Adam Collins

Author's posts

Dec 06

Josh Hazlewood’s dream spell allows Smith and Australia to sleep easy

Hazlewood was a surprise selection to open day five’s bowling, but he responded with pace, fuller pitch and rhythm Steve Smith decided to pop a sleeping tablet on Tuesday night following a rather stressful day at work. No judgment: we’ve all been there…

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Nov 27

Australia’s Cameron Bancroft takes strange Ashes day in his stride | Adam Collins

Amid the head-butt controversy and being target of jokes over bedroom wall posters, the batsman defied it all to help break an 87-year-old recordCameron Bancroft had quite the Monday morning. Waking up, the Australian batsman’s head was all over the ba…

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Nov 26

Lyon ensures Australia’s position infallible to cap off wonder year

Only a year ago, the off-spinner’s international career was near-terminal. Soon, he will become Australia’s sixth all-time wicket-takerA year ago at the Gabba, Nathan Lyon morphed into the least likely cult hero with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade’s ‘Nice G…

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Nov 18

Steve Smith: ‘I read everything. If I don’t agree I use it as motivation to do better’

In an extract from his exclusive Wisden Cricket Monthly interview, Steve Smith talks about his journey from chilled Bondi surfie to the Australia captaincy and his hopes of one day joining the greatsWhen England ram-raided the Australians in 2010-11, i…

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Sep 15

Geelong Cats beat Sydney Swans: AFL second semi-final – as it happened

  • Geelong Cats beat Sydney Swans 15.8 (98) to 5.9 (39) at the MCG
  • Cats move into preliminary final against Adelaide

1.27pm BST

What a performance. Defying the expectations of even their most passionate advocates, Geelong have made their way to the preliminary final. Their eighth time to the final four in 11 years. Sydney won 15 of 17, but couldn’t make that 16. They were as bad as Geelong good.

Six goals to one in an electric second quarter was enough to make the result a formality, confirmed with a further four majors in the third. Dangerfield’s four goals from the square in the first half will dominate the coverage. Brilliant move to pop him down there and he delivered in style when the game was on. Motlop was the talisman after half-time, lightning up the ‘G and burying the Swans.

Related: Geelong pummel Sydney to move within one win of AFL grand final

1.19pm BST

4th quarter, 2.00 left: Geelong 15.8.98 v Sydney 5.9.39

Oh, hasn’t had a look all night really. But Hawkins has draaaaaained one from 50m where the arc meets the boundary. Drop punt, inswing like Waqar Younis. His 50th major of season 2018. “This has been their best finals win since the 2011 Grand Final,” says Bruce of Geelong. “Their most commanding performance since.”

1.16pm BST

Not pretty. Menegola, who has had a cracking night, picks out Stanley on the lead. Gorgeous footy. But then the Geelong no. 1 – who came into the side tonight for Lonergan – sprays the set shot badly. That’ll annoy him, knowng Lonergan is a certainty to come back next week. All told, a good problem to have.

1.14pm BST

That feeling. “I know it’s over,” says Cameron Ling of how Sydney are going about it now, the game reduced to a glorified kick-to-kick. No. Second. Invitation. Required.

1.11pm BST

Speaking of injuries. Tom Stewart is still sitting there looking a bit rough on the bench. Did his left pinger in the third term. Put in a mighty effort in the middle of the Geelong surge in the second quarter, executing a multi-part tackle. Acts like Stewart’s, alongside magic from Dangerfield and Lotlop, made Geelong’s night when it mattered most.

The Swans’ fate is as assured as @CassiniSaturn tonight.#aflswanscats #AFLFinals

1.06pm BST

4th quarter, 12.20 left: Geelong 14.4.89 v Sydney 5.9.39

Well, it is not for nothing but it is not for much. Mills is there for Sydney to snaffle a tricky one off the ground. I remember Dermott Brereton once saying that as a park footballer the only time you could run out and compete is late in a final. Specifically, in a final term where a team has been thrashed, on the way to certain elimination. There is a bit of that here. No risk of injury for Geelong now. Sydney one foot on the plane.

1.01pm BST

4th quarter, 18.20 left: Geelong 14.4.88 v Sydney 4.9.33

Blicavs gets the first, pushing the lead into the 50s. Too easy. 55,555 the alleged attendance at the ‘G. I say alleged… surely someone at MCC HQ having a bit of a tweak there to get a quirky news line up? Fair play to them. Bit like the 2008 Grand Final with 100,008 there. Yeaaaah, sure.

12.55pm BST

More Buddy. “Never played a worse final has Buddy,” emails Richard Charles. “Thankfully in a Sydney jumper. No flag for Him. Beat it Sydney.” Can never remember the great man stinking it up in September at all, let alone like this.

Off to Adelaide for Geelong. Tom Stewart has gone off with a left hammy problem and won’t be back tonight. In other news, seems the TV commentary team have realised only tonight that professional sportspeople drink pickle juice. Keep up, gents.

12.50pm BST

Another goal on the cusp of the siren to finish off their term and push the lead back to 49 points as they stop for an orange. Menegola, who has been excellent, on the end of it. That’ll do nicely. Four goal to one quarter for the Cats. Dangerfield out of the game, but enter Motlop. One himself, set up a couple. Outstanding. After winning 15 of their last 17, Sydney have 30 minutes to go in their season. Who saw this coming?

12.47pm BST

3rd quarter, 1.00 left: Geelong 12.4.76 v Sydney 4.9.33

Sting completely out of this game. A quarter to go before Buddy has managed to do something helpful for his side, picking out Papley with a bullet pass. He kicks the set shot. Point made by the commentary team that Franklin has had quite a bit of it in this third term. But he’s having a shocker.

12.43pm BST

Buddy. Having a nightmare. Another set shot. “He’s gotta miss it,” predicts Bruce. He does. How about this…

STAT | Of Lance Franklin’s six kicks so far:
• 0 effective
• 4 ineffective
• 2 clangers#AFLCatsSwans

12.42pm BST

3rd quarter, 7.00 left: Geelong 12.4.76 v Sydney 3.9.27

Game over! Menzel has popped the goal through from point-blank-range, but it is Motlop again who made it happen with a relentless three-effort tackle. Once the Swans lost the ball, the goal was all but assured. He plays on to snap it through.

12.38pm BST

There weren’t many… but they did happen when he was a Hawk as well.

Swans getting ‘bad’ Franklin tonight. I remember those days, gotta take the good with the bad with Buddy #AFLCatsSwans

12.34pm BST

You cannot have a bad night when you finish outside the top four. Cameron Ling’s observation, not mine. But he’s bang on. Buddy gathers on the wing, but cannot run as he’s taken it with flat feet. Turns it over to a waiting Geelong defender. Sums up their night. Nothing going right. The TV commentary have started their post-mortem on the Sydney season. Motlop up the other end nearly jags another screamer from 45m, but a banana doesn’t have the legs. And again Buddy responsible for a loose turnover the next time Sydney surge. Grim footy.

Rohan: “Menzel back out there, Tom Stewart down the race with a left hamstring issue.” #AFLCatsSwans #AFLFinals

12.30pm BST

This hurts.

Sydney behind
Sydney behind
Sydney behind
Sydney behind
Geelong goal#AFLCatsSwans

12.29pm BST

3rd quarter, 14.00 left: Geelong 11.4.70 v Sydney 3.8.26

Goal of the night! Beautiful string of handballs across half-forward, Guthrie involved with the final one, over to Motlop who executes the perfect snap over his left shoulder, sneaking over the pack and just inside the post. 45 points the margin, this is sure over. Super footy.

North. Thy cheque book openth. #motlop

12.27pm BST

Post again! Sydney’ second into the woodwork tonight. Score review confirms that McVeigh hasn’t quite split the big ones with a banana. Buddy gets another set shot that he cannot convert. Kicks from just inside the arc, but it fades. They need all of these to fall their way. Instead, alongside a couple of rushed behinds, it’s four consecutive minor scores for the Swans.

7 goals. This isn’t going to be a comeback, it’s going to be a miracle if they can do it #AFLSwansCats

12.22pm BST

3rd quarter, 19.00 left: Geelong 10.4.64 v Sydney 3.4.22

Juggling, composed mark Menzel. Lovely, swinging set shot from 50. Oh yes, the Cat Attack continues! “In the context of this game that is enormous,” observes BT. Not wrong. It’s taken just over a minute to get them on the board again. The lead out to an even seven goals. The biggest semi-final comeback ever was 37-points in 1933! That was also the Swans. Thanks, Bruce. Bet he knew that off the top of his head. He adds what I was about to say: 42 points the lead Adelaide had over the Baby Bombers Mk II in 1993’s first semi-final before that went wild.

12.18pm BST

Siren! The second half. It is here. Can Geelong hold on?

12.04pm BST

Wow. There is only one story from the MCG: Patrick Dangerfield. What a masterstroke sending him to the square. This is Leigh Matthews from the 1985 Prelim stuff. More contested possessions than anyone on the field. Four majors from his seven shots on goal. Sure, some luck along the way, but clever to create the final of those free kicks. Had a chance to pop Geelong out to a seven-goal lead as well before Sydney got their steadier. Freeeeeak.

The hosts have 20 more contested possessions, which won’t be lost upon the Sydney coaching staff at the break. Nor will Buddy’s sub-par opening half, three kicks for one behind so far. That shot would have put Sydney back to four goals behind with two majors inside 45 seconds. Instead, down the other end Danger, of course, to make it seven of the last eight in the half. Sydney in big, big trouble.

11.58am BST

2nd quarter, 3.00 left: Geelong 9.4.58 v Sydney 3.4.22

“Danger, Danger! High voltage! When we touch… when we kiss!” Four goals in the opening half! Seven shots on goal from the square. What an individual hand. What a great decision to send a champion down to bolster a the hapless forward line of last weekend. The set shot made from a tight angle 30m out after another clutch grab.

This is already turning into a classic September individual performance and it’s not even half-time! #Danger #AFLCatsSwans #AFLFinals

11.55am BST

Oi, Frankie. Expectations are such that when he’s having a pop from 55m that he’ll drain it. He doesn’t here, dragging it to the near side. Would have made two in 45 seconds for the Swans leading into the long break. “At least he’s had a couple of shots on goal now” the take of Bruce. Fair. Will need to have a massive second half to keep Sydney’s season alive.

11.54am BST

2nd quarter, 3.00 left: Geelong 8.4.52 v Sydney 3.3.21

Big play from the 300-gamer, Jarrad McVeigh dragging one back with a set shot from 50m. “Some players in this moment want the ball in their hands,” Carey’s response on the telly.

You wouldn’t have wanted it in any other hands than McVeigh there. Cooly slotted. #aflcatsswans

11.52am BST

Turn up the volume! Tom Stewart a superb tackle of Parker on the outer wing and the response from the Geelong fans in the Great Southern Stand is immense. Symbolic of the quarter. Danger gets it again inside range, but misses. Oh, should have done better. How’s he getting a loose ball inside the arc at this stage? Maybe what Sydney really need now is the siren more than a shot on goal.

11.50am BST

2nd quarter, 6:00 left: Geelong 8.3.51 v Sydney 2.3.15

Make that a six goal lead! Zac Smith! Third man up, flying across the pack to take the contested mark. Another aerial effort from the Cats down that way. Slots it through with composure from 25m. Next goal vital for Sydney. Have to take something from this quarter. Running out of time.

#PaddysPaddock causing havoc amongst the Swans defence #AFLCatsSwans

11.48am BST

2nd quarter, 8:00 left: Geelong 7.3.45 v Sydney 2.3.15

Motlop fantastic from half-back, a driving kick between the arcs setting up a forward entry, Hawkins hands to Duncan who kicks another! Geelong on fire! Five on the spin for the Cats. Lead is five straight kicks. “There’s a little of the 2014 Grand Final here,” observes Bruce. Big call, but not far from the mark. Sydney drowning.

11.46am BST

Nearly! Buddy from 53 has his first shot at goal. It doesn’t quite get there, a snap from the Hewett just missing. Down the other end it is DANGER AGAIN! He’s giving Rampe a bath! Fantastic, clever grab. But he misses the set shot. Game not far from really breaking open here.

11.43am BST

2nd quarter, 12:00 left: Geelong 6.2.38 v Sydney 2.2.14

Look out, internet! Dangerfield has another through a free kick against Rampe. He pops it through from 20m. The superstar has three. The violation was for a push in the back. Carey notes how clever Danger was to pull the tacklers’ arms with him after hitting the ground, to make it look bad as possible. “He got sucked in,” he adds of the umpire. Geelong four goals up! And all of a sudden, Sydney need a steadier. And they need Buddy.

Dangerfield threw himself forward like a bloke trying to get hit by a car to get compo payments. #aflCatsSwans #AFLFinals

11.40am BST

2nd quarter, 13:00 left: Geelong 5.2.32 v Sydney 2.2.14

Stanley! Into the side for defender Lonergan at the last moment, now inside the forward 50 and taking a towering grab 20m out. Menzel’s delivery was spot on, and had to be with two defenders hanging off the Cat. The kick on goal isn’t the most compelling but it has snuck through. Geelong move to a three goal advantage. “Sydney are struggling,” says Bruce. “And we haven’t said that in a long while.”

11.35am BST

2nd quarter, 16:30 left: Geelong 4.2.26 v Sydney 2.2.14

50 metres! Duncan has been taken all of 60 though, and kicks truly from 30m. It’s Buddy’s first influence on this game, for all the wrong reasons. It’s a technical one. Franklin stood on the side of the mark rather than directly behind it, prompting the umpire to blow his whistle and bring Duncan forward. Geelong’s lead ot to a couple of goals.

So we agree the umps got that right under the rules, yeah?

So sing a new tune please… #aflCatsSwans

11.31am BST

Nearly brilliant from Dangerfield. Rapid exchange of handballs across half-forward, helped along by the steady head of Mackie. Lands with Danger, who snaps from the impossible angle and just misses. Shots from John Longmire at the break giving his Sydney charges a real spray. Old school.

11.28am BST

I said no major stats… but TV tells us that Geelong haven’t lost a game when leading at quarter-time this season, 1o-and-zip from here. Bruce adds that they haven’t lost a match leading at any change in the season. Handy.

11.25am BST

Cats close it down the term. Sydney twice come forward to have the surge stopped at the traditional CHF position. Taylor takes a strong mark, highlighting that his direct opponent Franklin hasn’t had a sniff in the opening stanza. Siren. Geelong will go into the break very happy with their early work. Dangerfield benefitted from some generous officiating, but two goals in the book to him after starting at full-forward the difference between the sides at the first change.

Not a lot to draw from the stats, much the same for both sides in the usual catagories. Kieran Jack has had it ten times though, kicking a goal himself along the way with a savvy bit of footwork close to the line. By finals standards, a relatively quiet start. Both sides know what they are doing.

Game being played between the arcs so far, with Cats intent on controlling possession where possible. Buddy frustrated by lack of supply.

11.19am BST

Post! Newman from long range hits the top of the post, our first behind after five straight on the night. A second minor score for the Swans comes via Parker, who misses from 45m. He kicked through a chorus of boos, winning the shot after the Geelong defender Lachie Henderson was penalised for deliberate. But, it happened in the act of spoiling. Come on, get serious. The Cats by four points with a couple of minutes to go in the term.

David Parkin “In difficult conditions we not only have a contest, we have a good game of footy” #aflcatsswans

11.12am BST

1st quarter, 8:20 left: Geelong 3.0.18 v Sydney 2.0.6

Menegola! The well-named cat marks inside 50 under no pressure at all. Turns around and keeps the clean sheet for both sides, splitting the middle.

Garry: “The Dangerfield move (to forward) is fantastic because Hawkins has been able to engage Grundy.” #AFLCatsSwans #AFLFinals

Kieren Jack gets crafty #AFLCatsSwans #AFLFinals

11.09am BST

Booooo! The Swans don’t like it when Dangerfield gets another free kick well inside range. Oh, that’s a shocker. Rampe barely touches his shoulder from behind. Had the rule been interpreted that way once upon a time, Jason Dunstall and Tony Lockett would have kicked 2000 each. Anyway, he misses! Out on the full. And the Sydney players race up to tell him all about it. That I like.

11.06am BST

1st quarter, 11:00 left: Geelong 2.0.12 v Sydney 2.0.6

“Jack in the box!” says Bruce, with Kieran Jack having the nous to get his left boot to a ball off the ground from the goalsqure. He soccers straight and the Swans have their second. Carey says the defenders panicked as the ball slipped through the net. Goodness me, Sydney supporters singing ‘Ole, ole, ole, ole… Sydney, Sydney.’ No. Don’t do that.

11.04am BST

Steady start. Geelong haven’t been blown away as they were the last couple of times these teams met. Doesn’t feel like a final quite yet. Both sides working into it, not many risks taken. So many experienced players out there, they know the drill.

Bruce declares it “colossal” five minutes in.
I’m going out to the shed. #AFLCatsSwans

10.59am BST

1st quarter, 15:30 left: Geelong 2.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6

Danger again! Infringed from the marking contest at the very place he grabbed and goaled a moment before. He ran around and snapped a behind, but the ball was brought back to allow him to take a shot. He makes no mistake from 20m.

10.57am BST

1st quarter, 17:20 left: Geelong 1.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6

Straight down the other end and Dangerfield, who has started forward tonight, marks over Rampe. Response within a minute. Wet all day, but no effect on the game so far. Some strong early grabs.

10.54am BST

1st quarter, 18.30 left: Geelong 0.0.0 v Sydney 1.0.6

Papley perfect in traffic, getting free from the contest and chipping over the top to Reid who takes the grab running back and converts the set shot from 25m. They’re away.

10.49am BST

Anthem! Craig Willis welcomes us formally to the MCG. That’s how you know it is a big deal. Do we have a live singer? Nup, it is play on the Julie Anthony tape. But no complaints. Moments like this I miss not being there in standing room watching Hawthorn go around. I know, I shouldn’t complain. But roaring over those last few bars? Phwoaaaar.

Toss. “What have we got? A dollar coin?” asks the umpire. Odd. Geelong to kick to the City End, Sydney to the Punt Road goals. Nearly there now!

10.40am BST

Cheer, cheer the red and the white! Out come Sydney. McVeigh has his daughter in his arms as they run through the banner.

Ground looks fantastic given the torrential rain in Melbourne earlier today. Gone the days of the late-season bog.

Fair bit of rain today, but the @MCG deck is in great nick. Here’s hoping the wet stuff stays away now.

10.38am BST

Huge night at the People’s Ground and I have some BIG news with you off the top. Tom Lonergan, Geelong’s champion defender is out. Retiring at season’s end, he may have played his final game, withdrawn with food poisoning. But the more immediate issue here is the fantastic record he has playing on Lance Franklin, keeping him to under a couple of goals a game in their stoushes over the better part of a decade. Wow.

As for food poisoning?! What happened to fish and chips the night before a game like KB in his pomp? Or a big bowl of pasta like every 1990s gun? Some questions to be asked of this at Corio Bay if it all doesn’t go to plan over the next few hours and the Cats are bundled out in straight sets for the second time in the space of four years.

5.40am BST

Adam will be along shortly. In the meantime, have a read of this beautiful story, about a pair of inseparable young Swans fans. Just make sure you have a box of tissues at the ready.

Related: The boy whose commentary for his blind friend inspired his sporting heroes

Continue reading…

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Sep 08

How Australia’s Warner and Lyon found patience to rescue Bangladesh series

The opener and wrist spinner curbed instincts to smash or spin every ball and instead opted for more thoughtful approach suited to the subcontinent

How often does a Test series reach the end and demand another match? South Africa and Australia in 2011 is a standout but there are few others. Perhaps the greatest achievement of an evolving Bangladesh and an out-of-season Australia was the lure of a decider. That won’t happen now, but a series full of moments to savour and stoushes to chew over have at the very least merited consideration of a fuller encounter next time around.

Related: Kangaroos, Jackaroos and Bunyips: Australian national team names – real or fake?

Related: Jimmy Anderson at 500: the England bowler’s five best Test wickets | Ali Martin

Continue reading…

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Aug 31

Defeat to Bangladesh was painful but hardly Australian cricket’s lowest ebb | Adam Collins

The performance of Steve Smith’s side in the first Test was bog-standard but there is no disgrace in losing to this Bangladesh team

Let’s start by clarifying what Australia’s loss to Bangladesh is not. Firstly, it is no disgrace. There is a reason why they have knocked off England, Sri Lanka and now Australia inside 10 months: this is a considerably improved team. They did a tremendous amount right, winning it every bit as much as Australia contributed to own their demise when placed under that intense pressure. Bangladesh earned this triumph.

Related: Bangladesh claim historic Test victory as Australia capitulate

Continue reading…

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Aug 19

England v West Indies: day-night Test at Edgbaston, day three – live!

8.07pm BST

35th over: West Indies 104-7 (Dowrich 1, Roach 0) Moeen continues, and he’s bowling beautifully, with two slips, silly point and short leg. Dowrich drives into Cook’s ankle at silly point, then leaves a couple and defends a couple more. Maiden. Over to Stu…

8.05pm BST

34th over: West Indies 104-7 (Dowrich 1, Roach 0) Root’s field is magic for the hat-trick ball. Three slips, gully, short leg, silly point, silly mid-on, silly mid-off. But Roach is firmly in behind it. Broad has two Test hat-tricks, no one has ever taken three. He hasn’t got one this time, but don’t bet against it at some stage.

8.02pm BST

Holder gone first ball! Brilliant line, he nicks and Cook takes a fine catch diving low to his right at first slip! Seven down, Broad on a hat-trick, and level with Botham!

8.01pm BST

Broad charging in with a sleeveless sweater on. Chase has battled hard but this one has stayed low and Broad, as he tends to, isn’t bothering to see what the umpire thinks. The umpires thinks it’s out. It stayed down, hit the back pad, and right in front… Broad has 382 Test wickets. Ian Botham took 383.

Earlier, Paul Kavanagh was considering going to the cricket tomorrow. Now, he’s emailing me with the subject line “cinema times for tomorrow”.

Not a cat in hell’s chance of them dragging this out. Looking at cinema times for tomorrow, it’s a toss up between the Dark Tower and Valerian. Thoughts?

7.57pm BST

33rd over: West Indies 104-5 (Chase 24, Dowrich 1) It’s tossed up outside off by Moeen and tidily takes a single to get off the mark through cover. Chase hands the strike back with one to deep mid-on. Dowrich defends a couple, then tries to cut a wide one which stays low. He defends again.

7.53pm BST

32nd over: West Indies 102-5 (Chase 23, Dowrich 0) Chase has played nicely and, by record at least, is the Windies’ best player. But batting is tough right now. Broad is playing around with some cutters and the like. Lbw, bowled and the nick off are all very much in play. He’s playing across his front pad a little bit, and it’s a maiden.

7.49pm BST

31st over: West Indies 102-5 (Chase 23) More Mo, but Jimmy cannot be far away. Hundred up as Chase takes a single to deep cover, then Moeen tosses a couple up to tempt Blackwood. Stoneman wears one on the boot at silly point, then they get one to mid-off. Chase gets another single to leg, which rather excites the close fielders. That brings Blackwood on strike, and the fielders chat to the batsman a bit more. That tempts him down, he misses, and Bairstow does the rest. Moeen just chucked it wide of off stump and fooled him. Out by a mile.

7.44pm BST

30th over: West Indies 99-4 (Chase 21, Blackwood 11) More Broad. England only have two slips and a gully, and I’m moaning about it. More! Blackwood lashes through backward point for four. The last ball of the over is full, and he’s launched it over extra extra cover for four! Shot.

