sensible pick for a World XI. Flintoff would, therefore, be world class, as would Pietersen, Graeme Smith, and Kallis from the players in this series. I'm a Bell fan, but I don't think he's at that level"
Mark Baxter, London, in the TMS inbox

1513 - SA 7-0 (4 overs)
Patel leaves the field to be replaced by Bresnan, England's second sub fielder. The TMS team are confident that there won't be a problem with Flintoff coming on to bowl when he returns, as it was an "external" injury sustained during the match. (And please don't ask me to explain the difference between "external" and "internal" injuries. Broadly, "internal" injuries are pulled muscles and the like). Gibbs knocks a single into the off side, Amla steers him away for a couple before digging out a good yorker. SA are watchful at this stage.

"Should 'Bell bashing' [Iain in Glasgow, 1414] be more correctly described as campanology?"
Neil in the Isle of Man, in the TMS inbox

1510 - SA 4-0 (3 overs)
Amla hits Anderson into the air... but it falls just short of the diving Harmison at mid-on. Amla rides his luck, edging past Cook at second slip, the Essex man half-stops it on the bounce and they run a single. Patel is razor-sharp at mid-wicket to deny Gibbs a single, but he's eventually off the mark with another flick to leg.

"Mark, I am of the opinion that the Wright v Bopara debate should actually be a Wright v Bopara v Denly debate, the fact that Denly doesn't bowl is irrelevant as how often do Wright or Bopara bowl when they play?"
Andy in London in the TMS inbox

1507 - SA 2-0 (2 overs)
Stuart Broad takes the second over - he's a young man going up in the world, having shot up to fourth (yes, fourth, ahead of Murali) in the ICC ODI bowling rankings after that five-fer at Trent Bridge. Of the other England bowlers, Freddie is 13th, Jimmy is 32nd, then you have to drop a lot further to Sidey (66th) and Colly (67th). By comparison, everyone's favourite portly Bermuda spinner/prison van driver Dwayne Leverock is 58th. Just one leg-bye from Broad's first over, so that's a maiden.
INTERNET LINK: ICC Player Rankings

1502 - SA 1-0 (1 over)
James Anderson takes the new ball. Amla gets South Africa under way with a single past Cook at second slip, then Anderson gets one to swing past Gibbs' outside edge. A good first over for the "Burnley Express".

"Re: Nick [1319] - I resigned my Surrey membership (and thereby gave up my rights to international tickets at The Oval) when I received the application form for the 2008 Tests and ODIs in protest at the dramatic increase in ticket prices. Paul Blanchard, Surrey's sales and marketing director stated on Cricinfo that 'we haven't received any negative feedback' with regard to the price of international tickets, so I made sure he was sent another copy of my resignation letter"
Chris, from London in the TMS inbox

1457: To answer some of the gazillions of e-mails: Rachel Costigan [1322], you are not alone, a couple of dozen people have told they also shut their eyes to avoid seeing wicket icons. We're almost ready to go, the bearded Hashim Amla is opening with Herschelle Gibbs for South Africa. Flintoff has not taken the field because he's still suffering with a headache after being hit on the helmet - but he'll be on soon and will bowl. Alastair Cook is on as substitute fielder.

Get involved on 606
1427: Right, because of the treatment Flintoff had, we finished that innings late and we've got a shortened interval - South Africa will begin their reply at 1500 BST. We're going to take a quick sandwich break - "the Bell Debate" is reaching epic proportions on the e-mails and texts, we're not going to be able to print all of your replies on it, so I would recommend visiting 606 where you can all debate the issue (and Wright v Bopara!) much fuller than on this live text! Back soon.
Join the debate on 606


1423 - Eng 296-7 (50 overs)
Stuart Broad has to come out for one ball as non-striker, as they crossed on the catch. Freddie can only manage a leg bye off the final delivery - he finishes with 78 not out from 77 balls.

