ICC Champions Trophy Group B, Centurion:
LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)
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Now then, it's been a thrilling day's cricket. Can't remember the last time England looked this good in one-day cricket, beating the Proteas in their own back yard - the Force really was with them. Thanks for getting involved with all your e-mails, texts and 606 messages today - we'll have a live scorecard up for Australia v India tomorrow, but our next cricket text commentary is on Tuesday for England v New Zealand (play starts 1330 BST). I hope you'll all join me for that - until then, thank you and good night.
Man of the match Owais Shah:
"I feel I've been striking the ball very well for the last couple of months - I'd love to bat on that pitch every day. Paul and I put on a very good partnership, while I've played with Eoin at Middlesex and I'm glad he's done it here at international level"
England captain Andrew Strauss:
"That's the best I've ever seen England bat - Owais Shah played an absolute gem of an innings, Paul Collingwood played very well and that set the platform for Eoin Morgan to come in and show what he can do. Our ground fielding was excellent - we dropped a couple of catches but they always had to strive hard to keep up the rate and take some risks. Graeme had cramps, but the umpires weren't all that confident about giving him a runner as when you've scored a hundred you're often tired, so I didn't think it was something we could allow"
South Africa captain Graeme Smith:
"Credit to England, they batted very well but we lost wickets at crucial times - whenever we had a partnership, we lost a wicket. There's no point in making excuses any more, we've just got to go out and do it"
So, when was the last time England qualified for anything with one game to spare? It means the situation is quite simple - if England beat New Zealand on Tuesday, they will take Sri Lanka through with them (by virtue of having a the least bad run rate of the other three teams). But if New Zealand win, or if there's a tie or a no result, the Kiwis will go through with England.
From blueboyrob on 606:
"Bravo England. Everyone contributed something and it was beautiful to watch. Hard luck to the Saffers, but really great stuff England"
From Alan in Runcorn, TMS inbox:
"Respect regained. Brilliant, well done lads"
As England's delighted players walk off, one unidentified player (with a northern accent) comments "who'd have thought about that, two (expletive deleted) weeks ago?"
ENGLAND WIN BY 22 RUNS AND QUALIFY FOR SEMI-FINALS 50th over - SA 297-9
Needing the small matter of six off every ball to win the game, Parnell can only manage a single off the first ball, bowled by Onions - leaving the Proteas needing snookers. Steyn has some fun with a flicked four off his legs, he and Parnell add a couple more singles apiece and the last ball goes for four overthrows, but it doesn't matter - England are through to the semi-finals, and South Africa are knocked out.
From Mike Gallagher, TMS inbox:
"OK, which wise guy updated Wikipedia adding that a runner could not be used if you have cramp?! It's now been changed back (or is it someone from SA that has changed it?) I'm totally confused"
49th over - SA 288-9
Broad in for his last over. Steyn aims another lofted straight drive but Anderson and Wright combine well in front of the sightscreen to keep him down to two. A single takes him to 11, but this really is the last rites for the Proteas - who once again, are set to be knocked out of an ICC competition they're hosting, rather earlier than they'd hoped. Parnell, who's never batted in a limited-overs international before (ODI or T20I), adds his third single, while Broad bowls a wide (his final figures are 3-67) so South Africa need 36 from the last over to win. Surely not even England could mess this one up.
48th over - SA 283-9
South Africa are going to be desperately short here of the secondary target of 314 they need to keep their run rate ahead of Sri Lanka's and stay in the competition. Like a fast bowler of 50 years ago, Steyn decides he's going to go out in a blaze of glory, bashing Anderson for two past the bowler and then heaving a four through long-on. A single takes him to seven, and that's his highest ODI score too! The crowd give him a big cheer. Parnell cuts a single to third man, Steyn steers another and that's nine off the over, but 41 needed from two overs. Anderson finishes with 3-42 from his 10 overs, he's been outstanding.
47th over - SA 274-9
Monumental effort needed now by Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell. Braod thinks he has Parnell caught behind, he and Morgan celebrate... but Umpire Davis shakes his head. Broad, whose appeal was quite animated, could earn himself a visit to the headmaster's study for that.
46.5 overs - WICKET - Smith c Shah b Broad 141 - SA 274-9
Rather like Shane Warne, Graeme Smith is the sort of man who doesn't believe in lost causes. He blasts Broad for four through mid-wicket, then twice turns down the chance of a single - he realises he's got to hit boundaries to win it for the Proteas. And he goes for another big heave - though not a dandy highwayman, he intends to Stand and Deliver - and whacks four more through backward point. But Smith's brave innings - his highest ODI score - is finally ended when he hoists Broad into the night sky, and is caught at deep mid-wicket. The fielder? Owais Shah! Start the car!
46th over - SA 266-8
New batsman is Wayne Parnell. He's a leftie. Jimmy is pretty much unplayable at the moment, although he then bowls a no-ball. Parnell pushes a single off his legs, there's no way Smith will take him up on the offer of a second. Smith can only manage a single, South Africa now need 58 from 24 balls.
From Ian Pidgen, TMS inbox:
"Show no mercy England. Go for the jugular. No runners: make Smith do it the hard way if he wants to win"
45.2 overs - WICKET - Van der Merwe b Anderson 0 - SA 263-8
More superb bowling from the "Burnley Express" as RVDM is yorked attempting a big hit!
45th over - SA 263-7
New batsman is left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe, who's right-handed, but it's Smith on strike as they crossed on the catch. Smith blasts a four through long-on, he's still suffering with cramp and may have to try to win it in boundaries - there won't be many quick singles. He flicks the last ball off his legs for four - as Will texted in after the 17th over, Broad has leaked runs from the last two balls of his over, and that's 61 needed from 30 balls.
44.3 overs - WICKET - Botha c Onions b Broad 0 - SA 255-7
New batsman Johan Botha swings and misses at Broad, then skies one into the air and this time it's Onions holding on to the catch just outside the circle at mid-off!
44.1 overs - WICKET - Morkel run out (Morgan direct hit) 17 - SA 255-6
Smith swings and misses, Morkel calls him for a run and scampers for the striker's end but keeper Morgan's throw hits the stumps and he's gone! Doesn't even wait for the third umpire's verdict!
From Rob Pates, TMS inbox:
"Cricket, Star Wars and avoiding work in the office. Does it get any better?"
44th over - SA 255-5
Anderson to bowl, more field-tinkering to be done. Smith can only manage a leg bye off the first ball - there's a bit of a clash between the captains as Smith appears to ask for a runner, and Strauss refuses. Smith isn't happy at all. Jimmy is right on the money against Morkel, giving him no room to tee off and aim for the fences. He even pings in a slow bouncer which completely deceives big Albie. He can only manage a single, and Smith, who limps through for a leg bye off the last ball, is REALLY hobbling around now. he asks for a runner again, ABDV even walks onto the field but is sent back off. Smith is fuming. 69 needed from 36 balls.
