Posts Tagged ‘cricket’

Pietersen…say your prayers!!

Sorry Chess fans…it’s cricket again! and today is an important game! I’m with Cowers again. I actually have about 3 of my own games waiting on draft to be blogged, so keep “watching”…this is England vs South Africa and not…South Africa vs England…hehe


Well done, Kevin! EISH!! The English can’t go without the South Africans in their teams… hehehe…

England 316ao (95.2 overs): LUDICROUS! Panesar is run-out attempting to sprint through for Harmison to make his 50. Monty is so, so slow. He’s a genuine liability with anything other than the ball in his hand. Harmison is left stranded on  49 not out. Overall, a wasted effort from England. 

England 316-9 (95 overs): WHAT A PITY! Anderson decides to leave a ball from Harris he thinks is turning down leg-side….it turns out to be an arm-ball,  and he is trapped LBW right in front. Monty comes to the crease with Harmison on 49 not out… 

England 313-8 (94 overs): Loving this. A fabulous clip over mid-wicket off the bowling of Harris brings Harmison to 49. Anderson then attempts a reverse sweep – and is lucky not to get bowled. More conventionally, he hoiks through square-leg for a couple. The partnership is up to 53…

England 294-8 (92 overs): Smith looks a little lost as to how to break this stand; he just needs to be patient; Harmison and Anderson have been so lucky so far; it has to run out eventually. Doesn’t it?  

England 283-8 (89 overs): The ball continues to fly everywhere. Both Anderson and Harmison are fortunate to escape with lofted drives that fall in between fielders, before Harmison edges off a huge drive, the ball flying down to third man for another boundary. Excellent runs for the home side as the lead approaches 100. 

England 276-8 (87 overs): This is what Test cricket is all about; two tailenders swishing and belting against the new ball; ball flying everywhere, catches going down (Boucher off Harmison), boundaries down to third man and long on. Comedy circus cricket.

England 270-8 (85 overs): Harmison lofts Ntini for two over the top of mid-on, before edging just short of Kallis at slip. Next ball, he crashes a big heave over mid-wicket for four. Entertaining stuff from the returning England bowler.

England 263-8 (83.2 overs): BROAD EDGES TO SLIP! England’s best batsman nicks Ntini through to slip as the new ball does for the number eight. Writing on the wall now; let’s hope Harmy goes a bit mental for a couple of overs. 

England 260-7 (82 overs): South Africa have taken the new ball. Harmison drives Ntini for a lofty drive through extra-cover to move to 10 from 18 balls. 

England 254-7 (80 overs): Harmison is usually good for a bit of fun. He takes a while to get off the mark, but then steers Kallis down to third man for four. I’d like to see Broad and Harmy smite a few in an entertaining half-hour or so. 

England 248-6 (77.2 overs): COLLINGWOOD OUT! 61, BEFORE KALLIS SNARES HIM C&B! Kallis gets one to rear up off a length, the ball takes the shoulder of Collingwood’s bat and the bowler takes a simple return catch. England are doing an excellent job of royally stuffin this up.

England 248-6 (77 overs): Broad is not yet off the mark, but he is playing with a nice confidence, and he is showing great discipline to Harris in particular. The spinner is firing the ball in at Collingwood’s legs in a very defensive tactic, but Colly isn’t biting at the moment. 

England 245-6 (74 overs): Broad comes to the crease. If he could bowl a few Chinamen, he’d be the new Gary Sobers. But he can’t, so he’s only the new Derek Pringle.

England 241-5 (71.5 overs) AMBROSE GOES! HIS SECOND-LAST DISMISSAL IN INTERNATIONAL CRICKET? Another failure for the hapless England keeper, who edges a decent Kallis delivery through to Smith at slip. A second wicket for all-rounder Kallis. Ambrose shows again his inability at this level. 

England 239-5 (71 overs): Some chat down there about the competition prize. Was anyone within one run-per-hundred-balls? If they were, I’ll have to think about a prize. How about some Eurosport headed letter paper, with a (very) short story written by Cowers? 

England 233-5 (69 overs): Ambrose is the new batsman. Pietersen called him “Timmy” in an interview the other day. Surely an indication of how little respect the rest of the England side have for him. Timmy? It’s like calling Strauss “Andy Pandy”. 

England 233-5 (67.4 overs): KALLIS WINS THE BATTLE OF THE BRUTES! The Saffa all-rounder tempts Flintoff with a little nibbler, Flintoff prods through to Boucher. His struggles continue.

England 232-4 (67 overs): Flintoff and Collingwood have the job of pushing on this evening, really driving England in front. The home side still have their best batsmen waiting to come, Stuey Broad, so 500 is still possible.

Evening session: 39 overs remaining.  

England 232-4 (67 overs): TEA: FLINTOFF JOINS THE PARTY! AND HE’S BROUGHT SOME BOOZE! GIN! AND GINGER LIQUEUR! Freddie steps down the wicket to pound Harris for six over long on. Great stage for a Flintoff assault, this. Just play himself in for a while, then BAM! 

England 219-4  (63.4 overs): PIETERSEN GOES FOR EXACTLY 100! Two balls after bringing up his ton, the captain fishes well wide outside off and Kallis takes a good catch at second slip. What a shame. Great knock, but he couldn’t kick on. That’s four wickets for Ntini.

England 219-3 (63 overs): CENTURY FOR PIETERSEN! CAPTAIN MARVELOUS! Pietersen registers his 14th Test ton with a flick through mid-wicket for four; it comes from 135 balls and features 15 boundaries. 

England 208-3 (62 overs): Very slow going out there. Pietersen is playing with rare-seen discipline to make sure he gets his century; Collingwood is up to 39not out in a typically gritty knock as England edge their lead up to 15 runs. 

England 203-3 (59 overs): The players have had drinks after what has been an arduous first hour in the afternoon session. Pietersen is into the 90s. He won’t want to stuff this up, as he did on 94 in the last Test. 

England 200-3 (57 overs): OOH! Harris is into the attack…Collingwood comes down the wicket and drives…straight into the chest of Amla at short leg. That had to hurt; it was fairly full-bloodied. Pietersen is just short of the 90s now; he’ll be keen to kick on once he has passed his ton, I guess. 

England 184-3 (54 overs):  Pedestrian stuff, really. Until Pietersen rocks back and pulls Morkel through mid-on for four. He then drives handsomly down the ground for another boundary.  I bet he fancies a huge score today. Fifth ball of the over he cuts through cover, before clipping through mid-on for three more. 15 off the over. 85 not out, the England skipper.

England 164-3 (51 overs): DOWN! Ntini puts down a second very difficult chance off Pietersen in the space of half-an-hour; this time, the England skipper mis-times a pull, but Ntini can’t hold onto the ball, diving backwards towards the boundary as he ran back from mid-on. 

England 161-3 (50 overs): England have become a bit bogged down since lunch, with the interuption and some disciplined bowling from the tourists. KP needs to break free from the shackles. 

England 153-3 (48 overs): England are back out. The gloom has passed. 

England 151-3: (47 overs): BAD LIGHT! It has got a little gloomy, and the umpires offer the light. KP (a big fan of attacking, offensive cricket, remember…) accepts the light and pegs it. 

England 148-3 (46 overs): Oh, I forgot to say, Pietersen has made his half-century. Good knock, too. Nine fours in it. The captaincy, if anything, has made him a better player. If that were possible. Because he is already, basically, the best player ever to pick up a long-handle. 

England 144-3 (45 overs): Pietersen has gone to the toilet. I repeat: Pietersen has gone to the toilet.  

England 139-3 (43 overs): Kallis does the old hands-on-hips as Collingwood pulls him one-handed through mid-wicket for four. That was one of the ugliest shots Cowers have ever seen. A shot so ugly I’d prevent my sister from marrying it.

England 134-3 (42 overs): South Africa have got a couple of interesting field placings at the moment; one man at a very straight, silly mid-on. Ntini has a nice rhythm going; he is going wide on the crease and darting them in at KP. An edge down to third man brings four off the final ball of the over. 

England  124-3 (40 overs): Nice start for England: Collingwood nicks a couple of boundaries down the leg-side. You can’t afford to bowl at him there. England are just 70 runs behind South Africa. No sign of Harris, the spinner, yet. 

Afternoon session: Off we go. Hold on to your hats. 

England 116-3 (38 overs): LUNCH:  67 runs, two wickets. Probably even in the morning session.

England 111-3 (35.4 overs): GONE! YOU NUMPTY! Ntini angles the ball across Cook, who has a completely unneccessary swipe, edging through to Boucher. No need to play at that one; Cook is disgusted with himself. Stoopid wicket to lose, just before lunch. In comes Collingwood. 

