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England V South Africa: Women’s Test Match, Day One – Live!

19th over: South Africa 50-4 (Luus 11, Kapp 0). Sciver’s most expensive over goes for five, all to Luus. One back-foot punch through the covers for two and bunt down the ground for three. Still, this is testing times for the Proteas. Their skipper is digging in and she’s got the veteran Kapp alongside her. If they can just get to lunch…

18th over: South Africa 45-4 (Luus 6, Kapp 0) It’s a wicket an over at the minute. Bell comes back into the attack with lessons clearly learned from her previous spell. It might also be swinging less which helps as she can start on a straighter line. She’s also aided by Lee’s transgression. Either way, England in the driver’s seat. One more and they might roll the Saffas for under 100.

Still think so, Raf? To be fair to our correspondent, this was tweeted when Steyn and Woolvaardt looked immovable. Funny how things change.

Been saying for about 10 years that you should always bat first in a four-day women’s Test.

And every single time… 😂

— Raf Nicholson (@RafNicholson) June 27, 2022 Wicket! Lee lbw Bell 0 (South Africa 45-4)They’re falling like dominoes now. Bell is back into the attack and she hoops one into Lee is in a poor position to navigate it. With her head falling over she has no choice but to play round her pads. The batter’s review is struck down and the on-field decision stays.

Bell celebrates after taking the wicket of Lee. Photograph: Harry Trump/ECB/Getty Images17th over: South Africa 45-4 (Luus 5, Lee 0) England all over their guests here. Two bowled and one lbw shows the secret of their success. Lizelle Lee is a renowned basher against the white ball but she’ll have to dig deep to drag her team from the brink. Easier said than done with Sciver bowling like that. Another maiden. She’s 3-2-2-1 so far.

Wicket! Goodall lbw Sciver 10 (South Africa 44-3)Sciver deserves that. Her first ball of her third over is a nibbler on a good length on a tight line and it pings Goodall whose playign back to that. Umpire Sue Redfern says ‘not-out’ but the English are convinced. They review and wouldn’t you know it, it’s banging into the stumps. Godall’s gotta go.

Sciver appeals successfully for the LBW of Goodall. Photograph: Harry Trump/ECB/Getty Images16th over: South Africa 44-2 (Goodall 10, Luus 5) Wong is full, then back of a length, then full, then slightly short. A little up and down. Goodall with one to start and Luus to end with two.

15th over: South Africa 41-2 (Goodall 9, Luus 3) Sciver is just so accurate. She’s giving nothing away and would have had a second consecutive maiden but for a text-book punch through a vacant mid-off for two from Luus. England are keeping it full, as they should. Probing and challenging stuff.

But were you there in spirit, Ewan? Take note from Mr McDonald. This is how you pack in a lot of narrative into a short space:

“Hi Daniel. Two of my fondest cricketing memories are Laxman’s 281 and Brian Lara’s great series against Australia in 1999. Of course, I didn’t see a ball of any of this and followed it all on Ceefax.”

Hope we can create some new memories together over here.

14th over: South Africa 39-2 (Goodall 9, Luus 1) That’s drinks. But not before Luus takes a single to get off the mark. Wong is wild across six balls that I’m not sure even she knew where they were going. It’s fast and fiery though and the skipper won’t mind. “Just run up and rip it,” will be the message.

Now, where’s that drink?

13th over: South Africa 38-2 (Goodall 9, Luus 0) The Proteas need to rebuild after losing both openers. Nat Sciver comes in and doesn’t concede a run with her first over, making this game look so much easier than it actually is. Little movement too, back in to the lefty Goodall.

12th over: South Africa 38-2 (Goodall 9, Luus 0) A massive moment for the young Wong, who picks up a memorable first wicket. South Africa were just starting to nudge in front with a parthership that looked rock solid. But Wong’s full delivery goes through Wolvaardt’s big drive. Skipper Sune Luus comes out with a job on her hands.