7.39pm BST

29th over: West Indies 91-4 (Chase 21, Blackwood 3) Moeen continues. I suppose he has just taken a wicket! Blackwood takes another rather frantic single, before one stage slightly low on Chase, but he gets bat on it and keeps it out. Well played. Well played again, as he wallops a sweep into the gap at deep-square. Four. The last is defended.

Brian Withington is praising our man on the ground. Quite right.

Crying out for a Jack Russell composition of the Eric Hollies stand with our faithful correspondent freezing gamely in the corner. Medals have been struck for less – arise Sir Ian Copestake, I say!

7.36pm BST

28th over: West Indies 86-4 (Chase 17, Blackwood 2) As expected, Broad to bowl. He’s two behind Sir Ian Botham on 381 wickets. Blackwood leaves it twice outside off, then takes a sharp single to mid-off. Later in the over, Chase edges low through the gap in the cordon and it runs away for four

Tom v d Gucht writes:

We seem to have more young gun bowlers, like the Overtons, the Currens, Highway Coad, Helm, Porter and others too. But the batsman fridge seems less well stocked with fewer players spanking out mountains of runs in county cricket and subsequently demanding selection.

Over the last 15 years or so, the most successful batters forced the selectors’ hands with sheer weight of runs before cracking the big time of test cricket as they were ready for it: KP, Bell, Trott, Cook, Strauss, Bairstow, Root, Prior… Even some players who didn’t kick on won their shot at the big show through consistent excellence in county cricket, such as Ed Smith, Bopara and Key.

7.32pm BST

27th over: West Indies 81-4 (Chase 13, Blackwood 1) Moeen to finish off that uncompleted over from before the break. Cook is under the lid at silly-point now. Looks like there’s a bit of chatter out there. Blackwood off the mark second ball with a gentle over-drive. Second slip, not short leg, in for Chase. He defends twice, then slices through backward-point for four. Generous applause from Ben Stokes at slip. Mark Stoneman, the silly point, didn’t seem to enjoy it as much.

7.29pm BST

Right, the players are coming out for the final session of the match, err, I mean day. West Indies are 76 for four, and 270 behind. There are 38.4 overs remaining and we can play til 10, as well as an extra half-hour if a result is close at that stage.

7.27pm BST

More from Ian Copestake at Edgbaston:

At the urinal/trough earlier I was standing next to a man wearing a wedding dress. This seemed entirely normal.

7.26pm BST

The Windies aren’t, at least, going to lose by an innings to Alastair Cook and his 243. At 76 for four, they are one ahead of Cook, having made 168 in their first innings.

7.24pm BST

Chris Woakes out having a bowl during the Tea break – looks like Trevor Bayliss has borrowed one of the umpires’ jackets to watch #ENGvWI

7.20pm BST

Right, who thinks England are going to do this today? Blackwood on his way out after tea. He was in a league of his own in the first innings, but you wouldn’t think he’ll muck about. Jimmy and Broad to return under lights, surely.

7.12pm BST

And with that wicket, England’s sixth of the session, they will take tea! That’s what you do at 7.10pm, of course. When we resume Moeen will have four balls left in his over.

Ian Copestake, our correspondent at Edgbaston, reports:

The scene in the Eric Hollies Stand is like something out of Bruegel, if Bruegel’s apocalyptic paintings included fancy dress.

7.11pm BST

Now, now, now. Brathwaite has gone a long way across to Moeen and he’s been struck on the pad. Has he hit it? Umpire says no. They are going upstairs! Looks a good review to me. He hasn’t hit it, and there’s three reds! He’s outta here!

7.08pm BST

26th over: West Indies 76-3 (Brathwaite 40, Chase 9) Stokes into his ninth, then. Chase is not comfortable against him. But there’s a well-timed nudge through cover that brings him two. The last gets big on him and raps his thumb. That looks no fun.

Chris Evans writes about Steven Finn.

I think we all love Finn and want it to work. However, none of us (including him) know what is best for him but I doubt traipsing round Australia as a clear 7th choice is ideal. I think they don’t need the extra quick in the squad anyway, but if so the 7th could be Plunkett (in the role Batty played in India) or take a punt on a kid like Joverton.

7.03pm BST

25th over: West Indies 74-3 (Brathwaite 40, Chase 7) Moeen’s first ball to Chase takes a thick and clumsy outside edge and runs away for four. Just past Stokes at slip. Then he takes a single in a similar area, and Stokes cleans up. Brathwaite then skips down and plays a classy cover drive for two, cut off by Rojo running round, and a single to deep mid-on takes him into the forties. Chase takes a single too, then Brathwaite defends.

6.59pm BST

24th over: West Indies 65-3 (Brathwaite 37, Chase 1) Stokes is into his eighth over. Has conceded just six so far, and picked up Shope. He’s tight again, but Chase finally gets off the mark – and his pair – by turning him past short-leg for one! It goes through Stoneman’s hands – reckon he’s done by a lack of pace there. Just died on him. Stokes holds his glowing head in his hands, but he needn’t be too sad, that’s the only run from the over. 10 minutes until tea.

Dogs named after cricketers, not just cats!

@willis_macp Meet Lady Bumble named after David Lloyd.

6.55pm BST

23rd over: West Indies 64-3 (Brathwaite 37, Chase 0) Moeen slides through a maiden against Brathwaite, who doesn’t play a big shot this time.

Ian Stalvies, who identifies as a Berlin-based Australian (which, having spent a year living in the city, I know that there are a few of), writes usefully:

Re: hat tricks across innings, there have actually been two, in the same series back in the dark days (well, for us!) of the late 1980s: Courtney Walsh, then the magnificently moustachioed Merv Hughes – whose wickets were also across three separate overs. Details of more interesting hat-tricks here.

6.52pm BST

22nd over: West Indies 64-3 (Brathwaite 37, Chase 0) Good from Stokes, who keeps Chase honest. He can’t get off strike, or off his pair. He’s faced 11 balls now, the last of which brings a mild lbw shout.

Paul Kavanagh has a question.

I’m getting the feeling we won’t manage this today. Great news. Any idea what the ticket policy will be tomorrow? It would be great to nip down for a few overs on the cheap.

6.48pm BST

21st over: West Indies 64-3 (Brathwaite 37, Chase 0) More Mo, and Brathwaite begins by clothing two drives off him. Then there’s a defensive stroke. Eek, he’s gone down the ground and it just evades the deep-ish mid-on and goes for four! Again, Mo won’t mind one bit.

6.46pm BST

20th over: West Indies 60-3 (Brathwaite 33, Chase 0) Roston Chase in on a pair. He’s still on a pair at the end of the over. Wicket maiden.

Geoff Wignall has a question in my inbox.

I was just wondering which bowlers you’d favour for the Ashes? Those in this match plus Woakes I presume but which others – and for what reasons?

6.42pm BST

I was just thinking to myself how England would love a couple more before tea, which is in 30 minutes. There’s one. Shope fences at Stokes and gets a thick edge, which is well snaffled at a comfy height by Rooteh at second gripper!

6.40pm BST

19th over: West Indies 60-2 (Brathwaite 33, S Hope 4) Runs are hard to come by, I said in the last over. Brathwaite’s noticed, and goes after Moeen. He slogs four to cow for four, then drives through cover for a far more elegant four. Moeen won’t mind that, you wouldn’t think. Each batsman takes a single behind square on the offside later in the over. Stoneman is in at short leg, by the way.

6.37pm BST

18th over: West Indies 50-2 (Brathwaite 24, S Hope 3) Runs have been very tough to come by of late, and Stokes has Shope under pressure. It’s another maiden.

Roger Martin has his thinking cap on. And he’s got quite an interesting idea.

On the follow on, if the fielding side doesn’t want to enforce the follow on, how about giving the batting side the option of batting again? It’s not relevant in this match as the windies are so far behind but in the last test, if the saffers had the option, they may well have chosen to bat again, given the way the pitch would deteriorate by the fifth day. It would certainly add element into the fielding captain’s calculations.

6.34pm BST

17th over: West Indies 50-2 (Brathwaite 24, S Hope 3) Moeen time! He bowled beautifully earlier at the ground that was once his home. Suspect it’ll be his home again some time soon, too. There’s one single from the over, to Hope early on.

Chris Drew writes: “Has Jofra Archer declared whether he’d play for the West Indies or England yet?” Wants to play for England, but there’s a long time (maybe four years) before he qualifies… Would get in this Windies side.

6.30pm BST

16th over: West Indies 49-2 (Brathwaite 24, S Hope 2) Stokes is just getting a tiny bit of movement away from the batsman, and Brathwaite is struggling. The fourth ball beats the bat and hammers into Bairstow’s finger. He looks sore. But it’s another maiden, the third on the spin, which will please England.

Ian Copestake writes: “Update from Edgbaston. Am frozen.” Hang on in there, buddy. There are a lot of fans on screen huddling under rugs and the like. A few have brought their beer jackets, I reckon.

6.27pm BST

15th over: West Indies 49-2 (Brathwaite 24, S Hope 2) Roland-Jones continues, and he’s bowling very full, looking for the edge. Hope is watchful, and it’s a maiden. Lights are starting to take effect, and I say that because Ben Stokes’ head has a glow about it.

Adam Roberts has picked up on my Australian selection pointers earlier.

You ‘would take Hameed and Hales to Australia’. 2 qs: 1) Has Hameed found any sort of form yet? 2) Would you take Hameed and Hales to Australia as a No. 5 (with possibility of moving up in extremis)?

6.23pm BST

14th over: West Indies 49-2 (Brathwaite 24, S Hope 2) The first ball of Stokes’ new over gets Shai Hope off the mark and the deficit below 300. Was a flick to leg for one what done it. Brathwaite gets one with the same shot next ball. Hope takes another single later in the over, as some people in fancy dress do a conga.

6.20pm BST

Something to make you snort out your daiquiri at the drinks break, from Peter Salmon:

Just tuned in for the first time to see that the West Indies have only lost the one wicket today, albeit without troubling the scorers much. Still, good to see some resilience after all the dire warnings about their batting.

6.16pm BST

13th over: West Indies 46-2 (Brathwaite 23, S Hope 0) Brathwaite gets a touch lucky to Rojo here. It’s full and straight and there’s a thick inside edge that runs away for four down to fine-leg. Between his back leg and the stumps, which is never pretty. The rest are dots, but they are not all comfortable.

With tea about 55 minutes away, they are taking a drinks break…

Further to your correspondent’s question (Stephen Brown – 8th over) I know that once (at least) Sir Geoffrey Rhubarb batted on every day of a 5 day test. Not sure though whether this is a valid answer to SB’s question. Still here in Switzerland it is time for dinner. Just ripped the cork out of a bottle of Chardonnay so will gently lay out the stuff needed in the kitchen, after turning up the volume on my laptop to maintain contact with TMS, and will get on with the victuals.

6.12pm BST

12th over: West Indies 42-2 (Brathwaite 19, S Hope 0) More Stokes. Brathwaite takes a single, and Shai Hope is looking fairly uncomfy time of it. There’s an edge that doesn’t carry to Jimmy, who is in at third slip instead of Moeen. David Gower rather kindly describes Keaton Jennings as “resting from Test cricket”. Could be a long rest…

Confirmation, by the way, that we can play until 10.30pm tonight. Wowzer. And here’s a thought…

could be first time Last Orders have been called in a Test match ground in England. They should ring the bell.

6.08pm BST

11th over: West Indies 41-2 (Brathwaite 18, S Hope 0) One Hope replaces another. Misleading, I’ll say. There are no runs from the rest of the over, which contains a couple of very curious leaves outside off-stump. If you’re leaving it, keep your bat out of the way, man! Wicket maiden.

John Starbuck is replying to Stephen Brown’s eighth over question about players being on the field for the entirety of a completed match.

Geoffrey Boycott did it at least once; he carried his bat in the first innings, fielded for all of the second, and then, I think, did it again. Sometime in the 1970s perhaps. I was much remarked at the time, but they didn’t have the stats for everything available then as they do now; I haven’t checked anyway.

I’m happy to be corrected (sometimes) but I’m pretty sure for boycotts 100th 100 match at headingley he was on the pitch the whole match.

6.04pm BST

Rojo was not gone for long! He’s swapped ends. And first ball he smacks Hope on the pad and the finger goes up! It’s reviewed, but there’s no bat and he’s gone. Clipping leg stump. Hope the second man to be out twice today.

6.01pm BST

10th over: West Indies 41-1 (Brathwaite 18, K Hope 12) Roland-Jones has been hooked from the attack after one over! Stokes on with the crowd in full voice. Brathwaite takes two from his first ball through midwicket, but the rest are defended or left.

Here’s what Stuie reckons. By my calculations we can play until 10.30pm tonight. Due to rain, scheduled close is 9.30. Time to make up overs runs til 10. If a result in sight, 10.30… More as I get it.

@willis_macp this will be wrapped up tonight or early tomorrow afternoon me thinks

5.57pm BST

9th over: West Indies 39-1 (Brathwaite 16, Hope 12) Jimmy to Kraiggy with three slips and a gully. The third of those slips is Moeen, which is taking some getting used to. Like Trotty used to be, Moeen always seems to be banished to the furthest corners of the field. Kraiggy gets off strike with a legside single, and Hope is given nothing to hit. One from the over.

Darren Gough is on a balcony wearing a slightly ropey waistcoat (has he come as a waiter?) but Ashley Giles is wearing a tie and looks rather smarter.

5.54pm BST

8th over: West Indies 38-1 (Brathwaite 15, Hope 12) Roland-Jones replaces Broad. And he starts full and on the pads and is flicked through square-leg by Hope for two. The second is shorter, and brilliantly played. Hope rocks back and pulls it in front of square for four! Shot, boi! Rojo goes fuller outside off and is cover-driven for four more later in the over, before a brilliant bit of fielding at square-leg prevents runs off the last. 10 of them from the over.

Stephen Brown is in my inbox again.

So now that we’ve followed on, it seems inevitable that AN Cook will have been on the field of play for the entire match.

5.48pm BST

7th over: West Indies 28-1 (Brathwaite 15, K Hope 2) Jimmy is working Brathwaite over, but when he errs in line, he has turned away for four to fine-leg. Well played. The over ends with a tidy bit of defending from Brathwaite.

Great snap from a great snapper.

Hollies stand, Edgbaston 5.30pm #ENGvWI #cricket #barsalesextraordinary

5.45pm BST

6th over: West Indies 24-1 (Brathwaite 11, K Hope 2) Shot. That’ll help. Mid-off is wide to the point of not actually being mid-off. Broad pitches it up and Brathwaite just leans into a straight drive and it runs away for four. Broad’s Dad and sis are watching, and there are more runs here, two of them off a thick inside edge through square leg. Wow, the Windies balcony looks a miserable place. The next ball is short and Brathwaite makes a total hash of it, getting in a tangle and a thick leading edge which loops up into the offside, but lands safe! He’s living dangerously, and guides powerfully past Stoneman who is under the lid at a backward short-leg-leg-gully spot. They run one. Seven from the over.

5.39pm BST

5th over: West Indies 17-1 (Brathwaite 4, K Hope 2) Kyle Hope is away. He turns his second ball to leg and they run one and get a second with a slightly untidy misfield at midwicket. He leaves the next two.

Feels worth saying: 60 over left in the day, and 90 minutes until tea…

5.36pm BST

Jimmy’s over begins with an lbw appeal from behind the stumps against Brathwaite, but it’s nowhere near. They run one leg bye to fine leg.

This is out though! Powell is squared up a touch, it’s angled across him and nips away, and he’s well caught at first slip by Cook. Sharp take and that’s the end of a fairly grim innings from Powell.

5.34pm BST

4th over: West Indies 14-0 (Brathwaite 4, Powell 10) A situation is unfolding at Edgbaston. This being a Saturday, there are lots of people in fancy dress. One such group, possibly the Mexicans or maybe the Jesuses, has had its beach ball pinched. They are huddled by a steward trying to get it back. And they have been joined by all the different fancy dressers: the bananas, the Trumps, the brides, the Richies and the rest in lobbying the stewards. And, after some teasing from said stewards, they’ve got it back! Alastair Cook applauds.

Anyway, Broad continues. Powell is loose. He drives over cover for two, but it’s pretty grim. Broad has a word as they run, but next ball he flashes even harder, gets a thick outside edge and it runs away for four over gully! More words. Broad thinks Powell is a bit pony I reckon. Anyway, he defends the last.

5.29pm BST

3rd over: West Indies 8-0 (Brathwaite 4, Powell 4) Brathwaite is off his pair, but it ain’t pretty. He tries to send Anderson through midwicket but gets a thick leading edge wide of backward point for four. The rest are more comfortably defended.

A distracted Ross Williams emails.

Enjoying the coverage as I

fail to do any work on and just watch cricket
desperately attempt to finish a thesis. I wondered given the west indies top 5 combined for about half the runs that Blackwood scored, and he is set. Why not just let him carry on batting? He can’t do any worse than get 0.

5.25pm BST

2nd over: West Indies 4-0 (Brathwaite 0, Powell 4) Runs! Elegantly and uppishly driven through cover for four by Powell off Broad. The rest are dots.

A Scotsman with a fine Scotsman’s name, Allan McDonald, writes:

Hello! Longtime reader and first time emailer, loving the OBO for its informative whimsy. Greetings from a wet and driech Fort William.

I was idly musing when Broad got Joseph out. If he had followed that with a wicket on the next ball, and England had enforced the follow-on, would he still have been on a hat trick if he had taken the first over of the next innings? What if they hadn’t enforced, would he have been on a hat trick once he went to bowl again?

5.21pm BST

1st over: West Indies 0-0 (Brathwaite 0, Powell 0) Jimmy, as in the first innings, begins with a maiden. Brathwaite is still on a pair, and does not look especially comfortable or like he wants to be in Birmingham. West Indies are still 346 behind.

5.19pm BST

Fair to say England have a spring in their step as they head out for the second innings. Kraigg Brathwaite, who is on a pair, does not. Jimmy to bowl at him. Sounds grim.

Nicholas Stuart writes with the subject line “cats named after cricketers”. He attaches a picture of his cat, Katich.

Our cat, Katich, is named after the Australian batsman. Judging by his size, we should have called him Beefy.

5.16pm BST

Here’s the last wicket. Classy stuff from Westley. England are on their way out again.

WICKET! Cummins run out without scoring

West Indies all out for 168 #ENGvWI


5.15pm BST

Tom Bowtell raises a very good point.

Interesting to note that Cook’s 243 gives him a first innings lead of 75 and an outside chance of an innings victory all on his own if it starts swinging around under the lights tonight…

5.15pm BST

Well, well, well. Efficient from England since tea. Nice innings from Blackwood that ends with him trying to pinch the strike. No room for sentiment or batting practice: on England plough. Two direct hit run outs in the innings, which is a rarity for England.

How long will it take them to bowl West Indies out again? There are still almost two hours until tea, and 65 overs in the day! The lights have just come on.

On a recent trip to England (home now), my son Will and I were buying pork pies in Newark, when behind us a boy shouted to his mother. “Look Mum – they’ve got the posh orange”. The sugar content in flavoured San Pellegrino is massive.

5.10pm BST

Specs of rain on the camera as Jimmy begins his new over. Men on the fence for Blackwood, and he turns down a single to deep point first ball. The third is cleverly steered wide of second slip and beats the man in the deep! Four. Then he gets two to deep-midwicket to move to 79 off 74. Fine innings, this. Field up for the fifth ball, and he’s very nearly bowled!

The last ball is nudged into the legside and they go for the single! It’s never, though! Westley swoops in from midwicket to run Cummins out for 0! Direct hit, and he’s gone by a mile. We know that, because the umpire doesn’t even send it upstairs. Great throw.

5.04pm BST

46th over: West Indies 162-9 (Blackwood 73, Cummins 0) Cummins ain’t goin just yet. He leaves Broad outside off. 381, not 380 for Broad.

5.02pm BST

Blackwood doesn’t bother to hit the first ball of Broad’s over for six. Instead, he pinches a single off the second and leaves four for Joseph to negotiate. The first two are fine, but the third raps him on the pad right in front and Broad celebrates. The finger goes up as he wheels away towards the slips. It was very out. I make that 381 Test wickets for Broad… Beefy two away. I hope the wicket that takes him past the big man comes with a celebrappeal.

4.58pm BST

45th over: West Indies 161-8 (Blackwood 72, Joseph 6) Joseph can’t have been delighted about the lack of single at the end of the last over. He’s got six balls of Jimmy to worry about. The first two are defended nicely, the second is ducked under, although it was a touch wild. There’s a play and a miss, another couple of defences, and the over has been survived. Well done that man.

Stephen Brown is talking about the follow-on.

Any advantage in having another bat tonight in the name of learning more about this pink ball? Normally I’m a strong supporter of enforcing follow on in most circumstances but as this match was always supposed to be a bit of a learning curve before our match down under perhaps another shot for Stoneman and Westley to try it wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

4.54pm BST

44th over: West Indies 161-8 (Blackwood 72, Joseph 6) Shot! Stuart Broad won’t like that. Blackwood has legside, Broad has followed him and the batsman has fired the first ball of the over high and handsome into the stands at wide long-on! Sixer. Magnificent. A couple of short balls curb his heavy hitting, and there’s no run for the rest of the over.

4.50pm BST

43rd over: West Indies 155-8 (Blackwood 66, Joseph 6) Jimmy is keeping Blackwood a touch more honest, and starts with three dots. The first rears a touch. The single comes from a nudge to mid-on, and Joseph is charged with keeping two balls out. He does so with aplomb and elan, by slashing the last of the over for four through point.

Miranda Jollie’s been in touch, and she’s trumping me.

You may love Kumar Sangakkara, but have you named a pet after him? This is our cat Kumar, watching the cricket

4.45pm BST

42nd over: West Indies 150-8 (Blackwood 65, Joseph 2) Blackwood is not going to muck about, and neither should he. Broad’s first is outside off, and he drills it through cover for four off the back foot. Next, he takes a single to mid-off. That’s 150. Celebrate the small victories! Joseph misses his first outside off. And second. He middles his third, but mid-on is there to field, and does. With a man in catching at sort of short cover point, he gets in behind the last ball of the over and defends.

4.41pm BST

As cricketers come out to play, John Starbuck continues the puffin chat:

Puffins are remarkable and well worth study; a kind of auk, this is a bird which can swim, dive, fly and burrow, all the while looking like something from a mad clown’s dream. They inspired reading for young people and many other inventions too.

4.39pm BST

Pete Wood’s describing a rather lovely sounding holiday east of here.

Currently holidaying in Poland and the itinerary tomorrow strikes a chime with the plight facing this West Indies team. Going to Hel and back, by bike, along a long, thin spit of sand, the only thing between us and the cold waters of the Baltic Sea.

4.35pm BST

About six minutes until play gets underway again. So an email from Dave Brown!

Does your love for the great Sri Lankan mean you would have him in your best world XI ahead of Adam Gilchrist as wicketkeeper?

4.33pm BST

Chris Drew, Mesnilman BTL on the county blog, writes with sad news. Don Shepherd, the Glamorgan legend, has died, having turned 90 this week. Remarkable cricketer with remarkable stats:

4.28pm BST

From Asturias, Dave Langlois writes:

The lunch sign-off photo of the batsman driving with the stumps being splayed by the ball is fantastic. Must be like trying to photograph the puffin with its beak full of sprats. Looks so easy as a finished product but so hard in the execution.

4.26pm BST

On the other hand… I’m sure Neil Snowball at Edgbaston feels this way too. Here’s a good interview with him, by the way.

Dear Joe,

Please do not enforce the follow-on.

