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England Chasing 130 To Beat South Africa To Third Test And Series, Day Four – Live!

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14th over: England 71-0 (Lees 26, Crawley 38) Crawley drives Nortje on the up through the covers as if to say to the umpires that there is nowt wrong with the light out there.

No centuries by openers in the men’s Test summer. There has been 101 English Test summers in which 3 or more matches have been played. Only once before have there been no hundreds by openers – the three-Test Ashes summer of 1888.

— Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) September 11, 2022 England 65-0 (Lees 26, Crawley 33) Bosh! Crawley stands up tall and pulls a short ball from Rabada effortlessly away to the fence. The run rate has picked up again. England need 64 more runs and are in a race against the gloaming.

Correct on both counts, Brendan.

@Jimbo_Cricket Hey Jim. I am right in saying England have lost only one test this summer since Bazball? But also that it was the only test where they batted first and they lost by an innings. All the talk of how good England’s test side are surely needs to wait a while.

— Brendan Large (@brendanlarge) September 11, 2022 England 60-0 (Lees 26, Crawley 26) England plunder 12 runs from Nortje’s over. Four leg byes and a wide ball served up and gleefully dispatched through the covers by Crawley. Fifty partnership up for the England openers and they are rewarded with a drink.

Andy Hill emails in with ‘Stuart Broad’s batting music’. Any excuse to play a bit of Tom Waits on the OBO Andy.

England 48-0 (Lees 23, Crawley 23) Rabada into his sixth over. Lees picks up a solitary single. Rabada has the look of a man who has lost a tenner, been stung by a wasp and got a speeding ticket on the same day. Not happy.

England 47-0 (Lees 22, Crawley 23) Lees adds seven more to his total. Nortje does come into the attack and he slams one down short of a length that Lees does well to glide away past the cordon for four. A punch and a press bring him three more.

England 40-0 (Lees 15, Crawley 23) A maiden from Rabada. 84 more needed to win, both batters are much more watchful now, almost as if it has just dawned on them that their Test careers could be on the line and a nice fifty or so not out will definitely help their cause heading into the winter.

England 39-0 (Lees 15, Crawley 23) Three runs off Jansen as Nortje can be seen warming up. Surely not long before he gets revved up and unleashed by Elgar.

Burnton has been bashing away at statsguru:

England 36-0 (Lees 14, Crawley 22) Rabada pounds away and gets some lift and zip from the pitch. England only manage a single from the over. Spare a thought for Theo who has tickets for tomorrow:

“Hi Jim, not feeling hopeful for my Monday at the Oval! Soda pop does obviously make more sense, but I had already convinced myself on ‘soda water / oughta’ – as in, oughta be catching that.”

Like it, Theo. You might get a bit of action in the morning at this (run) rate.

England 35-0 (Lees 14, Crawley 21) Just a single off it, have England decided against the two day finish? ‘Je m’excuse’ emails Brian Withington:

“How could I ever have doubted young Master Crawley? Clearly he just needs the incentive of wrapping up a game within two days to free up his inner free-wheeling self. That and an opening partner who clearly has a train to catch.”

Lees may have just realised he has an open return, the last few overs have been much calmer.

England 34-0 (Lees 14, Crawley 20) Just three off Rabada’s over – booooo! Things have calmed down. Boooooo!

England 31-0 (Lees 13, Crawley 18) Alex Lees is throwing the kitchen sink, taps, kettle and oven at almost every ball. Bonkers stuff but highly entertaining. A mis-timed pull loops just over a diving Maharaj at mid-on and they scamper back for two. An awful lot of attempted humpty but just four runs off the over in the end.

Thanks to Matt Sowrey and Mac Millings for emailing in with their thoughts that KPs’ “soda, absolute soda” is meant to mean soda pop – drop. Oh, simple as that is it?

England 27-0 (Lees 10, Crawley 17) Crawley leans back and cuts Rabada through point for four. Next ball he leans on a full one to pick up four more down the ground. A couple of scampered singles see 11 taken off the over. England hurtling along.

England 16-0 (Lees 8, Crawley 8) Crawley punches down the ground with a slightly closed blade, the new ball traces away for four. Lees is then almost run out as his partner calls him through for a quick single. A direct hit sees the replay called for but Lees has just, just grounded his bat. South Africa appeal for a catch off Lees the next ball but the DRS shows Lees was nowhere near it. Wishful thinking with that review. CLONK! The Durham opener biffs Jansen down the ground for four more to end an eventful over.

England 6-0 (Lees 3, Crawley 3) DROP FIRST BALL! Lees fends a length ball from Rabada and it flies at a nice height to Marco Jansen who shells the chance! What a start that would have been. KP on comms is in danger of bursting a blood vessel so GOSH DARN excited he is! “An absolute soda” he purrs. Anyone? Me neither. Crawley steers through point to pick up three more. Six off the first over and a big miss.

