South Africa v England
50th over: England reach 267-8 Single off the first ball from Nel for Gough, single... single... etc - ouch! A shocking delivery fizzes past Kabir Ali and into the chest of his wicketkeeping colleague, who looks unimpressed. So, that's England done, Ali finishing on six and Gough on three, in case you write that type of thing down, and a more than fair total notched up. More importantly, Robert Smyth has been shown up as the charlatan he is in the cricket stats stakes (try saying that when you're drunk - not that I am, boss), as this second dismissal makes his average about 133.
Now, my colleague Mike Adamson will be guiding you through (South Africa will have to score at 5.36 runs per over if they're going to catch England). Thanks for all your emails, it's been fun. GT
49th over: England 261-8 Ali 2, Gough 0 So, a third partnership in this 49th over, and my RSI-riddled fingers are cramping as punishment for my wishing a more exciting final few overs on myself.
"Another Cambridge, this time on Goodge St, is a good rugby pub - lots of rugby fans present despite not being a 'sporty' pub. Does cheap, horrid food too." Angus Saunders, glad to be of service.
WICKET! 49th over: Bell 13 b Ntini c Smith England 257-8 Bell slams away four in a bold attempt to make the final moments of England's innings more exciting, then makes it eeeeven more exciting by knocking it into the waiting hands of Graeme Smith.
WICKET! 49th over: Giles b Ntini c Pollock England 253-7 Giles doesn't quite get hold of that like he wanted to and Pollock breaks his grimace for about 0.00003 of a second to take the catch. One and a bit overs to go.
"The Orange Tree in Richmond was always a fave of mine, and the Turks Head in St Margarets near Twickers is a fine place too," says Martin Moore.
48th over: England 252-6 Bell 8, Giles 2 England bring up the 250. It's been like a small child paying for several kilos of sweets in pennies, but we got there. Otherwise a tight over from Nel.
"I felt the need to show my admiration for your comment about the Sarpong creature," says John Raybould, and about 6m others. "She is without doubt the most annoying thing to have been put on a television screen in my lifetime. I'm so pleased someone shares my opinion that I may cry a little." Ah, bless.
WICKET! Collingwood b Ntini c Kallis 22 Collingwood sends another one up into the clouds in the same direction, but Kallis is underneath it and Giles better get his kit on.
47th over: England 246-5 Collingwood 22, Bell 6 Huge six for Paul Collingwood, lashing one away on the leg side.
46th over: England 238-5 Smith's in again, and - waaah! Collingwood nicks one behind... and is lucky to escape with nothing more than a minor heart flutter.
"The Cambridge (at Cambridge Circus) is where we're going," says Peter Williams. "Good mix of 6N fans plus the odd confused American tourist and obligatory Aussie barman explaining in detail how bad England supposedly are, maaate."
45th over: England 233-5 Kallis bowling again, England picking up six singles again... afternoon snooze, anyone? Actually, having read that back, I retract that suggestion. Cripes.
"Kevin Pietersen's average is now 264, which is almost as big as an OC script-writer's IQ," my friend and colleague Mr Smyth says. It's no good Smythy, we will not be convinced. The OC is nothing more than fodder for the mindless twits who like June Sarpong, when she is, in fact, marginally more irritating that headlice.
WICKET! Pietersen 33 b Nel c Gibbs Nel into the attack, and both Pietersen and Collingwood immediately help themselves to a single - but Pietersen is tempted on the fourth ball and he's out for 33 in only his second ODI dismissal. Ian Bell's up.
"Try the Cabbage Patch in Twickenham - great atmosphere and you to go to the 'club' upstairs afterwards. It's a bit like summat out of Phoenix Nights, only a bit posher......" Ben Sheridan offers a wee glimpse into his life, perhaps?
43rd over: England 222-4 Pietersen 32, Collingwood 7 "Surely decent pubs don't tend to show games of the 'homo-erotic ballet'", says Steve Donovan, non-too constructively. Still, as South Africa tightened things up to previously unknown boredom levels there, it does a job, eh?
42nd over: England 219-4 Pietersen 32, Collingwood 5 Graeme Smith fancies having a crack... but is shown up for the arthritic wannabe that he is. Well alright he wasn't exactly knocked all over the park, but England still managed five off that over.
41st over: England 214-4 Pietersen 31, Collingwood 0 New ball with Ntini, who nearly knocks Pietersen's head off with it. He responds by whipping it away low to leg side for two.