England 106-2 (35 overs): Cook is just struggling a bit in this final half-hour before tea. He can’t quite get the ball away to get KP back on strike. Kallis is bowling well to him, certainly. Ntini is back on for a couple of overs before lunch. 

England 103-2 (33 overs): South Africa are trying to bowl wide to Pietersen, trying to tempt him into a rash shot. Kallis is bowling wide of off-stump, but KP isn’t playing. When Kallis does bowl a little straighter, the England skipper punches down the ground for four. A wonderful shot. A shot so good I’d let my sister marry it. 

England 94-2 (31 overs):  Pietersen punches Kallis for three through cover. 26 not out and progressing sweetly. Just half an hour until lunch, if England can get through unscathed, it will have been their session. Incidentally, Cowers doesn’t want g_hine kneeling before him. He only wants busty German farm-girls in lederhosen kneeling before him. And then, only to milk his udders. 

England 91-2 (29 overs): Pietersen greets Kallis into the attack with a four through the leg side. Nice welcome. Jeez, I wouldn’t like to invite KP to my house for a dinner party. Probably throw dog-feces in my face as I opened the door to him.

England 81-2 (27 overs): KA-POW! THWACK! Pietersen hammers two successive short balls from Morkel for four through square-leg. The skipper is up to 19 from 31 balls, that’s a strike-rate of…ooh, just a minute…31 divided by 19, times 100, divided by the square-root of pi…61.29.

England 70-2 (26 overs): Gunther has made an appearance. Pietersen takes a couple of steps down the wicket to Nel, defending back to the bowler. Nel fields the ball and hurls it at the stumps, although KP has got his bat down in plenty of time. Next ball, as Nel is in his run-up, KP pulls out and prods the wicket down, infuriating Nel. He looks like an angry 12-year-old who is going skitz on e-numbers after eating four bags of Skittles. 

England 69-2 (24 overs): Cowers is not “in a mood”. The next person that says that is going to get charged at. “A coward you are, Withnail; an expert on bulls you are not…” Greatest line in film history? It’s up there. Along with: “We want the finest wines known to humanity. We want them here, and we want them now.” Cook ruins a Nel maiden with a single down to third man.

England 67-2 (22 overs): Nel is into the attack. Pietersen is adopting a very wide stance; he looks like he is attempting a rather complex yoga position. Nel grunts and gurns his way through a maiden, attempting to engage Pietersen in some hostilities. Like a grubby street urchin prodding a stray dog with a big stick. 

England 66-2 (20 overs): Pietersen looks in the mood, my friends. Boom! He flicks from outside off-stump through mid-wicket for four. Boom! He drives down the ground three balls later for another boundary. Huzzah! Pietersen is going to be the greatest England captain ever. England are going to win every single match they play with Pietersen as captain. I can feel it in my water. I can feel the Pietersen-love in my water. Either that, or an effervescent vitamin C tablet.

England 58-2 (19 overs): Pietersen is immediately off the mark, and already looks keen to impose himself on the match. Cook flicks a four off his legs last ball of Morkel’s over. He meets his skipper in the middle at the end of the over; they chat, calmly, resting on their bats. Seems a serious discussion. Perhaps Cook has left the gas on at home.

England 51-2 (17.4 overs): GONE! BELL NICKS TO SMITH! Bell makes a couple with a nice shot through cover, before pushing forward and nicking through to Smith, who takes a low catch at slip. Bell departs the field on the brink of tears…to make way for the entrance of the England captain. “YAY! YAY! YAY! WOO! WOO!” the crowd cheer.  

England 49-1 (17 overs): The overhead conditions are perfect for swing bowling, and the pitch may have been spruced up a little by the rain, so there might be a spot of movement early this morning. Ntini sends down the first over…

11.28 – Here we go. The South Africans are out there, Cook and Bell follow. Bell really is very short, isn’t he?  

11.11 – Covers starting to come off, and we are due to start at 11.30, with the lost time made up at the end of the day. Great news, eh? Great news that Cowers has to stick around an extra half-hour at the end of the day, possibly longer if the shocking over-rates continue. But it’s fine, it’s fine. No problem. It’s only Friday night. It’s not like Cowers will miss anything by sticking around for an extra hour.

11.02 – Shaun Pollock looks odd in a suit. There is something about his shoulders that looks peculiar in a suit. Also, he looks lobsided. His left shoulder and neck is much bigger than his right. Perhaps the left shoulder is the one he carries the chip on. Anyway, he is in the Sky Sports studio, banging on about South Africa only playing at 80% against England in this series; he reckons the Proteas can beat the Aussies in their upcoming tour. Good gag, Shaun. 

10.54 – Poop! Some rain, and the covers are coming on at the Oval. Richard Illingworth, that crappy left-arm spinner of the 1990s, is spotted under an Npower umbrella, mooching around the square. He looks serious, but that is of a direct consequence of his wearing of a moustache. Moustache = serious countenance. 

10.48 – Hey, don’t feel sorry for Cowers. Cowers don’t need no-one. There’s only one person Cowers looks out for…Cowers. I’ll give you a competition. How about strike rate of Kevin Pietersen over the course of his innings. You have to be within 1 run-per-hundred-balls to qualify for the prize, which I shall reveal when the entries close – at the start of KP’s innings, whenever that may be.

10.36 – g_hine accuses Cowers of going through the motions a little yesterday. Interesting. An interesting accusation. Don’t we all have off-days, g? Days when things just don’t feel right? A strange, empty feeling in your soul? Days when The Absurd strikes, unexpectedly, as it always does? Or are you always on top of your game? Is every day a good day for g_hine?

10.14 – Confidence isn’t usually a characteristic you could associate with Steve “I wanna go home” Harmison, so how about this for a quote, from yesterday’s post-match chat: “Hopefully this is a long road to a more successful 12 months forward than the 12 months I’ve just had.” Go Stevie. Who da man?

10.05 – Hi there; welcome to the second day from the Oval; the first day of Kevin Pietersen’s captaincy went jolly well – can the second day be as good? The weather forecast is a bit mixed; it is very gloomy at the moment, although the boffins at Met Office say things should brighten up later…

England 49-1 (17 overs): CLOSE: FINE DAY FOR ENGLAND. The home side lose Strauss early on, but Cook and Bell combine to see them through to the close with an unbroken 42-run stand. 

England 42-1 (15 overs): Good progress from England this evening, eight overs remaining. Bell and Cook haven’t given the South Africans a sniff since Strauss’

England 34-1 (12 overs): Ntini is still slanting the ball across Cook, who is doing well to maintain his discipline. The light is fine at the moment; a beautiful summer’s evening. 

England 29-1 (9 overs): Good stuff from the England boys at the moment. Bell helps himself to successive fours from the bowling of Ntini, one through square-leg, the other through cover. 

England 15-1 (6 overs) Bell has come to the crease, back in his number three position left vacant by Michael Vaughan. These two could do with taking England through to the close… 

England 7-1 (3.4 overs): NTINI GETS STRAUSS! The clever Ntini goes wide on the crease to fire one down to Strauss…the England man can’t resist a nibble, and edges through to second slip! Breakthrough for the tourists! 

England 6-0 (3 overs): Morkel and Nel have got the new ball for South Africa, but the England boys are coping fine, nudging and working away singles on the leg-side. There are 20 overs left today, but it is getting a little gloomy overhead… 

England 0-0: Cook and Strauss come out as England attempt to eat into South Africa’s lead over the next 24 overs… 

South Africa 194 (64.5 overs): MONTY COMES ON. HE BOWLS AT THE STUMPS, AND THEN HITS THEM. INNINGS OVER. Ntini is bowled for nine, and England finish the job. Great effort. 

South Africa 190-9 (64 overs): Stumps. Stumps. Stumps. Not one ball at the stumps in the last three overs. Not one ball would have hit the stumps. The wickets. Removed the bails. The timber. Not one. 18 balls, and not one was directed at the stumps, the things the bowlers are supposed to aim for. The three stumps are the key to England finishing this off. Absolute key, the stumps. Flintoff has been brought on by Pietersen, presumably to try and hit the stumps. He can’t. He doesn’t really get anywhere near. 

South Africa 184-9 (61 overs): This is ridiculous. It’s not like Ntini and Harris are flaying the ball all over; it’s just that England aren’t bowling at the stumps. They’ve got a much better chance of getting one of these two tailenders out if they just bowled at the stumps. It’s not rocket-science. The stumps are the key. Bowl at them. The batsmen may miss the ball. Which will then hit the stumps. Bowl the ball so it will hit the stumps. Stumps. Stumps. Stumps. Bowl at the stumps. Try to hit the stumps.

South Africa 175-9 (58 overs): England have done well to get up to this point…all they need to do now is bowl at the stumps. Instead, Harmison and Broad are bowling about two foot outside off, and Ntini and Harris are swinging and missing at everything. Most frustrating. 