From Liam, 15, England, TMS inbox:
"The slating of Owais Shah should stop surely? He batted well for his 98 and put England in a commanding position, the only comments on him should be positive ones, everyone drops catches. Yes it was the dangerman and maybe it would be different now if he held it but he made the chance, let's see if we can use it"
43rd over - SA 252-5
Very tasty - South Africa take their batting powerplay, so England can only have three fielders outside the fielding circle for overs 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47. Broad to bowl, Cap'n Strauss carefully sets his field. Broad bowls round the wicket to the lefties, but it's a bad start to the powerplay as the big-hitting Morkel whacks him to cow corner for four. He then hoists Broad back over his head for a straight six! A single rotates the strike... in favour of Smith, who has 122 from 120 balls. A single brings South Africa to the milestone of 250 - then Morkel goes aerial again, high but not long to long-on, and they can only run two. 72 needed from 42 balls, and the physio comes on to treat Smith who appears to have cramp.
From Steve, St Helens, TMS inbox:
"World class bit of fate tempting from Alison Mitchell. What a comment to make when the destructive Morkel is walking to the wicket! If he goes I will agree, but until then I will continue to peek from behind the sofa!"
42nd over - SA 238-5
The PA strikes up the well-known tune "YMCA" between overs - Graeme Swann (who's on for Broad) looks like he could do with somewhere where he can (a) get himself clean, (b) have a good meal, and (c) do whatever he feels - he holds his head in his hands as Morgan appeals for a stumping against Smith, he's clearly in but Umpire Davis at square leg wastes a good two minutes with a needless referral to the third umpire. Not for the first time tonight. But Swanny keeps it pretty tight, his over yields just four singles. And we hear that South Africa's secondary target is 314 - as even if they lose, they'd stay above Sri Lanka on net run rate, and thus would go through if England beat New Zealand in the final group game.
41st over - SA 234-5
New batsman is Albie Morkel - he's batting on his home ground here, and he can hit the ball further than just about anyone. Anderson tests him with a bouncer... and Umpire Davis quickly signals it as an aerial wide. Jimmy then fires another wide down the leg side, thankfully Morgan hasn't let anything through today. Morkel is off the mark with a single, Smith manages a leg bye as an lbw appeal is stifled. Meanwhile, Owais Shah is off the field for England... funny, that...
40.1 overs - WICKET - SA 230-5
Anderson returns, his first ball removes Boucher by hitting the top of off stump. Smith's still there, though...
From Dan (another one, there have been many today), TMS inbox:
"Smith's charmed life is starting to seriously worry me. Joel [24th over] - how's that sea trout book looking now? "
40th over - SA 230-4
Smith takes another fresh guard as Broad returns to the attack. The left-hander pulls Broad's first ball for one, then the fair-haired seamer bangs in a bouncer at Boucher, at which he swishes and misses. But Broad undoes all his good work with a wide full toss, and Boucher hangs his bat out to angle it for four to third man. The keeper smears a single, then Smith whacks another loose delivery for four - 10 from the over, and Smith is 120 not out and loving it. 94 needed from 60 balls - run-rate needed is 9.4.
From Daz, Widnes, TMS inbox:
"I can only think of two possible reasons for England's performances here after the Aussie debacle. Either it's really the Aussies out there pretending to be England or it's the blue kit, replacing the terrible 'pyjama' style of the red one"
39th over - SA 220-4
Despite the dropped catches, England's ground-fielding continues to save runs all over the shop as Boucher adds another single. Smith has 111 from his first 111 balls, but is off Nelson as he beautifully late-cuts Swann for four. Just one more single - 104 needed from 66 balls. I'll tell you the run-rate after the next over.
38th over - SA 214-4
The new batsman is wicketkeeper Mark Boucher, who's playing his 283rd ODI, so South Africa have a left-hand/right-hand combo. He's off the mark with a push through mid-wicket for one. Smith smears a single, three fielders converge and they decide against a second run. Boucher is well used to working the singles at this stage of an innings, but more great fielding from Broad and Denly on the boundary denies Smith a four. Lots of ones and twos mean it's eight from the over and Colly finishes with 1-58. SA need 110 from 72 balls.
37th over - WICKET - Duminy b Swann 24 - SA 206-4
Onions off, Swann on and SA still have a batting powerplay up their sleeves, which is presumably why Strauss has to hold back Anderson and Broad. Duminy gets a leading edge against Swann, but it falls safely away from any fielders. But he falls when he misses Swann's quicker ball which goes straight on and smashes the leg stump out of the ground!
From Luke S, TMS inbox:
"Part VI: Return of the Hawkeye? (England really need the Force tonight to win)"
36th over - SA 205-3
Wright is taken off after that expensive over and Collingwood returns, but Duminy savagely whacks him for his first four. He prods a quick single to third man, the throw to the striker's end is a direct hit and once more they put the question to the third umpire, but Smith is well in. And the Proteas skipper reaches his eighth ODI hundred by square-cutting another four through backward point. A single ensures he keeps the strike, and somehow I can hear the sound of the wheels coming off England's wagon.
35th over - SA 195-3
Smith, on 93, straight-drives Onions back past the bowler for four, then hammers two more to bring up the fifty stand. Having reached 98, the Proteas skipper is now the leading scorer in the tournament, overtaking Mahela Jayawardene. Duminy works a two and a single, then Smith aims a big on-drive but can only manage one to the boundary sweeper. He has 99, Duminy pinches the strike and has 20.
From Stefan, in Holland rooting for England, TMS inbox:
"Time for Episode V - The Umpire Strikes Back"
34th over - SA 185-3
Colly's off after taking 1-40 from eight overs and Luke Wright returns. Will the Force be with Luke against the Smith? Not by the look of it - Smith crashes him for four through backward point (SA's first boundary for 63 balls) before steering two more through the covers. Short and wide from Wright, and Smith blasts another single, while Duminy adds another. A single takes Smith to 92, nine runs from an expensive Wright over. Control, Luke. You must learn control. Try not . Do, or do not - there is no try.
33rd over - SA 176-3
Ntini the waterboy is on again to give Smith a drink before Duminy on-drives at Onions and a great stop by Wright restricts him to two. (I nearly typed "great strop" there, plenty of people will have a "great strop" at Shah if Smith goes on to win this for South Africa - despite his 98). A single takes Duminy to 15, then Onions has a long, exaggerated appeal as Smith is hit on the pad. Umpire Davis shakes his head, but Hawk-Eye thinks it might have hit the top of the stumps. Make that "My Charmed Life, Part IV: A New Hope" (for South Africa) - Part III could have been "Revenge of the Smith".
32nd over - DROPPED CATCH - SA 172-3
"My Charmed Life, by Graeme Smith", Part III: The Proteas skipper hoists Colly to deep mid-on, where Owais Shah gets it in both hands... and puts the chance down. Dear, oh dear. Rather sheepishly, South Africa manage four from the over - the required run rate is up to 8.44.
From Lee in Dewsbury, TMS inbox:
"If you double the 30-over score, it's going to be a close one tonight"
31st over - SA 168-3
This could be a key moment for South Africa - right-arm seamer Graham Onions, who bowled three expensive overs with the new ball, returns in place of Swann. Smith nearly chops on, he's lived a bit of a charmed life today but a single takes him to 81. Duminy forces one off his legs, Smith nicks the strike but that's a much better over from Durham's Onions.