"It's Friday, shouldn't we be talking about going to the pub instead of rubbish US shows?" says James Huxtable, a voice of sense sparkling in my inbox. Paddy Robinson wants a decent London pub to watch the rugby in this weekend. Any ideas?
40th over: England 209-4 Pietersen 27, Collingwood 0 Oof! Pietersen knocks one straight back at Nel, who can't hold on.
WICKET! Solanki 66 c A B de Villiers b A Nel A second off time and Solanki's caught at mid off. Paul Collingwood's up next.
39th over: England 203-3 Ntini back in the attack and things instantly tighten up.
"I was a women from Sweden and she rearranged a date so she could watch the OC. I must be boring!" I think Grant McKenna probably means he was seeing a woman. Or does he?
38th over: England 200-3 Justin Kemp comes into the attack, which surprised me almost as much as it did Beefy. Pietersen immediately knocks him away for one, and Solanki does the same. Kemp then travels short and wide and Pietersen punishes him with a trickling boundary. Solanki almost nabs one himself, but Nel diving all over the place again. All in all, that'll probably be Kemp's first and only over, I reckon.
"I think Smyth mailing in on his day off is a sign of his admirable commitment and dedication to the GU cause. What a good worker and corporate citizen. I bet you wouldn't get the same from Booth," says Howard Walwyn. Too right. Boothy'll be sleeping off a hangover for several hours yet I'll wager.
37th over: England 190-3 Solanki 62 Pietersen 12 Excitement all round as the floodlights go on. Oooooh. Aaaaah. Solanki picks on up from Kallis and slugs it away over mid off for four, the spins on his heel to pull one away to square leg... ah, stopped just short with some Schmeichel-esque work in the field. And Solanki rounds off a great over with another one up and over mid off. Quartz timing.
36th over: England 180-3 Beautiful boundary for Kevin Pietersen, who smashes it away to deep mid wicket, and follows up with two from the same spot. Crikey! But for a shoddy throw from Nell Pietersen would have been run out there. Much scampering.
"I knew a horsey girl once - she probably watches the OC - she was meant to sell me her car but her dad sold it to the neighbour. She was so equine that the stewards from Redcar shot her with a tranquiliser." Thanks for that, Dom Hastings.
35th over: England 172-3 Solanki 51 Pietersen 5 Solanki notches up his fifty with a stonking six right over Pollock's head. I jest. It was of course another single. And another. And another.
"I'd rather gargle a bag of cement than listen to athlete, you want a proper band like the Bay City Rollers," Kevin McElligott, there. Probably not a fan, you think?
34th over: England 168-3 Solanki 49 Pietersen 2 Boje gets done for another four singles...
"I don't do Luis Vuitton but the rest is spot on," says Mr Smyth, who really ought to have better things to do on his day off.
33rd over: England 164-3 Solanki 47 Pietersen 1 Pietersen's the man in, and he looks as confident as ever. Nell makes an excellent stop at the rope (or blue foam type thing, at any rate) to deny England a boundary, but Kallis can't do the same from Solanki.
WICKET! 32nd over: Strauss 35 b Pollock c Prince England 156-3 Semi-oof! England went for two and nearly got caught out, although I think Botham's strains made it sound more nail-biting than it was. Strauss is still turning his hips salsa style onto whatever throws Pollock at him, but I'd happily have them risk a wicket or two for something a bit more entertaining.... I was in the middle of typing when Andrew Strauss loops one up in the air and gets caught by Ashwell Prince.
31st over: England 150-2 England are taking a stroll along easy street here, Strauss treating Pollock with utter disregard. Still just singles, mind.
"The OC is the show that the horsey girl plastered in Louis Vuitton who shoved you in the back this morning on the Tube watches. You don't need to watch it because the whole evening's episode will be spewed forth from her equine features for the benefit of you and the rest of the carriage, peppered with shrieks of "that's sooooo random". David Brooks, getting it about spot on for my money. 30th over: England 147-2 (Solanki 37, Strauss 29) Lovely drive through mid on from Solanki deserves more than a single, but a single's all he's getting. These two have put on 48 off 65 balls now, you know.
29th over: England 144-2 (Solanki 36, Strauss 28) Anyone else think Pollock constantly looks like he's just come home to find his wife in bed with the milkman? He's kept things reasonably tight, regardless.
"Athlete are dismal god-bothering Mummy's boys. Let's not go there dude" - Phil.
28th over: England 141-2 (Solanki 34, Strauss 27) Kallis has another rubbish over, and is promptly removed from the attack. Pollock the man in.