South Africa 174-9 (54.4 overs): ANOTHER FOR BROAD! Straight and full, and Nel edges through to Ambrose. Rather lacklustre appeal from England, but Nel is on his way, and only Ntini stands between the home side and the close of innings.

South Africa 168-8 (53 overs): What does Cowers know? Broad bangs one in short, Morkel gets a glove on it, trying to fend away down to third man, and Bell takes a diving catch at short-leg. Broad gets the breakthrough after tea, and England are on the brink of a fine first innings effort. 

South Africa 164-7 (52 overs): Broad and Monty are doing the bowling at the moment. Can’t help but think that Pietersen should turn to Harmison, Anderson and Flintoff to clean up the tail.

South Africa 158-7 (50 overs): The evening session is underway…still 40 overs to bowl, England will be keen to shoot the tourists out and get themselves in bat… 

South Africa 158-7 (49.3 overs) TEA: MONTY STRIKES WITH HIS THIRD BALL! SHOCKING LBW DECISION, BUT WHO CARES? I care. Anyway. Monty has AB de Villiers caught LBW as he attempted to force away off his back foot in the final over before tea. Great boost for England just before the interval. 

South Africa 147-6 (45 overs): Morkel is the new batsman, coming in with an average of 15 or so. Anderson is still in the attack, partnered by Broad. No sign of Monty yet, Pietersen is making him wait – which is a good decision, with the seamers getting so much joy. It would be a boost to the over-rate, though; which is appalling at present.

South Africa 132-6 (42.1 overs) AND ANOTHER! GREAT BOWLING FROM ANDERSON! Jimmy fires one in towards off-stump, allowing the swing just to move it away a couple of inches…Boucher flicks his bat, gets an outside edge, and Ambrose takes a simple low catch! The wickets continue to tumble, and all is going well for Pietersen! ok, i will pack up and go home!

South Africa 127-5 (40 overs): de Villiers and Boucher are doing a good job in trying to see off a fired-up England at present. Anderson is still getting a bit of movement, but his line has gone a little. Flintoff has a word with Pietersen, who in turn has a word in the ear of the bowler; Freddie must have spotted something.

South Africa 119-5 (38 overs): And thank you to those messageboarders who recognise that the ludicrously pedestrian nature of the updates to this blog are nothing to do with Cowers and rather more to do with the lumbering techical machine that powers it.

South Africa 118-5 (37 overs): YES! ANDERSON STRIKES AGAIN! Prince rather lazily drives at one that moves slightly away from him, and Bell takes a comfortable catch at gully! England’s golden spell continues! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo!! SA!!

South Africa 113-4 (35 overs): AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince are the batsmen charged with trying to lead South Africa out of their rather tricky little spot. Anderson is getting just enough movement still to cause some problems, though. Hey, hey, South Africa!! 4 out…no good!!

South Africa 105-4 (32.5 overs): WHAT A SPELL FOR ENGLAND! ANDERSON TRAPS KALLIS! Beautiful inswinger from Anderson, dips back in and strikes Kallis on his front leg, in front of off-stump! No hesitation from the umpire! England are on fire here! 

South Africa 103-3 (31.5 overs) BOWLED HIM! TWO IN TWO FOR HARMISON! The batsmen had crossed so Amla was taking strike…Harmison yorks him with a full one which beats Amla’s jab, taking out middle stump! Harmy is back, and delighted! 

South Africa 103-2 (31.4 overs) SMITH GOES! TOP-EDGED PULL, ANDERSON TAKES THE CATCH AT FINE-LEG! Harmison has his first wicket on his return to the Test side, digging one in, which Smith hoiks down to Anderson. 

South Africa 100-1 (31 overs): Anderson is back into the attack; Smith really doesn’t look in great nick, but he is gritting it out. He survives a strong LBW shout from Harmison, before getting an inside edge on to his pads from Anderson. 

South Africa 87-1 (29 overs): Flintoff’s painful toe forces him off the field for some treatment, ending his post-lunch spell. Broad is trundling in at the other end, although Amla has crashed the youngster for four boundaries in his last two overs, and has reached 30 from just 27 balls. 

South Africa 70-1 (26 overs): DROPPED! COOK AGAIN! Tough chance for Cook; Amla flashes at a Flintoff delivery…the ball flies high to Cook at second slip, but he can’t cling on above his head, the ball running away for four. Flintoff shakes his head in mock disbelief. 

South Africa 65-1 (24 overs): Smith is approaching a half-century, on 40 not out. Flintoff calls for a pain killer; he seems in some discomfort in his bowling action, thanks to a painful toe. Still, he snorts one past Smith final ball of the over.  

South Africa 64-1 AFTERNOON SESSION: The clouds have cleared and the rain has stopped. The afternoon begins under bright skies at the Oval; can England snatch an early breakthrough.

South Africa 64-1 (22 overs): RAIN STOPS PLAY: The drizzle becomes a little heavier and the umpires call on the covers. The players will take an early lunch, with South Africa having made 64-1 in the morning…England will be a little disappointed they couldn’t add to their one break through. 

South Africa 56-1 (20 overs): More frustration for England as an outside edge from Smith falls just short of Strauss at second slip. Smith also plays and misses at a couple of widers ones, which raises a wry smile from Flintoff. AND THEN THE BREAKTHROUGH COMES! COOK MAKES AMMENDS FOR HIS EARLY DROP BY SNARING A GOOD ONE AT SLIP AS MCKENZIE EDGES!

South Africa 47-0 (17 overs): Broad is into the attack for the first time, and his first over is a good one, beating McKenzie three times in a maiden. Pietersen is bounding around like a puppy in a new home at the moment…unfortunately, a puppy would perhaps have more clue as to how to break this partnership.

South Africa 44-0 (15 overs): Not for the first time, Cowers was wrong; Harmison is continuing…although perhaps Pietersen will wish he had taken him off an over previous as Smith pulls him for two fours through the leg-side. 

South Africa 32-0 (13 overs): Harmison has Smith in a spot of bother in what will probably be his final over of the spell, a bouncer causing him a moment of panic. Pietersen looks rueful as he searches for his first wicket. The first hour is negotiated well by South Africa. 

South Africa 31-0 (12 overs): Bit of a run-spurt; McKenzie helps himself to two fours off Harmison, the first a remarkable short-arm jab through mid-wicket, before Smith welcomes Flintoff to the attack with a pull through mid-on. Freddie is steaming in at 87mph in his first over. 

South Africa 19-0 (10 overs): Smith clips a four through the leg side…Monty escorts it to the boundary like a middle-aged gentleman chaperone escorting home a lady of equally mature years after an awkward first date at an Italian restaurant.

South Africa 14-0 (8 overs): Few spots of rain about, a few brollies going up. Harmison gets one to jag back…raps McKenzie on the pad…big appeal…going over the top. Next ball a similar delivery squirts off the outside edge, bouncing once before third slip. 

South Africa 10-0 (7 overs):  Harmison is bowling well, that’s for sure. He is firing down with plenty of pace and bounce. Anderson is getting a little swing and has troubled Smith now and again, but nothing too alarming. There are some fairly ominous clouds in the distance, though.

South Africa 7-0 (5 overs): The over-rate clearly doesn’t fall into Pietersen’s category of “aggressive” cricket; it is quite embarrassingly slow at the moment. There appears to a problem with movement behind the bowler’s arm; restless members. Or just some ignorant divs.

South Africa 6-0 (3 overs): Another good over from Harmison; McKenzie gets an inside-edge that misses his off-stump by a foot or so. Ambrose is still feeling his nose after that blow a couple of overs ago. The first positive stroke of the match, a push through covers from McKenzie, brings a couple. 

South Africa 1-0 (1 over): Ambrose needs some treatment on a bloody mouth after the final ball of Harmison’s first over got a little big on him, went through his gloves and struck him in the face. Very eventful first ten minutes of the Pietersen captaincy. 

South Africa 1-0 (1 over): DROPPED! Harmison almost gives Pietersen the perfect start! He bangs one in, Smith cuts…but Cook puts down a relatively simple chance at gully! Later on, he gets one to nip back and strike Smith in the unmentionables. Good first over from Harmison, who is already up into the high 80mphs.

11.00: OFF WE GO! Pietersen leads out England for the first time in a Test match; lots of manly hugs and little shoulder-barges from the home side as they come out on to the pitch. No huddle, though. 

10.51: “Starting to feel muggy, might well swing here,” says Botham at his pitch report. “Rock-solid hard, it will have that tennis ball bounce. But will it swing? Maybe in the first hour.” Great stuff. That’s why he’s an “expert”.

10.42: That close-up photo of KP does demonstrate he has good skin, doesn’t it? Must use a lot of Jessica’s cleansing products. 

