33rd over: South Africa 107-4 (Elgar 65, Bavuma 13). Billy leading the Barmy Army in a round of Jerusalem. Bit crass to link my essay going into the history of the hymn in relation to England cricket? Nah. Teaser: it involves Professional Wrestling. It’s Broad they are serenading, through another tight maiden. This time to Bavuma. He’s happy enough on a fourth stump line, allowing the right-hander to let balls go. For now. Reckon we’ll see the off-cutter deployed next up.
32nd over: South Africa 107-4 (Elgar 65, Bavuma 13). Aside from a full bunger to finish his first over Moeen has been landing his darts right around the triple 20. A fat edge is earned early in the over, Elgar sending the ball wide of slip. False stroke. Moeen gets it even better next up, going him with a beauty. Misses the edge and the off-stump, on most days that’s a ball good enough to get an international wicket. He should be in the book by stumps. Scheduled 20 minutes from now regardless of the overs bowled (eight to come) as I understand it.
31st over: South Africa 101-4 (Elgar 59, Bavuma 13). It’s Broad from the Pavilion End. For four balls he was tempting him outside the line across the left-hander’s body, but to the fifth he wafted. Lucky not to edge. Turns one into square leg to finish the over, so he keeps the strike. Runs have really dried up.
Andy ‘not that one’ Wilson emailed us a counterview on Stokes. “Maybe it is a little harsh but I feel Stokesy is an average to good batsmen who occasionally plays great innings. As a bowler he is a lot like he is as a batsman. Of course it is always worth the wait for when he does explode. And he would still be the second name on the teamsheet.”
30th over: South Africa 100-4 (Elgar 58, Bavuma 13). Reports online that Putin has just announced he will expel 755 US diplomats. Heavy. So, never a better time to focus on what we can control: the cricket. And not getting in front of the sightscreen when we’re watching, as some chap does here. Done that? I have, when covering an Australian game. Didn’t end well. Anyway, Moeen. Bavuma. He had to play each time on this occasion. Silly point getting a work out. Back to back maidens between these two. It’s graft.
29th over: South Africa 100-4 (Elgar 58, Bavuma 13). Big Bad Stuart Broad is back for another go. He beats Elgar’s edge too, and there is a noise. But the bowler shakes his head and waves his finger. As if to say, “Skip, only review when I’m jumping into your arms.” Or as Vish suggests next to me, an effort to win back some trust. He’s a gem, but on this one measure he’s well in the hole. But never change, Stu. Earlier in the over Elgar squeezed him through the cordon, in control to the ground and out to the rope. That brought up South Africa’s 100 as well. Only 392 to go.
28th over: South Africa 96-4 (Elgar 54, Bavuma 13). Moeen races through one. Bavuma content to defend and leave as required. I reckon these two will give us the best cricket of the final hour here.
27th over: South Africa 96-4 (Elgar 54, Bavuma 13). Bit going on here. Stokes really on one. To begin though, Dean Elgar brings up his 50. Driving the England brute through cover. Copped a few on the gloves but he’s still there and doing it well. Next ball a huge shout for caught behind off Bavuma. It has carved back a long way, but the replay suggests beyong the inside edge, any sound on the way through via pad. Good job, then, that Root isn’t talked into a review. Taken a couple of Tests but he’s slowly finding his way on the DRS.
Charlie Tinsley has a couple of noms for the best seamer debut. Neil Mallender and Joey Benjamin. Must admit, I’ve had to look both games up. I like the latter for it was his only Test and at The Oval. Played, Chuck.
26th over: South Africa 90-4 (Elgar 49, Bavuma 12). Moeen on straight after drinks. Hits the footmarks with his second ball to Bavuma, men around the bat. Well played with soft hands by the South African. Then he gets one by the edge. Bavuma up for the challenge, steering a couple behind point. Good contest already and it has only been going four balls. Well, until Moeen lobs up a fully to end the over, Bavuma making no mistake along the carpet through the posh side to the rope.
Couple of responses to my shout out. Luke on the tweet says James Kirtley. “Got 6/34 in second innings against SA in 2003.” Nice. Yep. He’s in. I’ll nominate Tony Dodemaide – 6/58 and a clutch 50. More next over. Hit me on the email.