27th over: England 136-2 Kallis comes in full pelt, only for Strauss to find the rope through midwicket, again. Otherwise the exchange of strike continues, and if things carry on like this England should be well on course for 250+.
"I really liked the first Athlete album," says Martin Axon, changing the subject for a second. "However, the new one has had rather, shall we say, 'mixed' reviews, including Adam Sweeting giving it a kick in the swingers in The Guardian last Friday. Anybody out there bought it this week and able to give an opinion?" I for one listened to it on the way in this morning. Rather good I thought. Not a neck tingler like Coldplay, mind.
26th over: England 128-2 (Solanki 31, Strauss 17) "The OC has the verbosity and teen angst of Dawson's, the gloss of Beverley Hills 90210, the wit of Frasier, the irresistible rambling of a Cusack vehicle, and the soundtrack of a Danny Boyle film. And Mischa Barton and Adam Brody. What's not to love?" Rob Smyth, not spending his day watching it for once.
Another corking boundary for Strauss, by the way.
25th over: England 122-2 (Solanki 30, Strauss 12) Oof! Strauss was tempted high and wide by Kallis - TWICE! - but fortunately nudges just short of the wicketkeeper. Cracking boundary to follow them up, slamming it away through midwicket.
"So do you reckon Clive Lloyd will fine Vaughan for chucking?" says Jonathan Wood. He he.
24th over: England 117-2 David Bavin doesn't know what the OC is, everybody, and he's feeling old. I think I'll let you lot tell him what it is, I'll be the middlewoman. It's more fun that way. Just keep it clean. Boje calms things down with just three singles there, incidentally.
23rd over: England 114-2 (Solanki 29, Strauss 8) Five singles off the over... snore. Bring back banging Trescothick, eh? Flippin' band still hasn't shut up at PE either.
"One can certainly "dude up" apparently," says Mat Disney. "From the OED: colloq. (orig. U.S.). intr. With up: to dress oneself as or like a dude; also refl. Usu. in phr. duded up." Well I never.
22nd over: England 109-2 (Solanki 24, Strauss 5) Strauss and Solanki are taking it in turns for singles here, and still I, in my post- organic gluten-free mushroom soup fug, am struggling to get into the swing of things. Couple of overs and I promise, the dude debate shall continue. Gah!
21st over: England 105-2 Afternoon everyone. Cricket-wise, Strauss looks pretty comfortable at the crease, picking up another single. Dude-wise, Emma Caddy reckons dude-ing is more than possible.
"To 'do dude' is potentially possible methinks, in form of striking a dudish pose - doing 'dude' in same ilk as one does 'fonz'." So there you have it.
WICKET 20th over: Jones c and b Boje 38 (England 99-2) Oh dear oh dear. Jones, who was looking so impressive, comes down the wicket to Boje and drives one straight back at him. Strauss, the new batsman, then brings up the 100 with an quick single. That's it for me for today - I'll now leave you in the very capable hands of my colleague, Georgina Turner. Thanks for all your emails - sorry I can't use them all, Sean.
19th over: England 99-1 (Jones 38, Solanki 19) Another change in the bowling sees Kallis, the poor man's Craig White, come on. But there's no change in the play - more Solanki singles, and another Jones boundary brings up the 50 partnership off 54 balls. "My boss is American, never says 'dude', hates George Bush and loves Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Does this make him an "English wannabe?" asks David Keech from Ohio. Not Clark County, Ohio, David? [Guardian writer shuffles awkwardly].
18th over: England 92-1 (Jones 31, Solanki 16) Boje's getting some turn here - and Solanki, in particular, looks all at sea. But he sees the over out after some well-taken singles. England are still going along at five an over, which is a decent rate in anyone's book. "In my experience the best way to get Rob to change conversational tracts is to ask him to name his best United XI since the Premiership began," says the very wise Laurence Boyd. "He may regress to some Britpop vernacular when discussing the virtues of a Bruce/Pallister centre half combo but if the Americanisms are still conspicuous I gurantee they'll cease immediately if you tell him he sounds like Malcolm Glazer."
17th over: England 88-1 (Jones 31, Solanki 16) Ntini is all huff and puff, but he doesn't look like breaking this partnership at the moment - indeed Jones blazes yet another boundary to move to 31 off 37 balls. Despite predictions of Botham and co beforehand, this looks a decent pitch. Meanwhile, to your emails, where Dan Osbourne wants to know: "Is one of the many uses of the word 'dude' a verb? Can one Dude?" Well?