Yours sincerely,

Day 4 ticket holders#ENGvWI

4.24pm BST

They certainly could Stuie! Follow on is out of fashion, and I’m not much of an advocate of it, but if they wrap these last two up promptly surely it’s a no-brainer?

@willis_macp afternoon will very easy for england here

Could get this won tonight

4.22pm BST

Andrew Benton has been in touch, and he’s raising a very sensible point.

Always dangerous to be too gleeful about the state of England’s opponents, lest it portends bad omens for the next test series. We lost five nil last time down there, didn’t we (and I bet the Aussies are hoping to go one better this time…)

4.21pm BST

Oh, lordy. That wonderful Kumar Sangakkara interview by Athers is happening on Sky right now. Those brave and unwise souls who follow county cricket – live! on this website will know how I feel about Sanga. I may not actually be in a position to liveblog this session of cricket for you. Already a touch hot under the collar.

I recently saw Kumar on the Victoria line. Surrey put him up in this wonderful flat on the river and he, like me, was getting off at Vauxhall. It was in that absolutely sweltering week earlier this summer and remains the only time I’ve seen him sweat. And I’ve seen him make 15 or so tons live. Remarkable human.

4.17pm BST

Hello! Your man Will Macpherson here for the rest of the day and, the way things are going, the rest of the Test match, too. That was all pretty sorry from the Windies, wasn’t it? There are ways you can tell me how sad you are about all of this. I’m tweetable at @willis_macp. And emailable at

ps – on a recent OBO I discussed my love for San Pellegrino naughty drinks. Well, what I thought was a brief dalliance with them has become a full on addiction, and I’ve turned up to the office today with a blood orange one – or, were I feeling cultured, Aranciata Rossa. My favourite. Coffee first, but I’ll let you know how it goes down.

4.07pm BST

41st over: West Indies 145-8 (Blackwood 60, Joseph 2). Moeen has the last over before the long break. I can’t call it lunch, it’s so ridiculous. Mind you, I’m yet to have a sandwich. But I’m wild like that. As is Blackwood, who dances Moeen! Oh, look, fair enough I guess. He’s hit him right back over his head. The best bit about that was Root having to climb over the fence and into the covers to collect the ball. Careful with those spikes, skip! Joseph has a few to see off when he gets given the strike. Men around the bat for the last ball, but he blocks it out.

3.59pm BST

40th over: West Indies 136-8 (Blackwood 53, Joseph 2). One to see off, new man Joseph grabs a couple off what looks to be an inside edge. TV tells me it needs to be nine down for the extra half an hour. I thought it was umpire’s discretion. But let’s go with Nasser on his, he did captain his country.

3.57pm BST

Broad is back and immediately, belatedly, into the book. Roach no chance to keep that out, it’s a beauty. Classic Broad, wide of the crease, hitting the same and coming back a mile. Ultimately through the gate and into his off-stump. Classy way to grab wicket 380. He won’t get Botham in this innings, but still could by the time England wrap this up later tonight or tomorrow afternoon. Extra half-hour probably coming here too, in order to let them finish it off. Three minutes to the interval, in theory.

WICKET! @StuartBroad8 knocks Roach’s off stump out of the ground!

WI 134/8 #ENGvWI

Follow here:

3.55pm BST

39th over: West Indies 134-7 (Blackwood 51, Roach 5). Right, the next discussion is the follow-on. England won’t hesitate in enforcing it. Nothing at all to be gained batting again into the night when they’ve barely broken a sweat this afternoon. West Indies still require 181 to avoid it. Roach is off the mark, though, with a lavish drive first ball. Past point.

John Starbuck on West Indian woes, with historical context: “Some of us go further back, when (unchanged) Hall and Griffiths, along with the elegant Sobers, were terrorising the feeble England batting lineup. After Cowdrey did his best with a broken arm, there was a lot of fuss about the ancient people who were brought back in, like Brian Close, who disdained most protective gear. In a later tour, Clive Lloyd’s fast quartet led to the development of the batsman’s helmet. Brearley demonstrated one which was a basic full skullcap, worn under a cap. Thus, the West Indies have contributed to the development of the game in so many important ways, their current make-up leads us to search for the pluses.”

3.49pm BST

After playing and missing Moeen throughout his first set, it was only right that the off-spinner dismissed him in this fashion. Technology confirmed that there was a little nick, a good review from Bairstow and Stokes behind the stumps, convincing Root to go up for a look. So, six wickets in the session with ten minutes to go before lunch. And we’re into the bowlers.

3.48pm BST

HAS MOEEN WON HOLDER’S EDGE? We’re going upstairs to find out, as Stokes thinks so at slip.

3.47pm BST

38th over: West Indies 128-6 (Blackwood 50, Holder 11). Well batted Jermaine Blackwood, with a push to midwicket bringing up his half-century in 49 balls. Can’t fault his intent nor his strokeplay. Fun to watch. Now, double it.

3.42pm BST

37th over: West Indies 127-6 (Blackwood 49, Holder 11). Time for spin, via Moeen. Holder hasn’t a clue out there today, plays the misses not once, twice but thrice. The final of the three trying to put the offie onto the moon for reasons best explained by the West Indies leader. Hot take: he’s not a very good captain. I argued at the time he was ready to replace Ramdin. I was wrong. Not just because of how he is batting over the last half hour. Just the whole vibe of the thing. Doesn’t look the sort to turn this around. Not saying there is a better option.

3.40pm BST

36th over: West Indies 127-6 (Blackwood 49, Holder 11). They persist with the short ball to Blackwood, which is sound based on the way he plays another on-point Stokes bumper. Gets two for his swat, somehow. Far more comfortable when it is full, he strokes a couple past cover. Nice shot. One short of a half-century.

3.37pm BST

35th over: West Indies 122-6 (Blackwood 45, Holder 10). Jermaine Blackwood is having a party. TRJ overpitches with his final delivery so he decides to smash him straight back over his head. Didn’t make full contact, otherwise it’ll be in the car park. Quite a swing. Enough to reach the rope comfortably. His 45 from 41 balls. One way to get out of strife. Holder a boundary to begin, but so close to being curtains for him, an inside edge again the difference. He’s a much better player than this. But then again, I feel I say that a lot when it comes to this team. A bit Fox Mulder-ish: I want to believe.

“I was trying to get my old brain thinking who was the last world class batsman the Windies had apart from theredoubtable Chanderpaul?” asks Dave Brown. “There must have been someone after Lara surely?” There hasn’t. Chase was out for nothing today, but he’s the guy. In theory.

3.31pm BST

34th over: West Indies 113-6 (Blackwood 41, Holder 5). Blackwell lucky not to be the second West Indian to cop one in the head this session, awkwardly avoiding a Stokes bouncer that followed him. An inside edge earlier in the over was needed to prevent him being bowled. All action when he’s at the business end. Holder retains the strike with another tickle to long leg.

Simon McMahon is back. “Sorry to have given you some unintentional grief,” he says. It’s okay, man. I’ve a thick skin. “Saw The Who earlier this year in Glasgow and, like Anderson and Broad, Daltrey and Townsend have still got it. Pity we can’t say the same about the West Indies. They’re like a poor Who tribute Act – The Why?”

3.26pm BST

33rd over: West Indies 111-6 (Blackwood 40, Holder 4). Despite Blackwood’s efforts, West Indies still trail by 404, which may as well be a million. He takes one to square leg. TRJ’s best ball is the last one, a yorker, kept out by Holder.

“Does the current state of the Windies suggest a two-tier test system would be in order, similar to the county system?” asks Andrew Benton. “Would enable other aspiring test sides to compete at the highest level, and keep those who were falling behind on their toes.”

@collinsadam seems the West Indies aren’t too keen on day/night cricket. Like vampires in reverse, getting out before the sun sets.

3.20pm BST

32nd over: West Indies 110-6 (Blackwood 39, Holder 4). The board no handbrake on Blackwood, flicking Stokes away early in the over for his sixth boundary. When Holder gets his chance, he is immediately beaten, playing at a ball he surely has to be leaving alone. Another four behind point gets him off the mark, almost identical to how Dowrich did the same in the previous over before getting out. Ominous? Well, his edge was beaten next ball. That’s twice already. Not the most convincing start by the skipper. Nine from it, not that runs matter an awful lot right now.

Toby’s two, or your enjoyment.

WICKET! Shai Hope gone for 15 as @tobyrj21 gets in on the act!

WI 89/5 #ENGvWI

Match centre:

WICKET! Now @tobyrj21 traps Dowrich lbw!

WI 101/6 #ENGvWI


3.16pm BST

Oh yes, that’s very out. Dowrich was off the mark in relatively flashy fashion with a drive behind point off the edge, but didn’t survive one coming back sharply off the seam, TRJ hitting the pad and Umpire Erasmus having no hesitation. That he was playing across the line only made it look worse. So, five in the session. 45 minutes to lunch. Will they be all out by then?

3.12pm BST

30th over: West Indies 96-5 (Blackwood 33, Dowrich 0). Oh that’s unpleasant! Blackwood turns his head on a Stokes bouncer, into the helmet it goes. No one likes that, the bowler immediately checking on the batsman. The doctor comes out for a look but he’s alright. Oh, better than alright! Blackwood launches into the next delivery after the brief delay, on the top of his feet past point. He has plenty of the old Caribbean flair about him, the West Indies no. 6. Into the 30s he goes.

A few of you are pretty agitated that I wasn’t across Pinball Wizard. I am sorry. Robert Wilson, though, has my back. “Excellent generational Pinball Wizard overhead whoosh there People keep forgetting you’re a whippersnapper.” Well, I don’t quite qualify for that now. But in this context, you’re right.

3.05pm BST

Perhaps it had to come undone. Hope went for one too many drives, misreading the length. A fat inside edge back onto his timber. That’s his day done. Just when it looked like they were to put in some sort of shift, it is now four in an hour to begin the third day as they take a drink. Roland-Jones into the book.

3.03pm BST

28th over: West Indies 88-4 (S Hope 15, Blackwood 25). Seven boundaries between these two now. That might be Blackwood’s best, in what is emerging into a tidy little highlights reel of the session, smashing past point. Nine from it.

2.58pm BST

27th over: West Indies 79-4 (S Hope 15, Blackwood 16). More runs for Hope behind point, more convincing this time around off TRJ, hits it well to the rope. He’s looking alright here, the older Hope. Who I called Chicago Hope on radio commentary once. It just kind of spilled out of my head. There was no link to the 90s TV show, however hard I tried to find one.

Gordon Henderson chips in to add to Simon McMahon’s bit from before. I should probably have known this. The Who still a blackspot of mine. Judge away.

2.53pm BST

26th over: West Indies 75-4 (S Hope 11, Blackwood 16). Well, they’re having a pop, these two. Hope’s turn, hammering the new bowler Stokes beyond point and into the advertising boards. He takes three more to end the over, keep the strike and move into double figures with a prod past backward point. Nicely timed.

“Interesting commentary by Mike Atherton on the changing characteristics of Caribbean pitches in general and Sabina Park in particular – loss of pace and bounce and tending towards sub-continent surfaces.” I heard that too, Brian Withington. It was quite interesting saying that he self the West Indies was closer to playing in the sub-continent these days. Certainly so in places like Dominica. Could be Dhaka.
“Over here it’s noticeable that the Oval is no longer quite as pace friendly. Apparently pitches can get “tired” after a few decades (I know the feeling) and may need to be relaid where funds permit (no comment). What have they done to keep Perth relatively frisky?”

2.49pm BST

25th over: West Indies 68-4 (S Hope 4, Blackwood 16). Tobias for his first little jam roll of the fixture. And what a welcome: Blackwell driving the first delivery with full Caribbean flair down to long-on for the shot of the day to date. Nearly brings an inside edge onto his timber mid-over, but it is bat on top here with another dazzling drive down the ground to end the set. No backswing there, all timing. Well, I’ve given Blackwood a little slap to begin here, and so far he’s looking really good. Fair play to him. Better go on with it, though.

“Oh Jimmy Jimmy,” chants Simon McMahon. “I think I knew that ever since he was a young boy, Mr Anderson would be a pink ball wizard. Sorry, I’ll get my own coat.” I don’t get it? But you lot probably do. So I’ll leave it there.

2.40pm BST

24th over: West Indies 57-4 (S Hope 4, Blackwood 6). Shai Hope leaves a couple then gets off the mark with a steer behind point. Will pay that. Keeps out a full one, defends solidly down the ground. Could be okay. Let’s hope so, for those who like Tests going into, you know, a fourth day. “Is it fair to say that the Windies have three Hopes in this match!” quips Matthew Doherty. I’ll pay that too.

2.36pm BST

23rd over: West Indies 53-4 (S Hope 0, Blackwood 6). Nice shot from Blackwell to end the Anderson over there, high in the crease and punching a bit like Joe Root actually. Makes great contact in front of point, along the carpet. Got a couple in a similar direction earlier in the over to get off the mark. More, please, Jermaine. No madness today. No excuse for it. The West Indies 50 up in the process.

Johnny Starbuck, the best name in blogging, has joined the conversation. Remember, you can to, in all the usual places.

2.33pm BST

22nd over: West Indies 47-4 (S Hope 0, Blackwood 0). For all the action, Broad is yet to get into the book. He’ll want to set that straight, and nearly does when Hope has a swing and a miss at a wide one. Probably leave that alone when you’re 267 behind the follow-on. He survives. Another maiden.

Brian Withington picks up our conversation from Old Trafford last week. “Nervous though I am of Ian Copestake’s admonition of book reading during cricket, I’ve now finished the superb Mystery Spinner by the mighty Gideon, so am in the market for another book recommendation. Any advance on Golden Boy by Chris Ryan (a Rob Smyth special)?”

2.26pm BST

21st over: West Indies 47-4 (S Hope 0, Blackwood 0). Jermaine Blackwood is next. Watched him make a ton against England a couple of years ago, but he’s seldom looked a Test player since. No discipline to speak of. Not the guy you want coming out right now. He leaves the only ball he has to negotiate before the end of the successful Anderson set.

WICKET! @jimmy9 is on fire – he bowls Chase for a duck!

WI 47/4 #ENGvWI


2.24pm BST

Uh ohhhh. Jimmy gets his third, straight through chase for an 11-ball globe. Anderson has been moving his stock delivery away from the right-hander, but moved this back with the seam like the gem that he is. An inside edge collected, the stumps disturbed, the young-gun walking back. Whisper it: this could be over today.

2.23pm BST

20th over: West Indies 47-3 (S Hope 0. Chase 0). Another maiden, this time Broad to Hope. He cops a beaut, not too dissimilar to the one that got his brother a couple overs back from the other end. Tough, tough going out there. I’m a bit of a fan of Hope, though. His numbers are dire, but I think he’ll make it. Mostly because he took on the Australians for about half an hour a couple of years ago when no one else would. Ton against Derby last week in the warm-up as well.

Better show you the earlier wickets.

WICKET! @jimmy9 with a beauty to get Kyle Hope caught by @benstokes38!

WI 45/2 #ENGvWI


WICKET! Powell run out by @jimmy9 for 20!

WI 47/3 #ENGvWI

Match centre:

2.20pm BST

19th over: West Indies 47-3 (S Hope 0. Chase 0). Chase is a pretty good player. He’s big, gives it wallop, can bat patiently in what too often turns out to be a disaster for his team. He’ll need to do all those things today. Hard when Jimmy is hooping them around with the pink ball though. Two fat inside edges save him from an early departure. The first would have hit his stumps, while the second would probably have been given leg before without the timely tickle. Ian Ward on the TV believes both Anderson and Broad a fraction fuller so far today than they were last night.

2.15pm BST

18th over: West Indies 47-3 (S Hope 0. Chase 0). Chase keeps out the first one. The replays of the run out look worse with each viewing. Instead of going on about that, I’m going to share with you an email from our man in Paris, Robert Wilson.

“Addy baby.” Hi Bob. “Though I’m a long-time fan of classic rain-break high jinks, is it not the case that, in this current era of political horror and societal dismay, cricket (with its unique power to soothe and comfort) has a moral obligation to play on under whatever weather conditions? How else can we suck our thumbs and forget the prevailing truth? Though given the trajectory of the Trump administration, this may well end up in long rearguard sessions in the snow. Do you think the pink ball would cut it in an actual blizzard?”

2.11pm BST

What can you say? Nice stroke down the ground, but taking on Anderson for a quick single? Not wise. He has three stumps to aim at, hits the middle of those, and the third umpire confirms that the opener is at least a foot and a half short of his ground. An unconvincing stay ends up shambolic circumstances. Ladies and gents: the West Indies.

2.10pm BST

OH DEAR ME! Is Powell RUN OUT at the non-striker’s end? Direct hit… Looks very out. We’ll see.

2.07pm BST

NOT OUT! Decision confirmed, review burned. But tell you what, must be 49% of the ball hitting leg-stump there. Was around the wicket to the left-hander, so the angle was always going to work around him. Root head in hands, but probably won’t be long before another chance comes. They’re up and about.

2.05pm BST

HAS BROAD GOT ONE FIRST BALL? Powell given not out, but Root is confident, going upstairs for LBW. Stand by…

2.05pm BST

Snorter! Jimmy spits his sixth ball of the morning at the throat of the man on debut, who looked quite good last night, but can’t keep this down. Stokes grassed a catch off Powell before play was stopped last night, but they don’t come much easier than this, lobbing to him in the gully. England away.

2.00pm BST

Okay. We’re back. Again. Looks pretty clear now. Jimmy give balls remaining in the truncated opening over of the day. For real this time: PLAY.

1.56pm BST

We have a formal re-start time. 2pm. Well, I say formal – I read it on twitter. But let’s go with it. Good news.

1.53pm BST

YJB and Moeen. In a Sky pre-recorded thing, involved in a penalty shoot-out. One of the best bits about being in the press box following England around is watching these two play football in their morning warm-ups. Both utter class. Then there is Broad, who has a ping pretty much every time he gets it.

Oh, Gower again! He’s just done a… Richie Benaud impression? I’m not entirely sure, had my eyes on this screen not the TV. Did anyone catch it? I need to know.

1.48pm BST

Ian Copestake is in. Having a watch at the ground today. “Next to my friend who is now reading a book thanks to the weather. Down with this sort of thing.” It rained for four days consecutively at the SCG when Australia were playing the Windies a couple of summers back, so OBO colleague Geoff Lemon and I decided to entertain ourselves.

Good news to report, though. They believe the covers will be coming off soon. Can’t see any evidence of that in through the glass behind them as they chat on the telly. But let’s hope.

1.41pm BST

David Gower taking the piss supreme. “There are all sorts of ideas about making Test cricket more attractive. The pink ball is certainly one. Playing in summer… another.” Keep it droll, DIG. Now he’s talking about his preference for the 20 minute interval to be called a “cocktail break” instead of tea. My instinct is we should do whatever he tells us. Here’s a nice collation of the great man’s best moments from an interview earlier this year.

1.35pm BST

This is made for the OBO. A rain delay after one ball – has this happened before? The challenge: to find out and tell me.

1.31pm BST

Oh goodness me, forget what I said in the preamble: it’s bloody raining. Within a ball of Jimmy getting back into it the umbrellas are up. And here come the covers.

1.30pm BST

Jerusalem time. One and all the England players decked out in their Proper Cricket Jumpers. By contrast to the Caribbean pair, Hope and Pollard, in just the shirt. Riveting analyis there, I know. Thankfully, then, we’re ready to play. Jimmy has it in his hands, with a big smile on his face. Can he cash in? Let’s find out. PLAY!

1.20pm BST

Stuart Broad on Sky. Saying vaguely nice things about the pink ball, especially visibility. After saying it doesn’t shine as well. But on the whole, he’s open minded to how the rhythm of the game changes as a result. A measured tick, I’d call that.

He’s on 379 Test wickets, Stuart. That’s four behind Sir Beef, the Sky lads quickly point out. Got to be some chance to reach/pass that mark today. Would make for nice Sunday paper headlines.

1.15pm BST

Looking for something to pop on before we begin?

This was really good on TMS yesterday. Aggers joined by Simon Hughes who has done some work digging around the cricket ball factories. A lot of myths/truisms about the pink ball despite only being five Tests in. Worth a listen.

12.55pm BST

In another break in convention this week, I’m pleased to report we’re starting half an hour early today. Normally, the 11am start is sacrosanct for a Test in England. But seeing as that has been done away with , good to see them getting with the program. With slow overs rates as they are, much better this way.

That early whinge out of the way, hello there! Adam Collins with you to open the OBO batting today. I have Will Macpherson replacing me later on. You were spoiled with a Smyth/De Lisle masterclass yesterday, but we pledge to play all our shots.

12.43am BST

Adam will be here shortly. Alastair Cook impressed plenty of people with his 243 yesterday, not least Dawid Malan, watching on from the other end:

Cook gave me a masterclass – it was the best seat in the house. To score 243, whether it’s a good wicket or not, is a fantastic achievement. It just showed how disciplined [you need to be].

He didn’t look like he strayed from the first over to the one he got out in and for a younger player, by international standards, to watch how a master goes about his work and compile his runs shows what you need to be at this level.

Continue reading…

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Aug 18

Sydney Swans beat Adelaide Crows in AFL thriller – as it happened

  • Sydney beat Adelaide 13.5 (83) to 11.14 (80)
  • Swans move into fourth on ladder after frantic win

1.41pm BST

Buddy says it is one of the better wins he has been involved in. And there have been a few. A lot of criticism in the post-game on Adelaide bottling it, not least letting Sam Reid free for that goal out of nowhere to put the Swans within a kick. It was the moment, on reflection.

The implicatons on the ladder… if the Swans finish fifth, the loser of 1v4 will play the Swans. G’luck with that! They go to bed fourth tonight, mind. Adelaide, meanwhile, will still probably finish top. But will need to win next week against WCE in Perth.

1.33pm BST

Moment of the night.

You will see this a few times on highlights packages over the years, long after it has been forgotten who won tonight. It’s even better on the replay.

This was Buddy amazing! #AFLCrowsSwans

1.32pm BST

The scoreline tells it all, the Crows having every chance to win this but throwing it away with their kicking. Through the second half the home side controlled the ball out of the guts, but Sydney are the best defence in the comp for a reason. In the end, the losing side won the inside 50s by a margin of 62 to 42. Remarkable.

Of course, their win was set up by the jump they got early taking a 29-point lead early in the second quarter. But Adelaide hung on then pounced. The last quarter they were flying, three brisk goals giving them their biggest lead of the night, nine points. But goals to Reid and Papley – a gem to win it – shifted the dial to the Swans at the perfect time. All their vast experience was on display in the final moments, slowing the game to a crawl. What a game.

1.26pm BST

Precious seconds tick down. Adelaide aren’t able to penetrate, Sydney have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink here, numbers behind the ball to turn the last few minutes into a slog. Nothing doing at all for the hosts. Exhausted. Crouch can’t take it away clearly at the end, securing the Sydney Swans a famous victory! Sydney by three points!

1.23pm BST

Q4 4:30 remaining. Crows 11.14.80 v Swans 13.5.83. Sydney back in front! Two in a minute as Papley gets the ball at ground level and does what he does best. Kept composure when he could have gone to the deck as well, wasn’t expecting the ball as it landed with him. Adelaide crowd stunned into silence. They need at least one more, probably two.

1.21pm BST

Q4 5:10 remaining. Crows 11.14.80 v Swans 12.5.77. Sam Reid! Just as he did at the end of the third, the big man has popped up at a crtitical time for Sydney to keep them in the game. Surely this ends within a kick either way. That kind of night, that kind of season.