Text in your views on 81111
"Really Geoff [1409], come on now. How can someone who has scored 199 against South Africa's pace attack and average over 44 in Test cricket not be deemed world class?
David, London, via text on 81111

Wicket falls
1422 - WICKET - Wright c Gibbs b Steyn 17 - Eng 295-7 (49.5 overs)
Steyn to bowl the last over. Wright scythes the first ball to third man for a single, Flintoff steers the second to long-on but only one is possible. Wright gets down on one knee and tries the unorthodox "shovel over the shoulder" shot in the air to fine leg... where he's dropped by Morne Morkel! They run one anyway. Flintoff can only steer the fourth ball for a single to square leg, Wright flat-bats the fifth where he is caught at mid-wicket by Gibbs. 17 off 13 balls for the Sussex man.

Text in your views on 81111
"Do you think Flintoff might do a Devon Malcolm after the smack on the head and blow the South Africans away with some unplayable balls for next to nowt?"
Dave Jones, Derbyshire, via text on 81111

1418 - Eng 291-6 (49 overs)
Wright flashes M-Morkel to point again, and some disappointing fielding from Ntini - who's not had a good day - allows four as the ball seems to go through him. Wright is all over the place in the crease, Morkel tries to follow him but is tempted into straying with a legside wide. Wright blasts the next ball through mid-wicket for four, then singles to mid-off. With fine leg up, a terrible delivery from Morkel is hooked over him for four by Flintoff. A leg bye takes England to 290, and Wright flicks the last ball away for a single.

1414 - Eng 275-6 (48 overs)
To be fair to Steyn, he's not bowled as well as he normally does today, and Flintoff flays him for four through point. But Steyn foxes Fred with a well-disguised slower ball and he swishes and misses. A single brings Wright back on strike, and prompts another long shuffle of the field. Wright clubs a short ball to long-on for a single, then Flintoff heaves the last ball over wide long-on and into the stand for six! (It's measured at 83m).

Text in your views on 81111
"To be fair, Cook gets just as many questions asked about his batting for getting out in the 60s in Tests. However as a fellow Ian (well Iain) I say stop Bell bashing!"
Iain, bored in Glasgow, via text on 81111

1409 - Eng 263-6 (47 overs)
Kallis off, Morne Morkel back on, and Flintoff dabs a single to third man to take his score to 60. Wright and Freddie keep the singles ticking, but they're not going to get to 300 pushing singles at this stage. Wright, as if he's heard me type that, goes for the big one but it lands safely between two fielders in the cow corner region and they run two.

Text in your views on 81111
"Bell is not a world-class batsman in any way or form. He looks good but gets in and then gets out. When has Bell ever scored runs under pressure? He only ever gets hundreds against poor teams or when someone else in the team gets a hundred first"
Geoff, Norwich, via text on 81111

1405 - Eng 258-6 (46 overs)
Flintoff is "iced" again between his right eye and his hairline, as Luke Wright - who was opening for England in ODIs against New Zealand at the beginning of the summer - strides out at number eight. Whether or not you believe there should be a "Bell debate" (and whichever side you're on if you do believe there should be one), the "Wright v Bopara" debate has been raging for a while now - can Wright strike a few lusty blows to justify his selection ahead of Ravi B? Just a single apiece to the batsmen - a better over for the Proteas.

Wicket falls
1401 - WICKET - Patel b Ntini 31 - Eng 256-6 (45.2 overs)
As Flintoff has more ice applied to his head and guzzles down another drink, will we see some fireworks now? Freddie is eyeing up the boundaries against Ntini - another thumping straight-drive brings just a single. Patel steps away to go for another big hit, but is bowled. Not a bad start to his ODI batting career though - 31 off 33 balls.

1359 - Eng 255-5 (45 overs)
Kallis is plundered for more singles by Fred'n'Samit, then a beautifully-placed Flintoff straight drive beats the diving Duminy at long-on for four. After he rotates the strike again, Patel square-drives and they run two more.

That's 50
1356 - Eng 246-5 (44 overs)
Ntini back on for Steyn, Patel guides another single before Flintoff reaches his 18th ODI fifty from 56 balls. Patel bludgeons a four past mid-off, then tucks a single to the mid-wicket boundary. Two more singles - it's steady accumulation from England now.

Text in your views on 81111
"David I think what people are saying is that a batsman of Bell's quality, when set and past 50, he has the quality and really should bat through and get a 110-120, or at least see it through to the last five to 10 overs, rotating the strike and taking the pressure off the strikers of the ball to come in"
Craig D, Hull, via text on 81111

1351 - Eng 238-5 (43 overs)
Kaptain Kallis returns to the attack, but is out of luck as Patel gets an inside edge past his leg stump for four. A single brings up the fifty stand, then Flintoff blasts another four behind backward point. Two more singles - and England have 11 from the over.