10.34: Graeme Smith wins the toss and bats…“It’s a pretty good wicket,” says Pietersen. “I’ve played here for eight years and it has always been a good wicket at the Oval. We’re going to have to give it a real good go this morning.” 

10.28 Cowers has indeed chosen a particularly menacing photo of Pietersen to use on the blog…perhaps an indication of his style of captaincy. IN….YOUR….FACE! 

10.19 – All-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who will bat at six in this match, is keen to end a run of eight England Test defeats in his last eight appearances: “Two defeats is not the way I envisaged coming back with England. I didn’t wait 18 months to get beaten.”

10.08 – Hello, fans of cricketing endeavours; welcome to our coverage of the fourth and final Test between England and South Africa from The Oval, in south London. It is a warm, muggy day here…but crucially dry. We should be able to get off on time, and that is a blessing to all.

Cower’s Ava

While I’m on Yahoo… I saw this headline: and I’m asking myself…WHY oh WHY do you always HAVE to get drunk!! even just to be “in”… it’s part of the culture over here!! oh my goodness, get something to do in your life and stop boasting about how drunk you were on a party or the previous night! You don’t impress me!

Drunken Brits face holiday crackdown


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WELL DONE! SOUTH AFRICA!! Well Done, Proteas!!

and to Kevin…a South African leading the English team! in the next test….

South Africa’s team…yesterday…image: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com

How can I blog chess, my favourite, but not cricket! my other favourite! and in particular, the Proteas!! I like Cow’s corner on Yahoo…read about “him” at the bottom of this post. “Cow” has got a good sense of humour. I want to be positive and predict that South Africa will take this test too… sorry English mates here… lol! I will update this post as the game goes… oh, of course you have to start reading at the bottom of this post! ….uhm…wonder what others think about my prediction I’ve made here this morning… (silence…that’s all I can hear…and “silence is golden…”— 😉
On THIS LINK you can follow the 1st day, 3rd Test played yesterday, 30th July. At the bottom of this post there’s a link to Australia’s sport forum, if you’re interested…

South Africa’s Ashwell Prince hits four runs
Cricket – npower Third Test – Day Two – England v South Africa – Edgbaston Image: Yahoo

Superb Smith sends England crashing

Saturday Aug 02…Day 4 of third test

SA 283-5 (80 overs) – ALL OVER – SMITH SMASHES SOUTH AFRICA TO VICTORY. A final four, in the event off the final ball of Pietersen after he swiped unsuccessfully at a few Panesar deliveries, completes the job. He ends with 154no as the tourists celebrate their first series win in England since 1965. Well-deserved.   

SA 277-5 (78 overs) – Smith reaches his 150 with a single off Pietersen; Boucher reduces the runs required to five with a slash at a wide delivery. Perhaps England will be dumped out of this

SA 268-5 (76 overs) – SMITH BRILLIANCE TAKES SOUTH AFRICA TO THE BRINK – A massive drive under the diving, desperate captain Vaughan followed by a pull to deep square leg – both off Flintoff – takes Smith to 147 and within 13 runs of victory. South Africa are going to finish this match off today, there is no doubt about that: they are not going to bring back the fans to see a couple of boundaries tomorrow. The fans wouldn’t show up!   

SA 248-5 (73 overs) – Boucher doing what Ambrose couldn’t this morning: scoring runs. He slices Anderson to the rope, pulls Panesar for four and drives Flintoff through the on side for another boundary. South Africa only need 33 runs to win from here.

SA 225-5 (69 overs) – Smith drives Anderson through the off side for four as the light meters continue to be consulted. Panesar returns as South Africa need 56 to win. Looks like Cowers’s prediction of a four-wicket win for SA could well come true…

SA 201-5 (65 overs) – Kevin Pietersen has a bowl alongside Sidebottom. Smith suffering with cramp and receives attention; 80 runs to win; all very lethergic, even the chants from the fans evidently tinged by that seven-pint weariness. The light meters are out, but it looks fine.

SA 182-5 (59 overs) – It looks like play will go on until 19:00 tonight. SA need 99 to win with 18 overs left to play in the day; England really need a couple of wickets in that time, or they’ll be in trouble. don.wheeler has little respect for Smith’s ton, saying he should have been out LBW ages ago – the tourists could say the same about Collingwood yesterday though.

SA 178-5 (57 overs) – SMITH BRINGS UP HIS HUNDRED – The South Africa captain plays Panesar easily and runs two for his 16th Test century and fourth against England. The facts: 11 fours, no sixes, 177 balls, 243 minutes. It is a great captain’s knock and one that could well lead his country to victory. 103 to win; England are successful in their attempts to introduce the new ball. Flintoff to come in from the Pavilion End.

SA 171-5 (53 overs) – FIFTH WICKET DOWN!!! De Villiers gone – gone like the wind, gone like Radiohead’s song-writing talent, gone like Cowers’s tiny little mind after 17 Jagerbombs. Monty Monty Monty Monty Pan-e-sar has it, a clear edge to Collingwood at first slip. 24 overs left of the day’s play.

SA 169-4 (52 overs) – Leave the cow alone people. Read it again: COMPUTERS ARE TO BLAME. Cowers would love to kick back with a Pimm’s and lemonade and put its hoofs (hooves?) up while watching, but its computer keeps turning into a computer-shaped turd and spoiling its enjoyment of proceedings

SA 156-4 (48 overs) – Anderson comes in for Flintoff and is largely left alone – like a drunk on the night bus to Kingston – by De Villiers outside off stump. SA are happy to let the remaining 30-odd overs trickle away and edge their way towards the required 281.

 RAMPS FINALLY SECURES HIS 100TH TON – After three months of painful suspense akin to (delete as appropriate) The Sixth Sense/Unbreakable/Signs/The Village/Lady in the Water, Mark Ramprakash finally records his 100th first-class century for Surrey against Yorkshire in the County Championship. The England hero is the first player to manage the feat for a decade – Graeme Hick was the last – and the 25th in all.

SA 153-4 (45 overs) – ANOTHER CHANCE GOES BEGGING… Panesar should have had Smith! There was glove on the ball as it kicked up and Ambrose took the catch, but the appeal was half-hearted… and on the next ball Andrew Strauss is a fraction short as he dives in to take the ball after a pull. Monty thought the wicket was his… England should have claimed it on the ball before though.

SA 145-4 (43 overs) – MISSED RUN-OUT CHANCE – De Villiers tapped to leg and sought a quick single; Ambrose threw at the stumps but missed and Ian Bell failed to take the ball cleanly as he swung his hands into them. It would have been out, if the naked eye serves. The crowd try to lift their fielding side as the partnership moves past the 50 mark. Smith has 80 and has certainly done his job today. 

SA 134-4 (39 overs) – South Africa need only 147 for victory now although the boundaries have dried up. Flintoff, who England don’t want to run into the ground, returns while Panesar is also ‘unleashed’ – he was unlucky not to get Smith LB after turning one in from wide, the angle working against him at decision time. It is now a lovely day in the West Midlands, with fluffy white clouds drifting about the place, humid with a slight wind. But England should not fall into the comforting nature of their surroundings in this final session… or they will lose the series.

SA 119-4 (35 overs) – Sidebottom and Anderson resume after tea as Smith bats on. His innings is crucial to the visitors’ chances as a nervous calm descends over Edgbaston. Cowers went to uni just down the road in Selly Oak and was once chased off the square by an irate steward as he sought to retrieve a ball his mate had just driven from the boundary in between sessions. Nicky Knight scored 233 that day against Glamorgan and the Cow missed it by slipping off for a beer after five hours without anything happening. Glorious, drink-fuelled days.

SA 111-4 (33 overs, tea) – South Africa get to the end of the session without further loss, De Villiers slapping Panesar for four to keep the score ticking over. They would do well to bat out today and tomorrow – so their best bet is to go for it. Good to see biased, unladylike commentary from anne_helm regarding Kallis – you would never catch Cowers indulging in such mockery.

SA 93-4 (29.2 overs) – THE PRINCE AMONG MEN IS NO MORE – Left-hander Ashwell stays at the crease only long enough to pick up two runs, edging Anderson behind the stumps. Before that there were appeals aplenty from Panesar, Dar dismissing each – even when Prince appeared to get some glove on a rising ball. England on the warpath, and now looking a good bet for victory.

SA 85-3 (26 overs) – KALLIS GONE FOR FIVE!! – More heroics from Flintoff as a full toss smacks Jacques right in the balls – and I’m not referring to the red leather ones – on its way towards the middle stump. What a way to go – I hope his box was firmly in place or that will be the single most painful walk of shame ever experienced by human kind. 196 needed for victory, seven wickets left intact.  

