53rd over: England 140-5 (Sciver 36, Davidson-Richards 5) I should say, Accuweather were predicting rain this afternoon, but the latest gen is that it’ll miss us, which is great – though a thunderstorm is predicted for tomorrow afternoon. Anyhow, Sekhukhune returns, spraying her loosener not just wide but wider. Davidson-Richards then takes a single of her own to backward square, before Sciver defends the over’s final two balls.
52nd over: England 138-5 (Sciver 36, Davidson-Richards 4) Three dots and more laughter – South Africa are enjoying the hell out of this – then Sciver presents the full face, driving Mlaba back past a despairing right hand and to the fence for four. That’s England’s first boundary in tiiiiime, and they badly needed it because you sense wickets are ready to fall because South Africa are ready to claim them.
51st over: England 134-5 (Sciver 32, Davidson-Richards 4) De Klerk flings one into Sciver’s pad and is right there for the lb, but her mates all saw the inside edge, laughing at her as you would. Sciver then takes another one to backward square, and two dots mean she’ll be on strike for the next over.
I love how approachable these girls are.
50th over: England 133-5 (Sciver 31, Davidson-Richards 4) It’s a tricky situation for Sciver, because she’ll want to attack but knows the importance of staying at the crease. She plays out three dots, then misses out when a drag down keeps low and she can’t pull it away before taking a single to backward square. South Africa are bang on top here.
49th over: England 132-5 (Sciver 30, Davidson-Richards 4) De Klerk replaces Bosch and Sciver drives to mid off for one, the only run from the over; its penultimate ball is edged onto the pads, and you can see from the chatter in the field that they’re bang into this. They lead by 152 and know that if they can break this partnership, they’re into the tail.
Otherwise, I hope you’ve all seen this; if not, prepare for some sweaty eyeballs.
48th over: England 131-5 (Sciver 29, Davidson-Richards 4) Mlaba found some bounce in her last over, which tells us there’s something in the pitch; yesterday, we might’ve put it down to Sophie Ecclestone’s skill and height. “Oooh hoo hoo, hello!” cries Jafta when one grips a little, and she’s equally excited when Davidson-Richards defends the final ball of a maiden.
47th over: England 131-5 (Sciver 29, Davidson-Richards 4) Thanks Daniel and afternoon everyone. Nat Sciver will know she’s got to come up with something here, after running out her captain first ball after lunch – you’ve got to laugh – on which point, is it just me who calls her Natural Sciences? Silly, I know, but at university, that subject was called Natsci so here we are. Anyhow, she gets down low to glance Bosch around the corner for two, then steps out of her crease to crack a short one to the midwicket fence. She’s looking good out there.
46th over: England 125-5 (Sciver 23, Davidson-Richards 4) Runs. Sweet, pressure relieving runs. It’s a half steer, half squirt from Davidson-Richards who jabs this flighted one from Mlaba down to a vacant deep third boundary. England will take it.
And taking you to the close will be Daniel Harris as I’m off at the call of this drinks break. South Africa’s hour post lunch with three sharp wickets for 39 runs.
Hope you enjoyed it. See you tomorrow.
45th over: England 121-5 (Sciver 23, Davidson-Richards 0) Will South Africa conceded a run again? England have lost two wickets for one run in the last six overs. Bosch brings one back in sharply after going away, away, away. Sciver is wise to it and chops her bat down in time from the back foot.
44th over: England 121-5 (Sciver 23, Davidson-Richards 0) Another maiden. Mlaba is accurate while still asking questions. This is not tame dibbly dobbling finger spin. Quite the opposite and the England batters are giving it the respect it deserves. They’re against the ropes here but Sciver is more than capable of playing the Kapp role and digging her team out of this mess. She’ll need help. Davidson-Richards handles this over well, going forward like Jones should have done. A knife’s edge. That’s where this game currently resides.
43rd over: England 121-5 (Sciver 23, Davidson-Richards 0) That’s another maiden from Bosch who has just been outstanding. Unnerving, probing, teasing and testing. Cricket made to look simple. Shape away from the right hander, saying, ‘go on, have a go’. I could watch a seamer do this all day.
42nd over: England 121-5 (Sciver 23, Davidson-Richards 0) South Africa are all over England here. From 65-0 to 86-2, England are teetering at 121-4, still 163 behind. Bosch has been brilliant since the restart after lunch but Mlaba has given the batters something else to consider. It’s her guile and flight that set up Jones with one that gripped just enough to bowl her past the outside edge. Still 14 needed to avoid the follow on. They surely won’t, will they?
Jones is gone for a duck! Nicely flighted from Mlaba but it looked like a fairly innocuous ball from here. Mind you, I don’t have to face it. You know what, sod it, let’s give the bowler her dues. She’d been tossing it up and might have pushed that one through a little quicker. It certainly rushed Jones who seemed reluctant or unable to get all the way forward. It’s a first Test scalp for the left-armer and she’s celebrating with gusto!