"Nice work explaining the powerplays, Mark [1224]. Could you now explain the offside rule in football please?"
Lee, Colchester, in the TMS inbox
[I can do better than that - I can direct you to a better explanation on the BBC Sport website than I could give - MM]
The offside rule explained

1347 - Eng 227-5 (42 overs)
Patel steers another single, then Flintoff shows no ill-effects from the last over by blasting Steyn for his fifth four past backward point. A couple more singles round off Steyn's eighth over.

Text in your views on 81111
"I don't get it! Bell has another cracking innings and still the BBC are negative. There is NO Bell debate - he is one of our top two batsmen and we should be lauding another fine innings, not moaning about it not being a century! No other batsman seems to get this wholly unwarranted negativity - so why him? Is it because he's not loud and arrogant and thus doesn't self-promote? Does his quiet demeanour make him a target? Back off and enjoy him for what he is - a world-class batsmen!"
David, B'ham, via text on 81111

1342 - Eng 220-5 (41 overs)
Flintoff takes a fresh guard against M-Morkel, who slings in another wide. The singles continue to flow, but then Flintoff is plunked on the grille of his helmet as he tries to hook. A little dazed, he wrenches off the helmet and kicks it away. There's no blood, but England physio Kirk Russell comes on to check him over, accompanied by 12th man Tim Bresnan (carrying a water bottle) and 13th man Graeme Swann (wielding a light blue towel). He's fine to continue.

"On the subject of Ian Bell, the criticism he receives is the same criticism Graham Thorpe used to receive. Have an excellent average in both forms of the game, but somehow as they don't make matchwinning scores they are deemed failures, even if they are Mr Consistent"
A Garnett, The grim North, in the TMS inbox

1336 - Eng 217-5 (40 overs)
One particular group of fans in the stands are all tucking into their lunch already, and South Africa have until 1415 to bowl their overs - could be a bit tight if they keep bowling wides, considering they've taken the spinner off. Steyn has replaced Ntini, but Patel knocks another single and then Flintoff lifts him from outside off stump for two towards cow corner. He keeps pushing the singles, and Patel fences at a short ball but the scurrying Duminy at third man turns four into two. The Notts man finally has his first boundary when he flicks the wrists and guides Steyn through long leg for four, taking his score to 13 and keeping up England's momentum. Now for the last 10.

1331 - Eng 207-5 (39 overs)
Well, I was wrong about Botha - he's off after nine overs and Morne Morkel returns. After a single from Flintoff, Morkel strays with a wide. Patel tries but fails to pierce the infield for a couple of deliveries, but eventually steers a single to the cover sweeper. Flintoff opens the face successfully and they run a good two to third man.

1326 - Eng 202-5 (38 overs)
After another single from Patel, Flintoff brings up the 200 with another cracking cover-driven four, which is cheered from the stands by the unlikely alliance of Yoda and an Imperial Stormtrooper. Sitting together. Unforeseen, this is.

1322 - Eng 196-5 (37 overs)
Botha looks like he's bowling straight through, wheeling away for his ninth over as the two batsmen manage a single off the first four deliveries. Flintoff then cuts loose, smashing the last ball through the covers, where not even the despairing dive of Albie Morkel on the extra cover boundary can prevent the four.

"Does anyone else close their eyes, press refresh then page down whilst keeping eyes closed so as not to see a wicket icon (or several as occurred on Tuesday) to avoid having to read the action backwards?! Sure my work colleagues think I keep having 40 winks!"
Rachel Costigan in the TMS inbox

1319 - Eng 188-5 (36 overs)
Kallis replaces himself in the attack with Ntini, who bowled five slightly wayward overs earlier and strays again with another legside wide. Patel works another single off his pads, Flintoff takes his score to 21 with another couple of singles.

"In response to Hugh Stevens' comment on ticket prices [1150], I agree they're high but there were tickets on sale for about half that price. So it's not entirely a fair comparison"
Nick (no I don't work for Surrey CCC) in London, in the TMS inbox

1314 - Eng 184-5 (35 overs)
The new batsman is Samit Patel, who bats right-handed. He's off the mark in his first ODI innings by working Botha for a single to leg, and Flintoff adds another to keep the strike.