30th over - SA 165-3
Colly in for his seventh over - he has 1-31 from his first six. The boundaries have dried up completely for the left-handed batting pair since ABDV's departure, they can only manage five runs from the over.
From Tom Flynn, TMS inbox:
"Lovely to know Martin MJS [25th over] knows the exact date you last used one of his e-mails. A cherished memory, clearly"
29th over - SA 160-3
Swann is quickly through his over, but South Africa keep pressing the ones and twos - eight runs from the over, and the required rate is nearly up to eight.
28th over - SA 152-3
England's "ballsmanship" (Henry Blofeld's phrase for a fielding side complaining about the state of the ball) succeeds as fourth umpire Asad Rauf comes out with a black briefcase containing replacement balls. One is selected and Smith'n'JP manage a single from every ball of Colly's over. Meanwhile, we've worked out that Sri Lanka's players, minus the aforementioned portion of their match fees, will be cheering for England - as a South Africa win will eliminate Sri Lanka and see the Proteas through to the semi-finals along with the winners of England v New Zealand.
27th over - SA 146-3
Smith nurdles a single from Swann, bringing fellow left-hander Duminy on strike. He's scored nought and 11 so far in this tournament, and is off the mark with a single. Smith powerfully forces one off his legs to keep the strike. And to add insult to injury from earlier today, Sri Lanka's players have been fined 10% of their match fees for a slow over-rate during their defeat by New Zealand, with captain Kumar Sangakkara fined 20%.
26th over - SA 143-3
JP Duminy is the new batsman, Smith rounds off the over with a single.
25.5 overs - WICKET - De Villiers c Denly b Collingwood 36 - SA 142-3
The match ball is very discoloured as Colly tosses it from hand to hand, very green/brown. Smith guides a well-run two to Shah at long-on and the Proteas pair keep plugging the singles, but then ABDV goes for the big one against Colly and it's safely held by Denly on the mid-wicket boundary!
From Martin MJS in Herefordshire, TMS inbox:
"Sorry, Mark, but have not changed my opinion about Bopara since you last used my e-mail on 4 September. Can't bat, bowl or field. Come on England!"
25th over - MISSED STUMPING - SA 137-2
Oh, the one time England don't have a specialist wicketkeeper... Smith charges miles down the track to Swann, the ball hits his pad and trickles through but stand-in stumper Eoin Morgan can't gather the ball cleanly, it squirms out of his glove and Smith can get back into his crease. Reprieved, Smith adds a two and two singles to reach 63, AB manages one to take his score to 35. England were 124-2 at this stage.
24th over - SA 131-2
Smith works Colly for two off his legs, while ABDV takes time out to retie his shoelaces. Smith continues his "step to leg against Colly" tactic, forcing a single through the covers. ABDV, who is batting with a small blue flannel tucked into his waistband, guides a careful one to long-on. Smith looks annoyed with himself as he fails to make proper contact with one down the leg side and can only run one.
From Joel Jenkins, TMS inbox:
"On my way home from Devon with only your updates and a copy of 'Sea Trout Fishing' by Hugh Falkus to entertain myself. I'll be honest you're edging it, Mark. Although if we don't get some more wickets soon I may give Hugh a go"
23rd over - SA 127-2
The required run rate is up to 7.25 for the Proteas as ABDV smashes a single to long-on before Smith is befuddled by Swann's change of pace. He hits a single down the ground, then AB aims another big hit to wide long-on, Wright's diving stop prevents the boundary... but the ball still evades Bopara and dribbles over the rope for four! Poor Ravi, nothing's gone right for him tonight, any time the ball's gone anywhere near him.
22nd over - SA 121-2
Cap'n Smith is brought a drink of water by 12th man Makhaya Ntini, before he and ABDV tuck into Colly again but manage just two singles and a leg bye.
21st over - SA 118-2
England turn to spin in the shape of Graeme Swann - after a single from De Villiers, Smith majestically blasts two successive fours - the second of which is rather fortunate after a misfield by Broad on the boundary - to reach his 40th ODI half century. Two more singles round off an expensive first over for the Notts off-spinner.
From Dave, Washington, TMS inbox:
"About the wicketkeeper, why have you all forgotten about Phil Mustard of Durham, a good batsman too"
Haven't forgotten, Dave - I thought "The Colonel" played really well in those ODIs in New Zealand, and was prematurely jettisoned for the spurious reason that they wanted the same keeper in ODIs and Tests. (If I recall correctly, the keeper in question, Tiny Tim Ambrose, made a total of 10 runs in five ODI innings that summer and has never played an ODI again).
20th over - SA 107-2
A bit of cat and mouse as Smith again steps back towards square leg but Colly tries to cramp him for room, and he steers a single to long-off. De Villiers shows his pedigree with a cover-driven four straight out of the MCC coaching manual (or should that be the ABDV coaching manual). A single takes him to 24, that's six an over from each of Colly's first two offerings.
19th over - SA 101-2
ABDV and Smith milk Wright successfully for a couple of singles, then ABDV drops the ball towards backward point and sets off, Colly comes in and rather than picking up the ball and aiming from close range, kicks it at the stumps with his right boot and hits! Not sure whether he's hoping for a contract with his beloved Sunderland, but although it's referred to the third umpire, Smith has easily made his ground. The Proteas skipper adds a two and a single to take his score to 44.
From Dave, TMS inbox:
"In reply to Seb of Somerset [15th over] re: the England keeper debate, surely Kieswetter should qualify on the 'he is not English' rule which is serving England so well?"
18th over - SA 95-2
Having been denied another stint as replacement wicketkeeper, Paul Collingwood gets a chance to bowl - Morgan is standing up to the stumps to Colly's right-arm medium pace and has donned a helmet. Colly goes round the wicket to Smith, who carefully dabs a single to third man. De Villiers on-drives for one, then Smith steps way back outside his stumps to smear a single to the cover boundary. Good placement from ABDV looks set to bring him four more towards cow corner, but the diving Broad and the scampering Denly cut off the boundary. Smith has 40, ABDV has 17.
From Will, via text on 81111:
"How is it in Broad's last two balls he gives away runs but not in the rest of the over?"
17th over - SA 89-2
After a drinks break, the players are back in action as Smith nudges Wright and they run a leg bye. ABDV finds the gap between backward point and cover well, blasting another four.
From Sam, Somerset, TMS inbox:
"Quiet Seb [15th over], we're quite happy keeping Kieswetter at Taunton for a couple more years, thank you"
16th over - SA 84-2
Do these international grounds have a very restricted playlist of songs they can play after boundaries or between overs? I can't count I've heard the distant sound of Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" through my headphones while the fielders change around. Some SA fans in the crowd get up and dance as ABDV crashes Broad for a four through the covers, just out of the reach of beleaguered boundary sweeper Ravi Bopara. A single apiece, and it's six from Broad's over, England were 73-2 at this stage.
