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South Africa v England 1st Test Betting: Day Three

Live Test Match Blogging RSS / / 17 December 2009 /

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Live Test Match Blogging

A solid partnership between Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott has taken England to 88-1. Can they build a decent total? Ed Hawkins is on hand with all the betting advice. Email him at hawkeyeview@hotmail.co.uk...

CLOSE 16.00 SA 9-1
A classic day of Test cricket. At tea, England looked world weary and ready to humbly say to South Africa 'oh, go on then' as the hosts prepared to put them across their knee and give them a good spanking. England were 180 runs behind and as big as [25.00]. A few hours later and South Africa are the ones sitting outside the headmaster's office fearing the rasp of the cane across their backsides. And it is thanks in huge part to a brilliant knock from Graeme Swann. Having already taken one wicket and just 71 runs behind, England are now [7.60]. South Africa are [4.10] and the draw is [1.54]. More of the same tomorrow please.

15.51 SA 5-1
There are about five minutes left tonight. That is why Paul Harris has been sent in as nightwatchman.

15.48 SA 3-1
Well then. That was just what this game required. England briefly were shorter than the hosts before the market righted itself, remembering how tricky it will be to bat last. Ashwell Prince was done neck and crop by Anderson, who is nice and loose after his batting exploits. Graham Onions is partnering Anderson with the new ball instead of that waster Stuart Broad.

WICKET 15.46 SA 2-1
A Prince b Anderson 0. South Africa [4.20], England [5.30] and the draw [1.67]

15.43 SA 0-0
Who wants it? That is a question we will get an answer over the next 40 or 50 overs. I suspect neither side. South Africa have been pretty negative in this game (their run rate in dig one was just 2.7) and after making an awful mess of trying to get rid of England's tail, they may well look to bat time, post 300 odd and try to get England out in about 70 overs on the last day. England, despite being buoyed by that man Swann, will know that batting last on this surface will be tricky indeed. So they may be quite happy to see SA keep plodding on. What will change everything is if England make regular breakthroughs. South Africa will be forced to hit back and I'll have to use that horrendous phrase 'GAME ON!'. Urrgh, i'm going to vomit.

15.35 Eng 356
All together now "Ahhhhh!". Swann (85) is denied a century after he dropped one down the throat of Graeme Smith at deep square to give Harris a five-for. But a wonderful innings from Swann, who with the help of James Anderson, has hauled England back from the brink of defeat. South Africa, who only lead by 62, are now the side under pressure, particularly as they a nasty 20-minute spell to bat tonight. England are [8.20] with South Africa [4.20] and the draw [1.48].

15.27 348-9
I was going to suggest that Swann will throw the bat now but with 81 off 75 balls, he will carry on as normal. Poor old Graham Onions has the horrible responsibility of making sure he hangs around for Swann to get a maiden ton. Smiles for South Africa after Anderson miscued into the hands of mid off but the damage has been done. A disastrous final session for them.

WICKET 15.26 Eng 348-9
J Anderson c Morkel b Ntini 29. South Africa [5.30], England [7.60] and the draw [1.44].

15.16 Eng 344-8
The 100-run partnership. That is a record for the 9th wicket in Tests aginst South Africa for England. The deficit just 74. If it goes under 50 it would be fair to reckon that South Africa have hurled a winning-certainty away. Is it any wonder why punters loathe them so?

15.09 Eng 333-8
Swann and Anderson close in on a 100-run partnership. They have put on 91 now. What is unbelievable about this stand is not that the pair are capable of it but South Africa seem incapable of prevention. In the first instance how a team, which has previously bowled with discipline and skill, suddenly decides to waste a new ball by bowling too short is unfathomable. Yet with the runs flowing South Africa have not a semblance of a plan to either stop the runs or take a wicket. Both men look like they could bat for the rest of the day.

14.48 Eng 313-8
Swann is having a good game eh? He's got 54 runs so far to go with his five wickets. And David Lloyd has just revealed England considered leaving him out for an all-seam attack. Phew, that could've been an embarrassing omission. It is particularly nice for Swann to stick it to the South Africa because they are advised by Duncan Fletcher, who never rated the England man. Still, this is frustrating for backers of South Africa and layers of the draw with the prices drifting and shortening respectively to [3.40] and [1.54].

14.40 309-8
Graeme Swann goes to 50 for a probable skinner top bat. He did it with successive fours and England, who trail by 109, are right back in this. Disaster for South Africa. England into [16.00].

14.21 Eng 283-8
South Africa have lost control and discipline. The partnership between Graeme Swann and James Anderson is worth an incredible 41. England trail by only 135 now. If they can get that below 100, then they could be back in the game. Can England bowl South Africa out for 160 or 170 on a wearing pitch? For sure. Can they chase down a total of 250 plus? Well, that's a tougher question to answer. But they are rated at [23.00] to do so. I'm sure that will only come down. Worth a go.

14.08 Eng 260-8
11 off that over, including a six by Graeme Swann, from Makhaya Ntini. Ntini looks non plussed. Don't know why. You're bowling rubbish, pal.