SA 78-2 (23 overs) – MONTY SENDS AMLA BACK TO THE PAVILION!! The short ball straightened on bounce and caught him top of the pad – it was a big call and one that Davis controversially decided in England’s favour. Amla leaves with six runs to his name after only nine in the first innings and the experienced Kallis enters. Don’t blame the cow for slow updates, as for much in life computers are to blame.

SA 78-1 (22 overs) Flintoff, who has been tasty with the ball again today, dispatched through the covers by Smith, who moves on to 40.

SA 65-1 (17.3 overs) – FREDDIE HAS MCKENZIE!!! He lost his bearings on what was practically a full toss and turned away; the ball struck him bang on the foot and up went the finger. Breakthrough for England, more joy for Fredalo. 

SA 61-0 (17 overs) – After some dude was earlier blissfully ignorant of furiously gesticulating South African batsmen as he sat above the sightscreen, now a cameraman has to sprint over to remove a microphone. The 50 been and gone for SA – Smith and McKenzie each help themselves to a four off Panesar, the first sent to deep square leg and the second a well-executed drive.

SA 42-0 (13 overs) – FREDDIE INTO THE ATTACK – Cries of ‘Soopa, Soopa Fred’ all around Edgbaston as the Lancastrian comes in to chip away with Panesar at this South African innings. Monty appeals for a catch but Aleem Dar turns it down – the bat again causing the noise on the ground rather than a top edge.

SA 29-0 (9 overs) – The runs are coming, an ominous sign. McKenzie picks up three but is denied a fourth when Vaughan slides to flick back his drive just short of the rope. Speaking of shaggy hair: did anyone see that sheep on the roof of a house in the paper this morning? How in the hell did a sheep get on to the roof of a house? It’s been nagging at Cowers all day. Oh and as for a bovine prediction: SA to win with six wickets down. Monty back in the attack.

SA 17-0 (7 overs) – A bit of movement from Anderson and Sidey outside the off stump. Smith clipped the former just short of Collingwood at gully, while the latter has a weak LBW shout before Smith cracks him to backward point following a poor, wide, short delivery. He shakes his shaggy hair around in frustration. 

13:37 – England take to the field for the afternoon session under a blue sky – the clouds are breaking up overhead. Little chance of rain and plenty of sunshine.

SA 11-0 (5 overs, lunch) – BURGER TIME FOR FREDDIE ET AL. – Smith again misses an Anderson ball outside off stump – there is an appeal but the sound was that of the bat striking the ground – and Panesar bowls a maiden before the end of the session. First job done for the tourist openers.

SA 3-0 (2 overs) – Anderson forces a play and a miss from Smith that brings a wry smile to the face of England captain Michael Vaughan. How the home side will be desperate for the early wicket of the skipper; or any wicket, for that matter. Desperate like… like… that 33-stone teenager will be for a burger if she is indeed now on a diet. And if she tries to cut a steak out of my rump, she’s got a well-aimed kick to the gut coming her way.

SA 0-0 – Sidebottom to bowl the first over of the fourth innings. Smith to face the first ball. And Neil McKenzie at the other end of course.

Eng 363 all out – LIKE USAIN BOLT PASSING BY – It’s gone in a flash, the England innings that is. First Anderson (1) is bowled via an inside edge by Jackie Kallis then Collingwood (135) follows off Morkel after edging through to keeper Boucher. The one-day skipper given a standing ovation by the fancy dress-day crowd. The target for SA stands at 281 – game on! We are in for a cracking day’s play from here. And Jamaican world record-holder Bolt has just been confirmed for the Olympic 100m, if you were wondering or give a monkeys.

Eng 363-8 (97 overs) – MORKEL HAS HIS REVENGE – Whether he is a character in Lord of the Rings or not – are you thinking of Mordor swads43? – he exhibits the snarling menace of an Orc general after Collingwood and Sidebottom added further boundaries. But rest easy, English fans, it is the tail-ender who is walking after he tamely looked to pull a rising delivery and gloved it, allowing Hashim Amla to take the catch. He leaves with 22 as ‘see you’ Jimmy Anderson comes in.

Eng 343-7 (94 overs) – AB de Villiers claims a catch off Sidebottom in the slips, but after consulation with the third umpire Sidey is given not out. Hard to say whether he knew he had plucked it off the floor – at least his appeal was muted, as should be every Coldplay concert they show on television. England rolling along nicely after the early blow of Ambrose.

Eng 339-7 (93 overs) – A NEL OF A SHOT!! Left-hander Sidebottom smashes the bowler to square leg before nudging another for four on the off side. SA captain Graeme Smith looks on pensively from behind his Bunnies, perhaps mentally removing him from the attack… some sawdust is called for to repair the wicket. England settling into their stride.

Eng 326-7 (90 overs) – Sorry about that, g_hine – here you go. Collingwood survives another appeal, this one off the bowling of Ntini, but it hit above the knee roll – and in his next over the all-rounder smashes him for two fours, making it look as easy as spending the night with Danielle Lloyd.

Eng 315-7 (86 overs) – Andre Nel comes into the attack in place of Makhaya Ntini. It’s fairly overcast although blue sky is poking through in places – doesn’t look like there’s much chance of rain, at least for now.

Eng 310 (85 overs) – Good to see the Smurfs have made the trip to Birmingham, while Danger Mouse is also in the stands. No sign of Penfold – no surprise really, given that the poor bugger is blind as a bat. Very true, anne_helm – anyone got any stories about lucky underwear or such? Morkel unlucky when the first big appeal of the day is turned down by Steve Davis – the ball was headed for leg stump as Collingwood looked to turn it down leg side. Before the end of the over he sits one up and Colly rubs it in by hooking to the fine leg boundary.

Eng 299-7 (82 overs) – Colly adds the first runs of the day off the bat while Sidebottom is yet to get off the mark.

Eng 298-7 (81 overs) AMBROSE GONE!! Second ball from Morne Morkel defeats him and England are seven wickets down. Rubbish start before Edgbaston has had a chance to fill up. Ryan Sidebottom in next.

11:00 – The South Africa fielders emerge, followed by Tim Ambrose and Collingwood.  

10:50 – England counterpart Monty Panesar is keeping his cards close to his chest as usual: “Colly and KP put us right in the game yesterday. Batting here on a fourth innings pitch will be difficult. Hopefully we can pressure on the SA batsmen, although the pitch is holding up quite well. There is some slight turn and skiddiness on it though.”

10:45 – Paul Harris reckons SA have it in the bag: “The advantage is still with us. It’s a batting wicket. We didn’t bowl as well as we could, but due respect to Paul Collingwood who took his chance well. Spinners need overs and I hope to get a few under my belt by the end of the match.”

10.30 – Morning to all, and that includes jude_surf – Cowers is in a positive frame of mind this morning, teeth flossed, sugared double espresso downed and ready for the fourth day of the third Test between England and South Africa at Edgbaston.

Fri Aug 01 10:26AM

Eng 297-6 (80 overs) – STUMPS!! Ambrose pulls Ntini away for his second boundary and England will take a 214-run lead into day four. Join us at 10am for coverage – you never know, it might be fun

Eng 287-6 (77 overs) – WHAT A SHOT, A CENTURY!! Collingwood walks down the tracks and plants Harris into the crowd for the six that brings up his fifth Test century. A great comeback and is met with rapture from the crowd but reserved determination from the batsman. England now lead by 204 – time for a couple of more overs.

Eng 279-6 (75 overs) – Colly flicks a low Morkel full toss through mid-wicket to move into the nineties. Stumps will be at 7.11pm so more action yet. England will be 200 up by the close. Any plans for tomorrow? Cancel them, follow the cricket.

Eng 267-6 (70 overs) – Morkel has been more expensive than a loaf of bread in Bulawayo and he returns to be met by a thick edge by Collingwood which eludes the wide third slip and goes to the fence.
Eng 256-6 (67 overs) – Ambrose tickles Kallis off his pads for his first boundary and the lead is 173. The highest fourth innings score to win a Test on this ground is 211 by England against New Zealand in 1999. The satchel swingers still have SA at 1/2 with England at 5/2.

Eng 242-6 (63 overs)  Collingwood slog sweeps Harris and drives Kallis to the pickets as England eke out a few more precious runs. Eke is one of my top five words along with temerity, alacrity, vanguard and hermaphrodite. What is yours? Suck I guess.

Eng 228-6 (58 overs) – Collingwood turns Harris off his toes for another boundary. It’s time Tim Ambrose stepped up to the plate and by plate I mean wicket and by stepped I mean stepped. 74 runs at 19 in the series so far – very average. There are 23 overs left today, get a pizza in, we will be here for a while.

Eng 221-6 (54 overs) – OUT!! Pietersen looks to hit Harris over long-on for the six that would bring up his century but he manages to pick out AB de Villiers who takes a sharp catch. KP is furious, smashing his bat into his pads not once but twice. It’s up for grabs now as Brian Moore once said before Michael Thomas stood on his head. Freddie comes to the wicket and is greeted by a streaker – gender, unclear. MORE OUT!!  Flintoff faces three balls before offering Amla a bat-pad off Harris and this game has been turned on its head again.