From Paul, London, TMS inbox:
"In reference to Kerrith in Oxford [see 1702]- even if Ravi did cut a break, he'd still find a way to cut it to a fielder"
15th over - DROPPED CATCH - SA 78-2
Wright to De Villiers, hits it straight to backward point... and Collingwood puts the chance down! At the risk of sounding like a snooker commentator - ooh, that's a bad miss. The reprieved ABDV nudges a single to third man, Smith unleashes a magnificent on-drive for four. He has 36 from 38 balls.
From Seb in Somerset, TMS inbox:
"Great batting from England, hats off to Eoin Morgan for a brilliant quickfire innings. Also, while we're on the England keeping debate, let's not forget Kiestwetter qualifies for England in a few months!"
14th over - SA 73-2
Smith does well to hustle through for a hastily-run leg bye, De Villiers rotates the strike well but that's a good over from Broad, just two runs from it. He was a bit all over the shop against Sri Lanka the other night, but tonight he has 1-16 from four overs.
From Lee, TMS inbox:
"Wanting to settle this wicketkeeper issue once and for all, Bairstow for England - he caught one today! (OK so he only scored one too, you can't have it all!)"
13th over - SA 71-2
Luke Wright doesn't often get to bowl during a powerplay, but he replaces Anderson - and is immediately pulled through wide mid-on for four by the pugnacious Smith, who then steers a single down the ground. ABDV is off the mark as he steers a loose ball through mid-wicket for two.
12th over - SA 64-2
New batsman is AB de Villiers, who survives his first ball.
11.5 overs - WICKET - Kallis c Denly b Broad 12 - SA 64-2
Kallis squeezes a single to fine leg, Smith follows suit, Kallis guides one through the covers for one. Smith then taps one to mid-on, sets off for a run and Owais Shah's throw misses the stumps. But then, history repeats itself as Kallis unleashes a similar shot to that which dismissed Joe Denly off his own bowling - and who takes the catch on the mid-wicket boundary? Joe Denly, of course!
11th over - SA 60-1
Umpire Steve Davis (no relation to
wicketkeeper Steve Davies,
on his way to the tournament), twirls his arms to signal the fielding powerplay - then stretches his arms horizontally as Anderson sends down a wide. Smith smears another single to third man, where Tim Bresnan is on sub-fielding for someone. The Kallis goes into Eoin Morgan mode, lifting a lofted drive over the bowler's head - but in the manner of a golf ball, it plugs almost immediately after landing and doesn't reach the boundary. They run two - a single completes the over, and by comparison England were 49-1 at this stage.
10th over - SA 55-1
In a classic "closing stable door after bolted horse" scenario, Broad now has a man in at about second-and-a-half slip for Kallis - who executes a textbook cover drive for four.
9th over - SA 51-1
Kallis steers Anderson for a single, then Smith brings up the Proteas' fifty. Kallis nudges a single to third man, and after Somerset lost to Durham at Taunton, Sussex have won the Pro40 title... despite having just been relegated in the Championship.
8th over - SA 48-1
Jacques Kallis is the new man in - and dare I say it, as I predicted, Stuart Broad replaces Onions. No runner for Kallis, who had a spell off the field with injury and was only able to bowl three overs. Smith guides a single, Kallis works his first ball for one and then Smith agonisingly edges through the vacant slip area - where second slip would have been - for four.
From Colin, Scotland, TMS inbox:
"I've probably missed the reason somewhere, but why not Chris Read. He's had an outstanding year with the bat and carried his team along on many times this season"
Well, he probably did his international prospects over the last couple of years no favours by signing for the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League, which would have seen him excluded from international cricket at the behest of the Indian board. But with ICL "rebels" like Shane Bond and Abdul Razzaq back playing for their countries, who knows?
7th over - WICKET - Gibbs c Wright b Anderson 22 - SA 42-1
Stand-in keeper Eoin Morgan is doing well so far, it's Luke Wright who misfields at mid-off as Smith drives Anderson for a single. Gibbs knocks one off his legs, then Smith takes three as the Onions-Denly combo do well to turn four into three. But it's all over for Gibbs as he miscues one into the air over mid-on and Wright redeems himself with a straightforward catch!
6th over - SA 37-0
Gibbs gently strokes a four past extra cover - ominously, South Africa are ahead of where England were at this stage. After yet another swing-and-a-miss, Gibbs laces Onions through the covers for another four. England might do well to keep Onions on the back burner while Gibbs is in such red-hot form - time for Broad?
From Benjamin from Cheltenham, TMS inbox:
"Please Mark, don't increase the target by 100, the Proteas seem to chase down anything over 400"
5th over - SA 29-0
Smith guides Jimmy for a single, then Gibbs aims another big blast which is cut off on the mid-wicket boundary for one. The skipper steers a singleton to third man, Gibbs is aiming everything to leg but can only connect well enough for a single.
From Jamie, on a train, via text on 81111:
"It's funny that people say a team's runs should mainly come from the top six and as soon as Ravi Bopara is ditched from the top six England start actually making decent runs... So is dear Ravi now a specialist fielder?"
4th over - SA 25-0
Great timing from Smith, working Onions through the leg side and past the sprawling Bopara for four. He nudges a single off his legs - please, someone tell Onions you shouldn't bowl on leg stump to Graeme Smith of all people. But you've got to keep it tight to Gibbs too - he dances down the track to lift a huge six over cow corner! Onions is lucky the over only costs 11 as Gibbs swings and misses twice more. And a bid for statto-dom from my match-report colleague Oliver Brett - he informs me that Morgan broke a record today. His strike rate (197.05) was the highest by an England player hitting an ODI half century.
3rd over - SA 14-0
Centurion is still packed out - is that Everton's Marouane Fellaini in the crowd? Or very possibly a wig? Anderson strays with a wide before Gibbs clips him through mid-wicket for four. A sprawling stop by Joe Denly at short extra cover then denies Gibbs, who looks like he's wasting no time before teeing off. Meanwhile, a press release from the ICC reveals that New Zealand's Jesse Ryder has been fined 15% of his match fee for breaking a chair at today's game. No, he didn't just sit on it... after he was out, he walked off and smacked a chair with his bat. And it broke.
2nd over - SA 9-0
Graham Onions' first ball is brutally despatched through mid-wicket for four by Smith, he'll punish anything not on the money. He works another single off his legs. Gibbs, who missed SA's first two games with injury, swishes and misses at a bouncer before dabbing a single to third man. And some county news for you - Worcestershire have beaten Sussex in the Pro40, so it's down to Somerset to see if they can snatch the title.
Check out the latest county scores here.
1st over - SA 3-0
James Anderson has two slips in for Graeme Smith, who begins the hosts' innings with a square-driven three as Paul Collingwood and Ravi Bopara combine well to do the fielding. Herschelle Gibbs, who changes his ODI shirt number every year to reflect the year (this year it's 09), has to wait for his first ball as there's a problem with a camera behind the bowler's arm.
From Kate, TMS inbox:
"Mark, I don't mind you increasing the target if the other team are batting second. 424 would really look scary!"
Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs walk out to begin South Africa's reply. One of them may have to play a Herculean innings if the Proteas are to win. Meanwhile, it seems there's nothing that gets the nation's collective goat like a debate over the England wicketkeeping position (see below)...