1.15pm BST

Q4 8:45 remaining. Crows 11.13.79 v Swans 11.4.70. Held! I was calling it from here, the umpire agreeing. McGovern at the traditional CHF position went long to the hot spot, the outnumbered Swans’ defence got all grabby, Jenkins pulled down in the contest. The experienced hand wasn’t going to allow another mistake from a set shot, slotting it straight through the middle from 25m. Adelaide extend their lead to nine, the most they have been in front by all night.

1.12pm BST

Buddy ferocious. Creates half a chance up the other end, but nothing comes from it. He’s in the game, winning another free at crntre half-forward. Inside 50, Heeney centres put cannot find hands. Nor can Papley, Betts for Adelaide engineering the clearance instead. Composed footy from Adelaide, Sydney should have scored in that surge. TALIA DOWN AGAIN BEHIND PLAY! It isn’t the ankle that he hurt before, reaching for his head as the trainers take a look. He’s pushing them away; wants to stay on. All happening!

1.10pm BST

Q4 12:00 remaining. Crows 10.13.73 v Swans 11.3.69. Walker has done it! McGovern puts him into space after a turnover, the big man playing his 150th has all the time in the world running towards the goal mouth, but bangs it on the boot. Goes along the ground but thankfully for the home side it doesn’t matter, just sneaking in. The Crows, at last, are in front!

1.09pm BST

Peppering the 50, but not the board. The Crows have it permanently in their arc. Must find a way through the big sticks. Kennedy sprays a clearance out on the full from the side of his boot, giving them another chance to go inside. Riley Knight has the chance to bring it back but elects to go himself from 52 where the arc meets the boundary. It’s a bold attempt, and he misses. In keeping with the theme. Two points the difference, 12 minutes left.

1.06pm BST

Adelaide dominating the clearances now. Jacobs the most important man on the field, giving fantastic service. They have won every clearance this quarter. And via one of those Jacobs hit outs, Sloane has got it out and an uncontested mark to Cameron! He has a set shot and… MISSES! It’s happened again! Hits the post. Oh what a mess for the Crows, that would have put them into the lead. Still a quarter of an hour to go, and three points behind, but they should be ahead times over by now. The crowd’s frustration palpable.

1.04pm BST

Q4 17:00 remaining. Crows 9.11.65 v Swans 11.3.69. Banged forward by Jacobs, McGovern finds the footy, snaps it true! He has four! Adelaide within a kick despite having kicked two fewer goals. That kind of night. And Talia is back on as well – that’s MASSIVE in the context of this game.

1.01pm BST

Rough and tumble opening minutes. Zak Jones can’t help himself, giving away a 50 to Brad Crouch but the Crow cannot convert. 1.5 from set shots! The Swans 7.2. Says it all.

12.55pm BST

In the Talia move, I missed a goal. That was via Sam Reid, who extended the margin to double-digits by the final change for the Swans. And at the end of that wild old quarter, we’re more or less where we started. Adelaide went bang-bang, Sydney did likewise, there were long chunks where neither side could get a clear shot on goal. Adelaide created more chances on the whole but struggled to convert. Sydney were precise when their opportunities came. That last major a real steadier. But we have a grandstand finish, that’s for sure. Don’t go anywhere!

12.50pm BST

Push/pull. Jerka Jenkins on the lead the old-fashioned way, found laces out. But he can’t slot it either. The lead narrows by one to four, just over three minutes remaining in the frenetic term. Oh, now Talia is in strife. He’s taken off straight away. In pain. A groin? Huge in the context of the game as it means Buddy could be let loose. Alternatively, Alex Keath: go make a name for yourself.

12.44pm BST

Post! Second time Sydney have hit the post – the only two behinds they have recorded. In stark contrast to the aforementioned problems of the hosts in kicking straight. As their former premiership coach Malcolm Blight might say at this time if he were on the commentary: Footy Gods. Don’t tempt them by missing your chances. Has there ever been a game where a team hasn’t actually kicked a non-post behind? Could we be heading towards one of the more obscure records in footy history? Is it even possible to find out such a thing?

12.42pm BST

Adelaide set shots. They’re within a kick after Douglas misses to the left, that’s the second they’re missed from a standing stard this term, Cameron having a chance earlier. Sprayed three in the second quarter as well. Should be in front, really. Sydney by five, now time-on, in the old speak.

12.40pm BST

Q3 9:00 remaining. Crows 8.6.54 v Swans 10.1.61. McVeigh, the champion, gets free inside 50 for an uncontested mark. Goes back with the Adelaide crowd doing their best to put him off, but they can’t, the Swan veteran going back and drilling it. Big response. Every twist and turn vital from here.

12.36pm BST

Q3 12:00 remaining. Crows 8.6.54 v Swans 9.1.55. Eddie’s turn! Was bound to influence this game again with all that is going on. It’s back to a point the difference when he bangs it home from point blank range in the old D-Com parlance. Cameron won the free, put him into space, and that was that. Goal for goal on the goal by goal!

12.34pm BST

Q3 13:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 9.1.55. Two in a hurry for Sydney against the play. Rohan cops a whack from Lever but doesn’t miss.

this game #aflcrowsswans

12.29pm BST

Q3 16:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 8.1.49. BUDDDDDDDYYYYYYYY!!! Sydney needed a Buddy special and he’s kicked one of the very best you will see! On the gallop from half back (!), he had the time to bounce and fumble and all the rest, then bounce again. Talia nearly reaching him with a Hooker-esque chase and dive, but Franklin was never missing once he set his eyes on the target from range. What a gem! What a game!

12.26pm BST

Q3 17:00 remaining. Crows 7.6.48 v Swans 7.1.43. What has happened to this game of footy?! 29 down half way through the second quarter, and within a couple of mintues in this new quarter the Crows have hit the front! “The Swans just can’t keep up,” says Bruce. Five in a row. McGovern gets the first after a Matt Crouch centre break within 30 seconds. Tom Lynch, after another crisp clearance, snaps around his body after Eddie put it on a plate for him.

12.04pm BST

That was a quarter befitting the blockbuster tag. Sydney had all the play to begin, two goals in a hurry extending their lead to five goals. Adelaide looked ready to roll over. Then, after missing a couple of set shots, their window to get back into it looked to be closing. From nowhere, they turned it around.

Well, not nowhere – from immense pressure and tackling. Already mentioned Sloane’s 11 grapples. Betts too inside the 50, throwing himself around and getting into the game. McGovern showed his class in the air and on the ground, involved in two of the three Adelaide majors registered in their burst of energy to narrow the margin to single digits. They were unlucky not to score again in the final minutes before the long break.

11.59am BST

A minute to go. It’s end to end. Adelaide running their guts out. Douglas pumps it long inside 50 again but it ends up out of bounds. Betts brilliant roving from the throw in, but the kick is smothered. Rory Sloane has ELEVEN tackles to half-time. Enjoy that, fantasy footballers. Huge points. Buddy has it on the wing with 15 seconds to go, but Adelaide tidy up at half-back and that’s the SIREN. Phew.

11.56am BST

Q2 3:00 remaining. Crows 5.5.35 v Swans 7.1.43. And another! Matt Crouch on the end of some rapid ball movement inside the arc, Betts involved in that too. He’s the outside man, able to settle and steer from 30. Game on. “All of a sudden Sydney are on the back foot,” says Bruce. Moments later Betts has another shot on goal, which would have been four majors in as many minutes. But he misses. What Sydney need is the siren. Adelaide have had 37 tackles in the quarter, Cameron Ling reports – they average 18 this season per term.

Here is the McGovern goal, the middle of the three. How about the pace?

McGovern puts the pedal to the metal. #AFLCrowsSwans

11.52am BST

Q2 7:00 remaining. Crows 4.4.28 v Swans 7.1.43. Two goals in a heartbeat for the hosts! Where that come from? Well, Eddie converts a set shot at close range. McGovern did the spade work there with a towering mark at half-forward. He’s having a decent time of it. Then, down to McGovern again from the restart who bananas Adelaide back into the game!

11.44am BST

Why is Brian Taylor calling McGovern a gecko? “He has the most gecko hands I have ever seen!” Well, whatever the case, he has missed a straightforward set shot here. That hurts, given how few opportiunities they have had to score in this quarter, as it hits half-way. Betts gets a rare sniff shortly thereafter, but his snap just misses as well. Eddie and Walker have five kicks between them.

11.42am BST

Structure. “The Swans have set up beautifully tonight,” says Cameron Ling. As Adelaide once again find Swans jumper coming out from the defensive 50. Has happened routinely.

11.39am BST

Q2 15:30 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 7.1.43. Sydney are blowing this game right open. Any momentum Adelaide clawed back in the final moments of the opening term goes with Sydney’s second goal of the first five minutes in the second. Here, it is Zak Jones again. Two kicks, two goals. Easy business this. It required going upstairs for a review, but it is all clear.

Spud: Every disposal Adelaide get is under extreme pressure. #AFLCrowsSwans

11.33am BST

Q2 18:10 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 6.1.37. Zak Jones kicks Sydney’s first of the quarter inside two minutes, Sydney able to rebound after a sloppy exit from Adelaide’s defensive 50. Jones coverts the set from from 35 and gives it the big ones with the celebration as well. Big fan of that.

11.29am BST

Siren. We’re back in the city of churches.

11.26am BST

The Swans kicked the first four in a burst, Franklin involved with a precise set shot from long-range then a brilliant bit of body work to engineer a snap for his second. The old firm are driving their early advantage, Kennedy with plenty of it, McVeigh instrumental in two majors as well from half-back. Adelaide took the better part of quarter of an hour to find their feet, but were far more competitive thereafter. Sloane’s goal inside the last minute, a clever take and bomb from outside the 50, has the margin about where it should be at the end of the term.

Buddy = #AFLCrowsSwans

11.22am BST

Q1 0:40 remaining. Crows 2.2.14 v Swans 5.1.31. Rory Sloane finds the the best through is over the top of them all. In the nick of time before the siren, runs around the back for a little handball receive from 52, kicks the journey and it is true. He’s been their best. They earned that one.

11.19am BST

Bad misses. The big man Jacobs the beneficiary of an inside 50 that does a leg-break and goes through everyone, but turning around from 20m he misses. Indeed, he hasn’t scored. Talia, the TV tells us, has been now moved back to Franklin. Meanwhile, Kennedy has ten touches already, fuelling Sydney with his work in the guts. The ball has been in Sydney’s half 63% of the time to date, but Adelaide should have done more to bridge the gap over the last five minutes. Another shot missed by close range as I say that, Jerka Jenkins snapping over his shoulder from the kick-off line but it is off-target. Under more pressure than Jacobs was, but should have done better. 23 points the margin, two minutes to go in the term.

11.15am BST

Q1 5:30 remaining. Crows 1.1.7 v Swans 5.1.31. Jack gets a gimme! He misses his initial set shot from 45m but Lever has overstepped the mark. 50m penalty paid, taking him to point blank range. Sydney have hit straight back.

Sydney’s first quarter intensity #aflcrowsswans

11.12am BST

Q1 6:45 remaining. Crows 1.1.7 v Swans 4.1.25. Lever to Betts out of the back half, who gets the burners on finding a target at half-forward, that’s McGovern who pumps it into the hot spot, Smith running onto the loose ball and having the composure under pressure to convert. Taken a while, but Adelaide are on the board. The crowd roar, in relief as much as anything.

11.10am BST

Q1 9:20 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 4.1.25. FRANKLIN! He swerves and grooves his way at ground level, just shoves Keath out of the way, swings around to snap on his left from 30 and drills it! That’s the best of the genius, strength and style.

11.07am BST

Sydney are on. After conmceding 50m penalty, unclear for what. Cameron bangs it deep for the Crows. Eight times in ten they would find a way to score, but it is an avalanche of red and white jumpers then some classy hands again from McVeigh before Hannery finds Franklin by foot with a precise chip. 62-39 the possession count to Sydney. All over them.

11.04am BST

Q1 12:00 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 3.1.19. Tippett! You know from the boos, it can only be him. Takes the strong overhead grab after smooth ball movement set up by McVeigh. Pops it through. “Adelaide are getting destroyed around the footy,” says Cameron Ling. 23 to 14 the contested possession count at this early stage in favour of the Swans.

11.00am BST

Excellent from Alex Keath. Sticking with Franklin who looked ready to run, executing the tackle and winning the free. The young man made the transition from professional cricket to footy and on the early evidence looks the goods. But moments later, Sam Reid gets a set shot form long range anyway. He misses, hitting the post. “A fast start here,” says Bruce. That it is. “Adelaide need an earlier steadier here.”

10.58am BST

Q1 15:30 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 2.0.12. Kelly fumbles on the last line for Adelaide going with one hand instead of two, Rohan is there to collect the crumbs, taking two goes at it but soccering through for Sydney’s second in a couple of minutes.

10.57am BST

Q1 17:00 remaining. Crows 0.1.1 v Swans 1.0.6. Rapid couple of minutes to begin, bodies flying everywhere. Tippett from half-forward gets it into Buddy who does as he has for a dozen years or more, using his body to position defender Keath under the ball. Kicking from the arc, he drills it with a penetrative kick, straight through the middle. The visitors are away.

That sky though… #goswans #AFLCrowsSwans

10.51am BST

Neglected to mention. It is Taylor Walker’s 150th tonight. Looks a packed house at Adelaide. A bit of rain there this afternoon, the telly tells me, but dry enough now for a clean game. “The Crows have more to lose,” the assessment of Paul Roos. A bit of nonsense push and shove before the bounce, as is the custom. And with that, we’re away. SIREN.

10.43am BST

You know what…

Not always a bad thing to drop the second last round if you want to win the flag, Richmond stunning Hawthorn in 2008 comes to mind. But really, this is an excuse to post some of the best footy of my lifetime, Chris Grant ending Essendon’s perfect season in Rd 21, 2000. But they still went and won it all five weeks later.

10.39am BST

Stats and facts and all the rest.

I don’t feel like I talked enough about Adelaide in that opener. They’re pretty good at footy. Six of the last seven at the business end confirm as much. They cannot finish lower than second, so we’re back at the mighty Adelaide Oval in a fortnight no matter what. I was writing about that joint from Edgbaston the day-night Test at Edgbaston last night. What a place. But I digress. They kick a league-high 113 points a game. Have more inside 50s than anyone. More marks in the arc. All the stuff that makes it a joy to watch.

10.26am BST

Hello everyone. Welcome to the penultimate round of AFL season 2017, kicking off with a proper blockbuster at the Adelaide Oval between the Crows and Sydney. The Crows on top, the Swans the form team of the comp for the better part of three months, we could very well have ourselves the Grand Final preview over the next few hours.

Adam Collins with you here from the mean streets of Peckham in South London to give you the good oil over the next few hours. And there should be plenty of that, as this is a corker.

5.48am BST

Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, why not have a read of this heartfelt tribute to the soon-to-be-departed Bob Murphy, written by Kate O’Halloran:

Related: Bob Murphy: the rapturous Bulldogs boy who embraced the club as his own | Kate O’Halloran

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Aug 06

England v South Africa: fourth Test, day three – as it happened

Moeen Ali’s scorching counter-attack helped England to a lead of 360 on a rain-affected third day in Manchester

6.15pm BST

Vic Marks’s report will be here shortly:

Related: Moeen Ali restores England order after batting wobble against South Africa

5.34pm BST

That’s no great surprise. It’s been a fun day, with some excellent bowling from South Africa and a thrilling

little cameo
counter-attack from Moeen Ali. He will resume on 67 not out, made from 59 balls, with England leading by 360 runs. Thanks for your company, night.

5.25pm BST

Related: Doug Insole obituary

5.25pm BST

What is a cameo? “Afternoon RS,” says Tom Bowtell. “So, what do we think are the parameters of a cameo? Under 45 at a strike-rate of more than 70? I remember first hearing the word on TMS in 1992 when Hick made 43 in 40 balls in a Test against New Zealand.”

Hmm, good one. Why 45? I reckon anything under 50 at a strike rate of 70. I think I first heard the word when Jack Russell made 13 off five balls in an ODI, also against New Zealand. Who played my favourite cameo? Mr Nixon McLean.

5.20pm BST

“Great effort from Faf du Plessis to catch Roland-Jones only to lose hold on landing,” says Brian Withington. “I recall watching a wicket-keeping class that demonstrated how even the youngsters are taught to roll as they dive to limit the jarring impact on the elbow. Will you mention that to Faf or should I?”

I’ll Whatschat him now.

5.18pm BST

A stat for you Moeen’s strike rate in this innings is 113.55. The other England batsmen have scored at a combined rate of 39.88.

5.16pm BST

66.2 overs: England 220-8 (lead by 360 runs; Moeen 67, Broad 0) Moeen launches Rabada straight back over his head for four. David Gower once said that it’s hard work making batting look effortless. If that’s the case, Moeen is working like a beast right now. He has 67 from 59 balls, and has a real chance of a memorable centur- ACH! The rain has finally arrived, so the players are going off.

5.14pm BST

66th over: England 219-8 (Moeen 62, Broad 0) Moeen saunters down to hoick Maharaj over midwicket for his third six. He could get a hundred here, if someone hangs around with him. Watching Moeen bat should be officially prescribed as a cure for existential weariness.

5.09pm BST

65th over: England 212-8 (Moeen 54, Broad 0) Here’s Phil Sawyer. “Actor walks into an audition. ‘Excuse me, I’m looking for a little cameo?’ ‘Okay, then,’ replies the casting director, ‘Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mamma, come on baby tell me what’s the word, word up. Next!’. You can have that one for free.”

You’re better than that, Phil. You are better than that, aren’t you?

5.05pm BST

Roland-Jones mishits a pull over midwicket, from where Marahaj runs back to take an excellently judged catch. No matter: his partnership of 57 with Moeen has put England in an almost impregnable position.

5.01pm BST

64th over: England 207-7 (Moeen 51, Roland-Jones 11) Moeen charges Maharaj and swings a big straight six that Bairstow, on the England balcony, is able to spring to his feet and take the catch. That might be the first time a crowd catch has been taken by a team-mate. It brings up a brilliant run-a-ball fifty from Moeen, his 11th in Tests and his fifth batting at No8.

4.57pm BST

63rd over: England 200-7 (Moeen 44, Roland-Jones 11) Roland-Jones is dropped by Faf du Plessis. It was a brilliant bouncer from Rabada that took the splice and looped over the slips. du Plessis ran back, swooped forward and stretched out a telescopic arm to take a great catch, only for it to bounce out when his elbow hit the ground. That would have been an awesome catch. It was an awesome catch, until he landed.

Rabada tries the bouncer again later in the over. This time Moeen swaps an excellent pull for four. He is playing superbly.

4.51pm BST

62nd over: England 194-7 (Moeen 39, Roland-Jones 10) Moeen flashes Maharaj over cover for four, then dances down to launch a mighty six over midwicket. Pick that out! He is really dominating Maharaj, which is quite an achievement for a left-hander on this pitch. England lead by 330.

4.48pm BST

61st over: England 184-7 (Moeen 29, Roland-Jones 10) Still no sign of the expected rain. Rabada’s inswinging yorker homes in on the stumps of Roland-Jones, who deftly skips back in his crease and digs it out. For a No9, he can really bat.

4.44pm BST

60th over: England 183-7 (Moeen 29, Roland-Jones 10) Moeen’s lovely little cameo continues when he reverse sweeps Maharaj through the legs of Elgar at slip and away for four. He tries to repeat the shot next ball but it bounces much more to hit the gloves before pinballing around Moeen’s body and just past the stumps.

“Hi Rob,” says Henry Brown. “Isn’t a cameo ‘little’ by definition?”

4.41pm BST

59th over: England 179-7 (Moeen 25, Roland-Jones 10) Rabada replaces Olivier, the last, last, last, last, last throw of the dice from South Africa. An LBW against Roland-Jones is turned down, on the grounds that it wouldn’t have hit the stumps.

“I’ve noticed you’ve gone down the Mark Corrigan path of achieving laddishness through calling everyone mate – I’m more of a pal kind-of guy myself…” sniffs Tom Van der Gucht. “I was thinking about other captains who liked to buck the trend of under-bowling themselves. Didn’t Flintoff pretty much ruin his knees(?) chasing wins by sending down excessive amounts of overs?”

4.36pm BST

58th over: England 179-7 (Moeen 25, Roland-Jones 10) Moeen hits consecutive boundaries off Maharaj, a lap round the corner followed by a lofted sweep. This is an infectious little cameo of 25 from 31 balls, and has probably sealed the series for England.

“Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “99.94 of the time England win this Test. But hey, you know…”

4.33pm BST

57th over: England 171-7 (Moeen 17, Roland-Jones 10) A flashing cut from Moeen off Olivier is superbly fielded in the covers by Rabada, which probably saved four runs. Nothing can stop Roland-Jones’ withering pull, however, and those four runs take England’s lead to 307.

“Hi Rob,” says Ed Smyth. “Re: the 54th over, can something still go wrong if you’re all three of those things at once? Or does that suggest something already went very wrong?”

4.27pm BST

56th over: England 166-7 (Moeen 16, Roland-Jones 6) “Mate England are safe,” says Amod Paranjape. “Make no mistake. What I don’t understand is why Joe Root is underbowling himself since becoming captain.”

Captains always do mate. They have enough drain on their mental energy. Unless they’re a specialist bowler like Courtney Walsh, in which case such a policy would be dangerously funky.

4.23pm BST

55th over: England 165-7 (Moeen 15, Roland-Jones 6) Roland-Jones gets off the mark with a hearty clump for four off Olivier, who then has a shrieked appeal for LBW turned down. It was missing leg.

“Did they really tell you the middle name of England’s current number five in journalism school,” says David Wall, “or have you been having Visions of Johannes?” Arf!

4.20pm BST

54th over: England 159-7 (Moeen 15, Roland-Jones 0) Moeen is dropped by Elgar at slip! It was a sharp low chance, as Moeen pushed forward at Maharaj. Elgar grabbed it by his left foot but lost control of the ball as he rolled over.

There’s a weird atmosphere at Old Trafford, as if England had a lead of 450 rather than 295. They should win because these are not easy batting conditions,. But the fact is, nothing comes with a guarantee. I don’t care if you’re the Pope of Rome, President of the United States or a Wisden Cricketer of the Year; something can all go wrong.

4.14pm BST

Bairstow pulled the last delivery of Olivier’s over to fine leg, where Rabada took a good low catch after originally misjudging the flight of the ball. England lead by 289.

4.13pm BST

53rd over: England 153-7 (Moeen 9) Moeen uses his rubber wrists to work Olivier through midwicket for three, and then Bairstow wallops a pull through the hands of Amla at midwicket. It was hit ferociously and would have been a stunning catch. It doesn’t matter because now Bairstow is out!

4.09pm BST

52nd over: England 144-6 (Bairstow 4, Moeen 6) Moeen wants to take on Maharaj, that being his nature, but it’s not easy with the ball doing naughty things from out of the rough. He contents himself with a carefully driven single off the final delivery of the over.

4.06pm BST

51st over: England 143-6 (Bairstow 4, Moeen 5) Oofah! Olivier’s first ball after tea is a gorgeous full-length delivery that seams past Moeen’s outside edge. The final ball is clouted to the cover boundary by Bairstow, who gets off the mark from his 25th delivery. England will probably feel safe if their lead, currently 279, reaches 300. South Africa’s best hope is that Amla enters a zone of serenity and makes a matchwinning 140 not out.

“Dear Rob,” says Colum Fordham. “Just been playing cricket with Sri Lankans in the broiling hot sun of Naples in some improvised nets inside an abandoned five-a-side football pitch (surrounded by brambles – the Sri Lankans asked me if vlackberries were good to eat) on the outskirts of Naples, interestingly opposite the immaculate English cemetery. Had to face an extremely good Sri Lankan left arm spinner who told me he had played for Sri Lanka A against the likes of Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali several years ago. Incredibly difficult to get to the pitch of the ball. Can feel for the England batsmen against the subtle spin of Maharaj.”