16th over: England 81-1 (Jones 26, Solanki 14) A change in the bowling as Nicky Boje's given a chance with his twirlers. Jones is careful to risk anything at first, before he extravagent cross-batted shot races away for four. "Aversion Therapy works best," reckons Anton Lawrence. "Everytime Rob says 'dude' electrocute him with a cattle prod."
15th over: England 74-1 (Jones 22, Solanki 11) Solanki hits his first boundary of the day - but, in truth, he didn't know much about it. He was trying to slog-drive Ntini over the top, but ended up slicing one between wicketkeeper and gully. "I'm returning to the booze after a month of complete abstinence," says Charlie Wilson. " I wondered whether the readers had any suggestions for an alternative way to celebrate my feat - it's the longest I've been without for 10 years. I imagine rugby might be involved at some point." Well?
14th over: England 67-1 (Jones 22, Solanki 5) Another over with more easy singles than Maguluf High Street in August. For now, at least, England are happy to keep it steady. "As a regular Duder, I do have to defend it," says Ben Lowing. "It's a great multipurpose word, and considering what the alternatives are, surely there is no shame in it? Better so say 'dude' than 'mate' or 'fella'? The Moon Unit Zappa frazzle-brained Valley Girl comparison, notwithstanding."
13th over: England 64-1 (Jones 21, Solanki 3) Ntini, he of the flaring nostrils, returns. Three singles later, England have seen out a surprisingly unhostile over. "Maybe you should stop focusing your efforts on how to stop Smyth saying dude and instead suggest he moves to O.C. country?" says Jascha Elliot. "That way we can have one less Yankee wannabe in this green and unpleasant land and less demand for the vacuous rubbish that purports to be entertainment under the name O.C."
12th over: England 61-1 (Jones 20, Solanki 1) Jones seems determined to carry on where Trescothick left off. When Nel strays again outside off stump, England's wicketkeeper hits a classic cover-drive for four. "For all those who keep saying the word 'dude' the easiest cure is to remember that everytime you say it, you sound like and American, and an irritating one at that," suggests Ashley Williams.
11th over: England 55-1 (Jones 15, Solanki 1) Solanki is rightly watchful, although he gets off the mark after an easy push and run. "As for a caption, what about: 'Intestine times: Vaughan expects a gutsy performance,' suggests Tom Harvey.
WICKET 10th over: Trescothick b Smith c Nel 33 (England 49-1) Trescothick's lusty innings comes to an end - a mistimed pull loops high into the South African sky, where it's taken by Graeme Smith. Meanwhile Ian Silitoe needs your help. "If you get any tips on stopping the dude - I would appreciate them too (I'm a perennial and involuntary 'duder')," he writes. "There is just such fantastic scope with the word - for example a greeting 'duuude', a reprimand 'DUDE!!', a question 'du-ude?', and on, and on... However, my wife has made it abundantly clear that if I call her dude one more time she will leave me, so I figure I need to stop (although I'm currrently working on getting my three year-old daughter to call her 'dude' instead)".
9th over: England 46-0 (Trescothick 31, Jones 14) Boucher comes up to the stumps in a bid to quell Trescothick's brilliant bludgeoning, but it doesn't work. Another boundary, and England are scoring at nearly six an over. Meanwhile, the number of over-by-over readers who confess they can't stop using "dude" is now up to 17.
8th over: England 41-0 (Trescothick 27, Jones 13) The runs, like the Nile in flood season, continue to flow. Only one boundary in the over, mind: Nel strays hopelessly wide, and Trescothick smashes him through the covers for four. "At least Kabir Ali doesn't push up the sleeves of his shirt after every ball a la Harmison," says Sam Morris. "Could the frailties in the tailoring department be an explanation for his poor form?" Well, it's an original suggestion, I'll grant you.
7th over: England 35-0 (Trescothick 22, Jones 12) After four menacing deliveries from Pollock, he suddenly goes awol. First a long-hop is slammed for six by Trescothick, who then straight-drives him for another boundary. Great stuff. "Has Rob Smyth also taken to wearing sweatbands (that only 80s footballers had the flair to wear) and crafting his hair into amusing shapes?" asks Craig Easterbrook, who doesn't know how close he is.
6th over: England 25-0 (Trescothick 12, Jones 12) Here's a surprise: Andre Nel is on for Ntini already. The over - a general loosener - is unthreatening, except for two closer-than-you'd-like run-out scares. "Has anyone come up with something worse than: 'Vaughan won't be able to influenz(a) the outcome of today's match for the picture caption?' wonders Simon Dethridge. As if you need to ask, Simon.