From Laurie Hann, TMS inbox:
"Can't believe Davies gets the nod over Foster again. Foster kept superbly in the World T20, getting some crucial stumpings, and did well with the bat. Foster has scored runs consistently for Essex this season, including 83 off 38 at Durham, yet he still gets overlooked. And you say Ambrose as well, give me a break, he's rubbish"
From Barrie from Telford, TMS inbox:
"Fantastic performance so far; let's hope the bowlers can finish the job. Morgan for President!"
From Malcolm Sweeney, TMS inbox:
"That's a bizarre tactic from England, flying out a snooker ace to keep wicket, what next Arlene Phillips as cover for the bowlers?"
What's more, Malcolm, it looks a clear sign that Davies is now regarded as the number two keeper for limited-overs cricket, after his solitary Twenty20 international appearance in the Windies. But will he make the Test squad as reserve keeper too? Should Tim Ambrose make plans for Christmas or not?
A sensible viewpoint indeed from Bring_Back_Crouch (see below). Give your page a "manual refresh" and you'll see South Africa's target appear above. And unlike the other night, I haven't accidentally increased it by 100.
From Bring_Back_Crouch on 606:
"BWhile you nitpick over how many South Africans play for England or whatever, spare a thought for us poor Irish. Stuck in this perpetual Catch-22 of not having the likes of Eoin Morgan because of our lowly status, and not being able to gain significant ground on this ''top eight'' of cricketing nations because of the absence of the likes of Eoin Morgan. Shame. because I know we certainly would've taken this tournament more seriously than the West Indies."
Right, I hope you've been fortified by that England display. While the teams refuel, I'm going to grab a sandwich as play is due to resume at 1745 BST. In the meantime, you can always take a look at
Caroline Cheese's live text commentary
of the afternoon's football between Sunderland and Wolves. Miss Cheese has just kindly linked to this page, so the least I can do is suggest you check out her Premier League purple prose.
From Kerrith, Oxford, TMS inbox:
"Poor old Ravi just can't seem to cut a break, can he?"
BBC Sport's Alison Mitchell on Twitter:
"Just told that Steve Davies is going to be flown out to J'burg to be on standby should Matt Prior not recover. Davies has actually been batting in Pro40 today. His dad's on way to ground with passport!"
50th over - Eng 323-8
The England dressing-room give Morgan a standing ovation as James Anderson replaces him, and steers his first ball for a single to third man. Swann manages a single from the fourth ball, Anderson hits out again and cracks another single to backward point. Swann swishes and misses at the last ball - but that's an impressive total from England, the second highest in the history of the Champions Trophy - and South Africa will have to complete the highest successful run chase on this ground if they are to win.
49.2 overs - WICKET - Morgan c Smith b Steyn 67 - Eng 320-8
Swann swats Steyn's first ball for a single, Morgan drives at the next one and is superbly caught by the diving Graeme Smith at cover. But a brilliant catch ends a brilliant innings - 67 from 34 balls.
From Terence Ray, TMS inbox:
"New Zealand beat Sri Lanka? Cool. Now this group has got REALLY interesting, from an England fan POV. A win today suddenly becomes even more important for England! Well, for those of us who actually care about the England team's fortunes and misfortunes anyway"
49th over - Eng 319-7
Swann tries to reverse-sweep Botha, can't connect but runs a bye and at least succeeds in giving the in-form Morgan the strike - and he obliges by hoisting another six, this one is high over the bowler's head! He can't quite get under the next one, off-driving a single to long-off. Swann can't get the fourth or fifth balls away, and can only force the last ball for a single to cover. So Morgan will face the last over.
48th over - Eng 310-7
Parnell is well on the way to securing the "golden ball" for the highest wicket-taker in the tournament - he has 11 and the next highest players (Steyn and Pakistan's Mohammad Aamir) have five apiece. Graeme Swann starts his innings well, flicking Parnell down to long leg for four. A single sensibly brings Morgan on strike again, the Dublin Dynamo lifts another huge six over mid-wicket before lofting a two to long-on.
47.2 overs - WICKET - Broad b Parnell 0 - Eng 297-7
Parnell to bowl his last over, he had a shaky start but has recovered well to take 2-46 from his first nine overs, with two maidens. Morgan adds a single but then the tall Broad loses his leg stump.
47th over - Eng 296-6
England have two left-handers together as Stuart Broad joins Morgan - who's facing as they ran on the catch, and he wisely keeps the strike with a single.
46.4 overs - WICKET - Bopara c Morkel b Botha 1 - Eng 295-6
Steyn is taken off with one over left in his spell, South Africa have to wheedle a couple of overs from their lesser bowlers in there somewhere, and so it's Johan Botha's off-spin to new batsman Ravi Bopara. He's off the mark with a single, then Morgan reaches his fifty from 26 deliveries with a well-run two. Bopara's problems running between the wickets are almost exposed as he hesitates while Morgan runs a single and wants a second, then Ravi goes aerial but holes out to Albie Morkel running in from cow corner.
46th over - WICKET - Wright run out (Parnell) 8 - Eng 291-5
Morgan may be only 5ft 9ins but he is England's pocket rocket here, lofting Parnell back over his head for six! He has an incredible 47 from 22 balls, then attempts a bizarre shot, a cross between a reverse sweep and a Dilscoop and it ricochets past the stumps for one. Wright shows his unorthodox power, stepping outside off stump to slog-sweep a four through mid-wicket. A single brings Morgan on strike, but Wright's out in cruel circumstances as Morgan straight-drives, Parnell backheels it onto the stumps and Wright is run out. Meanwhile,
over at the Wanderers, New Zealand have beaten Sri Lanka by 38 runs.
45th over - Eng 279-4
More clean hitting from Morgan as he despatches a low full toss from Steyn back past the bowler for four. A shorter ball is despatched with a superb pull to long leg for four - he has 39 from 19 deliveries. Another straight drive is cut off for one, then Wright bats a thigh-high full toss to leg for one. But Morgan keeps the strike again - good news for England.
From Tunners in Brazil, TMS inbox:
"For Porky's benefit [see 43rd over], I am a through and through green blooded South African, mate..."
44th over - Eng 266-4
New batsman is Luke Wright, sent in to have a bash ahead of Bopara. He's off the mark with a single as Boucher dives to stop the four, Morgan rotates the strike well and Wright swipes a single to third man. Morgan keeps the strike, but an excellent over from the left-armer, who dons a pair of pink-framed sunglasses as he returns to his place in the deep.
From Eric in Edinburgh, TMS inbox:
"If your stop after 'How well did he hit that' had been an exclamation mark instead of a question mark, then your parenthetic clarification would have been unnecessary. Punctuation does matter"
43.1 overs - WICKET - Collingwood b Parnell 82 - Eng 262-4
Parnell gives it a bit of width, but Colly drags it onto his stumps. Well batted sir, 82 from 94 balls.