3.56pm BST

“Dawid Malan has no ‘o’ in his name,” notes Daniel Butcher. “Didn’t journalism school say you should have at least two sources Rob?”

No, but it did tell me that Malan’s middle name is Johannes.

3.43pm BST

50th over: England 138-6 (Bairstow 0, Moeen 4) The last over of the session is a maiden from Maharaj to the watchful Bairstow. He has nought from 22 balls. But his last-wicket partnership with James Anderson yesterday looks more significant by the minute. See you in 15 minutes for the evening session.

Jonny #Bairstow‘s 99 is now worth about 150 #ENGvSA

3.38pm BST

49th over: England 138-6 (Bairstow 0, Moeen 4) That was nicely bowled by Olivier, who has quietly had a decent game. He angled it across Stokes, with just enough movement to take the edge as Stokes leaned into a straight drive. Olivier almost makes it two wickets in two balls, with Moeen inside-edging his first ball this close to off stump and away for four. Crikey. England lead by 274.

3.35pm BST

South Africa are still in there brawling! Stokes edges Olivier to first slip, where du Plessis takes a good catch as he falls backwards.

3.32pm BST

48th over: England 130-5 (Stokes 19, Bairstow 0) Another good over from Maharaj to Bairstow, who remains stuck on nought after 17 deliveries. That’s the fourth consecutive maiden.

“Alexander Daniel Hales will probably not get to play Tests against the West Indies; unlike everyone else in the current side, he lacks even one O in his name,” says John Starbuck. “Another example of unconscious selectorial bias?”

3.29pm BST

47th over: England 130-5 (Stokes 19, Bairstow 0) A maiden from Olivier to Stokes. He and Bairstow are in no hurry, and have added one in four overs. That’s partly because of the match situation, partly because rain is coming. The longer England bat, the more this already tricky pitch will deteriorate.

Adam invited our thoughts on Morne Morkel’s length (37th over) by reference to a Mike Selvey tweet on the subject, which also made the connection with Mike Hendrick that you shared on OBO yesterday,” says Brian Withington. “The obvious assertion is that Morkel’s natural length is a shade too short. I suspect that Michael Holding would beg to differ, but I don’t recall the fearsome WI quartets of yore pitching too many up in the batsman’s half? Where is the Hawkeye pitch map library for the 70-80s when you need it?!”

3.24pm BST

46th over: England 130-5 (Stokes 19, Bairstow 0) Bairstow survives an LBW appeal when he misses a sweep at Maharaj. It was slipping down the leg side. That’s the lot.

“My online weather map,” says Mac Millings, “suggests a storm is blowing from out of Jimmy’s end.”

3.22pm BST

45th over: England 130-5 (Stokes 19, Bairstow 0) Stokes smokes Olivier into the leg side, where Kuhn almost takes a sensational leaping catch at short midwicket. His reaction time was almost non-existent, as Stokes really nailed his pull stroke, and Kuhn could only parry it up in the air.

“At what point would you declare, Rob?” asks William Hargreaves. “Do the forecasted conditions look Anderson-friendly?”

3.18pm BST

44th over: England 130-5 (Stokes 19, Bairstow 0) “Hello Adam,” writes our old friend Sara Torvalds. “I’m reading the OBO on a train heading west from Helsinki, on my way to a friend’s cottage by the sea on the Hanko peninsula. If I feel for my friends in Cricket Finland, Cricket Sweden has their work cut out for them too: Finland is bilingual and since my mother tongue is Swedish, my phone settings are in Swedish too, so I was treated to the machine-translated version of what the Cricinfo app does when it required updating recently. “Live cricket scores” became “Bor syrsatjog”, which equals “Lives/Is living in + cricket (the insect, not the game) + a score of, i.e. 20 pieces of”. I stared at it for a bit before I saw how the pieces fit (sort of).”

3.14pm BST

43rd over: England 129-5 (Stokes 18, Bairstow 0) England lead by 265. Logic suggests that’s already enough, such is the spin and uneven bounce.

3.12pm BST

Joe Root has gone for 49, dragging the new bowler Duanne Olivier onto his stumps. That kept a bit low, and Root’s footwork was unusually indecisive. He looks somewhere between disconsolate and affronted. On the plus side, at least nobody will be talking about his conversion rate of fifties to hundreds tonight.

3.07pm BST

42nd over: England 129-4 (Root 49, Stokes 18) Stokes tries a couple of reverse sweeps off Maharaj, and nails the second for four to bring up the fifty partnership. He has had enough of being dominated by Maharaj, and charges the next ball to smash a majestic boundary over midwicket. The floodlights are on now, such is the gloom, and a rain break is imminent.

3.03pm BST

41st over: England 120-4 (Root 48, Stokes 10) Stokes walks down the trick to flick Morkel wristily behind square for four. He plays the most beautiful strokes at times.

2.58pm BST

40th over: England 116-4 (Root 48, Stokes 6) Now Maharaj drifts outside leg stump to Root, who drags a sweep into the ground and over the gloves of de Kock for four. He has his own postcode at the top of the list of leading runscorers in this series.

“Following you discretely from the beachfront family dinner table in Phuket,” says Craig Beck. “Please inform the team that collapse is only acceptable provided they polish off the Sarnies for the win before my 2 hr trip to elephant washing tomorrow morning.”

2.54pm BST

39th over: England 111-4 (Root 44, Stokes 5) Morkel drifts wearily down the leg side to Root, who flicks him to the fine-leg boundary with the minimum of fuss. Root’s record in the second innings isn’t the best – one century, an average of 41 – but this has been a fine performance in tricky conditions against some excellent bowling. He has compromised his usual attacking style, and by doing so has probably ensured England will win his first series as captain.

This is a good spot from Ian Andrew. “England are currently dependent upon Bairstow, Cook, Root and Stokes for most of their runs, and most of their catches!” says Ian. “Besides being the only reliable runscorers they are wicketkeeper, 1st slip, 2nd slip and 3rd slip.”

2.49pm BST

38th over: England 105-4 (Root 38, Stokes 5) Thanks Adam, afternoon everyone. It’s been a strange day so far, with South Africa palpably on top but nobody too worried about England’s prospects because of their big first-innings lead. Root gets in an almighty tangle trying to reverse sweep Maharaj, who is getting it to kick viciously out of the rough, and then Stokes is beaten outside off stump. The last delivery pitches well outside off stump and spits across Stokes’s body for four byes down the leg side.

UltraEdge, meanwhile, suggests Stokes thin-edged Morkel to de Kock a couple of overs back. Nobody appealed, and Stokes betrayed no guilt in his reaction.

It’s with regret that the Club announces the passing of former player, Captain, Chairman & President, Doug Insole –

2.45pm BST

37th over: England 100-4 (Root 38, Stokes 5). Stokes moving it around with a lot more ease when facing Morkel, collecting a couple of singles through cover in the over before drinks, bringing up the 100 in the process. Oh, and soon as I say that Morkel beats the edge… again. My last thought on that topic is something Mike Selvey said on twitter yesterday – in fact, I’ll plonk it below. Thoughts on him pitching it up more? Send them to Rob as he’s taking over now with the players having some cordial. Thanks for your company. See you again soon.

Morkel 2 wickets seems injustice. But beat bat so often not unlucky, means fraction short. It’s why Mike Hendrick never got Test 5 fer.

2.41pm BST

36th over: England 97-4 (Root 37, Stokes 4). Maharaj is now over the wicket to Root, who takes him on with a crunching sweep. That’s just about shot of the day when you consider the footmarks out there. The captain is on here. Michael Vaughan asked if Root is the best England player of the modern era. “No question,” he says.

Tim Joyce isn’t thrilled with what he has seen today: “Yet again three out of our five top batsmen fail to either score runs or occupy the crease in both innings – with the exception of Wesley who at least hung around a while in the first. Not only does this put too much pressure on Cook & Root, it leaves us relying on the middle order to score big runs, and when they don’t we collapse. Some hard work needed before the Ashes!”

2.35pm BST

35th over: England 93-4 (Root 33, Stokes 4). Morkel takes a few balls to get into it, Root profiting with two through point then another couple wide of square leg. Shout for leg before, but it was missing by some way on first glance. Turned down, no consideration of a review.

Robert Wilson adds to the Gideon thread we have stumbled upon: “Gideon Haigh is a nailed-on genius. He can do everything. Forget the cricket. Read his knockout piece on the neglected and weird genius of Neville Chute. And is also the man who said that the opposite of funny is not serious, the opposite of funny is not funny. I hate Gideon Haigh so much it keeps me warm at night.”

2.29pm BST

34th over: England 88-4 (Root 29, Stokes 4). Bit of purpose from the leadership duo here, running hard when they get the chance. Root takes a couple from a dab through the cordon, then another with a push to point to end the over. Lead 224. Worth keeping an eye on that.

How’s this for a stat… Morkel beating the bat this series. He’s back on now. Good call.

Yes, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on it. The current figure is 90. The most he has ever beaten the bat in a single series.

2.26pm BST

33rd over: England 85-4 (Root 26, Stokes 4). Yorkshire all out 113 at Scarborough, Essex running through them. Keep an eye on the county blog with Will. It’s Rabada again here at Old Trafford. Root takes one from the first ball, giving Stokes a chance to see seam for the first time today. He’s defending off the back foot and then the front, a well-timed push to mid-on suggests he is seeing them well. He cuts well to end the over, but Bavuma is there to make a diving stop at point. Brilliant fielder.

“There’s been a lot of chat about Jenning’s “Last Chance Saloon” but surely Malan is also for the cricketing annuls?,” writes Ben Parker. “Why would he get selected unless he is actually a top class leggy that the selectors are sneaking in under the radar – should Mason Crane and Adil Rashid be worried?”

2.21pm BST

32nd over: England 84-4 (Root 25, Stokes 4). Wrong I was: Stokes leaving again, comes back with massive turn again and the England vice-captain is lucky to keep his off-stump. Phwoar. This is game on. Then one goes underground! Too good for Stokes and de Kock, to the boundary. Four byes. Inside edge next – albeit not to hand. Such a scrap. Stokes hits back though, sweeping powerfully to get off the mark. Phew.

Brian Withington has found Gideon. Oh the treats he has to come: “Your admonition from Phil Roberts has emboldened me to lay a similar charge at your door in relation to your reference to Gideon Haigh before play. I have spent the rest of the day researching his “oeuvre” which I must shamefully confess I was only peripherally aware of. (A bit like an OBOer admitting that they were unfamiliar with Ian Copestake!) Working my way through YouTube clips at mo (including the 2012 Bradman oration) before even attempting the written words. Curse you.”

2.17pm BST

31st over: England 76-4 (Root 25, Stokes 0). Just the slightest width and length to work with and Root is thumping Rabada past point for a timely boundary, along the ground all the way.

Robert Wilson has cred on matters French. Let’s listen to him: “Enough with this piffle and paffle about French cricketing etymology. The French simply can’t be trusted when it comes to answering anglophone questions about the language of Diderot. Furnishing random and improbable obscenities to genuine enquiries is about the only fun they have. They never stop. NEVER accept a helpful suggestion or you will end up confidently and confidentially telling the French Minister of Culture that you are hung like a hoover or you like it hairy. Happens to me once a week. Additionally, if the subject is cricket; you are just asking for trouble. Don’t trust them. Agincourt is still a thing round here.”

2.14pm BST

30th over: England 72-4 (Root 21, Stokes 0). The vice-captain Stokes joins his skipper to generous applause. A fraction more urgent than expected a couple of hours ago. BIG SHOUT for leg before! He’s not offering shot. But they don’t go upstairs. And that’s a good call, TV shows it was missing off-stump. Came back a long way though. Enough spin out there to suggest we won’t see him shouldering arms again. Fantastic cricket.

WICKET Malan out for 6 off Maharaj

72/4 #ENGvSA

Match centre:

2.10pm BST

It doesn’t matter! Quality finger spin from Maharaj, earning the inside edge and into the hands of forward short leg. Safely taken. Another double failure for Malan – 35 runs at 8.75 in his four hits.

2.08pm BST

29th over: England 71-3 (Root 20, Malan 6). That’s uggggly from Malan. DROPPED by Bavuma, who was full stretch running with the flight in the third man direction. No issue with his effort. The shot though. Taking on Rabada from well outside the off-stump, bouncer height. Degree of difficulty trying to pump that over midwicket? Wery high. Anyway, he survives the top edge.

2.04pm BST

28th over: England 67-3 (Root 19, Malan 2). After bowling such a disciplined length to Root, Maharaj ends with a full toss. The captain doesn’t miss out, clobbering that to the midwicket rope. His second boundary. The lead now beyond 200. So if you’re watching the telly it’ll be about half an hour until Warne starts talking up the declaration. Or bagging Steve Waugh.

Genuinely interested to see who England pick instead of Stoneman against West Indies.

2.00pm BST

27th over: England 62-3 (Root 15, Malan 2). Shot from Root, quick hands to turn Rabada from leg stump fine for four. He’s angry, responding with a quicker delivery that bounces into Root’s thigh pad. Malan picked up his second run to square leg earlier in the over. The lead is 198.

Rabada bowling to Root. Highest of quality Test cricket. #ENGvSA

1.57pm BST

26th over: England 57-3 (Root 15, Malan 1). Maharaj around the wicket and tight at Root. Really enjoying this. Bounces into his approach and finishes the follow through still bouncing. Root sweeps well when the chance comes, to the man at deep backward square. Malan gets off the mark to retain the strike, also sweeping. Eleven openers have joined with Cook since Strauss and none have lasted more than 20 innings, we’re told by Andrew Samson on TMS. That was Hales. Who has had one of the great weeks of white-ball cricket, as it happens.

Keaton Jennings made 18 from 63 balls – an innings that was painful to watch. England need an opener for the WI series

1.52pm BST

25th over: England 55-3 (Root 14, Malan 0). Significant innings for Malan too with pretty much every player in England earmarked for number five over the last week. Touch unfair given he’s batted three times in Tests. But that’s Blockbusters. He defends then leaves to see out the over. A wicket maiden.

WICKET Jennings out for 18 after nicking to slip off Rabada

55/3 #ENGvSA

Match centre:

1.49pm BST

Cutting, edging, gone! Too close for the shot. Looks awful. And Jennings knows it, cursing and slashing as he walks from the field, knowing that his Test career will now almost certainly take a pause. Well bowled Rabada generating the extra bounce. Jennings finishes with 127 runs at 15.87 for the series.

1.47pm BST

24th over: England 55-2 (Jennings 18, Root 14). Maharaj with the first over back. Root takes a single to begin out to point. Jennings makes hard work of the middle part of the over before getting a single through square leg to retain the strike.

“There you go Adam, you’ve just come up with the title for your forthcoming book,” writes Jeffrey Earp in Italy on my earlier take with playing hours. Move them forward, I say! “We All Have Dinners to Get To: an OBO View of International Test Cricket.”

1.37pm BST

OBO red meat.

Ask a question about wicket etymology, expect a flood of emails. Here we go…

Related: County cricket: Hampshire v Lancashire, Yorkshire v Essex and more – live!

1.10pm BST

England took quarter of an hour to secure their first innings lead, Broad taking the final wicket, the advantage 136 runs.

That’s moved along to 189 by lunch, albeit with two wickets falling along the way. Both Cook and Westley had their edge found by Morkel, who did a fine job across an eight over spell.

1.07pm BST

23rd over: England 53-2 (Jennings 17, Root 13). Last over before lunch. Before it begins, you’ve flooded me with emails over the last hour. Thank you. We’ll skip through them at lunch. For now, Olivier. Who earns one one play and miss from Jennings. Been a few of those. But he’s still there, defending and leaving well enough to get to the break. That’s lunch. Back in a moment.

1.03pm BST

22nd over: England 53-2 (Jennings 17, Root 13). Maharaj doesn’t get another proper crack at Root, who is safely down the other end. Jenning’s beaten on the outside edge with one that doesn’t turn. Had to play. Good bowling. Then gives the next one a lot of turn, crashing into his pad. An appeal, turned down. Upgrade that to really good bowling. To get out of strife, Jennings deploys another reverse sweep. Maharaj looks right for a big afternoon if he can get a bit of luck. He’s done well to rush through this one too, with it being 12:59pm South Africa will get one more in before their sandwiches.

Ravindra Jadeja has been suspended for the upcoming Pallekele Test after an accumulation of demerit points.

More ➡️

12.59pm BST

21st over: England 52-2 (Jennings 16, Root 13). A very straight drive Root’s response to a full Olivier delivery to begin, back into the non-strikers’ stumps. Frustrating for any batsman when the wood doubles as a fielder. Oh and another one has shot through. The second of the morning. Root just gets down in time. Maybe that’s partly to blame for the lavish drive he attempts to end the over, playing and missing. Probably not the shot this close to lunch. Replay doesn’t flatter him. But we know from Root’s lengthy interviews following his 254 here last year how he responds to errors: a series of deep breaths. Simple but effective. It was a year ago, in any case.

Bringing the threads together, as ever, Ian Copestake: “I have a friend who is in an exotic location so that I do not have to be. He is meant to be getting me some wine while he is in Burgundy. If not his cat that I am “looking after” might be fed some Greek weed with lemon.” Greek weed. I laughed.

12.55pm BST

20th over: England 52-2 (Jennings 16, Root 13). Good little contest emerging between Maharaj and Root. Forced to defend early on, before taking advantage of some flight to stride down the track and drive to the sweeper at deep cover point. He’ll get another in before lunch.

“Even less glamorous here than Shenzhen,” reports Kimberley Thonger. “It’s a children’s funfair at Willen Lake, Milton Keynes, where unfortunate batsmen still come away with a prize.” A photo is attached, a ‘hook a duck’ carnival game. ‘Prize every time,’ it says. I read from time to time that this is at the core of what is wrong with the world. Yeah, that’s it.

12.50pm BST

19th over: England 51-2 (Jennings 16, Root 12). The England 50 brought up through Jennings’ best shot of the morning, stroking Olivier through the covers. Lovely drive.

Anthony White says nice things about the coverage. Thanks Tony. “I understand Christopher Doherty’s problem well,” he continues. “Here in France also, croquet seems to be better known than cricket. On hearing that I am talking of a different, and far superior, game they either roll their eyes with that french (see Eddie Izzard) look as if all misunderstandings have their root in Britishness, or smile excitedly and say ‘oh yes, baseball!’ I have several court cases outstanding.”

12.47pm BST

18th over: England 47-2 (Jennings 12, Root 12). Classy maiden from Maharaj, who has impressed throughout this series. Gives it a big rip to Root, who is pushed back then brought forward. Nearly slips one through the gate. Then to finish hits the pad, warranting a big shout. Turned down, missing leg. No review this time.

No hat-trick for Mohammad Amir but he currently has bowling figures of 7-3-9-4

12.44pm BST

17th over: England 47-2 (Jennings 12, Root 12). Yep, it is Olivier for his first go this innings, replacing Morkel who took 2-22 in his eight over stint. Has stepped up as the attack leader in Philander’s absence. Root comfortable watching the right-armer to begin, before clipping a single behind square. Jennings watches the last ball pass by. The lead now 183.

“Could you please put in a word to the ECB about test match starting times?” asks Peter Lee. “I live in St Kitts in the West Indies, and the five hour time difference is really annoying, like waking up and missing the first thirty overs. It would be jolly good if you could all start at 1pm with stumps at 10pm around my tea time.”

12.39pm BST

16th over: England 46-2 (Jennings 12, Root 11). “It wasn’t the best review,” says an understated Graeme Smith on what happened last time Maharaj was at the bowling crease. Suggests that du Plessis was talked into it by bowler and ‘keeper. The left-arm orthodox misses his line to Root here, who makes no mistake sweeping hard to pick up his first boundary. He’s better to Jennings to conclude, winning an inside edge. But it doesn’t end up with the short leg.

Haseeb Hameed gone for 5 at the Ageas. Hadn’t played a shot in anger, then drove Fidel Edwards and edged to second slip.

12.35pm BST

15th over: England 41-2 (Jennings 12, Root 6). Morkel goes again, for an eighth on the spin. “Surely it’ll be his last one,” says Vaughan on the radio. Root starts with a couple to cover. Looking at ease early. Another through point later in the over, with some good running, before Jennings pushes confidently to finish.

Tom Morgan is grateful for Jonathan Leach’s intel. “Thanks. Now I know what she’s doing I felt obliged to explain cricket to her in my limited Greek. I think I won her over but she says why do we keep picking Jennings.”

12.30pm BST

14th over: England 38-2 (Jennings 12, Root 3). Jennings responds to the review with a boundary to finish off Maharaj’s first over of the innings. A reverse sweep, no less. That’ll do. He’s into double figures.

WICKET Morkel gets another as Westley goes for 9

30/2 #ENGvSA


12.28pm BST

NOT OUT! That’s a poor referral from Faf. Kicked away, sure. So it doesn’t need to hit in line. But missing by some way.

12.27pm BST

REVIEW! Has Maharaj trapped Jennings? They’re taking a look.

12.25pm BST

13th over: England 33-2 (Jennings 8, Root 2). Morkel again. Six overs a decent shift for the giant quick. Finds Root’s edge, but along the ground. One taken. Jennings beaten by a good one, across him and fending but no contact made. Important little session for the hosts, 35 minutes to the interval, their lead 169.

12.22pm BST

12th over: England 32-2 (Jennings 8, Root 1). Jennings get off strike to the first Rabada delivery, giving his captain a chance to have a look for the first time today. He has to use his bat throughout, and also takes a quick-ish single to Bavuma. Home far more safely than Jennings was earlier, mind. He’s off the mark. And keeps the strike.

On the ‘where are you watching’ rounds. Steve is in Cairns. “Sitting on the balcony at Clifton Beach, just outside Cairns, its 8.45 pm here and just listening to the Coral Sea pound onto the beach , while fighting with a second bottle of Shiraz (hard day). Must admit you Poms have a semi-decent team this time and it will make regaining the Ashes all the more pleasurable. Thanks for your coverage.”

12.16pm BST

Oh, the ball after playing a delightful square drive punch to the rope, Westley has edged to the gully when trying to drive to mid-on. Very similar to how he went in the first innings at The Oval. Will fuel his critics, who believe he’s too inclined to seek runs through the legside. South Africa are behind by 166 in this Test, but vaguely back in it now with Morkel doing the heavy lifting. They know they can take ten cheap England wickets from their last trip out of London. If they can get Root early it’ll be game on, that’s for sure.

11th over: England 30-2 (Jennings 7, Root 0).

12.12pm BST

10th over: England 26-1 (Jennings 7, Westley 5). Quick single! Blimey, taking on Bavuma is bold. But Jennings makes it. Out if it hit. Surprised he didn’t – one of the best ground fielders in the game. Westley’s single, also to cover, less stressful. Jennings defends well enough to see out the rest.

John says his Midlands location isn’t exotic. He has a take, though: “Now that Anderson has his own end, there must be endless jokes about him chasing his own tail or getting his end away. Toilet jokes about firing a loosener from his own end.” I’ll take that as a comment.

12.09pm BST

9th over: England 24-1 (Jennings 6, Westley 4). Morkel from the Jimmy End. Continues to defend and leave competently enough. Until he has one shoot low! Didn’t see that coming. Lucky it wasn’t on target. Gets a beauty to finish, Morkel beating the number three who is stuck a bit on the crease there. Plenty of movement. Maiden.

Neglected to pop in that Cook wicket from before. Here you go.