41st over: England 120-4 (Sciver 22, Jones 0) A wicket maide for Bosch who has backed up her 30 with the bat with three wickets (so far) with the ball. Dunkley’s expansive drive now seems like an obvious error but credit must go to the bowler. Bosch has moved it and moved it late. What a contest we have here. Remember, it was Kapp’s 150 batting at No 6 that turned the game yesterday. Big partnership coming up.
Dunkley’s taken the bait and paid the price! Bosch has her third with a wide one that the batter chases but can only nick straight to the only slip fielder. It might seem like a loos stroke, and it is, but the away shape that Bosch is getting is why Dunkley’s booming drive has found the edge rather than the middle of her bat.
South African keep chipping away. They have a lead of 164 and are now into the middle order. Long way to go yet but it’s another impressive fightback from the tourists in this game.
40th over: England 120-3 (Sciver 22, Dunkley 18) Spin for the first time this innings. It’s Nonkululeko Mlaba with the left arm finger twirls. She’s round the wicket with a slip in place and concedes four – one each for Dunkley and Sciver through the on-side, and a couple for Sciver who rocks back and punches it through the cover ring.
As if Heather Knight didn’t have enough to worry about
39th over: England 116-3 (Sciver 19, Dunkley 17) South Africa are motoring through their overs now. Maybe that’s a deliberate ploy to rush the batters? If it is then it almost worked as de Klerk finds the edge of Sciver’s bat as she looks to cut, but it goes wide of Lee in the gully. Dunkley takes two off her hips after that scampered single from Sciver’s edge.
38th over: England 111-3 (Sciver 16, Dunkley 15) Glorious drive from Dunkley. Plants her front foot towards and the ball and sweetly times Sekhukhune through the covers. Dunkley’s looked good since she first took guard. Ticking along at a nice rate.
There’s also a half chance behind the stumps. Jafta is now standing up the stumps. A ball down the leg side is missed by Sciver as she drifts out of her crease. But Jafta can’t gather and remove the bails. A half chance, nothing more.
So long Morgs. Worth mentioning that Eoin Morgan has announced his retirement from international cricket. Here’s Ali Martin’s piece from yesterday on the “best we’ve ever had”.
37th over: England 106-3 (Sciver 15, Dunkley 11) Second maiden on the bounce fro de Klerk who has improved as the day has gone on. Just a leg-bye adds to the score and rotates the strike.
36th over: England 105-3 (Sciver 15, Dunkley 11) A poor ball is given the business. A rare short and wide stinker from Sekhukhune and Dunkley crunches it in front of point with a scything cut shot. Two singles for both batters and a two taken from a misfield in the covers means it’s a costly set for Sekhukhune who apparently either deals in maidens of expensive overs.
35th over: England 97-3 (Sciver 14, Dunkley 4) Another maiden. This time from de Klerk. Pressure building. That’s what a calamitous wicket can do.
34th over: England 97-3 (Sciver 14, Dunkley 4) That’s more like from Sekhukhune who bowls her fourth maiden in her eighth over. Tight channel, good to full length and there’s that buzz back in the field. The South Africans fancy themselves here. A couple more and they may even have a lead. They’re 187 ahead currently.
33rd over: England 96-3 (Sciver 14, Dunkley 4) Three runs from the opening two balls of this de Klerk over as Sciver works on off her pads and Dunkley takes two through mid-on. De Klerk adjusts her line and moives outside the off-stump and keeps it clean for the remaining four ball.s
32nd over: England 93-3 (Sciver 13, Dunkley 2) Sekhukhune makes a return to the Marcus Trescothick end where she was so accurate in the morning session. She finds her range immediately but loses her shape on her fourth delivery, splaying it down the leg side and that’s easy pickings for Sciver who clips it for four. Another single keeps Sciver on strike for the next over.
31st over: England 88-3 (Sciver 8, Dunkley 2) They say that the first few minutes before and after a session break can define a Test match. (Not sure if anyone’s actually said that, but it sounds vaguely true).
Well, what about the first ball after a break? England’s captain has been run-out immediately after lunch. There was never a run there and she’ll be fuming with the mix-up. Hard to know who was to blame – Knight or Sciver – but it doesn’t matter. South Africa have the early wicket they were after.
De Klerk concedes two runs to the new batter Sophia Dunkley who is in much sooner than she would have anticipated.
What in the what! A run out first ball after the break. Scenes! Absolute scenes!
There’s a mix up in the middle. Knight bunts the ball to the leg side and sets off. She’s sent back and puts in a big dive but the throw from Sekhukhune is firm and accurate and Jafta flicks the bails off. Disaster for the England skipper is gone after consultation from the third umpire.
Good lunch? Mine wasn’t bad, actually. A half decent chilli and rice. Could have personally done with more spice.
(Ready for a seamless transition?)
Speaking of spice, South Africa need to amp the heat up and get one of these two out sharpish. They might have done, had Jafta – doing what all keeps should do – held on to a thick edge from Knight off Kapp’s bowling.
De Klerk has the ball in her hand from the River End away from me. It was moving before the break. Can it talk again?