From Porkster, TMS inbox:
"Re Tunners (42nd over). Typically predictable negativity from whining 'England' fans. Shah and Colly bat like world beaters and all we can do is start moaning about our bowlers! How about backing ourselves for a change? Chasing 315+ under lights with their tournament on the line is going to be a tough ask"
43rd over - Eng 262-3
Steyn returns, he has three overs left. Colly squares a single off his legs, Morgan is really "in the zone" as he guides another boundary through extra cover. A straight drive past the bowler brings one, then Colly really has to reach for the crease after taking Gibbs' arm on with a quick single. Morgan rotates the strike again, Colly digs out a good ball for one and that's nine from the over.
From alfie on 606:
"Bad luck for Shah getting out so close to a ton, but what a fine response to his critics (myself included)."
42nd over - Eng 253-3
It looks like Van der Merwe is going to bowl, but then Wayne Parnell returns to the attack, have England taken the batting powerplay? There are six men in the circle, but we've seen no Mick Channon-style whirling arm signal from the umpire. Morgan off-drives for a single, then there's a big dispute between Smith, Colly and umpire Tony Hill. Powerplay, or no powerplay? Deal or no deal? Umpire Hill then belatedly twirls his arm. So we're in powerplay. Then, Colly hits the ball into the off side, non-striker Morgan collides with Parnell as he tries to field off his own bowling, but the left-armer's throw is wide of the stumps. Colly finally connects, going down on one knee to blast a four through square leg - Parnell's response is to switch to bowling round the wicket. Colly works a single off his legs, then an effortless cover-driven four takes Morgan to 21. How well did he hit that? (Very well, in case you're wondering).
From Tunners, in Brazil, TMS inbox:
"Re: EnglandLad23 (39th over), asking whether Morgan will be England's downfall behind the sticks: my question is are England's bowlers going to be good enough to bother Morgan?"
41st over - Eng 243-3
Colly dabs a single, then Morgan opens up to launch an expansive six over the long boundary at extra cover! He then blasts one to long-on, that's great running from Colly as they come back for two. A single takes him to 16, then more good running brings the ginger ninja pair another two to take Colly's score to 74.
40th over - Eng 231-3
The expensive Van der Merwe returns, with Collingwood now having to take on the senior batsman's mantle. A single rotates the strike, then Morgan unleashes his signature reverse sweep shot for four - not a bad way to get off the mark. The Middlesex left-hander straight-drives a single, as does Colly, then Morgan aims another reverse sweep, it looks like he's going to be caught by Parnell at short third man, does that carry? He can't hold on in any event, and they run two.
39th over - Eng 222-3
Eoin Morgan is the new batsman, he'll have plenty to do later today as England's stand-in wicketkeeper - but he can take heart from Vikram Solanki, who had to take over in similar circumstances in the 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa, and kept very tidily. Morgan sees off the rest of the over.
From EnglandLad23 on 606:
"England will be disappointed with anything less than 330 with the position that Shah and Colly have put them in. Will Morgan behind the stumps be England's downfall though?"
38.2 overs - WICKET - Shah c Boucher b Botha 98 - Eng 222-3
After a single from Colly, it's Shah, on 98, to face the recalled Johan Botha, who has a bright flourescent yellow/green sweatband on his left arm. But as he prods half-forward, the ball loops up into the air... and Boucher scampers forward to take the catch! Double Nelson has struck. What a shame for Shah.
From Tom Cavanagh, Andover, TMS inbox:
"I say, get the batting powerplay over and done with now whilst we're on the front foot and let Shah hit 'em a bit more!"
I agree with you, Tom, as you may have detected!
37th over - Eng 220-2
Colly keeps the scoreboard ticking, Shah dabs a single to reach 97. Colly jabs another, the crowd are on their feet... and Shah, perhaps sensing he's in the nervous nineties, nudges another single off his legs. 98. Colly is in full Neil Fairbrother mode, scoring a single off nearly every ball he faces.
From Andy Nundy, TMS inbox:
"Thanks BBC as Super Sport & ESPN have pulled the plug on the cricket in Saudi. You are the only way we can keep up to date"
36th over - Eng 215-2
Paceman Dale Steyn returns to the attack, but there's no stopping the Owais Shah Revival I referred to in the 15th over! He lifts one from outside off stump over long leg for six! A poor delivery is marmalised through mid-wicket for four, then a wideish one is guided to third man for a single. Colly may be the Andrew Ridgeley of this particular batting partnership, but he's still scoring at nearly a run a ball. Don't forget the batting powerplay, lads...
From Chris McKenna, TMS inbox:
"Has any team really mastered the timing of the batting powerplay?"
35th over - Eng 203-2
After the compulsory ball change, it's almost a case of "anyone want to bowl?" as Smith has to turn to Morkel again. Colly jabs a single, Shah is firm in defence to a good length ball. Then, the Middlesex man takes aim at the picnickers on the other side of the ground with another hoist over mid-wicket - that's his fifth six! Shah rotates the strike, then Colly works Morkel to third man for two. Just think, if these two continue this form into the Champions League, the Delhi Daredevils might actually give them a game, rather than paying them a bundle of cash to carry the drinks!
34th over - Eng 193-2
South Africa persist with Van der Merwe, even though he's gone for seven an over so far. After some more singles, Shah takes aim at those fans on the hill again with another massive six over mid-wicket, scattering the fans. He's done more to disrupt picnics today than anyone since well-known pic-a-nic-basket thief Yogi Bear.
From James Wade, TMS inbox:
"Let's hope Shah keeps his composure and answers some critics - 12 ODI fifties and but only once has he gone further to complete a hundred"
33rd over - Eng 184-2
Botha back on for Duminy as Smith desperately rotates his bowlers in search of a wicket. Colly bashes another four through the covers, and Shah shows some exquisite timing of his own by helping a wide delivery down past fine leg for four. Botha is also mercilessly milked for several singles. Come on, England! TAKE THE POWERPLAY! You know if they don't, they'll only lose a wicket or two!
32nd over - Eng 173-2
A huge lofted six over the bowler's head from Owais Shah, who suddenly seems to think he's Gordon Greenidge. Van der Merwe is getting absolutely tanked here. Three more singles, and it's nine from the over - this stand now worth 114.
From Rachel Tyrrell, Lincoln, TMS inbox:
"The ECB obviously hatched a plan of pure genius. Bore the England guys with endless matches against the Aussies, so that when faced with ANY other opposition joy and relief overwhelmed them all, one to 11. The greatest manual refresh of all time"
31st over - Eng 164-2
After another Shah single (he's getting better at these), a single means Collingwood reaches his 23rd ODI fifty from 56 balls. Shah then brings up the century partnership in style, blasting Duminy over mid-wicket for quite a flat six.
30th over - Eng 156-2
Single from Shah, followed by a wide, then Colly goes aerial again against RVDM, launching another six high over mid-wicket into the picnicking fans - and it strikes a blonde woman a glancing blow on the head. That's gotta hurt... but why didn't she catch it? A single takes Colly to 49 but Shah nicks the strike, and you sense England have stepped up a gear.
29th over - Eng 146-2
Duminy wheels away for his second over and so far, is proving less expensive than the front-line spinners. But as soon as I type that... Shah hits a perfectly-timed cover drive for four, then brings up his half century with a careful dab to third man. It's his 12th ODI fifty.