25th over: South Africa 84-4 (Elgar 49, Bavuma 6). Fat inside edge from Elgar trying to pull Stokes again, but it races away to the rope. He won’t mind that. Up near 90mph Sky tell us. Dave Tickner put it best on the tweet earlier. There are actual people who watch the game of cricket who reckon Ben Stokes is no good. It’s a thing. Oh, he STINGS Elgar again with the final ball of this probing over, thumping into his thigh pad by the looks. We don’t get a replay as they are off to a break with drinks on the field. He’s one short of a gutsy half-ton.
24th over: South Africa 78-4 (Elgar 44, Bavuma 5). Tobias has one racing back at Bavuma, he just gets an inside edge. May have been in strife otherwise. Athers wants to see Malan get a little trundle with his leggies. Won’t get one with Roland-Jones bowling unplayables, as he does later in the set to Bavuma again, straigtening delightfully after pitching. Some debut, this. Where does it rank for fast bowlers? I was there for Lee’s 5-for at the ‘G in 1999. The gold standard of late. But this has to in that conversation, no? Anyone care to dig a bit deeper than what is immediately coming to mind before I hit send and start a new over? The floor is yours: best quicks on debut.
23rd over: South Africa 72-4 (Elgar 41, Bavuma 2). Athers generous in his praise of Stokes bowling over the last couple of Tests. Short of a length, making life as tough as possible for Elgar. Warne explaining how much it stings when you get hit on the hand. Knows a bit or two about that, SK. Then a lovely pull shot! That’s a fine way to end the over, the transfer of weight spot on.
22nd over: South Africa 68-4 (Elgar 37, Bavuma 2). Bit of a delay as Elgar has the physio come out after copping out. Gets another sort one straight away from TRJ. Again on the top hand he cops it. Back an across though, can’t fault the South African opener here. Pushes a short one beyond bad pad for a couple later in the over. Then keeps the strike with a single through cover. He’s doing the yards.
“On the leave with bat raised,” writes in Jon Salisbury. “Wasn’t it one of Gatt’s teammates who suggested the bat sponsor should have their logo imprinted upside down for the action photos.”
21st over: South Africa 65-4 (Elgar 34, Bavuma 2). Thanks Vish. We just did this thing where he pointed to me like he was the director calling ‘Action’ as we did the transition. And action it is with Stokes bending them around corners. Excellent leave Bavuma as one jags back, perhaps two inches separating the ball and the bails.
“Not really worth opening the ticket office tomorrow I think!” suggests David Manby on the email. Not so sure about that. Bavuma is a proper Test player. You might get your money’s worth. Now watch, as he nicks off or something.
Notts have chased down Yorkshire’s 223 to win a T20 at Trent Bridge. The hosts’ overseas Dan Christian sums it up best, the highest successful T20 chase.
20th over: South Africa 63-4 (Elgar 33, Bavuma 1) Elgar still defending like he’s clearing tall reeds with a machete. Can’t really poke too much fun: he’s still there, having faced 56 balls and pushing singles as and when. The over finishes with one in the kidneys from Roland-Jones.
Right, chaps and chapettes. Thanks for your company. Here comes Adam Collins to block out the remaining 20-overs or rattle through the final six.
19th over: South Africa 63-4 (Elgar 33, Bavuma 1) Crowd up for the hat-trick ball. Like a Roman Colosseum, probably. They were loud, weren’t they? Plus it hooped around there, what with the high sides and the through-wind. Anyway, Bavuma works it off his hip to get off the mark.
18th over: South Africa 60-4 (Elgar 32, Bavuma 0) “This Faf du Plessis is clearly a student of the Mike Gatting school of shoulder-arms and pad up,” writes Jonathan Wilton. “Didn’t work for Gatts; still doesn’t.”
Hat-trick ball imminent… Bavuma to face…
17th over: South Africa 52-4 (Elgar 24) This over started with a four over the top of the slips, by the way.
WICKET! Faf du Plessis LBW Stokes 0 (South Africa 52-4)
BEN STOKES IS ON A HAT-TRICK! Oh Faf, what have you done?! No shot offered, front pad displayed proudly as Stokes gets this delivery to duck into the right-hander at pace. Aleem Dar’s finger shoots up. Faf, eventually, reviews. It’s projected to be hitting off, though. The man of the long, drawn out occasion is gone, first ball.
WICKET! De Kock b Stokes 5 (South Africa 52-3)
What a yorker! Bit of shape, too: seam angled as it comes out of the hand, pointing towards second slip. Quinton thinks he can work through midwicket, but spies that it’s a yorker far too late. Stumps akimbo. Seven more to get for England…
WICKET! Amla c Root b Roland-Jones 5 (South Africa 47-2)
Quality from Roland-Jones. Draws Amla into a misjudgement – in this case, a slightly flawed leave. The ball darts up and off the right-handers bat and low into the hands of Joe Root. We stick around to see if it carried (Amla was walking off to be fair to him) and it definitely did. Goneski.