(it’s 18:10 and I’m adding a bit more)Eng 219-4 (53 overs) – RAZZLE DAZZLE!! Pietersen does execute the switch hit, hitting two left-handed boundaries in the space of three balls off the frankly useless Harris. The crowd are going wild and a huge cheer as Collingwood collects his fifty off just 61 balls. People in their living rooms in Durham all jerking all round the room, pulling down all the furniture and fittings, and, er, grabbing hold of the carpet and being sick in the ashtrays, you know, really having a good time. England lead by 136 runs!!

Eng 74-3 (23 overs) – AND ANOTHER!! Morkel attacks Strauss from around the wicket and it reaps its reward as he gets squared up and edges to Kallis at second slip. Just a hint of away movement, the sort of hint your girlfriend would give you. Really, really subtle but if you get it wrong, there’s only one response: DEATH!!! ….(this is where I stop to update this post…will do it again when South Africa plays….it’s now 15:00 in England…)

Eng 56-2 (18 overs) – Pietersen and Nel are exchanging words – not nice words like “I love you, can I make you a scone” but bad words like you are below average at cricket. KP then lashes Gunther through the covers for his first boundary. the_kop2003 & g_hine – who should replace Vaughan as skipper and as number three. Owais Shah, Rob Key, Mark Lathwell??? That nice lady anne maybe.

Eng 46-2 (15 overs) – KP strides out to the wicket like a man with the weight of a destiny of a pair of flip flops on his shoulders. Jacques Kallis is now having a trundle at one end while Nel, a qualified accountant, bowls at the other. I bet he gives you a right earful if you forget to carry a three on your tax returns.

Eng 39-2 (11 overs) – CAPTAIN CALAMITY!! Vaughan drives Ntini superbly off the backfoot through the covers and then clips Nel off his pads for boundaries drei and vier respectively as they say at Innsbruck CC. But he then departs for 17 as he drives on the up and Hashim Amla takes a superb diving catch, just above worm height, at extra cover. Edgbaston is like a morgue as he walks off. A wicket for Gunther, gunther kobus001 gunther….definitely Gunther.

Eng 28-1 (8 overs) – EAT MY FOUR!! Vaughan comes to the wicket on a King Pair and is met with plenty of chat. Silenced when Nel offers up a juicy leg-stump half-volley that is dispatched through mid-wicket. Gunther lets out a scream and then the skipper pulls Ntini away past square leg. The sun is out, the beer is flowing, the Myleene Klass 2009 calendar is due in the shops very soon – does it get any better.

Eng 15-1 (6 overs) – COOK BURNT!! Ntini’s first ball is a rank half-tracker that is pulled away to the fence by Cook but he attempts to repeat the trick next ball to a fuller delivery. The ball goes 4.3km up in the air and ends up in Boucher’s hands after a fine, running, diving catch.

Eng  10-0 (4 overs) – Strauss clips Morkel for four off his toes and we’re off and running. Cook does likewise to Nel and the big pantomime villain’s antics have seemed to woken the crowd. They call Edgbaston the Bull Ring – we once asked former Stockport manager Danny Bergara how he thought the weekend game with Rochdale would go. His answer was “It’s going to be a bullfight.” Actually that was his answer to everything. Do you think you will beat Oldham? ‘Weeeeeeeellll it’s going to be a bullfight.’ Does your wife get to use the bath first? ‘Weeeeeeeellll it’s going to be a bullfight’ 

Eng  0-0 (2 overs) – OH MY GOD!! Cook must have some polaroids of Aleem Dar. First ball he is stuck on the crease and trapped plumb in front by Nel but the umpire says not out. It would have smashed over middle and leg halfway up. It certainly pumps up Gunther who is waving and gesturing to the crowd like a demented air traffic controller. anne_helm – You won’t be interested to know that this is the first time in four years that Ntini has not taken the new ball. Are you married to John btw?

WE’RE BACK. Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook stride out to the middle. It’s cloudy but dry in Birmingham after in truth a pretty ugly lunch. Derek Pringle just wouldn’t admit that Clement Attlee was the biggest sex symbol this country has ever produced. Well they didn’t call him Clem the Gem for nothing did they. Anyway back to the action, Morkel with the new ball and the very contentious sightscreen is unchanged.

You are not missing anything – we’ve had some rain which allows everyone to get a pint and rip the proverbial out of Monty. An early lunch has been called so nip out, get yourself a bag of twiglets and play will resume at 1.10pm.

SA 314 (90.2 overs):  COMPLETE IDIOT!! It’s official – Monty Panesar has the athletic ability of Hattie Jacques. Boucher pulls Sidebottom straight down his esophagus at long leg and he shells it. Sidebottom gives him a look like he’s just shot his pet cat and left the head in the bed. BEAUTY!! But in the next over Vaughan shows him how to do it by taking a ripsnorter, running around from deep cover and diving full length to end Boucher’s innings at 40. South Africa lead by 83. 

SA 293-9 (88 overs): GET YER COAT MORNE!! The ‘Burnley Bronco’ Anderson removes Morkel lbw. It pitched just in line with leg-stump and umpire Aleem Dar raises the deadly digit. ZGRUPPP!! Andre Nel lasts four deliveries before Sidebottom demolishes his middle stump with a nice in-ducker and South Africa lead by just 67 runs. CMJ runs over and changes his earlier prediction to seven inches.

SA 288-7 (86 overs): Umpire Steve Davis right on cue with a couple of lbw decisions. Sidebottom is getting the ball to swing back into Boucher but on two occasions his appeal is met with a firm headshake and Hawkeye says going over the top. Still not a full house, the queues outside are akin to those outside a 1982 Moscow bakery. sikka316 says: “For breakfast Freddie earned himself a full fry up, Vaughan on the other had was given a straw and told to drink the fat left over in the pan after.” That’s known as the Rik Waller diet.

SA 287-7 (83 overs): Morne Morkel slashes Flintoff just wide of the diving Jimmy Anderson at backward point. A small child, possibly a ballboy, possibly a toddler who has worked his way through the police cordon, throws the ball back in. The next shot by the big quick is a Stewart Goddard stroke – “stand and deliver” – as he drives superbly straight down the ground. Stephenaanderton “Where are we in the tiddly winks world rankings?????” I don’t know but I know that the Dutch and Belgians have contested the last eight World Championship korfball finals – that’ll impress the girls in the clubs tonight.

SA 268-7 (80 overs): WHERE’S THIRD SLIP? A lifting delivery from Flintoff squares Boucher up and an outside edge flies straight to third slip. Oh damn, Michael Vaughan has got him down at fine leg. Paul Collingwood dives full length to his right like Joe Corrigan on steroids and gets one hand to the ball but can’t hold on. The skipper finally realises he has got an excited bowler and throws him the new cherry which is in fact much harder than a cherry even a Netto one.

SA 264-7 (78 overs): THE ARTIST FORMERLEY KNOWN AS PRINCE!! Ashwell goes and it has only taken 12 balls. Like Georgia Davis when a pork pie is placed just out of her reach, he chases a wide one and gets an edge through to Tim Ambrose. A second wicket for Ryan Sidebottom who gets a great ovation from a crowd who have collectively postponed their first pint of Banks.

SA 256-6 (76 overs): Ian Botham has just squatted down to tell the viewing public that the pitch is a bit dusty and he expects variation in bounce late on. Richardpmjones asks Is there an atmosphere of expectation in the ground this morning??” Less expectation, more when does the bar open. But there is a decent round of applause as the players come out on to the pitch, followed by the extremely dislikeable Mark Boucher and Ashwell Prince who wouldn’t say boo to a goose (or a Cow).

10.50 – We have just asked Christopher Martin Jenkins to rate England’s chances of victory on the width of an average post office elastic band. His answer – eight inches. I like those odds. Remember South Africa lead by 25 runs with four first innings wickets intact.

10.40 – Some early messageboard action from the_kop2003 who asks “What’s de weather like Cowers me bru?” Well like jude_surf’s sheets there is some moisture. We had a storm overnight but it’s dry now although certainly a bit fresher than yesterday and Vic Marks has kindly lent me his reserve Pringle sweater. Some rain is forecast for later but hopefully, like Rik Waller, we manage to avoid the showers.

10.30 – Good news!!! Thankfully Cowers recovered from his world record bid for downing mini Baileys at the Holiday Inn in Tamworth to raid the Yahoo! store cupboard. And we have a competition. Tell me how many runs Kevin Pietersen will score today and you can win a pair of Yahoo! flip flops – the perfect sand accessory for August. Personally we have no time for the British seaside although walking around the seafront at Scarborough and looking at the clientele can only enhance your self esteem what with us having all our teeth and an IQ in three figures.