28th over - Eng 140-2
Van der Merwe on for his third spell, Shah singles before Colly drills him towards cow corner for his fourth four. A single takes him to 41, he's nearly caught Shah who has 43... better make that 45, he straight-drives the last ball for two. Here's a suggestion, England - you've got two batsmen in who are well set, Smith doesn't know who to bowl, why not take the batting powerplay and force Smith to bowl Steyn and/or Parnell, leaving the less good bowlers to bowl the "slog overs" nearer the end of the innings?
27th over - Eng 132-2
SA captain Graeme Smith has two problems here - he's got to get through some overs because Kallis is struggling and Morkel proving expensive, and he's also got to break this partnership. So he turns to off-spinner JP Duminy as his seventh bowler, he's been a useful partnership-breaker in the past. England manage three singles, then Shah sends Colly back when RVDM makes a smart stop at short third man.
26th over - Eng 129-2
Kallis returns in place of the expensive Morkel, but the England pair keep tipping-and-running, and steer five more singles. Kallis does really not look very comfortable out there, he's not at top pace.
From Charles in Toronto, TMS inbox:
"Re: Mike Brown (1326) - Be thankful that England actually have some England born and bred players. The Canadian national team consists of expatriate Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis... and an Aussie!"
From Paul in Spain, TMS inbox:
"The middle of 50-over innings is almost always a bore, as the batters are content to take no risks and the bowlers don't try to get wickets. Perhaps the game needs to be reinvented, so that the batters lose 10 runs when they lose a wicket. This would see more attacking fields, thus more wickets and probably more runs as well. While you are at it, do away with all that powerplay nonsense as well."
24th over - Eng 119-2
Colly brings up "Nelson" (111) with a single that takes him to 26, Shah reaches 32 with one of his own. Colly guides another through the covers, then Morkel lets fly with a head-high beamer! Shah dives out of the way, it's called "no-ball" but there's no free hit. Come on ICC, overstepping brings a free hit, but a head-high full toss doesn't? The recovered Shah punches a full toss through the covers for one, then Colly cracks a half-tracker for four through the same area.
23rd over - Eng 110-2
Shah steers Botha for a single, then Colly brings up the fifty stand with what my match-report colleague Oliver Brett calls his patented "get-out" shot against the spinners, lofting him towards wide long-on for four. A single rounds off the over. And
the Singapore Grand Prix has finished
- but I won't tell you who's won in case you don't want to find out till later. Spoilers, you understand.
From Aneesh, Paris, TMS inbox:
"Anyone else think that the winners' jacket looks quite smart, in a Bond-villain type way?"
22nd over - Eng 104-2
A slightly strange move by South Africa - rather than allowing their spinners to tighten the screw, that expensive last over has seen RVDM removed from the attack and replaced with Morkel's right-arm seam. Collingwood brings up three figures for England with a single through the covers. Morkel sends down a wide, then Shah completes another single despite some frenzied calling by the England pair. Colly guides a two to third man - five from the over.
21st over - Eng 99-2
Shah swipes Botha for a four through the vacant slip area, with that funny follow-through where he seems to tie his wrists in knots. The England pair add another single apiece, this third-wicket stand is now worth 40.
20th over - Eng 93-2
More left-arm tweak from Van der Merwe and more singles from Shah and Colly, complemented by a wide from RVDM and Colly's first four off the final ball of the over, which he guides through square leg.
From Amir in Centurion, TMS inbox:
"Van der Merwe in attack now and a crucial period for England, I think they just have to milk the ball and run really well between wickets like Yousuf and Shoaib did for Pakistan yesterday"
19th over - Eng 84-2
Colly dabs Botha for a single, Shah cover-drives for one. Colly pulls a shorter ball for a single... the England run-rate has sunk somewhat.
18th over - Eng 81-2
Colly and Shah begin the interminable "try-to-force-the-spinners-for-a-single-off-nearly-every-ball" routine we're likely to see for the next 18 overs. They manage three of them. And also today, the recently-moustachioed Jesse Ryder has been the second New Zealander after Jacob Oram to be ruled out of the Champions Trophy through injury. Johannesburg publicans and pie-shop proprietors are reportedly devastated.
17th over - Eng 78-2
With the predictability of the villain's secret headquarters exploding at the end of a Bond film, South Africa bring on their second spinner, off-break merchant Johan Botha. Colly forces his first ball for a single, Shah angles one past point. Colly forces a two through mid-wicket and a single to round off the over. Time for a drinks break.
16th over - Eng 73-2
Good news for South Africa's bowling options is that Kallis is back on the field - but with the fielding powerplay concluded, it's time for South Africa to unleash the first of their two spinners - slow left-armer Roelof van der Merwe. Colly jabs a quick single, Shah steers a two through wide mid-on although his slightly hesitant running between the wickets is still a worry for England. Another, more comfortable, two means that's five off the over. Meanwhile,
over at the Wanderers, Sri Lanka are 129-4 from 23 overs chasing 316 to beat New Zealand.
From Dermot Rainey, Derry, TMS inbox:
"Maybe it's a day for Irish wicketkeepers as Niall O'Brien has just smashed 72 off 52 balls for Northants. That's his 3rd or 4th big score with excellent strike rate in the past three weeks. Perhaps having an Irishman behind the stumps is a sign of things to come"
15th over - Eng 68-2
The Centurion PA system plays "Bad Moon Rising" between overs, but never mind Creedence Clearwater Revival, could we be seeing an "Owais Shah Revival" here? Or will England "see trouble on the way"? Shah suddenly can't time the ball against Parnell, and plays out a maiden over against the left-armer, who seems to have benefited from the change of ends.
14th over - Eng 68-2
Shah and Colly exchange singles as Morkel begins his second over, then Shah finds the gap well past mid-on and the ball scuttles away for four. Plenty of sunbathing being done on the "hill", I'm very jealous, although it's not bad for late September here at BBC TV Centre in London - reasonably sunny. A single takes Shah to 16 off 16 balls.
13th over - Eng 61-2
New batsman Paul Collingwood guides his first ball off his legs for two leg byes. Bizarrely, as the throw from the boundary hits the stumps, it's referred to the third umpire - even though Colly was nearly past the stumps when the wicket was broken.
From Matt Maltby, London, TMS inbox:
"Cheery as this start is, presumably you could point out two more matches a bit more... if Sri Lanka lose to NZ, as is looking more and more likely, then a) they're out, and b) England, shockingly, need only one win from the SA and NZ games to go through. On a different note, Nottinghamshire are 29-8. Surely the general public should be made more aware of this"
Firstly, in Matt's defence, he sent this e-mail before the two wickets fell. And secondly, please don't call me Shirley.
12.1 overs - WICKET - Strauss c Boucher b Parnell 25 - Eng 59-2
Strauss's first false shot - he nibbles at one from Parnell and is well caught by the diving "Boucher the poucher" behind the timbers!