5th over: England 20-0 (Trescothick 11, Jones 8) What a shot from Jones! He's just pulled Pollock for a huge, huge six over mid on. Sadly after that he goes back into his shell, and is content to block. "With respect to Rob's OC impediment, you could try using one of those electronic muscle toning devices," suggests Merrick. "Simply strap on said device to one Mr Smyth, whilst retaining the control. Every time he starts a sentence with Californian drivel, crank it up to max and watch him writhe uncontrollably on the floor for 10 mins or so. This'll soon teach him, but in any case if it doesn't, you get entertainment every time he utters a word, and he gets a six pack out of it."
4th over: England 14-0 (Trescothick 11, Jones 2) Like Bob Nudd in his angling prime, Trescothick can't stop fishing. Twice he nearly gets an edge to Ntini's outswingers, before angling one down to third man. Still, he seems to have found his eye off the final ball over the over, smashing a boundary through the covers. "What about 'Vaughan doesn't have the stomach for this match' as a caption," chuckles an unapologetic Martin Sedgwick.
3rd over: England 8-0 (Trescothick 6, Jones 1) Pollock is at his probing best, pitching his deliveries on a length and allowing the pitch to do the rest. It nearly works as Trescothick plays and misses outside off stump. "If you want to stop Rob Smyth saying 'dude', stick the DVD player down his throat," suggests Andy Moreham. "I've found it has a somewhat debilitating effect on vocal performance per se and the word 'dude' in particular."
2nd over: England 6-0 (Trescothick 5, Jones 0) Ntini is clearly fired up: he's already bowling 86mph+plus deliveries which are fizzing around Trescothick's nose. After the third one, umpire Steve Bucknor decides to step in and call "no ball", but that doesn't stop Ntini. Perhaps the hook Trescothick hit for four off the last ball of the over will, though. Meanwhile office joker Emma Hartfield writes: "For the caption to the Michael Vaughan picture, how about 'Got the runs?'. Do you see what I did there?" Hmm, I think we all do, Emma.
First over: England 1-0 (Trescothick 1, Jones 0) Despite the wild hoo-hahing from the home crowd, Shaun Pollock's first over is fairly quiet - the only run coming from Trescothick's nick a to fine leg. Meanwhile for those of you who've asked, Lawrence Booth is off skiing in the Swiss Alps, while Rob Smyth is currently on holiday, where he's working his way through 27 episodes of the OC. Any tips on how to stop him starting every sentence with the word "dude" would be much appreciated.
Thoughts on Kabir Ali:
"I agree with James - the thing is we're all so bloody relieved when England don't manage to snatch defeat from the cliched jaws of victory, that we forget the fact that England should have won that match" - Alex Clarke.
"True, Ali totally bottled the first two balls, but to actually have the courage to then bowl five balls for two runs and three wickets (and also run out the guy) was impressive. The odds were against him from the start of the over too. Eight runs from six balls with several wickets in hand is generally not much of an ask" - Joe Neate.
"Yes, Ali was lucky - but he put the ball in the right spot, eventually, and South Africa can only blame themselves for choking like Greg Norman in the last round of the Masters" - Andrew Goldsby.
"Hate to be a Boycs, but Kabir and Anderson's actions are just too dodgy. They both fall over in delivery and so will never be able to bowl consistently under pressure. There is too much to go wrong. All the best bowlers are up-right in their delivery, and this cuts the margin for error. Why the so called expert coaching staff cant see this is beyond me. Now in my day" - Stephen BR.
"Ali can't field either. Rob Key could give him some lessons" - Damien McCloud.
Toss: Marcus Trescothick calls heads - correctly - and opts to bat. History shows the pitch here tends to gets slower and lower (and that it's not easy to bat under lights), so probably the right decision.
"Before the emails go off on a tangent can we discuss Ali's last over on Wednesday," asks James Huxtable. "I think he was lucky, his first two balls were woeful and it could have been game over if Giles hadn't taken a catch, what say the rest of you?" Couldn't agree more, James. Anyone else?
Preview: We've just had a rain deluge in Port Elizabeth (writes over-by-over reporter from his Farringdon bunker), but the sun is shining again and play will start at 12.45pm GMT.
As for the teams, the big news is that Michael Vaughan is out, having picked a nasty fluey-stomach bug - which means Vikram Solanki gets another (final?) chance to impress. However, despite speculation to the contrary, Kabir Ali retains his place ahead of the fit-again Steve Harmison. Meanwhile South Africa have made just one change - Nick Boje in for Andrew Hall.