WICKET Cook caught off Morkel for 10

16/1 #ENGvSA

Match centre:

12.04pm BST

8th over: England 24-1 (Jennings 6, Westley 4). That’s better. Jennings gets on one the pads from Rabada and doesn’t miss out. His first boundary. Defending well to finish it off. Maybe he’ll make the most of that chance and put together a dazzling hundred. Maybe.

Flooded with emails with exotic OBO locations. Should have known, you culture vultures. Let’s race through some over the next couple of overs.

11.57am BST

7th over: England 20-1 (Jennings 2, Westley 4). Quality bumper from Morkel to Westley to welcome him along. Like. A confident couple of leaves follow from the no. 3. He’s reached 50 balls in reach of his three innings for England so far. And off the mark with a drive past point to the rope. Not the most stylish stroke, but does enough to reach the rope. Nice start for him.

“I’m not sure Jennings really does need a ton to survive,” writes Elliot Carr-Barnsley. “I’m not a huge fan of his, but this hasn’t been a particularly sensational top order batting series. The pitches have been good for cricket and there have only been four fifties and one hundred from any of the openers in 28 innings across the series before this one. To rule him out now would still be harsh.”

11.50am BST

They don’t drop a second one back there! Morkel rewarded for pitching slightly further up, Cook electing to drive but miscuing straight to gully. The catch went quick, but de Bruyn was all over it.

11.48am BST

6th over: England 16-0 (Cook 10, Jennings 2). DROPPED!! Jennings put down by Elgar to the second ball of Rabada’s over. Pushing at a ball he probably didn’t need to play in an effort to get off the mark. It required a dive to the third slip’s left, but he should have taken it. You can tell from his reaction. Jennings knows it too, his face telling a story until that grill. How will he respond? With a couple to cover, getting him off the mark. Well, it’s a start.

11.46am BST

5th over: England 14-0 (Cook 10, Jennings 0). Morkel beats Cook cutting early. Doesn’t miss many of those. Gets a couple behind point in more convincing fashion to move into double figures, the leading moving to 150 in the process.

“Does my front room in Beijing count as exotic?” asks Richard Woods. You’re behind the music festival in Japan. That’s the clubhouse leader. But thanks for dropping a line.

11.42am BST

4th over: England 12-0 (Cook 8, Jennings 0). Leaving, leaving, leaving. Defending, defending, defending. Jennings has plenty of work to do, but that’ll do a bit for his confidence early in the stay.

Shane Warne has managed to talk about declaring in the 5th over – the man is an artist. #ENGvSa

11.40am BST

3rd over: England 12-0 (Cook 8, Jennings 0). Much like the first innings, Morkel right on top of Cook with one that angles in and tails away. Pretty much unplayable. But in response he doesn’t generate the same late movement, the opener able to shuffle across the create and time a boundary through midwicket. Very Ali Cook, that. And another boundary to end the set, albeit from the outside half of the bat. I’m being generous again, it’s an edge. Between the cordon and gully. Positively motoring. The lead 148.

“Sneaking furtive OBO updates from a festival in Tokyo while my wife dances with the old dears in the picture,” relays Jonathan Perry. I’m not savvy enough to add the photo, but it is as he says. “Shouted inappropriately loudly at the last SA wicket and had to pretend that I was just really impressed with the music. Don’t think anyone was convinced. Thanks for the ever-interesting coverage!”

11.34am BST

2nd over: England 4-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 0). Rabada to Jennings. Oh, and he gives him a good’un to begin. Was always destined to be so with the situation the opening bat is walking into. Nothing about this will be easy. It beats his edge, mercifully. And does it again later in the over! Plenty of jag here from the quick. But he gets through it. Phew. Back to back maidens.

“Morning Adam.” Hi there, Nick Parish. “Have enjoyed following OBO for many years now, and one enduring stalwart of the conversation has been the excellent spectating seat from the grungy basement at Guardian Towers. But now you say you’re there? In the Press Box, no less?! I thought newspapers were supposed to have fallen on hard times? Or do you have a particularly compromising set of photos featuring The Man and Weird Uncle Fiver that you have put to good use?”

11.28am BST

1st over: England 4-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 0). Highly ambitious shout for leg before, Morkel striking Cook’s pads, but it is going well down the legside and ultimately down to the rope to begin England’s second innings. Maiden completed with some decent pace towards the end of it.

The other Andy Wilson has dropped me a line. “Following OBO from a beach in Crete.” Yeah cheers mate. “It is 38 degrees but the sea and the drinks are cool. Pity me!” Reading from somewhere exotic? Somewhere nicer than where Andy is, even?

11.25am BST

Historical context. For what it is worth. 1961 quite juicy.

Only two first innings deficits larger than 136 have been overturned into a victory at Old Trafford: 177 (1961) & 179 (2008). #EngvSA

11.23am BST

Keaton Jennings.

So here it is: his last chance. How must that feel? Not inaccurate to say, is it, that how he performs today could alter the trajectory of his life? Find a ton, hold his spot, who knows. Nick off early, dropped, he’s a quirky entry in the ‘tons on debut’ list. Brutal business. And on the way out now, alongside Alastair Cook. Good luck to the lad.

11.17am BST

Olivier can’t resist, swinging hard at the first ball of Broad’s new over. It’s short, the top-edge goes high in the air, giving Bairstow enough time to race back and complete the catch. South Africa’s first innings ends with a deficit of 136. Despite not getting the five, Anderson still leads them off with a big smile on his face. Job done.

11.14am BST

72nd over: South Africa 226-9 (Morkel 20, Olivier 4). Anderson into his familiar channel to Morkel, who is solid throughout with a straight bat, leaving confidently as well. Maiden. Broad another chance to deny Anderson his home five-for, how I’m looking at it.

11.12am BST

71st over: South Africa 226-9 (Morkel 20, Olivier 4). Boycott on the radio saying he would have given Anderson a chance from the Anderson end by bowling Moeen the second over today. Anyway, it is Broad here. He’s taken to square leg by Morkel first ball of the set, exposing the number 11. He’s defending well for the most part, but gets a work out at the end of the over, copping on one the thigh then an inside edge to finish.

11.09am BST

7oth over: South Africa 225-9 (Morkel 19, Olivier 4). Quick single, Jennings nearly runs out Olivier. They end up collecting five from it with the no. 11 steering an edge beyond gully. Being generous calling it a steer on reflection. Either way, it’s in the book.

11.03am BST

69th over: South Africa 220-9 (Olivier 0, Morkel 18). Olivier does what he needs to do to survive the Broad mini-over. Theee balls to come, he’s beaten with one but gets the full face to the final delivery. That’ll do. The crowd are very happy with that, for it gives Anderson the chance to claim his first five-for at Old Trafford. Go you good thing.

I’ve actually made a meal of that before play. It was Broad from the Anderson End, of course. And Anderson now from the Statham End. End chat: the best kind. Love a joint with multiple names for an end, especially when on radio. Especially enjoy an ‘Old Football Stand’ End. Suspect this is an interest only I have, though, so I’ll leave it there.

10.59am BST

Last bit of colour before we get going.

Was trawling around the world wide web yesterday trying to find something Gideon Haigh wrote about radio commentary (or so I thought) some years ago. Came up short. But did happen upon a preview of the weekend in Australian live music he wrote for The Age on 1 May 1987. Suspect you’ll like this.

Looking for something Gideon wrote about cricket commentary, stumbled on his preview of the weekend in live music from The Age, 1 May 1987.

10.57am BST

Kids with flags at the ready.

Suggests the players aren’t far away.

10.44am BST

Opening the batting.

Is Amod Paranjape. Morning, Amod. “After Jimmy, who? And please don’t say Woakes.”

10.21am BST

If England were scripting out their Saturday, it couldn’t have gone much better. In turn, they’re in a position to just about seal the series by the time they go to bed tonight.

In no small part this was due to the great Jimmy Anderson. Riding shotgun with Jonny Bairstow for a 50-run final wicket stand, then picking up four wickets in the afternoon, it was a clinic from the old boy.

10.03am BST

Adam will be here shortly. Before that, here Jimmy Anderson on his spell on day two:

Jimmy Anderson said he felt additional pressure when he took the new ball at the end that now carries his name but was delighted to end the day with four victims to leave him one away from a maiden Test five-wicket haul on his home ground. The 35-year-old said he could not care less who closes out the South Africa innings as England continue on their path towards a 3-1 series win.

“I felt like I couldn’t bowl badly,” said Anderson, whose figures of four for 33 included a game-breaking spell of three for six in 20 balls. “It feels very strange still to hear it being announced. But I’m thrilled by the honour and it’s nice to get some wickets.

Continue reading…

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Aug 04

England v South Africa: fourth Test, day one – as it happened

A superb, topsy-turvy day’s cricket ended with England on 260 for six after Kagiso Rabada slammed a yorker through the top-scorer Ben Stokes right at the death

6.26pm BST

90th over: England 260-6 (Bairstow 33, Roland-Jones 0) Bairstow takes two boundaries off Olivier’s final over of the day – a thumping extra-cover drive followed by an attempted leave that scuttles through the slip cordon. That’s the end of a belting day’s cricket, in which both sides played Pass The Initiative (or, to be more accurate, Grab The Initiative Back Through Very Good Cricket, but that doesn’t have the same ring). The late wicket of Ben Stokes makes it South Africa’s day, just about, though there is little in it. Thanks for your company, night.

6.22pm BST

89th over: England 252-6 (Bairstow 25, Roland-Jones 0) That was devastating bowling from Rabada. It’s the mark of a champion to take a key wicket at the end of a hard day, and he has done exactly that.

6.20pm BST

Oh yes yes yes. This is magnificent from Kagiso Rabada! Stokes hit him for two fours earlier in the over, and Rabada responded by slamming a yorker into the base of off stump. It would have been brilliant at any time of day – but in context, his last delivery of a long day to dismiss Ben Stokes, it’s an absolute gem.

6.15pm BST

88th over: England 244-5 (Stokes 50, Bairstow 25) A surprising late change from Faf du Plessis, who has decided to replace Morkel with

Dame Judi Dench
Duanne Olivier. That said, it’s a good over from Olivier: he curves one sharply back into Bairstow, who defends, and then induces s a loosish drive that goes for a couple.

“If anyone is genuinely experiencing bad shampoo moments I can pass on my doctor’s advice,” says John Starbuck. “Use a children’s shampoo like No More Tears. This has an advantage of being usable often, so it can cope with at least every other day, a boon for us bearded people.”

6.11pm BST

87th over: England 242-5 (Stokes 50, Bairstow 23) Rabada beats Bairstow with a monstrous delivery that swings in a fraction and then bursts the other way off the pitch. He does it again two balls later. How many times?! Morkel and Rabada have been desperately unlucky.

6.07pm BST

86th over: England 241-5 (Stokes 50, Bairstow 22) Bairstow chases a wide outswinger from Morkel that beats the outside edge and is pushed for four byes by the diving de Kock. That brings up a respectful fifty partnership.

“Beard oil?” sniffs Andrew Benton. “I was the proud owner of a completely uncontrollable beard in my mid and late 20s – shampoo’d it every day – lovely and soft. Should have been called Head’n’Shoulders’n’Chin’n’Cheeks.”

6.03pm BST

85th over: England 234-5 (Stokes 50, Bairstow 19) There’s a quiet intensity to these last few overs. Both teams know the difference between 260 for five and 240 for eight, and so do the crowd. At the moment England are hanging on for the close, with Rabada zipping another excellent delivery past Stokes’s defensive stroke. Stokes then pushes two down the ground to reach another mature, determined fifty from 89 balls. This really has been an excellent day’s cricket.

“As an image-conscious teenager, I made the mistake of shampooing my eyebrows in the misguided hope it would give them some extra sparkle,” says Tom van der Gucht. “Instead, not only did I have to endure the agony of all the foam rinsing directly onto my eyeballs – giving me a bit of a conjunctivitis vibe – but the Wash and Go also managed to irritate my sensitive skin and left me with what appeared to be eyebrow dandruff for a couple of weeks.”

5.58pm BST

84th over: England 232-5 (Stokes 48, Bairstow 19) Stokes has a wild drive at Morkel and is beaten again. On Sky, Mike Atherton tells us that’s the 19th time he’s beaten the outside edge today. That’s about once every five deliveries.

5.55pm BST

83rd over: England 229-5 (Stokes 47, Bairstow 17) Kagiso Rabada beats both batsmen outside off stump, and then Stokes drags a pull onto the fleshy part of the thigh. He smashes his bat into the pitch in annoyance, but has cooled down sufficiently to flick the next ball very classily through midwicket for three. I think Stokes is being told off by Aleem Dar for that bat thump, which is a bit ridiculous if so.

“I presume Sachin Paul is a W.Indies fan (i.e. England’s next test opponents) if he describes Joe Root’s form as ‘worrying’,” says Jonathan Gresty. “Hasn’t Root scored at least a half-century in all of his last ten Tests? Isn’t he comfortably the highest scoring batsman in either team in this series so far? I personally find Donald Trump, overpopulation and galloping climate change worrying. It’s 37 degrees where I live (Slovakia), it’s too hot to even leave the house, I’m waiting for N. Korea to start turning their nukes to face the US and amidst it all, Joe Root’s reliability at the crease is proving to be one source of comfort in this ever-changing, unstable world of ours.”

5.50pm BST

82nd over: England 225-5 (Stokes 44, Bairstow 16) Morne Morkel takes the second new ball. He immediately snaps a beauty past Stokes’s defensive stoke and then finds an edge that flies over the vacant third-slip area for four. Ach! Morkel has been so unlucky in this series. There are lies, damned lies and 14 wickets at 30.00. He could easily have more than 20 wicket. He’s been an absolute joy, as a bloke and a bowler.

Here’s Robert Wilson. “Re. Over 74. Imagine sledging Viv! Has there ever been a less promising target? That desultory but regal walk to the middle, the faux-casual stance and the infinite disdain of that gum-chewing jawline (a more difficult combo than most people realise). Has there ever been a batsman who so effectively posed that most important of questions to a bowler – ‘Remind me, who the eff are you again?’”

5.45pm BST

81st over: England 220-5 (Stokes 40, Bairstow 15) After some unexplained faffing that lasts two or three, Maharaj continues. Stokes has to abort a couple of attacking strokes – first because he’s beaten in the flight, then because of some nasty bounces. Maharaj has been admirable today.

5.41pm BST

80th over: England 220-5 (Stokes 40, Bairstow 15) Another time-killing over from de Bruyn. The second new ball is available but South Africa aren’t going to take it, at least not yet.

5.40pm BST

79th over: England 219-5 (Stokes 39, Bairstow 15) Bairstow misses a sweep at Maharaj but accidentally hits it in his follow through, with the ball whistling past de Kock for a couple of runs.

How come none of the OBO team were asked about this?” says Charlie Tinsley. “There’s a distinct lack of 92 World Cup cricket shirts and bucket hats…”

5.35pm BST

78th over: England 217-5 (Stokes 39, Bairstow 13) de Bruyn tries to tempt Stokes into something feckless outside off stump. It must be uniquely exasperating to get out to a part-time dobber just before the second new ball. Stokes almost experiences the sensation when he drags a leg-side flick this far wide of leg stump.

5.30pm BST

77th over: England 215-5 (Stokes 38, Bairstow 12) Maharaj continues to give South Africa control of the scoreboard. It’s a reflection of his accuracy and occasional variety that England’s glory boys have barely played an attacking stroke against him.

“More impatience from Root,” sniffs Sachin Paul. “Why can’t he knuckle down and do justice to his talent by converting these starts into huge scores? It’s been happening since the India tour and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Worrying.”

5.27pm BST

76th over: England 214-5 (Stokes 37, Bairstow 12) Dobbly or not dobbly? That’s the question for Faf du Plessis, who answers in the affirmative by bringing on the gentle medium-pacer Theunis de Bruyn. He starts with a wide full toss that Stokes dismisses from his presence for four runs. It was a no-ball too. That aside, it was a triumph.

“There’s a shampoo-related thread running through today’s OBO,” says John Starbuck. “I’m hoping that at some point Hashim Amla, Moeen Ali and Aleem Dar will combine for a decision. Imagine the beard-power there! It’d take a very large shampoo bottle to sort out the possible tangles.”

5.20pm BST

75th over: England 206-5 (Stokes 32, Bairstow 10) After a few unsatisfying defensive stroke, Bairstow whacks an impatient sweep for four off Maharaj.

5.19pm BST

74th over: England 202-5 (Stokes 32, Bairstow 6) A few technical problems. You have’t missed much, just an indecisive dab at fresh air by Bairstow off Olivier. We are amid the calm before the second new ball.

“I have been waiting for years for a thread on piles to emerge so I can ask others if they recall Viv Richards being abused from the stands at a county game over his own suffering from said affliction,” says Ian Copestake. “I guess in English humour any pain in the arse region is cause both for ridicule and aspersions against one’s manhood. On this occasion Sir Viv invited the person to step forward and debate the issue with him one to one.”

5.12pm BST

73rd over: England 201-5 (Stokes 32, Bairstow 5) It’s a good thing there’s no yellow jersey in cricket, because half the time you wouldn’t know who should receive it. I have no idea who’s winning here.

Here’s Andrew Benton. “Is your online persona of a nice guy a reflection of your in vivo persona?”

5.06pm BST

72nd over: England 200-5 (Stokes 32, Bairstow 4) What happened, I think, was this: Kumar Dharmasena gave the LBW appeal not out and then, while South Africa were reviewing, was told by the square-leg umpire Aleem Dar that he thought the ball had carried to slip. Dharmasena thus gave Bairstow out before he was persuaded to go upstairs to make sure it had carried.

Back to the live cricket. Stokes, who is again batting with considerable authority, carves Olivier through backward point for four more.

5.03pm BST

71st over: England 196-5 (Stokes 28, Bairstow 4) After all that, it’s a maiden from Maharaj to Bairstow. He has bowled brilliantly, especially for a spinner on day one: 24-8-46-1.

5.01pm BST

This is all very strange. Bairstow pushes at Maharaj, with South Africa appealing for LBW and maybe a catch at slip. It’s given not out, so South Africa review. Then, before it goes upstairs, Bairstow is given out! I’m not sure what happened there.

Eventually it does to go to the third umpire, a referral rather than a review. Replays show a huge inside edge but cast enough doubt as to whether Elgar got his hands under the ball for it to be given not out. Elgar thought it was a clean catch and it may well have been; once that goes upstairs, the batsman usually survives.

4.58pm BST

70th over: England 196-5 (Stokes 28, Bairstow 4) A wide ball from Olivier is driven beautifully through extra cover for four by Stokes. It’s rare to see a batsman who can be quite so elegant and quite so brutal. At the moment he looks better on the pitch than on paper, but there has been such clear progression in his batting in the last two years that he could be unstoppable by the age of 28.

“Hi Rob,” says Edmund King. “None of them appears to involve shampoo (nasty substance), but there’s a good list of off-beat (but no doubt still excruciating) cricket injuries here. It includes NZ opener Trevor Franklin being mown down and injured rather badly by a luggage truck at Gatwick in 1986 and poor Jimmy Adams cutting his hand open on an inflight meal in the late ‘90s.”

4.52pm BST

69th over: England 192-5 (Stokes 24, Bairstow 4) The five England batsmen dismissed all scored between 17 and 52, which is often a bigger sin than getting a duck. The Friday Feeling has been FFS, because all five will feel they should have got more. That said, South Africa have bowled some extremely good stuff in spells.

4.49pm BST

68th over: England 191-5 (Stokes 23, Bairstow 4) England had two reviews left, so it was worth a try just in case Root was outside the line or Hawkeye malfunctioned and confirmed it was missing wibble stump. It looked plumb, however, and so it was. This has been an excellent comeback from Olivier after a desperate one-over spell straight after tea.

In other news, Bairstow gets off the mark with a confident clip to the square-leg boundary.

4.44pm BST

Yes, Root has gone. He walked down and across to Olivier before missing a flick around his front pad. He was hit in line and the ball would have gone on to hit the meat of leg stump. Out of nothing, a huge wicket for South Africa.

4.43pm BST

Root is given out LBW! He has reviewed it, but I think he knows he’s out.

4.42pm BST

67th over: England 187-4 (Root 52, Stokes 23) Stokes drives Maharaj safely down the ground for a single, one of two from the over. He’s playing low-risk cricket at the moment, certainly against Maharaj.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Ben Heywood. “Last year, having driven 220km to take part in a cricket tournament in Split, Croata (I live in Montenegro), I somehow managed to injure myself over breakfast before the first game. Watching our skipper stretching an arm behind his back, I subconsciously followed suit while eating my Coco Pops and the unexpected manoeuvre pinged a nerve in my neck, basically ruling me out of the whole shebang and landing me with the kind of nickname – Coco – that ought really to belong to a dog. Or a clown, I suppose.”

4.39pm BST

66th over: England 185-4 (Root 51, Stokes 22) A maiden from Olivier to Root. He has been much more accurate since switching ends. He has a vigorous, bustling action which reminds me a bit of the brilliant Fanie de Villiers.

4.34pm BST

65th over: England 185-4 (Root 51, Stokes 22) Another desperate LBW appeal from South Africa when Stokes misses a sweep at Maharaj. He was well outside the line. Maharaj is bowling nicely though, particularly to Stokes.

“People (sometimes understandably) complain when England go too hard and fall in a heap,” says Phil Harrison. “But they should also acknowledge the flip-side of that tendency – England are now a superb counter-attacking team on their day. Since tea, they’ve totally reversed the momentum of this game, not just with stroke-play but with aggressive running and general positive intent. This could be the series-winning stand. It’s great to watch too and that’s what it’s ultimately all about.”

4.32pm BST

64th over: England 183-4 (Root 50, Stokes 21) Olivier has switched ends to replace Morkel. I’d be very surprised if England don’t try to belt him round Manchester, as that would give du Plessis a problem. Root flicks him for a single to reach the usual fifty; it’s the 10th Test in a row that he has scored at least one half-century.

“I think I’ve figured out to whom Kim Thonger (61st over) is referring,” says Andy Plowman, “and I’m sorry to point out why the officials would have a problem with that, but I just can’t see how “The Sledgehammer of Eternal Justice Pavilion” would fit on the hoardings.”

4.27pm BST

63rd over: England 181-4 (Root 49, Stokes 20) Stokes misses a fierce sweep at Maharaj, prompting a big appeal for LBW. He was well outside the line.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “First time I’ve been able to email the OBO from the ground in a good few years. An anniversary present from Mrs McMahon, tickets to the first two days. And only one with her, she’s letting me take a pal tomorrow. Not that she’s not, if you know what I mean. The weather has held too. A great day of Test cricket, with Root and Stokes together in the middle. Is there anything better?”

4.24pm BST

62nd over: England 180-4 (Root 48, Stokes 20) Root drives Morkel nicely for three to move past 5,000 Test runs. This is his 105th innings, which makes him the fastest Englishman to reach the milestone since the great Kenny Barrington in the 1960s.

“Is there any worse feeling in cricket than being dismissed by a bowler early in his spell, who then turns out to be the worst on the park by a very, very large margin,” says Robin Hobbs. “In fairness I think we knew this after his performance in the second Test. Anyway, Jennings must be disconsolate.”

4.19pm BST

61st over: England 172-4 (Root 45, Stokes 15) Olivier is hooked after a single over, with Maharaj replacing him. Stokes, pushing at an outdrifter, edges wide of slip for three.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Kim Thonger. “Just idly wondering during tea if the powers that be at Warwickshire CCC might follow Lancashire CCC’s example and rename an end at Edgbaston after one of their well-known players?”