10.20 – Also in the papers, 33 stone teenager Georgia Davis admits her weight is “partly my fault”. Which is a bit like Charles Manson saying all those murders were “partly my fault”.

10.10 – Mike Selvey has “literally” wet himself in The Guardian after Andrew Flintoff’s spell gave England hope: “For 15 minutes yesterday evening, as the crowd bayed and adrenaline pumped, a day’s cricket that had carried a dull inevitability about it was stripped down to bare-knuckle fighting, a gladiatorial contest between a great batsman and a colossal fast bowler. And at the end it was Andrew Flintoff who almost single-handedly had pulled his side back from the brink to a position from which, if they can draw further strength from his deeds, they may go on to win a match that after the first day had seemed doomed.”

10.00 – FRIENDS, ENEMIES, LOVERS, g_hine – welcome to the third day of the third Test between England and South Africa at Edgbaston. If you left early yesterday you must feel like the guy who sat through the entire back catalogue of Black Lace and then went to the toilet before they played Agadoo.
Friday 1st August…game continues….3rd day of test 3….

Fredalo, Let’s Go!

South Africa 256-6 (75 overs) It’s all got a bit Ken Loach – too dark – and the players have gone off for the day. That was an exciting hour, some wickets for Flintoff and England have a sniff of getting back in this game. In sniff terms – it’s a Michael sized nose rather than a Pete Townshend’s sized jumbo conk – but a sniff nonetheless. Join us at 10am tomorrow when we will adapt our nose analogy throughout the day.

South Africa 255-6 (75 overs) Mark Boucher could have an argument in an empty room. This time he’s got some England fielders to join in his favourite pasttime…he don’t like the sightscreen, he don’t like the light….Vaughan tells him to shut his pie hole and bat. So he does and clips an attempted Flintoff yorker to Cow Corner for an all-run four.

South Africa 239-6 (73 overs) FOUR FOR FREDALO: A few too many adrelaline pills for AB de Villiers who only gets to five before attempting to pull Flintoff into Handsworth but it’s quick and well directed and Sidebottom takes a “oh no, if I drop this I will look like a right goon” catch at fine leg. Flintoff is a national treasur, like The Queen and Myleene Klass.

South Africa 226-5 (69 overs) REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED YORKED!!: No need for Aleem Dar this time as a superb late swinging yorker sends the off-stump flying out of the ground. A superb delivery from a fired-up Flintoff.

South Africa 217-4 (67 overs) SHOCKER!!!!: Freddie bamboozles Kallis for four balls in a row, before trapping him on the toe with a ripsnorting yorker that was absolutely, definitely, positively, heading for middle stump. That was more OUT than Graham Norton. How on earth did he not give that one? Freddie is understandbly flabaghasted. Kallis survives. Lucky, lucky boy.

South Africa 207-4 (65 overs) IT’S ON, KALLIS GETS HIS 50: The players are back on, and no sooner do they get at it, than Kallis eases to a confident half-century. England need some inspiration here. Oh, if only Darren Pattinson were out there. He’d know what to do.

South Africa 205-4 (63 overs) RAIN STOPPED PLAY: The curse of the English summer has struck at Edgbaston, but the good news is we’ll be back into the entertainment at 4.50pm. If the cockles of your heart need further warming it appears Cowers regulars kobus001 and g_hine have grown rather fond of each other. “I can invite you for a proper bbq we can grill some some sausages and burgers in the flames like you used to,” writes kobus001. Ah, what Cowers would do to be a fly on the wall at that festival of meat.

South Africa 205-4 (63 overs) TEA: If temporary cryogenic freezing were an affordable option, the latter part of that session would have been a perfect time to utilise it. To tea they go, with South Africa in a commanding position and only Fredalo looking mildly threatening for England. Back to the performance-related food debate – ianpetermills: “An Ostrich kebab for Anderson…and maybe a glass of Stellenbosch claret.”

South Africa 199-4 (60 overs): If the last six overs were a band they’d be The Feeling – dour, predictable and bereft of excitement. The Kallis-Prince partnership has now reached 64, and looks fairly comfortable. Freddie is chucking down the odd jaffer, but predominantly pushing it wide of off stump to both players. Monty has a wildly optomistic LBW shout turned down. Meanwhile, the rain is gently falling and spectators are reaching for their umbrellas…ellas…ellas…eh…eh…eh.

South Africa 178-4 (50 overs): Prince edges through a vacant third slip off the bowling of Anderson. Much hands-on-hips and ruminating in the press box about gaps and field placings, as if people know what they’re talking about. Next over, with Ambrose stood up to the stumps, Kallis gets an inside edge to a Collingwood delivery…the ball ricochets off the keeper’s gloves before he has time to react.

South Africa 162-4 (47 overs): happy_camp3r asks whether Cowers is being “a little one-sided”. Cowers takes that as an insult. That would imply that Cowers cares one way or the other who wins this match, when the truth is that he couldn’t give a hoot. In fact, Cowers cares so little, he just fell asleep in the middle of typing this unnecessarily long-winded and rather obtuse comment. The truth is, of course, that England batted like a team of Scotsmen; South Africa bowled with discipline. This morning, England bowled like second-rate circus-performers; South Africa have batted sensibly and with restraint. But if Cowers wrote merely that…well, it wouldn’t be very interesting, would it?

South Africa 158-4 (46 overs): The players are taking drinks after an hour or so of the afternoon session. Another couple of wickets before tea, and England will feel reasonably content. Not happy, but content

South Africa 147-4 (44 overs): A woman in the crowd is holding up a sign saying: BRING BROAD BACK. She has a wide face and big lips. Looks a bit like the Joker in the new Batman film.

South Africa 137-4 (41 overs): Flintoff is still roaring in. Vaughan must be tempted to keep him going, to let him pound himself in to the ground. He’s bowled 14 overs already this innings. Prince is the new batsman. He’s a little scrapper. If he were an animal, he’d be an aardwolf. Look it up. Tell me I’m wrong.

South Africa 135-4 (39 overs) COUNT HIS WICKETS! 200 UP FOR FREDDIE! McKenzie looks to be getting the measure of Flintoff when he works him for successive fours…but the bowler roars back to trap him LBW in front of off, attempting to whip again through the leg-side. The wicket is Flintoff’s 200th in Test cricket; he roars like a bear with toothache.

South Africa 126-3 (38 overs): Kallis is the new batsman. Worryingly for England, he is due some runs. About 342 of them.

South Africa 117-3 (37 overs): GREAT WORK FROM ANDERSON! EAT HIS DIVE! Anderson ducks one in to Amla; the batsman gets an inside edge on to his pad, attempting to work it away on the leg-side…the ball loops up towards short-cover, where the bowler takes a wonderful running, diving catch!

South Africa 111-2 (36 overs): SALT IN HIS WOUNDS! HIS GAPING, WEEPING WOUNDS! Collingwood puts down a low chance at slip off the bowling of Flintoff. Good job they’re mates, because Flintoff is absolutely fuming.

South Africa 111-2 (34 overs): Three overs back after lunch. South Africa have got a few runs. We aint got any wickets.

South Africa 104-2 (31 overs) LUNCH: McKenzie reaches his half-century with a push for three through cover. South Africa’s morning, without a doubt. England wasted the opportunity to put the batsmen under pressure with a swinging ball, bowling much too wide. Consequently, it took them 90 minutes to get rid of nightwatchman Harris, their only wicket this morning.

South Africa 94-2 (28 overs): SIDEBOTTOM DOES IT! HARRIS EDGES, COOK CATCHES! Sidebottom doesn’t even bother celebrating as Harris edges him to Cook at third slip. Well, why would you celebrate? There is no need. It was obvious, wasn’t it? Sidebottom is much too good for Harris. It only took him 90 minutes to get rid of him.

South Africa 94-1 (27 overs): Harris flicks Sidebottom off his legs, the ball landing just short of Bell at short mid-wicket. Sidebottom smiles smugly at the batsman, as if to say “Ha! That’s what happens. You see, I am a world-class bowler, and what tends to happen when I bowl to tail-enders is that I get them out. Because I am a fantastic bowler. Much, much too good for a tailender like you. I am the mighty Ryan Sidebottom. Even opening batsmen struggle against my skills. I pity you. You are nothing to me.”

South Africa 86-1 (25 overs): How has Harris managed to make 18 runs, and survive 43 balls, against a much-lauded seam attack in perfect swinging conditions? If you asked that question, you’d be well within your rights to expect an honest answer. The honest answer is, because Flintoff, Sidebottom and Anderson in particular, have bowled like they have had their brains removed overnight. Which, I’m told, does happen in some city-centre Birmingham hotels.