14.01 Eng 253-8
South Africa are wasting the new ball as it stands. Their bowlers are enjoying banging it in short and watching it fly through to the wicketkeeper. They need to pitch it up. I've timed South Africa's debate over whether to refer to the Stuart Broad decision at 35 seconds. That is 25 seconds shorter than the film, Gone In 60 Seconds. I'm not sure what the relevance of that movie reference is, but hey ho.

13.44 Eng 246-8
England must hate the review system. Stuart Broad was, as they say, more plumb than a fruit fool. It was hitting half way up middle. The right decision. However, there is controversy. Broad remonstrated with the umpires that Graeme Smith had asked for the review after getting a signal from the dressing room. Now, that's just not cricket. It took South Africa ages to make the call to go upstairs and I'm sure there is supposed to be some sort of time limit. To make matters worse, South Africa have a new ball.

WICKET 13.39 Eng 242-8
S Broad lbw b Duminy 17. South Africa [1.84], the draw [2.14] and England [22.00]

13.31 Eng 238-7
England will be delighted if they can get away with a deficit of sub 100 on first dig. But it's a big ask isn't it? Especially with a new ball due in four overs.

TEA 13.08 Eng 238-7
Four wickets for South Africa in that session has allowed them to recline in the driving seat. They will tear into Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann after the break with the hope of enjoying a big old lead. England are 180 behind. Unless Broad and Swann can put together a rescue package, England are going to be facing a rather nasty deficit batting last. South Africa are [2.30] and the draw is [1.92].

12.57 Eng 221-7
Four wickets for Harris now. And that one did turn to remove England's limpet, Collingwood. More importantly, it took a piece of the surface which spells misery for England batting last on this surface. A really disastrous session for England and they're not through it yet.

WICKET 12.52 Eng 212-7
P Collingwood c Kallis b Harris 50. South Africa [1.81], England [25.00] and the draw [2.42].

12.45 Eng 216-6
Prior had been struggling but he's suffered a brain surge on a par with Ian Bell. A premeditated sweep shot has done for the keeper and England are officially in the mire. Really, South Africa should be favourites ahead of the draw. At the risk of repeating myself, it is too short. England have only the bowlers left and Stuart Broad has joined Collingwood (46), who, as expected, is showing the required stomach for the fight.

WICKET 12.42 Eng 211-6
M Prior c De Wet b Harris 4. South Africa [2.04], England [18.00] and the draw [2.00].

12.32 Eng 211-5
England have shut up shop rather. That is fair enough. It is vital Collingwood and Prior survive until tea, which is about 40 minutes away. Prior is struggling somewhat. He has consistently played and missed against De Wet and is expecting turn from Harris when there hasn't been any. That was Bell's failing. England need to wise up that Harris is getting minimal spin.

12.13 Eng 198-5
The Top 5 Things Kevin Pietersen and David Gest Have In Common
1 David Gest appeared on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Kevin Pietersen adopted much the same attitude on England's last tour to West Indies

2 David Gest was married to dreadful singer Liza Minelli. Kevin Pietersen is married to dreadful singer Jessica, the tall one out of that band that no-one can remember the name of.

3 Both men have easily misspelt surnames. For example, on day one I called Gest 'Guest'. People who have been living in a hole for the last five years sometimes spell Pietersen 'Peterson'. There is conformity however when it comes to nicknames, with many people choosing a variety of four-letter words

4 Gest and Pietersen have turned their backs on the countries of their birth. America for Gest, South Africa for Pietersen

5 American and South Africa have turned their backs on the two of their more well-known sons. America for Gest, South Africa for Pietersen

12.01 Eng 191-5
Just as well I got those stats about Bell published before, unbelievably, he shouldered arms to Harris to be bowled. Dreadful shot and an example of the mental fragility that has prevented him from making the most of a natural gift. His dismissal has to be seen to be believed. Bell stood rooted, opened up a gap between bat and pad and then watched the ball slowly pass through it to be bowled on middle. England are 229 behind and I have to say the draw should not be odds on. It is a lay sub [2.00] folks. Matt Prior is the new man in.

WICKET 11.58 Eng 189-5
I Bell b Harris 5. England wobbling now. South Africa [2.12], England [21.00] and the draw [1.94]

11.53 Eng 188-4
I must apologise for not making more of Kevin Pietersen's ridiculous beard. I mentioned it on day one but thought I got away with it. Third Man has emailed to admonish. "Can't believe you have been so easy on him? He looks like something out of Bo Selecta!" For those of you who haven't seen what KP's beard looks like, click here. Okay, that is David Gest but I think you'll find KP and Guest have rather a lot in common. Coming up, The Top 5 Things Kevin Pietersen and David Guest Have In Common. Feel free to join in by emailing me here.

11.41 Eng 176-4
It is a damning indictment on Ian Bell's reputation that I am having to post this stat so soon after his arrival in case he gets out. Bell, batting at No 6, is a different prospect to the No 3 version, where his England career almost ended. He averages 49 at No 6 as opposed to 31 when coming in first down.