4.16pm BST

60th over: England 165-4 (Root 44, Stokes 9) England have come out after tea in counter-attacking mode, presumably under instruction from the captain and vice-captain. Root chases a couple of wide tempters from Morkel – one fullish, one short – and is beaten on both occasions. And now he has edged straight between keeper and first slip! They both left it to each other. Oh my, what a let-off. It was definitely de Kock’s catch. He dived twice as far to catch Tom Westley earlier in the day. It was a great delivery from Morkel, swinging away to take the edge, and de Kock just ushered it to the boundary.

“Both Phil Sawyer and Vernon Philander have my sympathy,” says David Hopkins. “I recently put my neck out through the athletic activity of applying shampoo in the shower. Not exactly the same as Test fast bowling I’ll admit, although very much in the same ballpark.”

4.10pm BST

59th over: England 161-4 (Root 40, Stokes 9) Maharaj is replaced by Olivier, who dismissed Keaton Jennings earlier in the day. Who did you think will replace Jennings for the West Indies series, assuming he fails in the second innings? It must be tempting to go back to Hameed, and the hell with his form, but I’d hold fire. Play the long game rather than risk significant damage in Australia this winter.

Anyway, Olivier’s first over is a pile of malodorous pucky that disappears for 13. His first ball is a Grade A loosener, a wide, swinging half-volley that Root slams through the covers for four; Stokes then hits him for consecutive boundaries, helping some rubbish to fine leg before clipping an attempted yorker through midwicket. There is a suggestion that South Africa are hiding Maharaj from Stokes, which is bizarre if true, certainly at this stage of the match and Stokes’s innings.

4.05pm BST

58th over: England 148-4 (Root 35, Stokes 1) Morne Morkel, the genial giant who makes Test cricket and the world a better place, bowls the first over after tea. Root back cuts the first ball for a single, and Mature Ben plays carefully for the remainder of the over. His Test batting average is 34 is higher than those of Sir Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff and should continue to rise. In many ways he is a classical batsman.

“The late Simon Gray once wrote on the significance of piles in the course of history,” says Pete Wood. “Bear with me here. He relates how Gary Cooper was suffering from agonising haemorrhoids during the filming of High Noon; hence that stoical, manly look of repressed suffering wasn’t all acting.”

3.42pm BST

Whatever happened to Gary Cooper department

“I gave myself a back spasm the other day just by trying to scratch between my shoulders blades,” says Phil Sawyer. “Obviously, Vernon Philander is not as monumentally out of shape as me, but a warning to us all nonetheless. Whether that’s a warning about the dangers of scratching between your shoulder blades or about being monumentally out of shape, I’ll leave to your reader to decide.”

3.41pm BST

57th over: England 147-4 (Root 34, Stokes 1) The paradox of England v South Africa is that we invariably get a close series yet we rarely get a close match. This is shaping up promisingly to be the exception, after a splendid session for South Africa: they took three wickets for 80 in 28 overs, and it could have been more. See you in 20 minutes for what should be a compelling final session.

3.38pm BST

56th over: England 144-4 (Root 32, Stokes 0) That was the last ball of the over. England are one or two wickets away from a world of pain.

3.37pm BST

Morkel moves over the wicket to Malan, who is less comfortable with that angle – and the move works immediately. Malan launches into a big drive at a wide delivery angled across him and edges straight to du Plessis at second slip. That’s a loose stroke – the ball didn’t deviate – and a bonus wicket for South Africa just before tea.

3.32pm BST

55th over: England 142-3 (Root 31, Malan 18) Malan drives Maharaj for a single to bring up a solid fifty partnership. Root, not for the first time in the innings, tries an aggressive stroke against Maharaj and doesn’t time it. He’s a very slippery bowler, hard to go after.

“Do you have the skinny on what caused Philander to ail so severely?” says Ian Copestake. “He really has been in the wars both back, front and presumably down under. Glenn McGrath stepping on a ball was clearly self-inflicted but I wonder if Philander was invited to sample some bland English food and could not stomach it.”

3.27pm BST

54th over: England 141-3 (Root 31, Malan 17) Malan flicks Morkel fine for four, not far wide of the diving de Kock. England have done well because they could have unravelled had Root gone early to Rabada. This partnership is 49 from 14 overs.

3.24pm BST

53rd over: England 134-3 (Root 30, Malan 11)

3.22pm BST

52nd over: England 133-3 (Root 30, Malan 10) Root guides Morkel past gully for four, a lovely stroke. He is starting to race along now. A big score from Root is usually good news for England – only four players who have played at least 20 Test innings have a higher average in Test victories.

“Kudos for Adam’s pick of Arcade Fire for the lunchtime break, but it is indeed sad that a member of the public was taken ill and for all I admire your choice of Larkin on ambulances, I am drawn to the bleak commentary from Leeds’ The Wind-Up Birds and their track Two Ambulance Day,” says James Walsh. “’I pretend I’ve not noticed, It’s easier to look away’. Maybe it is in keeping of my mood, the sun is shining, the cricket is on auto-refresh and someone has Sun FM on the office stereo.”

3.17pm BST

51st over: England 127-3 (Root 24, Malan 10) Maharaj has given South Africa control all day. Root is itching to get after him, both through boundaries and stolen singles, but there is very little to work with. One from the over.

3.14pm BST

50th over: England 126-3 (Root 23, Malan 10) Morkel replaces Rabada, who bowled heroically in an attempt to eliminate Root and put South Africa in charge. Malan clips a single to move into double figures. He looks calm and settled, despite that double failure at the Oval. If he gets in, this afternoon will be a lot of fun. He has 10 from 29 balls; Root, after a slow start, has 23 from 43.

“Just to let you know it was nine years ago yesterday that Graeme Smith was shovelling to leg to get to the 154* that broke Michael Vaughan at Edgbaston,” says Andy Bradshaw. “Oh and my son Dylan was nine. Time flies, eh?”

3.10pm BST

49th over: England 124-3 (Root 22, Malan 9) Maharaj really hurries through his overs, which isn’t doing your ageing OBOer any favours. Nothing of note happened, and it was a maiden to Root.

3.09pm BST

48th over: England 124-3 (Root 22, Malan 9) Rabada tries to flatten Malan with the demon yorker for the second Test in a row. It isn’t quite as full, and doesn’t swing, so Malan is able to dig it out. The Sky chaps have pointed out that he has opened up his stance slightly in this match, having struggled at the Oval with the ball coming back into him.

“If Root gets the 46 runs he needs to reach 5000 Test runs in this match he’ll have got to that mark in fewer games than, among others, Tendulkar, Lara, Viv Richards, Wally Hammond and Kumar Sangakkara,” says Phil Harrison. “He’s right up there with the greats, isn’t he?”

3.08pm BST

3.05pm BST

It was close, but not close enough. The ball was hitting the top of the bails, which means it stays with Aleem Dar’s on-field decision: Root is not out.

3.04pm BST

Rabada continues to trouble Root, this time with a sharp breakback that hits him on the kneeroll. This will be close.

3.03pm BST

47th over: England 121-3 (Root 19, Malan 9) I missed that Maharaj over, and I don’t know why. I think I was looking at emails.

2.58pm BST

46th over: England 120-3 (Root 18, Malan 9) Malan throws his hands at a wide half-volley from Rabada, belting it through extra cover for four. Whatever happens in his Test career – and the smart money is on a short one at this stage – I doubt he’ll die wondering. He launches into another drive later in the over, but the ball isn’t so full and he’s beaten.

“In honour of the person crocked and the medical services (God bless the NHS),” says Ian Copestake, “here’s Larkin on ambulances:

Closed like confessionals, they thread

Loud noons of cities, giving back

2.55pm BST

45th over: England 116-3 (Root 18, Malan 5) This is only Maharaj’s 11th Test but he already looks like South Africa’s best Test spinner since readmission, maybe even since Hugh Tayfield. Drift is his main weapon here, it being the first day, and that dig for Cook earlier in the session. Root premeditates a lap for four to make it seven from the over.

2.52pm BST

44th over: England 109-3 (Root 14, Malan 2) Rabada bowls the last two balls of the over that he started before drinks. Batsmen are often vulnerable after a delay, and Root is lucky to edge a loose drive wide of second slip for four. This has been a very scratchy start to his innings, primarily because of some terrific bowling from Rabada.

2.50pm BST

An ambulance has arrived, and play is about to resume.

2.49pm BST

Thanks Adam, hello all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this at a cricket match. On Sky, David Gower tells us that the spectator being treated has regained consciousness.

2.46pm BST

43.4 overs: England 105-3 (Root 10, Malan 2). We have an early drinks in the middle of this over of Rabada with something happening in the crowd behind the bowler. A health issue, so they are being cautious. It might be a bit longer as paramedics are involved.

Before that, outstanding again to Root to begin, a very good shout for lbw but saved by a slight inside edge. Then it happens again the inside edge likely the only thing saving Root. That’s not got up either. At this point there is the lengthy delay, with two balls to go in the over.

2.39pm BST

43rd over: England 103-3 (Root 8, Malan 2). Now they’re moving. Malan gets off the mark with a push to cover. Not fluent, but it’ll do. Root gets his first runs in far more elegant fashion to the next ball, crunching a rare overpitched Maharaj delivery to the cover rope. Oh, but he gets the edge next ball! A lot going on. Doesn’t go to slip. Lucky. Malan keeps the strike with three behind point to end the set, carving from deep in the crease. 100 is up as well.

Will Wiles has been thinking about the Beefy interview and has some deeper analysis than ‘bloody hell, this is funny’. I’ll give to you in full. Fair points raised. “We all crave an equal contest between bat and ball. What the loyal Botham-ites and the haters alike neglect to mention is that this interview is the epitome of this. Unfair questions and ridiculous answers are as prevalent as a commendably open stance from a great maverick in addressing every googly and bouncer the Scottish youth throw at him in their attempt to topple the hero of an English toffs game. He makes a tit of himself, but at no stage does he appear to resent their attacks seeking to explain his views, sometimes with little grace but at no stage with any less than total honesty. He defends their right to every opinion however ridiculous. The man’s got a code and he sticks by it.”

2.34pm BST

42nd over: England 93-3 (Root 0, Malan 0). A superb over from Rabada to Root. The captain lucky to get to the end of it. There’s a confident lbw shout, Root caught deep in the crease from a ball cutting back a long way. Good decision to turn it down (and not review) as it is going over. There’s an inside edge, a couple of short balls, then another ripper to end it with Root’s edge beaten. 15 balls he’s faced without getting off the mark, Malan nine balls for the same. Feels like South Africa have a big chance to set up this Test Match right now.

Root and Malan both scoreless, 24 dot balls between them, Rabada and Maharaj on point. Tricky times at OT.

2.29pm BST

41st over: England 93-3 (Root 0, Malan 0). Maharaj the man to keep the pressure up here, to Malan he has his range, changing the pace ball to ball. He tries to get down the track but unsuccessfully. 10-6-9-1. Beautiful set of numbers for the spinner so far.

Final word on Botham and Brent from Ben Parker, who believes he has the convlusive evidence.

2.26pm BST

40th over: England 93-3 (Root 0, Malan 0). Rabada has found the heeeat. Through Malan immediately between inside edge and off-stump. The same man he did with a supreme yorker at The Oval last week, so no surprise that he fancies that from the get go again. A big of pad to another yorker ends the over, turning the strike over but it is still a wicket maiden. Rabada battled a bit earlier but he back in business now with two England batsmen yet to score.

WICKET Westley caught behind for 29, fantastic catch from de Kock off Rabada

92/3 #ENGvSA


2.22pm BST

What a catch! Rabada wins the edge of Westley who is stuck on the crease pushing when he should have been leaving in a perfect world. But it is the take by de Kock, diving full-length to his right with the one mitt, in front of Amla at first slip. Total commitment from the ‘keeper and he’s rewarded with one for his highlights reel. Big quarter-hour for South Africa, removing both the established batsmen.

2.19pm BST

39th over: England 92-2 (Westley 29, Root 0). Warne and Botham on the commentary. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Maharaj another quality maiden, this time to Root. The captain doesn’t leave his defensive posture throughout. Nine overs for nine runs when the spinner has been in operation, and that’s his fifth maiden.

2.18pm BST

38th over: England 92-2 (Westley 29, Root 0). Rabada getting his first go at Westley. Negotiated well, acknowledging that with the captain yet to score up the other end his job changes again.

Robert Coates’ not captures the consensus of those that have flooded in since Cook fell: “And who’s fault was that Mr “all of a sudden, doing it easy, hm??”

2.14pm BST

37th over: England 92-2 (Westley 29, Root 0). Well, I’ve mozzed Cook then. Sorry about that. Let the email flow. Should have known better. The captain to the crease, who plundered 254 here last time around. The most complete innings I’ve covered. Revisited it in a thing recently.

@collinsadam I’m telling Cook that was your fault…

2.10pm BST

Where’s that from? Cook was in superb shape after lunch, but he’s made an error, chasing after a fuller Maharaj delivery outside the off-stump but instead of crashing it to the boundary has got a little edge. The chance taken by de Kock. It’s lovely flight again by the spinner, and a really good catch too. And that’s his day done.

2.08pm BST

36th over: England 91-1 (Cook 46, Westley 28). Rabada’s back. Cook cuts with great timing, three for that behind point. Westley clips again through midwicket. All of a sudden, doing it easy.

2.06pm BST

35th over: England 85-1 (Cook 43, Westley 25). Maharaj doing a lot right to Westley. The man most likely to the number three, I would say. Gives it a chance to spin, forces him to play at everything. High-quality maiden.

Nicolas Clarke agrees that Botham = Brent. “There is now more deer in this country since Henry VIII. Fact.” The head nod on fact is perfectly timed.”

2.03pm BST

34th over: England 85-1 (Cook 43, Westley 25). A couple for Cook through his beloved midwicket area brings up 50 between these two. Not a lot of glitz, but plenty of grit. Cook launches into a drive but it is stopped at cover point. Made a fantastic ton on the opening day at Old Trafford last year. Don’t want to mozz him, but well on the way to another here today. Batted out of his skin that afternoon, as I recall.

“With Olivier bowling for South Africa should our batting line-up include Hamlet and Richard the Third,” writes Matt Doherty.

1.59pm BST

33rd over: England 83-1 (Cook 41, Westley 25). Westley’s first runs of the session to the right of slip, an edge along the ground but well bowled Maharaj to draw him forward. The bowler on top throughout, but utter class from Westley to finish with a flick through midwicket. You’re going to hear/read plenty of that while he features in this England team.

1.55pm BST

32nd over: England 77-1 (Cook 41, Westley 19). Cook breaks it open just as the sun bursts through at Old Trafford. Ten from the over, the biggest of the day. Olivier offers a long half-volley to begin, the former captain licks his lips. Two more in a similar direction half way through the set. Then to finish he backs himself to pull a ball that isn’t all that short, but middles it behind square with his front leg in the air and everything. Chef Gone Wild.

Stuart MacKenzie giving us something to look at later on: “I loved that reminder of Scottish schoolkids giving Ian Botham a hard time. Think lots of people who went on that programme had a shock at the stern questioning, I recall Ben Elton looking close to tears. Exception was Billy Connolly who took over the show and turned it into a stand-up routine.”

1.48pm BST

31st over: England 67-1 (Cook 31, Westley 19). Maharaj through his paces to Westley. It’s back to back maidens to start the session – four on the spin either side of the break. Haseeb Hameed is up in the viewing room sitting with Joe Root. Someone better create a ‘you vs the guy she said not to worry about’ meme about that image and Jennings. Vish clearly the man for that job. I’ll sort.

1.46pm BST

30th over: England 67-1 (Cook 31, Westley 19). Olivier from the Jimmy End. Speaking of nicknames, really hope he’s Laurence to his teammates. A few World at War references from the cordon. No? Patrick Brennan on the email is says looks like Luis Suarez. Maybe so. I think we can all agree on one thing: he’s a very good looking rooster. And he can bowl a bit, pushing away from Cook who patiently watches and defends from the crease.

Athers and Bumble chatting about what Old Trafford once looked like in their day on the telly. Speaking of how Manchester appeared way back when, the Morrissey biopic is out today. Soon as I’m done here I’m off to the cinema, needless to say.

1.34pm BST

Correspondence I didn’t get around to.

Let’s whip through it…

1.10pm BST

Excellent session. South Africa bowled more than enough wicket-taking deliveries to have many more entries to their column, but England kept their heads. Especially Cook. Hard to overstate how well Morkel bowled to him early on, but he didn’t respond with anything rash. 81 balls later, he’s enjoying his lunch with work to do.

Westley likewise, 56 balls into his stay – more important than the 19 runs he’s accumulated – showing plenty of welcome composure early in his international career.

1.04pm BST

29th over: England 67-1 (Cook 31, Westley 19). Maharaj gets to the bowling crease just in time for a final set before lunch. He starts with a delightful delivery to Westley, beating his edge after encouraging a long stride. No speed on that at all, ample turn. Aggressive spin bowling. Deserved a wicket. Stats don’t necessarily show it, but he’s had a real breakout series. Westley does make contact to the rest, pushing with soft hands to get him through to the break. That’s lunch. Back in a tic with some organised thoughts.

Plenty to work on obvs, but not for nothing that Westley’s faced at least 50 balls in each of his first three Test innings. Take that

1.01pm BST

28th over: England 67-1 (Cook 31, Westley 19). Cook again very settled in defence to Olivier. England’s opener outstanding in this situation. Would love to see a stat on times of his dismissals. Shuts up shop as well as anyone before intervals, my gut feeling. Maiden.

12.59pm BST

27th over: England 67-1 (Cook 31, Westley 19). Maharaj gets a second crack before the break. Cook plays it cool. He knows the old ‘spinner on before lunch’ game. A single behind square to keep the blood pumping and ensure that he’ll be in the hot seat for what might be the final over before lunch.

12.58pm BST

26th over: England 66-1 (Cook 30, Westley 19). Olivier is back. And nearly into the book again! Westley has a good old slash at the first ball he sees this over and it goes over the cordon. If you’re going to go, go hard, I guess. More conservative thereafter. Needs to get to his sandwich now. That’s what good no. 3s do on morning one of a Test.

“Up till 3am this morning to bag tickets for the WACA in December,” says Paddy Ford from Cambes in France. “Now snoozing by the pool in 33 degree sunshine with the TMS Overseas link and the lyrical offerings of OBO as we listen to / read of England’s progress. The perfect day?” And he’s sent me photographic evidence. Concur.

12.53pm BST

25th over: England 61-1 (Cook 29, Westley 15). de Bryun again with his mediums. Not wrong with Cook looking far less comfortable in this match-up, highlighted by him missing a full toss, then one on leg stump – the sort of ball he’s accumulated about 8,000 Test runs from. When he does get off strike Westley cops a long-hop and converts with ease, picking the gap through the covers off the back foot. His third boundary, slowly going up the gears. Probably three overs until lunch.

On nicknames, we have a counterview from Tom v d Gucht: “In recent years, I’d say the Aussies are winning the nickname battle with humdingers like: Mr Cricket, Punter, Michael “Frothy” Beer, The Finisher, Dizzy Gillespe, Pup and Binga. What have we come up with in the same period? Belly, Cooky, Broady, Jimmy and Colly… Root isn’t even known as the Milky Bar Kid! We’re really letting ourselves down.” I just keep thinking of ‘One Size’ Fitz Hall.

12.49pm BST

24th over: England 56-1 (Cook 28, Westley 11). Oh, Tom Westley gets onto his signature stroke, a Mark Waugh clip through midwicket that races away. From middle-stump, no less. He tries it on again but straight to the fielder. Joyous to watch when he gets onto those. Into double figures.

12.45pm BST

23rd over: England 52-1 (Cook 28, Westley 7). Theunis de Bruyn gets a go with his little medium pacers. They’re a bit better than that, but it’s how they are being explained on the telly, noting that Cook has a bit of an issue at county level against those who nibble rather than blast. And maybe they’re spot on, a leading edge coming within two balls, before he gets off strike and leaves it to Westley. Who nearly falls! Miscued drive that’s in the air between gully and point. Interesting over.

John Starbuck with the most John Starbuck email of all time. Thank you, John Starbuck (ref: 16th over, Jennings books): “Possible titles for these days: Jennings Drops A Clanger; Jennings Falls Apart; Jennings Clings On; Jennings F**ks It Up (rejected title); Jennings At The Riverside; Jennings And The ECB etc.” Actually, let’s be kind and not go down this wormhole. In case he’s reading along, you know.

12.39pm BST

22nd over: England 50-1 (Cook 27, Westley 6). Well, it hasn’t been the most fluent 90 minutes of cricket, but England are 50 having lost just the one wicket. In turn, given the way South Africa have gone about their work, the hosts are on top. Thr former captain gets a couple through the gap at cover then uses Morkel’s pace tickle fine to collect those three runs. Westley’s turn. And he’s once again beaten outside the off-stump. Not that he’s on his own here: Morkel has done it routinely this morning. Westley should have left this one, mind.

12.35pm BST

21st over: England 47-1 (Cook 24, Westley 6). Maharaj happy to give it some air to Cook, who is straight onto the front foot. Positive cricket from both. Gets one around the corner, using the spin when the left-armer gets a bit too straight. Means he’ll be back against his old mate Morkel next over.

“Sterling job so far this morning,” starts James Crowder. You better believe your email is going in if that’s what you think. “Are you the new Heston Blumenthal by any chance? The idea of an Ice Cream Cake infused with the delicious taste of aluminium and the smell of chain oil does sound incredibly appealing of course!”

12.30pm BST

20th over: England 46-1 (Cook 23, Westley 6). Morkel has Westley playing and missing to begin. But over the top of the ball rather than the outside edge. He doesn’t make the same mistake later in over, launching into a picture-perfect on-drive. That’s his spot. A first boundary after about ten overs at the crease. That’ll feel good.

12.29pm BST

19th over: England 42-1 (Cook 23, Westley 2). Spin for the first time in the match via Maharaj’s left-arm orthodox. Cook not too bothered. He’ll be happy with that given the interrogation from the quicks. Maiden it is.

Ben Parker drops us a line. Hi Ben. “Imagine you are a selector and tomorrow you have to announce your Ashes squad. Which openers would you name?”

12.23pm BST

18th over: England 42-1 (Cook 23, Westley 2). Morne to test out Westley for the first time now. Defending and leaving. Morkel not giving an inch. Finds an inside edge, but no danger for the No. 3. Forced to then duck a bouncer. Ends with another unplayable, Westley’s edge beaten from a ball that spits away after pitching on middle. Can’t do much about that. On another day South Africa would be well into the middle order by now. If England can get to lunch one down it’ll be a big win for the hosts.

Tim Maitland on twitter about the scandal that is Duanne Olivier’s shirt. “Olivier has a long way to go to catch Derek Randall, known in the Notts dressing room as Shambles”. One thing Brits do a lot better than us Australians: nicknames. And singing at sporting events.

12.18pm BST

17th over: England 42-1 (Cook 23, Westley 2). Cautious Westley against Olivier. Sound, as the bowler is pushing through one legitimate wicket-taking delivery an over thus far. Oh, and here it is: the penultimate ball hoooops past Westley’s edge. Lucky not to nick that, very close to the bat. He retains the strike with one around the corner.

12.13pm BST

16th over: England 41-1 (Cook 23, Westley 1). Back from the breather, it’s Morne Morkel for a second go. He was tip top earlier, albeit only for four overs. Cook is forced to play througout, with the middle of the bat more often than not. Cops one in the thigh pad that jags back, but a lot more comfortable a half-hour on from their earlier contest. Big fan of Morne bowling in a proper cricket jumper as well, of the sleeveless variety. Should be compulsory in Manchester/Leeds Tests.