Maharaj fails to take a catch offered by Lees. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The GuardianThe heavy roller is on, will it do anything to deaden this surface? Plenty to get stuck into over the next hour or so, Crawley and Lees are under pressure and England are missing their BazBaller in chief (there I said it!) in Jonny Bairstow. Rabada and Nortje will be bang up for this with the series on the line. Early wickets will make things very interesting.

England need 130 runs to win and take the series 2-1

WICKET! Verreyyne c&b Anderson 12 (South Africa 169 all out)Anderson gets the final wicket! Verreyyne loses control of a pull shot and spoons the ball straight up in the air, Jimmy takes the skier in his follow through. All smiles as the England openers sprint from the field.

James Anderson bowls and and catches out Verreynne. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters56th over: South Africa 169-9 (Verreynne 12, Nortje 0) Broad conducts the crowd with this finger and gives a cheeky grin at the top of his mark. He loves this stuff – sun on his back, crowd roaring him in. He beats Nortje with a beautiful seaming delivery last up.

WICKET! Maharaj b Broad 18 (South Africa 169-9)Broad tickles the timbers with another in-swinger and gets the breakthrough. He buzzes off in celebration, arms outstretched. The lead is 129. Anrich Nortje is the last man for South Africa.

The union flag on top of the pavilion flies at half mast in memory of the Queen as Broad Maharaj. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesBroad celebrates after the dismissal of Maharaj. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images55th over: South Africa 168-8 (Verreynne 11, Maharaj 16) A couple of singles off Anderson as this pair begin to frustrate England after tea.


54th over: South Africa 164-8 (Verreynne 10, Maharaj 15) Broad into the attack, Anderson likely switching ends to replace Stokes who finished his over and left the field of play straight after. Maharaj picks up three more handy runs with a glance down to long leg. The lead creeps up to 124.

53rd over: South Africa 160-8 (Verreynne 9, Maharaj 13) Surely that is it from Stokes? He sends a weary short ball down that Maharaj glances fine to pick up four more. Maharaj has four fifties in Test cricket and a best of 84. He can hang around and notch up useful runs.

52nd over: South Africa 154-8 (Verreynne 9, Maharaj 6) Just a single off Jimmy. Stokes is going to… carry on. He’s flaunting the fabled red zone.

South Africa 147/7 at tea, leading by 106 runs.

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 11, 2022 51st over: South Africa 153-8 (Verreynne 9, Maharaj 5) A welcome boundary for South Africa takes their lead to 113 – Maharaj freeing his hands through a wide-ish delivery from Ben Stokes. Surely the skipped needs to have a blow. He’s grimacing and grabbing his knee still, Andre Strauss on the tv commentary says it is “painful” to watch Stokes carry out these self-flagellating spells.

50th over: South Africa 148-8 (Verreynne 9, Maharaj 1) Anderson starts a new spell after tea. The ball is still moving around, Maharaj manages a single and Verreynne slices through point to add another to the target.

Peter Metcalfe is having fun delving into his X-file:

“Hello Jim, I wonder if Wiaan Mulder is aware that Glenda Scully played for Western Australia Women in 1987? The truth is out there but it will take something paranormal to get South Africa out of this one.”

I smell a cricketing double acts coming on OBOers…

WICKET! Rabada c Brook b Stokes 0Stokes to finish his over after the break and he gets rid of Rabada straight away! A tentative poke sees the ball fly to Harry Brook in the slips. Stokes has two in the over. South Africa’s lead is just 107 and they have just two wickets left. The sun is beating down, England could wrap this Test match up inside two days.

49th over: South Africa 146-8 (Verreynne 8, Maharaj 0)

Stokes celebrates with Foakes after taking the wicket of Rabada. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The GuardianWICKET! Jansen b Stokes 4 (South Africa 146-7)Ben Stokes! He gives himself another over, this time it is the final one before tea but he only needs four balls. A vicious in-swinger darts through Jansen’s sizeable gap between bat and pad and detonates the leg stump. Comprehensively bowled and a heroic spell from England’s talismanic captain.

With that, it is time for tea.

Stokes reacts after taking the wicket of South Africa’s Marco Jansen. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian48th over: South Africa 139-6 (Verreynne 2, Jansen 4) Robinson continues, he looks red faced and pretty bushed too. Fair play to him for keeping at it in the September sunshine. Hang about, SIX! Verreynne top edges a pull that lands directly on the boundary sponge. Vital runs. Robinson pitches up for the remainder of the over and normal service resumes – five dots.

47th over: South Africa 140-6 (Verreynne 2, Jansen 4) Stokes has Jansen caught at slip by Ollie Pope but celebrations are curtailed by the umpire’s outstretched arm – No Ball! Stokes can’t believe it, he’s given everything in this spell and nicked Jansen off with a lovely outswinger only to over step by a few inches and see it chalked off. He shakes his head and sweat drips off his fringe. South Africa’s lead goes to 100 as a result of the no ball too.