15th over: South Africa 47-1 (Elgar 24, Amla 5) Sharp bouncer from Ben Stokes kicks us off. Amla, zen, sways perfectly out of the way. Another pearler, this time around the wicket to Elgar nearly takes his face off. Luckily, Elgar gets his hands in the way and has enough about him to keep the ball down. Cracking delivery.
14th over: South Africa 45-1 (Elgar 23, Amla 4) Same set-up behind the stumps for Toby Roland-Jones. Elgar, on strike, found a single in the off side that TRJ wasn’t totally enamoured with. Seems to have got a bit easier out there… maybe England declared too early??
13th over: South Africa 44-1 (Elgar 22, Amla 4) Double change it is. Benjamin Andrew replaces Stokes, over-stepping twice to give him a longer start that normal. Three slips close together and then a gully that’s looking quite lonely for Hashim Amla.
12th over: South Africa 42-1 (Elgar 22, Amla 4) Tobias Skelton into the attack now, as Broad has a blow. Good carry but not too much off the straight just yet.
11th over: South Africa 41-1 (Elgar 33, Amla 3) Lovely, lovely drive from Elgar, beating mid off on the inside as he hits through that grey area between “straight” and “extra cover”. Quick dip back into the domestic scene for this:
Not bad for a clubby.
10th over: South Africa 37-1 (Elgar 18, Amla 3) Amusing that the newest member of a side always gets thrown in at short leg. Usually it’s a kid, but today it’s a toss up between the 29-year-old Dawid Malan and Tom Westley who is a year younger. Malan gets it on experience. That delivery Broad is bowling for, plink up towards Malan, nearly comes off. No bat means four leg byes instead.
9th over: South Africa 33-1 (Elgar 18, Amla 3) Seems to be real variable bounce from the Pavilion End, where Anderson’s coming in from. Amla’s had to play a few warily an watchfully with the cue end of his bat, like a follically unchallenged Peter Ebdon.
8th over: South Africa 32-1 (Elgar 18, Amla 2) Good insight from Nasser and Atherton on Elgar’s technique: his bat comes across from out wide, meaning he basically cuts across himself when he is playing forward. That means, when he’s not middling the ball, his bottom hand is coming off because he’s unable to control the final part of its swing (this is all their work, by the way, not mine). I’d have claimed it as my own but I just started reading Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shame and am on edge. Elgar pushes past Broad for a couple to finish the over.
7th over: South Africa 26-1 (Elgar 12, Amla 2) Elgar’s keeping the slips interested with his angled bat to whatever Anderson decks across him. Keaton Jennings there, watching on, thinking what might have been. If anything, he’s returned the favour after Elgar shelled him on six.
WICKET! Broad b Kuhn 11 (South Africa 21-1)
There it is – the first one. And it’s Broad. Gets one to nip back into the right-hander at the perfect length. Kuhn tries to keep it out but can only play on. Whisper it but the movement and length Broad is getting… are we on the cusp of one of *those* spells?
5th over: South Africa 21-0 (Kuhn 11, Elgar 9) Anderson saving his beauties for Elgar. Another one draws him forward before leaving him for dead. AND A DROP TO FINISH! Another feel, this time the edge is taken and Keaton Jennings shells a routine chance at third slip, diving to his left.
4th over: South Africa 17-0 (Kuhn 11, Elgar 9) HUGE CELEBRAPPEAL! But it’s not out, Stuart. Kuhn’s big stride ensures he’s hit well outside the line. Umpire Wilson turns down the appeal and Broad tries to coerce Root into calling on DRS. Luckily, Bairstow acts as the muscle to ensure England don’t burn one of their two reviews/
Elsewhere, in the T20 Blast, Outlaw Hales is doing what Outlaw Hales does:
3rd over: South Africa 11-0 (Kuhn 7, Elgar 4) As per Tristan’s tweet in the previous over – very good journo, well worth a follow – Kuhn’s presenting the full face of his bat, front pad and laces. With Elgar, Anderson’s able to send one across him to get the left-hander forward and missing.
“South Africa at 90-6 by Stumps today is something I’ll willingly and gladly bet on,” says Saad Sheikh. “Anderson chief tormentor.”
