Hello and welcome to live, over-by-over coverage of the third Test between South Africa and England at Port Elizabeth. Let’s start with something thrilling, a list of scores: 1-1, 1-0, 2-1, 2-1, 2-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-1, 0-2, 1-2, 3-1. Those are the series results between these sides since South Africa were readmitted in 1991. No whitewashes, not even a rout, and only three dead rubbers in 11 series.
South Africa and England have been the most well-matched sides in world cricket in the last 30 years. Some might say that’s because they’re essentially the same team, but that’s one for the Guardian Sport SuperBrains to consider. What we can say with confidence is that contests between the two usually come with a guarantee of tense, hard-nosed, occasionally brilliant cricket.
This series, which has been no different, will end with back-to-back games at Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg. If you believe in the M word, then England have it after their stirring victory in the second Test at Cape Town. But they will be without one of the stars of that match: Jimmy Anderson, who had frankly absurd match figures of 37-15-63-7, has flown home with the latest manifestation of professional old age.
His like-for-unlike replacement will be Mark Wood, who has been bowling like the wind – or even the Typhoon – in the nets. Port Elizabeth has a reputation for being the slowest pitch in South Africa, so England want what we are now obliged to refer to as an X-factor bowler. There has been plenty of talk of reverse swing, too. Slow pitch or not, I doubt the next few days will be dull. After all, it’s England v South Africa.
The match starts at 8am in England, 10am in Port Elizabeth.