12th over - Eng 59-1
Kallis is still off the field so he is replaced by fellow right-arm seamer Albie Morkel. Hello, that's a magnificent hit from Shah, he absolutely launches one high over square for six, that's halfway up the hill and on target to disturb someone's picnic basket! The Middlesex man, seemingly freed from the shackles he was under the other night, adds a two and a single. Strauss nudges a single off his legs.
11th over - Eng 49-1
Strangely, Kallis follows Denly off the field, South Africa will hope he hasn't pulled a muscle or anything, but they have taken the fielding powerplay - three men outside the circle for overs 11-15 - and Parnell's changed ends. Owais Shah is the new batsman - he took on the anchor role against Sri Lanka, taking 74 balls to score 44. He can't pierce the infield early on, and just manages a single off Parnell's final delivery.
10th over - WICKET - Denly c Duminy b Kallis 21 - Eng 48-1
After Kallis strays with a wide, Denly goes for a big hit but can't connect properly. He forces a two off his legs - but then tries a lofted pull and holes out straight to JP Duminy, the one man in the deep on the square leg boundary. An important breakthrough for the Proteas.
From Paul O'Neill, Castlebar, TMS inbox:
"Re: Mike Brown (1326) - Michael, calm down. First of all it's Sunday and secondly the replacement wicketkeeper is Irish. Greetings from the Emerald Isle and of course 'Top of the morning to you all'."
9th over - Eng 45-0
Steyn to continue, he has 0-15 from his first four overs but he gives it too much width against Strauss, who cracks him over point for four. England are chugging along nicely with an average of one boundary and one single per over. Meanwhile, if you're a county cricket fan, it's the last day of your season today -
check out all the latest scores
as the Pro40 competition takes its final bow. It hardly seems three years since
I went to Chelmsford for the competition's launch.
8th over - Eng 41-0
First bowling change as the medium-fast/fast-medium (delete as applicable for preference) right-arm seamer Jacques Kallis replaces leftie Parnell. He has 247 ODI wickets in his career, but only three in 10 games this year. Denly finally gets hold of him, waiting for the bad ball before hoisting it through mid-wicket for a first-bounce four. The Kent opener clips a single off his legs, Strauss then takes on the livewire Gibbs but makes it through to nick the strike.
7th over - Eng 35-0
Denly steers Steyn for a single as England continue to try to make hay before South Africa's two spinners come on to put a stranglehold on the game. But Strauss, slightly flustered by four dot balls as Steyn keeps it tight, ambles down the track to try to take him on, misses and has to leap back into his ground.
From Janusz, TMS inbox:
"Will SA underestimate England as did the Lankans did the other day, I fear not. With a 'part timer' behind the stumps the pressure on England's bowlers is increased. The boys need at least 300, even to put SA under some pressure"
6th over - Eng 34-0
Denly stands-and-delivers against Parnell, waiting before hitting a lofted drive through the line and over the bowler's head for four. He then takes a big swing and the ball looks to be headed to the extra cover boundary before an astonishing athletic stop by Gibbs turns four into three. Good to see England being positive in the early powerplay overs.
5th over - Eng 27-0
More great placement from Strauss, another firm cut shot against Steyn (apparently known as "The Phalaborwa Express") and he doesn't even need to run as it sails away for his fourth boundary. It looks like it's pretty much standing room only at Centurion.
From Giles in Ghana, TMS inbox:
"Sitting on a beach in Ghana, it's actually raining. Am surrounded by South Africans, any chance England can win this and give me some bragging rights? Need something before the drubbing in the Tests"
4th over - Eng 23-0
Parnell slants one in to Denly which swings late and clips him high on the pad, but they run a leg bye. Strauss aims another full-blooded square cut but it's brilliantly stopped on the bounce by AB de Villiers - part of an impressive inner cordon along with Gibbs and JP Duminy. Strauss whips another well-timed four off his legs, then guides another one to fine leg for a single. Decent start here by England.
3rd over - Eng 17-0
Steyn whips one through past Denly's outside edge before the right-hander guides a single to third man. Strauss carefully pulls a loose delivery through backward square leg for four - while over at the Wanderers, New Zealand have just dropped both Sangakkara and Jayawardene on nought. Could be costly for the Kiwis.
From Syds_Sports on 606:
"I honestly think Eng have gone into this tournament with no-one expecting anything from them, so the pressure is off Eng - which may, just, have freed them to play a relaxed game. Bring it on!"
2nd over - Eng 12-0
Left-arm speedster Wayne Parnell takes the second over to his former Kent team-mate Denly, who steers a well-timed on-drive through the gap for four. Not the line Parnell wants to bowl as he's got two slips in. Denly rotates the strike for the first time, then Strauss square-cuts for a couple.
1st over - Eng 5-0
Dale Steyn sportingly gets England under way with a wide first up, then Strauss presents arms with a firm straight-driven four. The England dressing-room look quite relaxed, Luke Wright is just polishing off an apple. Let's hope he gets his "five-a-day" in, as we all should. Meanwhile, I should add that if you're not near a radio, you can
follow Alison Mitchell's updates from the ground on Twitter.
From D Constantine, Essex, TMS inbox:
"Losing Prior is certainly a blow for England, but as an Essex man I have faith in Ravi Bop. Let's not forget that he can bowl a little bit too, it's just a matter of will England let him have a go. Come on England, lets do this today, and come on Bopster, it's time to let that talent shine"
Teams line up for the anthems, England's first. Unlike in the Sri Lanka game, the singer gets the words right. The SA anthem is heartily sung by the capacity Centurion crowd.
From Mike Brown, TMS inbox:
"Who cares where the players were born, they qualify to play for England and wear the caps with pride. Give it a rest"
And while I'm afraid there's no TMS for this tournament, you can hear updates every 15 minutes with Alison Mitchell on
BBC Radio 5 live.
(While keeping this live text open, of course!)
While we're competing for your attention with
Sam Lyon's Formula 1 live text,
we still want you to get involved as much as ever. E-mail email@example.com
(with "For Mark Mitchener" in the subject line), text 81111
(with "CRICKET" as the first word - this will help us notice your contributions among all the petrolheads texting in for Sam), or use
It's a pretty full house at Centurion, while in the other game currently going on at the Wanderers,
Sri Lanka are chasing 316 to beat New Zealand.
However, whatever that result, a win is likely to see England through to the semi-finals.
So, England have won the toss
and will bat first. Matt Prior is out with a viral infection and there's no specialist replacement in the squad, so with Paul Collingwood (who kept for a day in a recent Test) needed to bowl, Eoin Morgan will take the wicketkeeping gauntlets. He's kept twice for Middlesex 2nd XI, and once for Ireland against Scotland. Ravi Bopara takes Prior's place in the squad - while South Africa make one change - the fit-again Herschelle Gibbs replaces Hashim Amla.
Afternoon, everyone. Here's the news from the middle - the wicketkeeper from Johannesburg misses out through illness, but the captain, also born in Johannesburg, has won the toss and elected to bat first. Mind you, they're still missing that big-hitting middle-order batsman from Pietermaritzburg, and that promising Test debutant from Cape Town isn't in the squad. As for South Africa, I'll let you know in a minute...