Wicket falls
1311 - WICKET - Collingwood c Boucher b Botha 14 - Eng 182-5 (34.2 overs)
After a single from Fred, Colly tries to work Botha to leg but is adjudged to have feathered a catch behind to Boucher.

"I was in Dambulla, Sri Lanka [see 1150 entry] for the one-day games against England last year. I didn't 'splash the cash' on a grandstand seat but sat on the bank all day for the equivalent price of 80p!"
Rob, Walsall, in the TMS inbox
[You would also have been entertained in those ODIs at Dambulla by the frequent pitch invasions by Dog #1, Dog #2 and their canine friends - I certainly was! MM]
As it happened: Multiple pitch invasions by Dambulla dogs interrupt England-Sri Lanka ODI

1307 - Eng 181-4 (34 overs)
Flintoff thumps Kallis over mid-on for four, despite not quite timing it. Aggers and Shaun Pollock on TMS think Ntini is out of position at deep extra cover, but Kallis signals him to loosen up as Flintoff adds another single. Colly goes aerial, hoisting the burly all-rounder for a first-bounce four to cow corner - nine from the over. Drinks break - and the compulsory ball change.

"As it is my last day in my current job, I'm just going to watch the text all day. My team have asked me to go for lunch, but I hope they don't expect me to pay this time. I've spent more today on cakes than they have on my present. I think we've got a good side and they should stop tinkering and putting pressure on the selectors because someone has a good knock every now and then"
Rob Jones in the TMS inbox

1303 - Eng 172-4 (33 overs)
Colly works Botha away for a quick single, and the Proteas spinner then fields smartly off his own bowling to deny Flintoff. The Prestonian steers a single to square leg, and the singles continue to flow for both batsmen.

"Re: Dan [1139] - the clamouring will most likely continue today as despite Luke Wright being a dead ringer for Shane Watson he is not quite up to the same lofty standards! Ravi for England!"
Chris Cully in the TMS inbox

1301 - Eng 168-4 (32 overs)
Kallis gets a bit of swing against Colly, who eventually steers a two to third man and a single to mid-wicket. Meanwhile, 12th man Tim Bresnan scampers on with some fresh gloves.

"Why do they change the ball after 34 overs in a one day match when it'll do 80 overs in a Test?"
Pete Blott, Lutterworth, in the TMS inbox
[It's because the lacquer they use on white balls doesn't seem to last very long - hence the MCC experiments with pink balls - MM]
REPORT (November 2007): Pink balls set for one-day trials

1257 - Eng 165-4 (31 overs)
A well-placed single from Colly bisects mid-off and extra cover. Freddie then whips Botha through mid-wicket for a couple, then two more singles round off the over. Botha quickly through his sixth over.

1254 - Eng 160-4 (30 overs)
Can "Goldenarm" Kallis do it again? Flintoff works him away for a single, Colly pinches the strike with another.

Shaun Pollock
"I'm looking forward to getting home to see my wife and kids - but I like Britain, despite the double winters. You have a severe winter, then a milder winter. But I'm back soon to play in the Dunhill Links golf"
Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock on TMS

1251 - Eng 158-4 (29 overs)
Flintoff struggles to get Botha away, with ABDV on the prowl as ever in his favoured backward point area. He eventually steers the last ball of a quick over to long-on for a single.

1248 - Eng 157-4 (28 overs)
New batsman is Paul Collingwood - having not needed to bat or bowl on his return at Trent Bridge on Tuesday, he'd have qualified for a TFC ("thanks for coming"), but he's off the mark today with a two past mid-on.

Phil Tufnell
"I was waiting to bat against the West Indies once, and Curtley Ambrose managed to knock off some extra padding Jack Russell had put on his glove - I thought Curtley had taken Jack's hand off!"
Phil Tufnell on TMS

Wicket falls
1245 - WICKET - Pietersen lbw b Kallis 5 - Eng 155-4 (27.2 overs)
After hitting a two to point, suddenly it's all over for KP as he's hit on the back pad while driving at one that nips back - his first batting failure as captain? Kaptain Kallis strikes again!