2nd over: South Africa 9-0 (Kuhn 6, Elgar 3) Stuart Broad around the wicket to the leftie and over to the rightie. So far, hasn’t really upset his line. In fact, Kuhn almost plays on, driving at a ball that angles in at him. A few balls later, the right-hander is back on strike and driving nicely through the covers for four. The next ball, driven back to Broad, is hurtled back to the keeper on the bounce. Reverse soon, anyone?
1st over: South Africa 3-0 (Kuhn 1, Elgar 2) James Anderson starts from the Pavilion End (Atherton reckons the breeze from the Vauxhall End would be of more use to him). His first ball to Dean Elgar draws a big appeal! Umpire Aleem Dar has a long look and shakes his head. Replay looks high and maybe even pitched outside leg… no – in line, as it happens. And Hawkeye says “Umpire’s Call”. Dar >>>> Me.
Get your predictions in! I reckon England and Toby Roland-Jones’ barmy army are picking four off this evening. Stocksy’s put his hand up for five:
Bumper session, this: 40 overs to get through (light should be good enough, me thinks). South Africa have done the blocking out for the draw a few times. Faf du Plessis – captain, leader, totem:
South Africa need 492 to win; England need 10 wickets
One number is bigger than the other. Much bigger. Warne’s annoyed, so I think we’ve all done our jobs. Anyway, in better news – look who has rattled off Durham’s first T20 hundred:
WICKET, DECLARATION AND TEA! Bairstow c Rabada b Maharaj 63 (England 313-8 dec)
JB swats Maharaj flat to long-off, Rabada is there and makes the take with a juggle. And that’ll do, says Joe Root. South Africa will require 492 to win. More to the point, they have see our four sessions to save the match – that’s the early tea. Six wickets and 160 of runs in rapid session. There was an inevitability about the declaration, Bairstow’s excellent hitting the best of England’s lower order. Maharaj earned his three wickets for South Africa. A cup of tea for me as well, as I hand back to Vish. Catch you for the final hour.
79th over: England 310-7 (Bairstow 62, Roland-Jones 21). TRJ, Sky tells us, becomes the first England bat since KP to hit a six in both innings on debut. That’s off Elgar, a second slog sweep in as many overs clearing the rope. He liked the experience so much that he did it again three balls later, a hockey slap back over the bowlers’ head. Very good. Ben Stokes having a laugh, pointing to his watch when the TV cameras pan to him at the end of the over. Presumably a response to the commentary consensus (that I share, to be fair) that they probably had enough a little while back. Even so, not for nothing that 15 came from that over. That hurts any fielding side with a long mission ahead to have any chance of salvaging this rubber.
78th over: England 295-7 (Bairstow 61, Roland-Jones 7). Another double-digit over for England, the lead 473 and well beyond the point where there could be any more than two viable results in this match from here. They won’t want to have South Africa six down at 7pm tomorrow. Bairstow doesn’t mind, plonking Maharaj loooong over square leg with a sweep. Have that. White-ball singles to the sweepers for the rest. Junk time runs, sure. But they all count in the stats columns.
77th over: England 284-7 (Bairstow 52, Roland-Jones 5). Final over before the interval, Bairstow gets his way with a reverse sweep, misses the first but fantastic contact with the second. The boundary secures a run-a-ball half-century. Done a lot right over the last hour. It isn’t tea, which suggests they already made a change to the playing hours and I missed it. Carry on then, lads!
76th over: England 274-7 (Bairstow 43, Roland-Jones 4). The stream taken from Bairstow’s full-blooded attack since losing more recognised batting partners. He takes singles only in this good Maharaj set, favouring the legside. Roland-Jones lucky to survive after taking a stroll, the edge evading de Kock and spilling away for a couple. One more for tea.
75th over: England 269-7 (Bairstow 41, Roland-Jones 1). Elgar one for a few little neither-here-nor-there orthos. They’re effective though, conceding three singles then keeping TRJ pinned to the crease for the remainder.
Ian Copestake has found the youtube link that I couldn’t the other week. Where Warne explains why he doesn’t like Waugh. In short: because he dropped him for the decider of the Frank Worrell Trophy in 1999. The best bit, the final exchange:
Fevola: So you won the Test?
Fevola: So he would have been justified?
Warne: That’s right.
74th over: England 266-7 (Bairstow 39, Roland-Jones 0). Maharaj, the new bowler into the attack when the run out came, does very nicely to Bairstow for the remainder of the over. Nasser is forthright: “Yep, he should have stayed on. He tossed it up, good bowling.” Two from the over. 11 minutes until Tea. Lead: 444.