South Africa 85-1 (23 overs): Frustration for England; Harris drives to Sidebottom, gets a thick outside-edge, the ball flies between third slip and gully and runs down for four. Next over, Anderson drops a little short, McKenzie cuts off the back foot through backwards point. Lots of “Oooohs” and “Aaahs” from the slip cordon, primarily made up of underperforming batsmen who seem to believe that making encouraging noises in the field every now and again will justify their place in the side.

South Africa 75-1 (21 overs): Anderson is mixing it up, trying some induckers and outduckers; Harris gets a bit of pad on a vicious one that comes back into him, the ball whizzing past Ambrose for four leg-byes. A couple of balls later, a repeat. 19 leg-byes so far. Which is more than double what Vaughan, Pietersen and Collingwood made combined.

South Africa 66-1 (19 overs): That one carried: McKenzie cuts a short, wide one from Anderson straight through Collingwood. No great surprise there, though: Collingwood batted like the invisible man, why should he be any different in the field? Have you ever seen the film, Memoirs of an Invsisible Man? Chevy Chase? Good film. Not as good as National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

South Africa 59-1 (18 overs): EDGE! CATCH IT! GOT HIM! HAS HE? NOT SURE! LET’S GO TO THE THIRD UMPIRE? OKAY! McKenzie edges from Flintoff…Strauss takes the ball low at second slip…England celebrate…Strauss looks a bit sheepish…the replays aren’t hugely conclusive, although they do suggest the ball might have just bounced in. Not out. Huge anti-climax.

South Africa 54-1 (17 overs): Anderson is struggling to control the swing a little. So he digs one in short…and McKenzie rocks back and pulls through mid-wicket for four. “Catch it,” someone in the slips shouts to Panesar at mid-on…Panesar looks confused, as if he has just been woken up. Remember when Anderson first burst onto the international scene and he had red hair? That looked good, didn’t it? Really good, really cool. Made him look really hot; a bit edgy, a bit “street”. Like he had fought his way up from the meanstreets of Harlem, and not Burnley.

South Africa 51-1 (14 overs): Flintoff completes his second over of the day; Harris, the nightwatchman, fends him off like a nine-year-old girl poking a pencil at a spider that has trapped her in the bathroom doorway. Covers are off. I repeat, the covers are off. Meanwhile, in the Sky studio, Shaun Pollock is banging on about his mate Kallis, something about it being “a real luxury to have him around.” Like a dishwasher, or an electric can-opener. The rain has been quite hard, but appears to have eased. It’s going to be “one of those days,” Cowers believes. You know, on-and-off more than Ross and Rachel. The covers are being removed. the_kop2003 – are you comparing Vaughan or Anderson to Joey Barton? Either way, it’s a bit harsh.

South Africa 51-1 (13 overs) Two boundaries in Sidebottom’s first over; one, flicked off McKenzie’s pad down to fine-leg, the second ran down to third man. The ball is swinging, without doubt. A slightly ominous sign as the groundstaff emerge mysteriously from the dank underground cave they inhabit…before the rain comes and play is suspended.

South Africa 38-1 (12 overs): Flintoff fires down the first over of the day. A bit of seam and swing in the air, aided by the heavy cloud-cover. Flintoff is going to have a lot of overs today, I reckon. The television cameras showed him giving a pep-talk to an England huddle before play began. I’d like to say it looked “rousing” but there was a lot of shoulder-shrugging going on. Less Churchillian, more Iain Duncan-Smith-ian.

11.00: Play will begin at 11.15am. Ian Botham is down there, taking a close look at the pitch. He has a massive head. Too big for his body. He gets down and prods the ground. “Still looks a very good surface…” we’re told. His trousers look very strained around the groin area as he crouches down; hope he has a reinforced gusset.

10.48: Aah, yes. I forgot to tell you. The covers are on at Egdbaston. We’re going to have a delayed start. There was some rain earlier this morning and the groundstaff are endeavouring to dry things out. Lots of athletic-looking men of middle-age, weathered faces and hairy legs protruding from slightly-too-short shorts, wandering round the outfield with brooms and brushes and ropes.

10.35 – There’s no denying it; yesterday’s Cowers was a real grumpy-bump. Something to do with the time of the month. And, you know what readers? Cowers liked it. Being downright mean and dirty and heartless – it felt good, you know? Liberating. So expect more of the same, because Cowers has realised something. Cowers has had an epiphany. Being nice and pleasant and friendly and “You know what? Michael Vaughan deserves his place in the side for his captaincy alone…” and “Oooh, that’s a nice dress. Where d’ya get it from?” and “Oh, your hair looks nice: what shampoo do you use?” – well, all that bull gets you nowhere in life. Just makes you look like a girl.

Vaughan is crap at the moment; your dress makes you look like a prossie; and your hair looks like it’s been cut by a barely-trained chimp.

10.26 – The problem is that they are just too many people to blame for yesterday’s debacle: chairman of selectors Geoff Miller, one-time King of Spain Ashley Giles, Captain (Mainwaring) Vaughan, Sad Sack Collingwood, couldn’t-score-on-a Middlesbrough-sink-estate Ambrose. There’s just too many to choose from. Cowers needs a definitive fall guy; one guy we can bully into a corner before beating relentlessly and remorselessly with the big blame stick. Where’s Darren Pattinson when you need him?

10.08 – Here’s a question; who is the more loathsome bowler: Andre Nel or Ryan Sidebottom? Sidebottom’s huffing and puffing at Monty Panesar’s efforts in the field at the end of play yesterday were downright embarassing; like a child, stomping around Toys ‘R’ Us, screaming and wailing and tugging at his mum’s mini-skirt because she won’t buy him a petrol-driven go-kart.

09.58 – Cowers always believed g_hine to be a respectable man of high morals…and here he is talking about digging up holes in the Edgbaston strip? Disgusting behaviour. Quite a frightful business.

09.37 – Some early messageboard action. the_kop2003 predicts a dropped catch from Ambrose. That would necessitate someone bowling well enough to take the edge, so I think we can rule that out for a couple of hours.

09.17 – Stephen Brenkley, in the Guardian, accuses England of bullying the speccie kids: “In the six series since Vaughan came back as captain, England have already lost series against India and Sri Lanka and are well behind in this one against South Africa. They have beaten West Indies and, twice, New Zealand. This is the equivalent of kicking sand in the face of the seven stone weaklings and then being buried up to your neck in the stuff when the bigger boys arrive.”

09.10 – England have been getting plenty of stick in the newspapers this morning. Rightly so, too: yesterday was absolutely abject. A real stinker. Here’s what former England skipper Mike Atherton had to say in The Times: “There were single-figure scores for two people – Michael Vaughan and Collingwood – who needed the runs the most. Collingwood’s innings was the most tortuous of all, a 40-minute, 22-ball affair that was agonising to watch. Here was a man fighting for his very survival as a Test match player, taunted by the knowledge that his place owed as much to past glories and to his captain’s assertion that he is a “good bloke”.”

And Simon Briggs in the Guardian: “If England lose the series here, as must now be a distinct possibility, they will at least have a free hand when it comes to picking the side for the Oval. A few orthodoxies may have to be challenged. And the starting point should be to restore Flintoff to his rightful place at No6. Time in the middle has always been the key to the big man’s batting: when he first comes back, he seems ungainly and uncoordinated, as if struggling to balance his gargantuan frame. But with a couple of decent innings behind him, his sheer size becomes an advantage. The bat starts to look like a toothpick in his hands, and the stumps seem dauntingly small.”

09.00 – Good morning, lovers of leather, devotees of the willow. Welcome to the second day of the third Test between England and South Africa; skies are relatively bright over Edgbaston at the moment, and the forecast suggests we should get another full day’s play. Doesn’t that just send a shiver of excitment down your spine?


Cow’s ava..hehe..

Anyone interested in following Australia’s sport forum?


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England foiled in victory bid
Eurosport – Mon, 14 Jul 17:41:00 2008

South Africa frustrated England’s attempts to force a result on the final day of the first Test at Lord’s with more stubborn defence on a somnolent pitch to earn a draw. Read the entire article here:

Mooi man! Volgende een seker ‘n wen! Great South Africa…we want victory!

I love cricket! We used to play it a lot on the farm during holidays when there were big family gatherings….that’s during December hols…I had one uncle that was really good at cricket and in his younger days he played really well, I think he played for a province, I will have to make sure about that one again…but he was really good, he could hit a ball with a bat that you would have to ask Noah if he’d seen it!
UPDATE …2nd Test South Africa vs England

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England’s Kevin Pietersen (actually…South Africa’s Kevin Pietersen playing for England….hehehe) congratulates South Africa’s Graeme Smith after the match Cricket – npower Second Test – Day Four – England v South Africa – Headingley — South Africa beat England with 10 wickets on Monday.

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