11.38 Eng 171-4
Well, I don't think many people saw that coming. Pietersen played on off Morkel. He was reaching for it, trying to drill the ball through the off side but it was a stroke too far. He lost his balance after the stroke to highlight the error. It is a wicket which has rocked England because KP was looking pretty comfortable. And it exposes Ian Bell, who is about as useful in a crisis as a 45-year-old PMT sufferer.

WICKET 11.34 Eng 168-4
K Pietersen b Morkel 40. South Africa [2.30], England [16.00] and the draw [1.64].

11.32 Eng 167-3
England are countering in the form of Pietersen. Two fours from him after the break. He has moved on to 39. Collingwood has been busy in his own way, nudging singles and twos. England trail by 251.

11.18 Eng 148-3
Paul Collingwood (5) is [2.00] to score a fifty. I think that's a decent wager. Colly, who we spoke about yesterday for top-bat honours, was born for this situation: England up against it, South Africa chirping away, tough wicket. He has a good record on this ground with a ton there in November, plus the Colly-KP axis is England's most successful in recent years.

11.13 Eng 143-3
We're back after the break. I'm feeling buoyed about the prospect of these two final sessions. It's going to be a war of attrition, but a fascinating one. South Africa will look to keep KP and Collingwood under wraps and, given Andrew Strauss' decision, are likely to bowl straight, straight, straight and set defensive fields. That may sound boring but this is Test cricket at its finest. How will England counter such a strategy?

LUNCH 10.33 Eng 143-3
England under the cosh a little at the break. But the draw is still jolly at a short-looking [1.55] given the uneven bounce we've seen. A good session coming up. See you in 40.

10.17 Eng 131-3 South Africa will feel they will always have a chance of getting Pietersen out with Paul Harris bowling. The England man has a weakness against left-arm spin, having been dismissed 11 times in his career. It is a high number for such an actue variation. Most recently, Suliemann Benn caused him all sorts of problems for West Indies, getting rid of him three times. KP has 17. He is [1.47] to score a 50.

10.02 Eng 119-3 Smart cricket from South Africa. Brainless cricket from Trott. After eight dot balls against him, the Warwickshire man lost patience and tried to whack Harris out of the ground. It was a horrible shot. He missed it by a yard, probably because his head was in the clouds. Paul Collingwood is the new man, just the sort of bloke England require for a battle.

WICKET 09.58 Eng 119-3 Trott b Harris 28. South Africa [2.54], England [15.00] and the draw [1.81].

09.51 Eng 117-2 Me; What was your worst holiday? Kevin: I asked a travel company about eight years ago if they could sort me out a trip to Italy for a beach holiday, just to lie on a beach after a cricket season, relax. They sent me to Naples. Complete dive. That's the worst I've ever been on. Never got a refund, nothing.

09.43 Eng 114-2
Me: How would you describe your sartorial style, Kevin? Kevin: What does sartorial mean?

09.27 Eng 105-2
So Kevin Pietersen has replaced Andrew Strauss at the crease. A few nervy moments for him, a couple of swishes against Friedel De Wet in the last over in particular. Understandable for KP. This is his first Test since July (the Lord's Test against Australia) so there is bound to be some rustiness. During his break he became the new Brylcreem boy. The upshot of that (well, one of them anyway. They are paying him, of course) was that he had to spend an afternoon being interviewed by journalists. One of them was me. I'll post a few interesting snippets in a mo.

09.02 Eng 98-2
Well, that one from Ntini was an inch the other way (see 08.54). Strauss could do nothing about it as the ball barely got off the ground from a length. It must be disconcerting indeed to see the ball behaving in such a way if you are an England batsmen. We could have an exciting day ahead. And look at the draw price heading out now.

WICKET 08.58 Eng 98-2
A Strauss b Ntini 46. South Africa [3.70], England [8.60] and the draw [1.61].

08.54 Eng 98-1 A couple of moments which will encourage draw layers. Firstly, Morne Morkel has been on the money this morning. His groupings outside off stump to Andrew Strauss have been first class as he has eschewed his reputation for waywardness. It is vital that Morkel displays a high level of control because without it, South Africa's pace attack is weak. Secondly, Strauss was almost undone by a pea shooter, suggesting uneven bounce is worse than previously reckoned. An inch the other way and Strauss was a goner.

08.41 Eng 92-1
I used the hot seat deliberately in my previous post. It was an attempt at irony. There was much drama here last night in west London when a power cut struck. With no heating and temperatures heading below zero outside, I got into bed with so many extra layers I resembled the Michelin man. The problem with that was when the heating kicked in, I sweated pales. So to bulk up again I shall be attacking the mince pies, Victoria sponge and some rather fancy Duchy chocolate ginger biscuits with gusto.

08.30 Eng 88-1
Good morning all. We're back in the hot seat for day three. The pivotal day. If England bat well then we have the prospect of the Test meandering to a draw. If they don't, the potential for excitement. Here are the prices: South Africa [5.50], England [7.60] and the draw [1.44].


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