1243 - Eng 153-3 (27 overs)
KP drives Botha for a single, the England pair add one more apiece as they play themselves in.

Text in your views on 81111
"Why doesn't KP persuade Trescothick to play just ODIs in England, it solves the Bell debate for 50% of the time!"
Anonymous, via text on 81111

1240 - Eng 150-3 (26 overs)
The bars around the ground empty as Andrew Flintoff joins KP, to huge cheers. Can the "Bash Brothers" repeat their heroics from Headingley? Flintoff immediately brings up the 150 with an almost effortless cover-drive that's more of a forward defensive for the big man.

Wicket falls
1237 - WICKET - Shah b Kallis 23 - Eng 146-3 (25.1 overs)
A change of bowling - Kallis brings himself on. (Mind you, Simon Mann on TMS says SA broadcaster Neil Manthorp told him earlier Kallis was captain in name, but keeper Mark Boucher would be calling most of the shots). Whoever made the decision, they should pat themselves on the back as Shah gets a thick inside edge to Kallis's first ball and it splays his stumps!

1236 - Eng 146-2 (25 overs)
New batsman Kevin Pietersen is off the mark with a single off his second ball. Shah's running-between-wickets is a little shaky at this stage, but he adds another single.

Wicket falls
1232 - WICKET - Bell lbw b Botha 73 - Eng 144-2 (24.2 overs)
Botha traps Bell back on his crease as he misjudges the length and he's adjudged lbw by umpire Taufel - he looks annoyed to be out but Hawk-Eye agrees it would have hit leg stump. So, yet again Bell fails to convert a fifty into a hundred when well set - no doubt the Ian Bell debate will continue to run...

1231 - Eng 143-1 (24 overs)
Not content with just pushing singles, Shah forces Steyn through mid-wicket for four. Meanwhile, Simon Mann and Tuffers are giving TMS listeners a good education on the history of the Third Crusade between deliveries. A good slower ball from Steyn is tapped-and-run by Shah, the England pair are hesitant, de Villiers dives in from backward point but his throw is millimetres wide - Bell would have been out if it had hit.

1227 - Eng 138-1 (23 overs)
Bell and Shah keep pushing the singles against Botha, and Shah reaches 1,000 ODI runs (lifting his bat to acknowledge he clearly knew the milestone was there).

1224 - Eng 132-1 (22 overs)
Shah cracks the recalled Steyn through the covers for one, Bell opens the face to run a single to third man. Shah dabs a single to backward point and Bell keeps rotating the strike as well.

"Morning Mark. If you have a moment between boundaries could you explain about the Powerplays please?"
Linda in Newbury in the TMS inbox
[Very briefly, there's a compulsory powerplay for the first 10 overs, then two others lasting five overs each which are taken whenever the fielding captain chooses - but are normally taken straight away, ie from overs 11-20. During powerplays, only two men (three for powerplay 3) can be outside the fielding circle, while there are two compulsory close catchers. It forces captains to set attacking fields early on, giving the batting side the chance to plunder early boundaries before the field is put back - MM]
INTERNET LINK: Powerplays, explained in more detail by Wikipedia

1219 - Eng 128-1 (21 overs)
The Morkel Supremacy is ended as South Africa turn to off-spinner Johan Botha. Bell knocks him for a single to leg, Shah steers the final delivery to deep point for one.

"Mark, do you think KP has installed the drinking of copious amounts of Red Bull as a prematch requirement? I've never seen England (let alone Bell!) go off as quick as this"
James, Warwick, in the TMS inbox
[Other energy drinks are available - MM]

1215 - Eng 126-1 (20 overs)
After another wide and a single to Bell, there's a candidate for "shot of the day" from Shah as he bludgeons a short ball from A-Morkel through mid-wicket for four. South Africa will be thankful just to get the powerplays out of the way.