England’s Ben Stokes reacts after taking the wicket of South Africa’s Marco Jansen before his delivery is ruled a no ball. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian46th over: South Africa 139-6 (Verreynne 2, Jansen 4) Ollie Robinson sends down his fifth maiden.

The last Englishman to reach 50 Test wickets in fewer appearances than Ollie Robinson (11) was Ian Botham (10)#SAvENG

— Ben Gardner (@Ben_Wisden) September 11, 2022 Decent numbers. Beefy numbers.

There’s no doubt England’s batting is their weaker suit, Guy Hornsby. Their bowling, in English conditions, is exceptional. Strengthened further by a leaner, fitter, hungrier Ollie Robinson. That said, this game has a feel of the early summer about it, England will surely hunt down whatever South Africa set them, whether that be 100 or 250.

I know this is all priced into the new era @Jimbo_Cricket but isn’t this just another case of the bowlers bailing out the batters’ profligacy? Or is the difference between the Silverwood and McCullum era that now loose shots are intentional not accidental?

— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) September 11, 2022 45th over: South Africa 139-6 (Verreynne 2, Jansen 4) Stokes scuds one onto Verreynne that hits him in the nether nether. Breathe in, breathe out, Kyle. He wisely gets a single to get off strike. Scratch what I said about the impending break, tea isn’t for another 15 minutes. Stokes is limping so that could be the end of his spell, he’s done seven overs on the bounce and is hobbling like latter days John Wayne.

44th over: South Africa 138-6 (Verreynne 1, Jansen 4) Marco Jansen is the new man. Robinson greets him with a short ball that he does well to negotiate. Robinson is ticking. Jansen can bat, he’s shown that in this series. A full ball is leant on with his long levers and whistles away for four to get him off the mark. One more over before tea I reckon, Stokes to bowl it.

WICKET! Zondo lbw b Robinson 16 (South Africa 133-6)Big booming in-swinger from Robinson that clatters into Zondo’s back leg as he is late on a misjudged cut shot. Given out on the field… reviewed and stays out with the umpire’s call! Zondo has to go, Robinson is amped up here. The lead is 93.

Ollie Robinson celebrates the wicket of Khaya Zondo. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian43rd over: South Africa 128-5 (Zondo 16, Verreynne 0) The game is alive all of a sudden after a soporific session. Both sides grappling, Zondo cuts Stokes away uppishly to pick up four. Stokes responds with a frankly ridiculous ball that ducks in and seams away. Play that! He then goes for the full ball but over pitches and Zondo drives handsomely through mid-off for four more.

WICKET! Mulder b Robinson 14 (South Africa 120-5)Ollie Robinson is wild eyed and jubilant after he gets one to lift on Mulder that the batter tries to chop away but serves only to hack down onto his stumps!

England have the breakthrough in the minutes before the tea break. We could still see a two day Test here in South London. The lead is 80.

42nd over: South Africa 120-5 (Zondo 8, Verreynne 0)

Mulder is clean bowled by Robinson. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images41st over: South Africa 118-4 (Zondo 8, Mulder 12) England, particularly Joe Root are adamant that Zondo has got a feather on a Stokes short ball. Hmmm, Stokes isn’t convinced but is talked into it by his pal. Ultra edge shows… NADA. NOWT. Flatline as the ball passes bat and England have burned their last review. Will that be costly? South Africa lead by 78. Root is flummoxed.

40th over: South Africa 111-4 (Zondo 7, Mulder 7) Robinson. Maiden. Like you needed to ask.

39th over: South Africa 111-4 (Zondo 7, Mulder 7) Mulder gets in on the act too! Stokes is livid with himself as he serves up a rank half tracker and is duly dispatched to the fence. The England skipper is pawing at his knee a bit, slightly concerning. Nelson up. 111. Thoughts turn to David Shepherd.

38th over: South Africa 106-4 (Zondo 7, Mulder 3) Hold on to your stovepipe! A boundary! A lesser spotted boundary! That’s the first four since the 25th over by my reckoning. Zondo climbs into a short and wide ball by Robinson and clatters it through cover for four. Normal service is resumed afterwards though, five deafening dots.

37th over: South Africa 102-4 (Zondo 3, Mulder 3) Stokes again. Maiden again. Shaun Pollock describes his countrymen as being in a “trough”. England are piling the pressure on Mulder and Zondo, something has to give soon, and it could be my state of consciousness…

36th over: South Africa 102-4 (Zondo 3, Mulder 3) Ollie Robinson peels off another maiden. South Africa on the road to nowhere. England have the ball on a string and are beating the edge at will.

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