England’s session, but only just thanks to two quick wickets from the blue courtesy of Bosch. It could have been even tighter had Knight’s thick edge from a Kapp teaser wide of off-stump been held. As it was, Jafta dived in front of her first slip and grassed the chance.
Strong comeback from the Proteas who had no answers to a dominant opening stand of 65 between Tammy Beaumont and the Test-rookie Emma Lamb. They were both particularly strong through covers and kept the strike rotating off their hips.
South Africa were wasteful with the new ball, either bowling too straight or too short. But Sekhukhune reverted to a simple line and length to build pressure with a ring field before Bosch’s double strike to remove both openers.
I’m off for a bite. Catch you in 40 mins.
30th over: England 86-2 (Knight 8, Sciver 8) That’s lunch as Kapp delivers another maiden.
“Thanks for the link but that’s the standard 5 live link which is blocked for non UK IP addresses. “Content not available in your area.” The only way we can follow is via the YouTube overseas link for the men’s tests – which the BBC does not open up for women’s matches. Back to my earlier email about BBC not respecting women’s sport!”
Thanks for the mail David. Will see if there’s anything I can do.
29th over: England 86-2 (Knight 8, Sciver 8) De Klerk is neat neat throughout. Good lenght across all six balls and Sciver either defends or leaves.
28th over: England 86-2 (Knight 8, Sciver 8) DROP! What’s Jafta done there? I’ll tell you what she’s done. She’s dived right in front of first slip and shelled a huge chance to get rid of Knight before lunch.
It’s a wide ball that should have been left alone but Knight chases Kapp’s teaser and gets a fat edge on it. Jafta, like all ‘keepers are naturally inclined to do, dives full stretch but can’t get enough glove on it and it’s floored. I think that’s Luus at first slip. Whoever it was would have had a much easier go at it. Big moment in this Test.
Earlier, Knight plays a tasty flick to the fine leg boundary. As if you needed reminding that she can play.
27th over: England 82-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 8) Another maiden. That’s two in a row. Riveting! No, for real, it really is. De Klerk is tidy. Sciver is compact. There’s a buzz in the field that was missing for the first hour. South Africa know that one more before lunch could crack the game open. England’s veterans know they need to remain unscathed come the break.
26th over: England 82-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 8) Another maiden from Kapp who sticks to a fifth stump line. Knight is comfortable letting most of them go and is watchful for the one that angles back in. Are we still allowed to use the term “delicately poised”?
It’s a simple game, really.
25th over: England 82-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 8) Sekhukhune has changed ends, but she’ll wish she hadn’t. Back to back boundaries for Sciver means it’s an expensive return for the Protea’s usually stingy seamer.
A crunching pull from a long-hop is followed by an edge over the gully region, but even that shot had a degree of control give the width on offer.
The pressure’s still on but South Africa mustn’t let these two settle while they have the momentum.
24th over: England 74-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 0) Kapp is back and follows on Bosch’s wicket-maiden with another run-less over. The ball is moving now and Kapp’s slingy, whippy action could get it seaming too. Knight is cautious but compact. Two titans going toe to toe.
23rd over: England 74-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 0) The game has turned in the space of three Anneke Bosch overs. England were in cruise control at 65-0. Now they’re two down with two new batters at the crease.
Bosch seems to have found a good lenght and she stays there for three balls, drawing Lamb forward and inviting the drive. The batter duly accepts and goes seraching for the ball but doesn’t account for the movement back in.
The stumps are disturbed. The bails are scattered. And England’s two senior batters must now rebuilt.
Don’t you just love this game?!
Another one! Bosch has another one and this one’s a beauty. Full and around off-stump, she draws Lamb forward and moves it just enough to find the gap between bat and pad.
Lamb will no doubt admit that she was a little loose there, but it’s the late movement that tempted the drive.
Bosch has been guilty of some wayward bowling but that was a peach. If she can stay around there she’ll have a lot of joy. Game on!
22nd over: England 74-1 (Lamb 38, Knight 4) This doesn’t make sense to me. After bowling three maidens in a row, which I’d wager had a lot to do with the Beaumont wicket at the other end, Sekhukhune has been taken out of the attack.
Unless she’s tired or injured (though she’s still on the field) I can’t see any cricketing sense to make that change.
De Klerk returns but she’s loose and is carved away by Lamb off the back foot between cover and point.
South Africa almost burgle a wicket, though. There’s a mix up on the final ball. An accurate throw to the ‘keeper’s end and Knight was gone.
21st over: England 69-1 (Lamb 33, Knight 4) The skipper is off the mark. It’s a gift from Bosch. A rank full-toss and Knight biffs it down the ground for four.
“Really enjoying your commentary – thanks.”
No, thank you Anna. Really glad you’re enjoying it!
“Yesterday on telly they called Kapp the greatest all rounder these days. Is she even number 1 in her family? (Dane) And what about Nat Sciver? I think we can agree these are in the top 5 women all rounders. Who get the last two spots?”
Great question. One for the readers maybe? Hard to look past Elysse Perry (for my money the best of them all).
If you’re interested, here’s the ICC’s player rankings.