Wicket! Wolvaardt b Wong 16 (South Africa 38-2)That is the big fish! The prized scalp! The one they all wanted. And it’s gone to the 20-year-old on debut, Izzy Wong.

Having just been punched down the ground for a couple, Wong keeps it full and castles Laura Wolvaardt. Was there an inside edge? My colleague next to be doesn’t think so. Clean through the gate as Wolvaardt goes looking for a big drive. England on top now.

Laura Wolvaardt is bowled out by Issy Wong. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters11th over: South Africa 36-1 (Wolvaardt 14, Goodall 9) That’s a lovely shot back past the bowler from Goodall. Cross responds with a peach that squares the batter up, reminding her that she’s in a contest. A cracking little narrative is developing between these two. But that’s six on the bounce for Cross. She might need a breather soon.

Why did I do that? You don’t need to read the report to know that Andrie Steyn was bowled leaving the ball. Just look at this picture. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Andrie Steyn walks after losing her wicket. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters10th over: South Africa 32-1 (Wolvaardt 14, Goodall 5) Now then. Izzy Wong, the 20-year-old tearaway is into the attack. She starts with a howitzer wide of the off stump but it’s noticeably quicker than anything that’s come before.

There’s another loose one, this time down the leg side and Laura W tucks it for four. Still, a buzzing first foray for the youngster.

Where is everyone? John wants to know: “Morning, Dan. It seems a bit odd to be starting a Test match on a Monday, when the weekend would be the better option for attendance. What is the crowd like at Taunton? Are there many there and are they joining in in some way? There’s probably no equivalent of the Barmy Army but I could be wrong.”

That is a great question. Not too sure to be honest. But there’s a handy smattering of folks around and a vocal group of kids away to my right. Hopefully more file in.

9th over: South Africa 27-1 (Wolvaardt 10, Goodall 5) Cross is so tidy. Around that off stump line, bringing the batter forward. She misses out on a second maiden as Goodall check-drives down the ground for one off the final ball. But that’s a really good set from Cross.

8th over: South Africa 26-1 (Wolvaardt 10, Goodall 4) Spanked through backward point. Phew, Wolvaardt is a joy to watch, isn’t she. She gives this loose one the treatment. Bell offering one hit-me ball an over currently.

7th over: South Africa 21-1 (Wolvaardt 6, Goodall 3) Goodhall’s off the mark with a neat tuck off her hips. Cross is, well, cross with herself with three slips and a gully hovering. ring field elsewhere.

6th over: South Africa 20-1 (Wolvaardt 6, Goodall 2) Wolvaardt’s drive – for my money the best in the game – is starting to unfurl. She pings one through mid-off for a couple and another into a gap through cover for another two.

5th over: South Africa 16-1 (Wolvaardt 2, Goodall 2) First ball pelted for four through point off the back foot. Second ball closer to the stumps. Third ball crashes into the furniture with Steyn shouldering arms.

That’s the boom and bust nature of Test cricket. Success for Cross who now has a left-hander Lara Goodall to contend with. The new batter edges her first ball through the cordon. Funny what a wicket can do.

Wicket! South Africa 14-1 (Steyn b Cross 8)Steyn’s been cleaned up leaving one that she shouldn’t have. After getting belted through point having bowled a half-tracker, Cross pitches this one up and brings it in a touch. Bails go flying and that’s the first wicket of the summer for England.

Kate Cross mops up Andrie Steyn. Photograph: Harry Trump/ECB/Getty ImagesTake a quick walk down memory lane with Peter Hall:

“July 1965. I was a small boy in the back of a Morris 1000 going on holiday with my parents. No car radio, so my job was to keep a small primitive transistor radio tuned to the cricket commentary by varying its position as we motored to the West Country: not an easy task! Nevertheless we heard Truman take his 200th wicket against West Indies. One of my earliest and greatest cricket memories.”

That’s lovely, cheers Pete.