The French flag
"Re: Bowling in France. I was holidaying in Brittany a couple of weeks ago and beat a bunch of French blokes at petanque… they were visibly upset. Lots of grunts and presumably foul language aimed at 'le rosbif' - got quite nasty at one point. Surely I deserve to be added to the pantheon of famous English who have put one up the French (Henry V, Wellington etc). A statue on the vacant plinth in Trafalgar Square would be nice"
Dan in the TMS inbox

1211 - Eng 120-1 (19 overs)
Bell straight-drives M-Morkel for a single, then Shah turns one to deep square leg but some more sharp fielding restricts him to one. Bell chops a no-ball to third man for a single - and they can change the field for Shah as he's a different batsman. Knowing he can't be out caught, even with a man out on the hook, Shah pulls but misses at the "free hit" ball.

Text in your views on 81111
"Is it me? I miss the first 100 minutes, see that the boys have been whipping the ball around - and as soon as i start following it, England are becalmed and start losing wickets. I'm going out again"
Phil, not watching the cricket, via text on 81111

1207 - Eng 116-1 (18 overs)
A classical off-drive from Shah despatches A-Morkel to the boundary for four, then he steers one to mid-on and they canter through for a single. Morkel strays with a legside wide, then Bell tries to force him through the covers but JP Duminy makes a smart low stop. Bell, who's slowed down a bit since racing to his fifty, nabs the strike again with a straight-driven single.

"As KP has had such an impressive start to his reign as captain, it begs the question, are there any decent South African footballers who could defect to our football team?"
Adie and Mark at The Oval, in the TMS inbox

1203 - Eng 109-1 (17 overs)
Bell can't quite time it against M-Morkel, who sends down a maiden as Bell fences and misses at a couple. Morkel junior has been SA's most economical bowler by a distance - 0-19 from his first five overs.

"Are you ever going to give Ian Bell any credit? England's most consistent batsman in both forms of the game and its always 'why can't he always bat like this' or why doesn't he make big hundreds etc. So churlish! And very odd that Cook, Strauss, Shah et al are never given the same scrutiny"
Jonathan, Westminster, in the TMS inbox
[His fifty-to-century conversion rate in ODIs has been criticised by some media pundits as before today, he had 14 ODI fifties but only one century - can he make it two today? MM]

1158 - Eng 109-1 (16 overs)
New batsman is Owais Shah, who takes guard firmly, banging his bat into the crease while doing a little body-shuffle. He tickles a single to fine leg to get off the mark, then they run one on a wide. A-Morkel tries to round off the over with a bouncer which sails high over Shah and Boucher and disappears for five wides.

"Is Cookie from Essex (1108) actually Alastair Cook trying a devious tactic to get back into ODI contention?"
Daniel Clark in the TMS inbox

Wicket falls
1153 - WICKET - Prior c Gibbs b A Morkel 33 - Eng 101-1 (15.2 overs)
South Africa opt to take the third powerplay straight away. Prior brings up the hundred with a two to square leg - but the very next ball, he tries tro pull a short-pitched ball, gets a top edge and Herschelle Gibbs races in from the covers to take a diving catch.

1150 - Eng 99-0 (15 overs)
Bell guides M-Morkel to the bowler's big brother at fine leg for a couple. Bell is in aggressive mode, but can't get the rest of the over away.

"Back in the UK after three weeks in Sri Lanka I was shocked to hear that the price for tickets today at the Oval is £100! I was in Dambulla for the first ODI between Sri Lanka and India and we paid £5 for the ticket, and this was a grandstand seat! I understand that there is a big difference in the standard of stadium, people's general earnings, etc but the difference is astronomical!"
Hugh Stevens in the TMS inbox

1146 - Eng 97-0 (14 overs)
A moment of worry for Bell as he jabs A-Morkel down towards his feet and temporarily loses sight of where the ball is, but it lands safely. AB de Villiers at backward point then tries to throw down the stumps at the bowler's end as there's a mix-up and Prior has to turn quickly to regain his ground. It even looks like we might have a maiden until Bell opens the face and guides a single to third man.

David Dickinson
Graham Thorpe
1143 - Eng 96-0 (13 overs)
Arlo White on TMS compares the suntanned Graham Thorpe (who's just arrived in the box) to the mahogany-tanned TV antiques expert David Dickinson, but it's England who are in the midst of a Bargain Hunt as Bell drives Morkel for another four, before turning a two to leg and then nicking the strike with another single.

1139 - Eng 89-0 (12 overs)
It's Morkels from both ends as the medium-fast Morkel senior - Albie - replaces Ntini at the Vauxhall End. After a single from Bell, Albie sends down a wide - while Tuffers on TMS wonders whether you can get sunburnt through water. Prior plunders a couple of twos off the last two deliveries.