WICKET! Moeen run out Bavuma 8 (England 265-7)
Rule of modern cricket: don’t take on Bavuma, ever. We saw what he was capable of in Australia last year. Collects and throws after charging in from cow corner here, hitting the one stump available to him. Moeen’s modest dive suggests he didn’t anticipate it. Fifth wicket of an eventful session.
Is Moeen run out? Direct hit. Looks to be in strike. We’ll see in a tic.
73rd over: England 264-6 (Bairstow 37, Moeen 8). England lead by 442. With the clock bound to strike 3:25pm local time in the next over, that means there will be no declaration before the next interval. England successful pump nine out of that Rabada set, the highlight a deft nurdle off Moeen’s hip. Bairstow keps the strike with a mow to long-on.
72nd over: England 255-6 (Bairstow 35, Moeen 1). Morris rolling out his own white-ball variations now, Moeen immediately going at him but not getting much of one the bowler rolled the fingers down. Bairstow keeps the strike behind point. Good result for England with the punchy fella seeing them well. Neglected to mention a couple of overs ago he ran up to a ball that Rabada lost control of and lined up to whack it from cover to the boundary, instead shouldering arms in full panto mode. Good areas. With the confidence he has nowadays he’s going to like Australia a lot more this November than he did four years earlier.
“I will wager that Root wants 450 lead,” writes Andy Wilson (not that one) on the email. Oh, the punchline though: “And by Root I mean Bayliss.” Boom.
WICKET! Stokes b Morris 31 (England 251-6)
Stokes has done a job there, clearing midwicket with a bomb to begin the Morris over. He tries it on again and loses his middle stump. Everyone wins. That makes the lead 429 with England needing to declare inside the next ten minutes if they are to get a jam roll before the tea break. Otherwise, the third ump tells Sky, it will be an early break. But they’ll not giving it away quite yet.
71st over: England 245-5 (Stokes 25, Bairstow 32). Rabada doesn’t give up a four ball, nor can Bairstow manufacture one. Couple to third man, one behind square. Couple more to third man to end the set. Good bowling in tough circumstances.
Hypocast writes in on twitter about Warne. I wasn’t the only one to notice the flourish, it would seem. “Give him credit. He’s somehow managed to avoid his regular slating of John Buchanan for the duration of this innings.”
70th over: England 239-5 (Stokes 23, Bairstow 27). Properly at it these two now, with Root pacing back and forth on the balcony suggesting he might just pull that rip cord and have a 20 minute go before tea. Bairstow gets one away with a tickle, fine enough for four. Then getting resourceful next ball to open up third man – no one down there. He’s overtaken Stokes in the process, going at better than a run a ball.
Predicably, with Bairstow taking a few chances, Warne sees it as an opportunity to accuse Steve Waugh of being a selfish batsman who played for not outs. Yawn.
69th over: England 229-5 (Stokes 23, Bairstow 18). Bairstow’s not mucking around. Aggressive running between the two throughout the over, but the hero of the dish is when he leeeeeeans back and lifts Rabada over the keeper. Everyone loves it. Less good: it’s raining again. It blew over last time, but looks pretty dark on the telly. Lead beyond 400 along the way.
Declaration chat from Patrick Phillips. “Does anyone in the England camp ever think of the spectators ? I reckon they’d hugely enjoy 20 or 30 mins of Stokes/Bairstow and others biff banging. After all it is Sunday afternoon.” Quite fair. There’s a kid tucking into a giant tub of popcorn on the telly. Could be popcorn for all if these two do it right. On the available evidence from Bairstow in that last little flourish, that might be likely.
68th over: England 220-5 (Stokes 20, Bairstow 13). England lead by 398. Bairstow is away now. To double figures with back to back boundaries, crunching Morris behind point then whipping him through midwicket when he overcorrects. That’s the best of YJB right there.
Warne is back and talking about cricket. Keep him there. Talking about his peak as a spinner coming in his late-20s. Encouraging for Adil Rashid if he’s watching on somewhere. We’ve seen before how much weight Warne’s words carry. Michael Beer got a baggy green out of it.
Leo Harvey on the email about my Boyfriend’s Back choice: “I think Alice Donut’s version is more appropriate.” Well, let’s have that too. I don’t have time between overs to check that link in full, so I’m trusting there aren’t any/many swears.