4th over South Africa 10-0 (Steyn 4 , Wolvaardt 2) Bell’s struggling with her radar here. She’s got long levers, nicknamed “The Shard”, according to TMS. But it’s all over the show, conceding four byes down leg. Ooo, but when she gets it right she’s a handful, angling it bat into the right hander. She thuds Steyn’s front leg and a big appeal is turned down.

3rd over: South Africa 4-0 (Steyn 3, Wolvaardt 1) A maiden from Cross. Lovely areas around the top of off. Steyn is watchful, as she should be with the ball moving ever so slightly away. Good stuff that.

For those interested you can follow the live commentary on TMS over here.

2nd over: South Africa 4-0 (Steyn 3, Wolvaardt 1) It’s Lauren Bell from the Marcus Trescothick End and she’s a touch loose. Perhaps some jitters. her first is a floaty hal-volley that Wolvaardt drives – imperiously – to point and they squirt a single. The next is a spongy half tracker that is scrambled through gully for another one. Things get a little tideier and there’s a big shout for lbw, but it’s always rising over.

1st over: South Africa 2-0 (Andrie Steyn 2, Laura Wolvaardt 0) Kate Cross begins from the River End and she’s on the money immediately. Starts on a good line around the off peg and also wraps Steyn on the pads. She gets a little straight and is clipped nicely through midwicket for a couple.

Clouds are gathering. It looked like a tricky toss to win when the sun was out a few minutes earlier. It’s quickly morphed into what seems like a bowling paradise. England will fancy this. There is, however, a certain Laura Wolvaardt to contend with. She’s the big wicket, that’s for sure.

TeamsDebutants aplenty for both teams.

For England, Lauren Bell, Alice Davidson-Richards, Emma Lamb and the exciting 20-year-old quick bowler Izzy Wong pull on the whites for the first time.

For the Saffas, Andrie Steyn, Laura Wolvaardt, Lara Goodall, Sune Luus, Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Sinalo Jaffa, Tumi Sekhukhune, Nonkululeko Mlaba all play their first Test. Though that’s to be expected as the Proteas last took part in this grand old format back in 2014.

Toss: England win and have a bowlHeather Knight has won the flip of the coin and decided. “Looks a good, hard pitch, but if we’re going to get anything out of it it will be this morning,” she says. Sune Luus, the South African skipper, is happy to bat and can’t wait to get stuck in: “It’s an amazing opportunity for South African women’s cricket. We’ve got nine debutants to excited to get going.”

Heather Knight poses during an England nets session. Photograph: Ryan Hiscott/ECB/Getty ImagesEveryone’s a newbie of sorts

John Price makes a great point: “I have read one or two comments that debutants ‘haven’t played much red ball cricket’. I think that is misleading – there is no women’s two innings cricket in the country outside Test level whatsoever. So debutants will have played precisely nil. I think that is the point about the problem with women’s Test match cricket. Tests are supposed to be the pinnacle of the first class game. If there is no first class game, it becomes something on an anomaly – skills, style of play etc are not developed to this format.”

PreambleGood morning, dumela, sawubona, goeie more, howzit!

Welcome to the start this one-off Test between South Africa and England. There’s cloud and gloom overhead here in Taunton but I can tell you that bright, illuminating anticipation blankets the County Ground. Days like don’t come round very often. The South Africans last played a Test back in 2014 and the English have only donned the whites on six occasions in that time. The inequities in the game are plain to see, but those battles are for another time. The next four days are for celebrating.

The Saffas are without a clutch of their golden generation. Speedster Shabnim Ismail, metronome Ayabonga Khaka and big hitter Chloe Tryon were ruled out yesterday. They join regular skipper Dane van Niekerk on the spectators list.

England embark on a new chapter themselves. They start a Test without either Anya Shrubsole or Katherine Brunt. That’s 421 international wickets, in case you were wondering.

Play starts at 11am BST, toss is at 10.30am. My name is Daniel (but you can call me Dan). I’m delighted to be making my OBO debut. Do drop me a line on Twitter @danielgallan or email me on [email protected]. Catch you in a few.

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