Posts Tagged ‘Edgbaston’

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…”— ūüėČ
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) РALL OVER РSMITH 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) РMISSED RUN-OUT CHANCE РDe 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) РSouth 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 Рso their best bet is to go for it. Good to see biased, unladylike commentary from anne_helm regarding Kallis Рyou would never catch Cowers indulging in such mockery.

SA 93-4 (29.2 overs) РTHE PRINCE AMONG MEN IS NO MORE РLeft-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 Рeven 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) РFREDDIE 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) РAfter 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 РSmith 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) РA 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) РBURGER TIME FOR FREDDIE ET AL. РSmith again misses an Anderson ball outside off stump Рthere is an appeal but the sound was that of the bat striking the ground Рand 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 РSidebottom 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) РAB 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 Рat 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) РSorry about that, g_hine Рhere you go. Collingwood survives another appeal, this one off the bowling of Ntini, but it hit above the knee roll Рand 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) РColly 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 РMorning to all, and that includes jude_surf РCowers 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) РSTUMPS!! 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 Рyou never know, it might be fun

Eng 287-6 (77 overs) РWHAT 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 Рtime 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) РAmbrose 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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