"Will we have the usual clamouring for Ravi Bopara again today? Personally I don't see what's so great about an all-rounder who can score 25 off 40 balls and then not bowl in a losing cause. Surely someone with a decent strike rate like Luke Wright will be far more adept at scoring runs at number eight?"
Dan Lucas in the TMS inbox

1134 - Eng 83-0 (11 overs)
After umpire Taufel signals the second powerplay, Prior is back on his heels and gloves a lifter from Morkel over the keeper and slips for four. We then have a collectors' item - the second single of the innings - as he guides one to mid-off. Bell dabs-and-runs a single to pinch the strike.

That's 50
1129 - Eng 77-0 (10 overs)
Ntini has a half-hearted lbw shout against Bell, which may have hit him a fraction outside off stump. Bell advances a step down the pitch, cover-drives and not even the pursuing Hashim Amla can stop the four. Then, it's an even better shot from Bell as he lofts Ntini over long-off for six! He brings up his 15th ODI fifty (off 36 balls) with another powerful four through point - 68 of the first 77 runs have come from boundaries.

"Both Prior and Mustard are better than Ambrose with gloves and bat. Ambrose has only scored runs when the bowling has been poor and to make matters worse, I have a horrendous hangover!"
Jamie Lomas in the TMS inbox

1126 - Eng 63-0 (9 overs)
A change of bowling sees Steyn replaced by Morne Morkel. Prior plays and misses before square-driving for four. Morkel keeps it tight as his brother Albie fields well in the covers.

1121 - Eng 59-0 (8 overs)
With just one slip in, Bell brings up the fifty with a sliced four through where third slip would have been. He then rides his luck again with a nick between the keeper and slip, neither of whom go for it - and he collects his third four of the over with a pull to leg.

"Why did Ollie [1025] go all the way to France for the day to play tenpin bowling? We have that over here, you know"
Neil, Slough, in the TMS inbox

1117 - Eng 47-0 (7 overs)
It's been nearly all boundaries and extras from England so far - just one single all innings (off the last ball of the first over). Bell blasts another four from Steyn, who then strays with a wide, and the Warwickshire man then picks one up from outside off stump and lifts it down to cow corner for four. Some rare running-between-wickets ensues as Bell steers a three down to long-on. Now, why can't England always bat like this during powerplays?

1112 - Eng 35-0 (6 overs)
Stand-in skipper "Shark" Kallis keeps faith with Ntini, despite that wild previous over. Prior tries to step across his stumps and flick him to leg, Pietersen-style, but can't make contact. When he eventually does get bat on ball, it's a handsome square cut for four.

1108 - Eng 31-0 (5 overs)
Bell guides a legside delivery through backward square leg for four. Steyn, with two slips in, keeps it tight for the rest of the over.

Text in your views on 81111
"As a resource manager, I am a bit dismayed to discover that there are five officials looking after the match. Surely TV replay man has enough spare time to sort out a new ball as well? He has 34 overs' notice after all. Can I put myself forward for the role as the new cheaper option?"
Cookie, Essex, via text on 81111

1104 - Eng 27-0 (4 overs)
Ntini overpitches and Prior responds with a fluent cover drive that has Arlo White and Shaun Pollock purring with admiration in the TMS box. However, he plays and misses at the next ball, then appears to edge behind - the South Africans all go up... but Prior stands his ground and that's a good decision by umpire Llong as it brushed his right hip. A no-ball from Ntini brings a free hit - Prior steps back and (rightly) has a big slog, top-edges over the slips for four, and that was a no-ball so it's another free hit! The free hit is... a legside wide, which Boucher the poucher only just stops from going to four - so we get a third free hit! Prior opens his shoulders and flat-bats Ntini back over his head for six! 17 from the first four legitimate deliveries! Ntini then somehow produces a jaffa to beat Prior's outside edge, and the final ball is dabbed to mid-wicket for a dot ball. A remarkable over, ranging from unplayable deliveries to utter tripe!

