WICKET! De Kock b Curran 63 (South Africa 208-8)
THAT’S WHY! SAM CURRAN HAS TIMING! Curran straightens one off the seam, De Kock plays for it to do nothing, and takes it right on the middle stump!
84th over: South Africa 208-7 (De Kock 63, Maharaj 0) Curran gets the ball from other end; why?Presumably because he’s not that much use once the ball is old, but also because De Kock likes the pace that Wood puts on it. Imagine wanting to face that! These lads are something else.
WICKET! Philander b Broad 27 (South Africa 208-7)
Cartwheel! Broad finds some nip off the seam, Philander opens the gate with an airy drive, and is it zips to the fence in his dreams, in our reality the ball careers into his off peg which goes for a little dance.
83rd over: South Africa 208-6 (De Kock 63, Philander 27) Yes! The performative Jerusalem is away. Can’t wait for the actions and applauding of self. AND IT’S THERE! THERE IT IS! Wood and Curran both warm up like it’s their gig from the other end; I’d go Wood, now that you ask.
SJ Broad is ready. South Africa need 92 more to avoid the follow-on, which ought to secure them a draw.
“In case anyone cares,” says Michael McClelland in Carlsbad, California, of our feathered friend above, “it’s an osprey. I never have anything wise or funny to say about cricket, so this is my big chance.”
You have decreed. Badabing! There’s one for the history A-level lads.
Jeetan Patel is an extremely articulate and impressive individual.
England spin-coach Jeetan Patel says Bess is beginning “to understand his art”. He says he focuses on details – the ball does whatever you do to it – and Bess is prepared to do whatever it takes. He says it doesn’t really matter what happens to the ball until just before it bounces, as it bounces and just after it bounces. So Bess has to get his wrist-position right and get the ball off his last finger, hard, and past the vertical, so it comes out straight.
“You mention the unique confluence that was Peter Such,” says Ian Forth. “He once took the most Test wickets in a calendar year for England (1993). This feat is diminished somewhat once you discover the actual number – 16. That’s three less than fellow off-spinner Jim Laker once took in one match. Steve Harmison took 67 in 2004, Beefy 66 in 1978 and Graeme Swann 64 in 2010. But Such is not the post-war nadir! John Snow won with just 14 in 1970 (remarkably the year England won down under), while Neil Foster topped the list with just 12 (twelve, as the teleprinter used to clarify) in 1989.”
In fairness they do play a lot more these days, but my days that 1993 was miserable – the Oval and the Gaffer in Bridgetown apart.
Email! “Why no early start to make up time lost,” says David Griffiths.
I guess because we’re already getting underway at 10 because we don’t get late doors light in Africa, and we can’t start any earlier than that.
“He can only play one way,” he says of De Kock, and that he tried to play a different way in Cape Town and it didn’t work.
He goes on to say that De Kock is a “special, special cricketer” and that Philander “isn’t doing a lot with the ball at the moment, it’s his last series and he needs to do something”. Arf.
Kevin Pietersen wonders if the bowlers are “willing to do the hard yards”. I think we know the answer to that.
It’s not currently raining in PE, but there’s a chance of showers before play starts, as there is in the first scheduled hour. If South Africa bat sensibly, they’ve a decent chance of going to Joburg all-square.
For reasons which will become immediately apparent I’m going to whisper this in invisible ink, but: might England have the bones of a decent Test side? Our name is Guardian OBO, and we’re hopeless optimistics.
But stick with us. Let’s say that Sibley and Crawley are good – at batting time if nothing else. When Burns comes back, the latter moves to first wicket down; the middle-order is already decent when it’s allowed to be an actual middle-order; and suddenly the batting line-up that has bestowed such consistent hilarity looks a serious proposition.
And then there’s the bowling. Archer is a superstar; Broad and Anderson are bowling as well as ever; a fit Wood is an exceptional weapon; and all of a sudden the only thing missing is a top-class spinner. Ideally, one able to take first-innings wickets, but given the artillery at the other end, it’d be enough to holding one down before stepping in on day 3 – or whenever Tests are finishing this time next year – to clean up. Done and done.
Whether Dom Bess is that man remains to be seen – Trent Bridge 06 aside, tracks like this current one don’t exist anywhere outside the sub-continent. Still, you need the head and heart to succeed, and he’ll be hoping yesterday was the first of many, not a Peter Such-style confluence of circumstance. He’s got a lot of work to do this morning, and he can be sure that Quinton de Kock won’t simply let him go about it. We’re in for a treat.
Play: 10am local time, 8am GMT