1056 - Eng 10-0 (3 overs)
Prior faces for the first time, and tries to force Steyn through the leg side but Albie Morkel is quickly in at mid-on. He eventually tickles a leg-bye to fine leg. A lovely straight-drive by Bell brings us the first four of the morning, then he pulls a looser delivery through backward square leg for another boundary.

"Have SA inserted England so we all get a longer game?!"
Ian Thompson, Southampton, in the TMS inbox

1053 - Eng 1-0 (2 overs)
No sign of either Morkel yet as Makhaya Ntini takes the second over. Bell is watchful as Ntini gets a bit of movement from the Vauxhall End, and plays out a maiden.

Meanwhile, if you're fed up with my text commentary on cricket, it seems even the mighty BBC News has embraced the idea - with last night's Barack Obama speech featuring a text commentary with little icons and thumbnail pictures of BBC commentators. Wonder where they got the idea from.
BBC News' text commentary on Barack Obama

1048 - Eng 1-0 (1 over)
In overcast conditions, Steyn gets some early swing in the first over against Bell, who's in a sleeveless sweater and gets England under way with a single off the last ball. Meanwhile, the Oval groundsman's hut has a handwritten sign affixed over it saying "Morkel's Den", after Morne Morkel walked off the field and into the hut by mistake when he was dismissed during the Test.

1043: We're nearly under way. Ian Bell and Matt Prior opening up for England, Dale Steyn taking the new ball for the Proteas.

"After Foster's 100 yesterday v Leicester, and being the best keeper in the country, can I ask your views on where the selectors go next? Prior is stating his case in this one-day series, and our current Test keeper Ambrose has not impressed with the bat. We should take an example from the Aussies and stick with one keeper for all forms of the game - I think Gilchrist would prove my point!"
Roger Sharpe in the TMS inbox
[I was very impressed by Foster on Twenty20 finals day - he kept excellently, and batted well until he ran his captain out. I'd happily give him another go as Test keeper. But I wonder whether Mustard was a little prematurely jettisoned as ODI keeper when his replacement Ambrose scored just 10 runs in five ODIs - MM]

Phil Tufnell
"It's sometimes difficult to know what a good score is at The Oval, so Jacques Kallis has taken the safe option here by fielding first"
Former Middlesex and England spinner Phil Tufnell on TMS

Get involved on 606
"It would be nice to decisively finish somebody off for once, but this is England we're talking about so South Africa will almost certainly win the next two comfortably. I also feel a little cheated that, for once, we seem to have a really strong lower order, but suddenly the top order are doing the business so we aren't getting to see them in action"
CountCagliostro on 606
Join the debate on 606

1027: Elsewhere in the ODI world, Sri Lanka won the toss and are batting first in their fifth and final ODI against India - they've already lost Sanath Jayasuriya early doors. India are 3-1 up in the series.

1025: Here are the full teams:

England: Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wk), Owais Shah, Kevin Pietersen (capt), Andrew Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Samit Patel, Luke Wright, Stuart Broad, Steve Harmison, James Anderson.

South Africa: Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis (capt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher (wk), Albie Morkel, Johan Botha, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.

Umpires are Nigel Llong and Australia's Simon Taufel. Third ump is Peter Hartley on TV replays, fourth ump is Ian "Gunner" Gould who will magically produce a "new" (used) ball to be used after 34 overs have elapsed in each innings, and match referee is Sri Lanka's Roshan Mahanama. I'm joined today by Oliver Brett on match report duties (looking to restore some pride after losing to his son at tenpin bowling on a day trip to France yesterday), while our "gaffer" is the stern-faced Alistair Watkins.

1018: South Africa win the toss and will field first. They bring Hashim Amla in for Smith, while fit-again Morne Morkel replaces fellow seamer Andre Nel - so both Morkels are playing.

1015: Morning, everyone. Can it be true? Are England really in with a chance of wrapping up an ODI series win three games into a five-match series?

Whether we've all been dreaming or not after those first two ODIs, the early news we have from The Oval is that England are (predictably) unchanged. As we discovered a day or two ago, South Africa captain Graeme Smith has been ruled out by his ongoing tennis elbow problem, and Jacques "Shark" Kallis will captain the side.

Confirmed teams - and news of the toss - as we get it.

see also
England surge to 10-wicket rout
26 Aug 08 |  England
South Africa in England in 2008
26 Aug 08 |  Cricket

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