Some End Chat on the telly. David Gower saying if Anderson bowls from the Jimmy End it’ll be the first time that has happened in Test cricket. Let’s hope it does.

12.08pm BST

15th over: England 41-1 (Cook 23, Westley 1). Olivier again good enough to beat the edge to start the over. Cook doing well not to edge any of these. Much as it was on the opening morning last Thursday. Sure enough, Olivier can’t maintain the pressure, giving Cook a half-volley and he doesn’t miss out, past the umpire for a boundary, taking him into the 20s inside the first hour. They take a drink.

12.04pm BST

14th over: England 36-1 (Cook 18, Westley 1). Westley does well to leave the first half of this set. But Rabada brings one back and pins him on the crease, slapping into the thigh pad and ballooning into the cordon. Amla doesn’t complete the catch, so they don’t burn a review. I suspect they may have – they were pretty excited when the ball was in the air, but the replay showed no inside edge. Maiden.

I have a layered email from Anthony White that I’m just going to publish in full. “I was finding your remarks about young Keaton a little snidey and rather intolerant. However, perhaps I owe you an apology, you can show kindness when you wish, and I have realised that by not erring on the complimentary, for instance that K.J. Is looking comfortable, you are attempting to unjinx him. And cover your own arse. Delightedly, Anthony”

11.59am BST

13th over: England 36-1 (Cook 18, Westley 1). Westley leaving initially. Then gets another screamer. South Africa’s trio of seamers have bowled plenty of those in this first hour. England’s number three off the mark clipping to midwicket. Would have been four if not for a good stop. Yes, Tom. As he and his Essex teammate Dan Lawrence say: play across, be the boss.

“Olivier really, really reminds me of Mike Watkinson. 20% the hair, 80% the bowling action,” suggests Matt Biss. “See.” Mostly enjoying the batting stance. Don’t make them – or teach them, more to the point – like that anymore.

11.52am BST

Jennings will be gutted with that, pushing tentatively at a Olivier delivery that didn’t require playing at. Conventional edge, easily taken. Nothing wrong with the delivery, and on reflection it did a bit after pitching, but no world-beater either. Despite doing plenty of hard work, Jennings off to spend the rest of his day in purgatory.

11.49am BST

12th over: England 35-0 (Cook 18, Jennings 17). Rabada tags Cook on the glove with a nasty bouncer, but despite doing everything right the bowler concedes four with the ball ending up over de Kock’s head, down to the rope. Jennings digs out a yorker to end the over and retains the strike. He’ll regret that though, because…

11.46am BST

11th over: England 29-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 16). Olivier bowling with his shirt untucked from the get go. This isn’t right. Any counterview? Come on. Tuck it in. All over the place with the ball two, ranging from being too quick for Jennings to a half-volley next up, driven away neatly. Working into this, the battling opener. Defends and leaves competently. Couple more down the ground to end the over when he’s too full again. Confidence growing.

David Lloyd runs through every band who have ever played at Old Trafford. It’s an impressive list. Predictably Warne jumps in: COLDPLAY!

Olivier is the scruffiest cricketer I have ever seen! Disgrace. Sir Laurence would be appalled. Tuck your shirt in lad.

11.41am BST

10th over: England 23-0 (Cook 13, Jennings 10). It is Rabada again and its is his turn to sort Cook out with a beauty. In a competitive field that’s the ball of the morning, pitching leg before going past the edge and missing off. Magnificent. The superstar gets one to move back the other way later in the over, Cook doing well not only to keep it out but then to profit by a couple behind square leg.

“Finally a good start from our openers!” says Ian Copestake. Presumably with a tongue in the cheek? “Hope this will keep the wolves from Jennings’ door as he deserves our support not the sneering and sniping that seems to come his way.” Yes, a tongue in the cheek.

11.37am BST

9th over: England 21-0 (Cook 11, Jennings 10). Morkel given a rest. Not sure about that? Surely a matter of time for him to sort out Jennings. Unless he’s being turned around to follow Rabada. In any case, it’s Olivier here. Before his first ball Bumble suggests that he should be on a hat-trick here, despite the previous two wickets coming at Trent Bridge. Shane Warne agrees. Ummm? Anyway, it is a moot point, spraying the first one down the legside. Next up he’s right on it, beating Jennings with one that really hoops away. Jennings profits from a short one, punching it past point for four. Nice pressure release. But the bowler is back on it by the end of the set, again beating him outside the off-stump. More batsman error there – definitely one to leave alone this early rather than driving.

Good news for strikers that Bumble thinks if you get two goals in one game and then one in the next, you’ve got a hat-trick.

11.34am BST

8th over: England 17-0 (Cook 11, Jennings 6). Cook gets a go at Rabada. Comfortable. Then carving, not missing out when the quick gives him a short one outside the off-stump. Very much in the Chef’s ~area~. Looking good.

11.31am BST

7th over: England 13-0 (Cook 7, Jennings 6). Cook’s first boundary, Morkel overpitching and punching it down the ground with a mininum of fuss. Our first single of the day coming to the next ball as well, in front of square with a tuck. So, Morkel gets a chance at Jennings. This should be interesting. He’s okay to begin, but then does one of those play-leaves (pleaves) that nearly is his undoing. Smashed on the pad to end the over. Good luck, Keaton. Let us know how you get on.

11.25am BST

6th over: England 8-0 (Cook 2, Jennings 6). Another over with no strike rotation. Jennings doing well here actually, defending on the stumps, getting away from the shorter stuff without too much concern. In other words, looking like an opener. Rabada the lesser of the two quicks so far this morning. Maiden all the same.

My man Phil Withall is livin’ la vida loca: “In preparation for the football season starting in the morning (Australian time) I will be watching the cricket until I fall asleep on the sofa, hurt my neck and get a lecture from my wife about the stupidity of my sporting addictions. It’s going to be a wonderful nine months.”

11.23am BST

5th over: England 8-0 (Cook 2, Jennings 6). Cook away with a confident push into the covers for a couple. But it is advantage bowler soon enough, Cook smashed on the thigh pad and then getting a thick inside edge onto the back of his pad to end the over. He’s been here so many times, the England champion. He knows survival is everything. So the fact that this is ugly won’t bother him in the slightest. Cook seeing every ball so far from Morkel, at the Jimmy end it’s exclusively Jennings v Rabada.

They should call Keaton Jennings “Duke”, because every ball’s got his name on it.

11.20am BST

4th over: England 6-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 6). So there is a short-leg now. Okay, I won’t go on about it. Nice clip to get him away through midwicket this over, Jennings adding to his glanced boundary from the second over. But next up, he’s beaten. It’s not as threatening as Morkel’s earlier barrage to Cook, but enough to leave Jennings looking tentative. Better footwork to defend, and then when hit on the pad he’s well forward so the shout is denied. Testing times for the opener on what must be his last chance. Proper Test cricket.

11.18am BST

11.13am BST

3rd over: England 4-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 4). Morkel goes straighter to Cook second time around, twice up for ambitious leg-before appeals. Neither realistically considered for referral. But a good signs for the quick. Still no short leg, FYI.

11.11am BST

2nd over: England 4-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 4). It’s Kagiso Rabada from the James Anderson End. And he’s created a chance too – a fat inside edge from Jennings onto his thigh-pad. The athletic quick races towards short leg (WHY IS THERE NO SHORT LEG?) and puts in a full-stretch dive, falling about six inches short. More frustratingly for the bowler, ther is a fielder with the shin pads on 20m from the bat ready to come in.

11.03am BST

1st over: England 0-0 (Cook 0, Jennings 0). Oooh! Morkel does Cook with an absolute beauty second up. Around the wicket, forcing the left-hander to play, steepling off the seam. He bowled magnificently at times at The Oval. Increased responsibility today in Philander’s absence. Oh, and he does it again two balls later. Then a third time to end the over. Goodness me – that’s one of the best opening overs you’ll see. Simple as that.

10.59am BST

Miscellanea. Thick and fast with your correspondence so far. Great. Don’t be shy.

Jon Short on twitter asks of Olivier will be on a hat-trick having taken wickets with his last two balls at Trent Bridge? Best I get on this one early: the answer is no. You can only take a hat-trick inside a single match. So, had Moeen not got another chance the other day he wouldn’t be on one here, either.

10.38am BST

Some reaction from the press box.

Philander’s absence with a back spasm swings pendulum towards England. Olivier returns, after finishing T Bridge Test with 2 wkts in 2 balls

Eng win toss and bat, unchanged from the Oval. SA have no Philander so no Morris either. De Bruyn and Olivier come in. Advantage England

England unchanged at OT and win toss and bat. SA missing Philander (back injury) and Morris (dropped). No VP huge blow to SA chances

Joe Root wins the toss here at Old Trafford and an unchanged England will bat. Not an easy call after all the rain that has fallen here

10.36am BST

Tails is the call, and it is heads. “Yes, we’re going to bat first,” says Joe Root. Says it looks a good wicket, cites success batting first at Old Trafford. No change to the XI who romped it in at The Oval.

There are changes for South Africa, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris both missing through injury. We knew the former was a chance, not the latter. de Bruyn is back into the XI, as is Olivier. Both have played during the series. Significant.

10.27am BST

Can England knock over South Africa in a home series for the first time since 1998? Will the Proteas be able to take something from this epic tour by squaring the ledger at Manchester? That’s the bird’s-eye take on this fourth and final rubber.

England put on a clinic last week at The Oval. But current form is seldom a reliable indicator on future performance for this volatile side. At least they keep it interesting.

10.15am BST

Adam will be here shortly.

Continue reading…

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Jun 24

Demons, Roosters, Dogs win thrillers! Australia sportwatch – as it happened.

2.04pm BST

When I sat down with you the better part of eight hours ago I foreshadowed a packed day of action. Little did I know it would be one of the most intense days as well for the on-field results. Some absolutely brilliant finishes. Our codes at their best.

To start at the end. The Dees. Wow. Three goals in five minutes to win in Perth. Their third interstate win this year. Into the top four. Has a familiar ring to it. I wouldn’t be booking any September holidays if my heart was red and blue.

1.42pm BST

AFL: Bit more detail on the Doggies win by a point. A touch of controversy. via AAP:

The Western Bulldogs are back in the AFL top eight after a controversial one-point win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

The Kangaroos were denied a goal late in the match and also potentially at three-quarter time on Saturday night as the Bulldogs won 15.17 (107) to 16.10 (106).

Ben Brown marked and scored to put them ahead, but it was disallowed because a free kick was paid against the Kangaroos for a shepherd in the goalsquare.

The Bulldogs moved the ball down the other end of the ground and Jake Stringer marked.

He kicked a behind with about a minute left and the Bulldogs hung on grimly for the win, putting them back in the top eight.

1.28pm BST

Tom McDonald, five goals, two in the final term. Are we in an episode of Sliders on an alternative universe? Melbourne are three and zip interstate. And if their win in Adelaide last month was the price of admission for this young side in season 2017, beating the Eagles tonight earns them the right to be discussed as a serious top four contender. Your hearts should beat true tonight, Melbourne fans. That’s special.

1.25pm BST

MELBOURNE HAVE DONE IT! SING THE SONG! I’m singing the song and I hate this mob, they were that good. Three goals in five minutes to steal a thriller. First time they have beat the Eagles since 2009, and the first time they have been in the top four this deep into the season since, well, a VERY long time.

1.23pm BST

AFL Q4 0:24 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 15.9 (99). MCDONALD BLOODY GOES IT! HIS FIFTH! 11TH LEAD CHANGE! No idea how he got boot to ball. Special game, special winner. From a defender! 24 seconds to go, 17 men behind the ball! FOOTY!

1.21pm BST

AFL Q4 1:00 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 14.9 (93). BONE CRUNCHING TACKLES! Superb attack on the ball. In Melbourne’s forward pocket. A minute to go. Clear possession? Need one, somehow.

1.18pm BST

AFL Q4 3:00 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 14.9 (93). Huge hit! Shannon Hurn runs into a wall: Jack Viney. Looks bad, but both looked genuinely to be at the ball. He leaves the field with the trainers. They all take the time to slow the heart rate down a fraction. Three minutes to go, three points in it.

1.16pm BST

AFL Q4 4:00 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 14.9 (93). Pedersen again!
He’s everywhere! Contested mark, leans back on the set shot, but pops it across the face. Can’t say they didn’t have their chance. WCE need another goal. Oh how they will rue that Jetta miss from 20m – would have iced it. Talking point (as they say) if they get rolled here, that’s for sure.

1.14pm BST

AFL Q4 5:30 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 14.8 (92). LIQUID FOOTBALL! Pedersen moves it forward with the most precise kick to Tom McDonald running into the hot spot 20m out. Grab taken, set shot kicked, we’re inside a kick. They move the ball beautifully. Tons of time.

1.12pm BST

AFL Q4 6:30 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 13.8 (86). Take marks just like Cam Pedersen, Cam Pedersen’s what I need, whooah-oh! Big contested mark, clutch set shot goal. Game stillllll on.

1.11pm BST

AFL Q4 7:30 remaining: WCE 14.10 (96) v Melbourne 12.8 (80). Jetta, oh no! A wonderful tackle to ping Viney holding it. Goes back from 20m directly in front and sprays to the right. Moments before, Nathan Vardy (let’s go party) just misses from 50. They will need one more to be safe.

1.07pm BST

AFL Q4 11:30 remaining: WCE 14.10 (94) v Melbourne 12.8 (80). Tired boys out there now at Subi. But that doesn’t make McGovern any smaller. Fantastic contested mark deep in the 50. And after missing some earlier chances tonight, he does the job here from 30m. That pushes the lead back out to 14 points half way through the final term. Melbourne hit back but the Eagles have steadied.

No crowd do a hammy trying to get on TV like Subiaco. The simple things.

1.02pm BST

Heartstopper at the Docklands! Here I was thinking we had the close one at Subi, but the Dogs have got home my the smallest of margins via a Jake Stringer behind. Goodness me. All the best bits of that as it comes to hand (well, twitter).

Bit more detail from the ground. A touch of controversy! Via AAP:

1.00pm BST

NRL: How the Roosters did it. Not surprisingly: Mitchell Pearce in the middle of it all when it mattered. Via AAP:

Mitchell Pearce has recovered from Wednesday’s State of Origin heartbreak to kick the Sydney Roosters to a 25-24 golden-point win over Melbourne at the Adelaide Oval.

After the Roosters trailed by 12 points with eight minutes to play, Michael Gordon kicked a conversion from the sideline to send the match into golden point.

In front of 21,492 fans – the biggest NRL crowd in Adelaide since the Rams’ first game in 1997 – Pearce slotted an off-balance field goal from 35 metres out to claim the victory over an Origin-depleted Storm team on Saturday.

Pearce had earlier set up two tries, as the Roosters worked over Melbourne’s right-edge defence in the second half through Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou.

12.57pm BST

AFL Q4 17:20 remaining: WCE 12.10 (82) v Melbourne 11.8 (74). Scampering down inside 50, Stretch to Petracca, into the open goal. All arms and legs; ugly but effective. Don’t strike me as a team about to give up. Salem don’t be back for the Dees tonight, done a hammy according to Ch 7. Viney’s shoulder has him resting too. So it’s huge job from here.

12.55pm BST

AFL Q4 19:00 remaining: WCE 12.10 (82) v Melbourne 10.8 (68). Super footy from Hutchings, taking the ball inside 50 by foot, taking a bounce, taking a shot and going just enough. Broke a tackle in the process. They have the last four of the game.

That’s a brilliant effort from Mark Hutchings! #AFLEaglesDees

12.52pm BST

AFL Three-quarter time: WCE 11.9 (75) v Melbourne 10.8 (68). Mitchell puts another brilliant handball through, a snaked kick from Sheed hits the post. Sammy still doing this at will (1:33).

12.43pm BST

AFL Q3 4:00 remaining: WCE 11.9 (75) v Melbourne 10.8 (68). Another free kick and goal, McGovern infringed close to goal and given a 50m penalty to ensure he kicks West Coast’s second in a minute. Their lead now swells beyond a single straight kick, which isn’t for nothing in the context of this oscillating evening. They have the last three!

12.39pm BST

AFL Q3 5:00 remaining: WCE 10.9 (69) v Melbourne 10.8 (68). Not the sort of game you can look away from for more than a minute or two. The tempo is finals-like. If this is an audition for September, Melbourne are ready for a part. But Hutchings from WCE is the beneficiary of Jordan Lewis being Jordan Lewis after the mark, a 50m penalty taking him to the kick-off line. That’s our tenth lead change!

12.29pm BST

The Roosters have done it! A converted try inside the last minute then the golden point victory over the top of the table Storm. Indeed, it was two tries inside the last seven minutes to get the draw to begin with. Have that!

From the ground (AAP):

Winners!#NRLRoostersStorm #NRL

12.28pm BST

AFL Q3 11:10 remaining: WCE 8.8 (56) v Melbourne 9.6 (60). Brillllllliant from Mitchell, wins the contested ball as he has done a thousand times before, dishing outa pristine handball to Karpany who kicks straight from 30. Important they got that one straight back. Margin back inside a kick. Jack Viney down the race for some medical treatment too. He’s been best on the ground, so that’s significant.

12.25pm BST

AFL Q3 11:30 remaining: WCE 7.8 (50) v Melbourne 9.6 (60). Two goals in a minute for Tom McDonald. It means another lead change, then extending it to ten points for the Dees. First, a set shot after a kicking in danger free at half back. The second, from a tighter angle on the 50 arc and drains it. Beautiful set shot kicking. Why they are the best in the comp on that measure. Noteworthy that the bounce from the middle wasn’t a good one – umpire should have called it back. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

12.22pm BST

AFL Q3 14:00 remaining: WCE 7.6 (48) v Melbourne 7.8 (50). Make that eight! Sloppy from Melbourne. Don’t see that with them often in 2017. Gawn gets the tap from a throw in close to goal, Dom Sheed roves it with easy, snapping truly.

12.20pm BST

AFL Q3 16:00 remaining: WCE 7.6 (48) v Melbourne 6.8 (44). Anoooother lead change at Subi, the seventh of the night, when Jake Melksham bangs home a conventional set shot.

12.17pm BST

NRL: Gordon kicks it! CLUTCH! We’re off to golden point land. Storm and Roosters 24-24 at the end of regulation. Top versus second. What a result!

Gordon slots it, we’re off to Golden Point!#NRLRoostersStorm #NRL

12.15pm BST

NRL: TRY! IN THE LAST MINUTE! That puts the Roosters within a conversion of equalling the game at 24 each. Stand by…

12.13pm BST

AFL Q3 19:15 remaining: WCE 6.7 (43) v Melbourne 6.6 (42). Carbon copy to the start of the first quarter, a bomb into the 50, taken well by Petrie, who turns around the does just enough to pop through his fourth. The Dish turning the clock back. The Eagles back in front!

12.09pm BST

NRL: Game on in Adelaide. Melbourne briefly looked home with a try to Jahrome Hughes, but the Roosters hit right back via Daniel Tupou. And they have converted it. So it’s a six point game (24-18) with six minutes remaining.

Short-side raid, Tupou scores!#NRLRoostersStorm 18-24 with 7 mins to go. #NRL

12.07pm BST

Netball: The Australian Netball Awards presentation taking place in Melbourne.

What we know:

Here we have it, the @SuperNetball Team of the Year!
Not a team you would want to face on the court. #AusNetballAwards

12.02pm BST

Old school from Leon Cameron. His Giants flogged Brisbane by ten goals but he’s given them a spray for not winning by more. Like this a lot.

“For three quarters we were good but we were really, really ordinary in the last quarter,” he said at the press conference. “It was concentration, not fatigue … and probably just some players getting ahead of themselves.” (via AAP).

12.01pm BST

Let’s go… around the grounds. What a hectic half of footy that was. Hope you’re enjoying it. Plenty else going on around the country.

NRL: Melbourne Storm maintain their lead, with a quarter hour to go up 20-12. But Sydney have the most recent score, a converted try by Latrell Mitchell.

11.54am BST

AFL Half-Time: WCE 5.7 (37) v Melbourne 6.6 (42). “His ruckwork over the last little while has been extraordinary,” says Peter Ball of Max Gawn who lands a picture-perfect pass in the hands of Hannan. A bad, unMelbourne-like miss from close range. Gawn earns another free at the traditional centre half-forward postion, to the hot spot. It ends up to Melbourne’s advantage. McGovern saves the day with a heaaaavy tackle. Siren! THEN IT BEGINS. They’re all at it. Clayton Oliver cops a whack to the chest after the siren by Schofield. He’s reported! Ha – barely touched him. Brilliant theatre at the end of a hotly contested half. And breathe.

Did Schofield make any contact with Oliver at all there? #afleaglesdees

11.47am BST

AFL Q2 4:00 remaining: WCE 5.7 (37) v Melbourne 6.5 (41). Petrie’s third! Nice set shot from 40m, makes no mistake after a strong contested grab. Melbourne come screaming out of the guts from the restart, but Neal-Bullen has jusssst missed from outside 50. A quarter of near-misses. Don’t look away, this is a cracker. Jack Viney has already had 23 stats, by the way. Most of them contested.

11.44am BST

AFL Q2 5:00 remaining: WCE 4.7 (31) v Melbourne 6.4 (40). Another brilliant defensive effort, Salem laying a perfectly timed and executed tackle, preventing Cripps of a shot on goal. Moments before, a late West Coast fist prevented Melbourne’s own certain goal. Tremendous defensive pressure on display from both sides. And now it’s Melbourne who need to make the most of the play they’ve largely controlled in this second term.

On the earlier sling. This is the twitter consensus.

Shocking decision, legitimate tackle from Yeo, holding ball every day of the week. #AFLEaglesDees

11.42am BST

AFL Q2 6:00 remaining: WCE 4.7 (31) v Melbourne 6.4 (40). Brilliant tackle from Frost to stunt a Melbourne surge. But they get it back eventually and… McGovern has spilled the easiest of marks directly in front! Reminiscent of Jack Darling in the 2014 Grand Final. Speaking of tackles: sling tackle paid! Yeo the man pinged, Tyson hits the deck. The Perth partisans hate it. Looked a bit harsh, but there was head-on-ground contact. No goals for a bit, but all happening.

11.36am BST

Women’s World Cup: A quick look next door, and one of the very best players to watch in the world, Smitri Mandhana, has a half-century. India flying after being sent in, 71-0 after 15.

Related: England v India: Women’s Cricket World Cup – live!

11.35am BST

AFL Q2 12:00 remaining: WCE 4.6 (30) v Melbourne 6.3 (39). Here’s the thing: Melbourne are really, really good. It hurts a bit to say that, I am big enough to admit that. The whole merger thing, you know. But the way they moved the ball along the way, through half-forward, inboard to the spare man 20m out. What a delight. Tom McDonald is on the end of it. He makes no mistake. They seldom do, the Dees are the straightest kicking team in the comp at the moment.

11.31am BST

AFL Q2 14:30 remaining: WCE 4.6 (30) v Melbourne 5.2 (32). Raining goals! Josh Hill got one back for the Eagles, but Mitch Hannan’s to put Melbourne back in front the more impressive, slamming it onto his boot with perhaps a tenth of a second reaction time (I’m making that up). 40+ out, and true! Up to five lead chnges now

11.28am BST

AFL Q2 16:00 remaining: WCE 3.6 (24) v Melbourne 4.2 (26). Jeremy McGovern steps back for his fourth shot at goal for the night and it’s coming back and coming back… but hits the post. Down the other end and Melbourne kick a coast-to-coast goal to again stunt the Eagles momentum! Jazzy Jeff Garlett involved as usual, on the end of the inside 50, finding Bugg who converts from point blank range. Lead changes with every goal. This is good stuff.

11.24am BST

NRL: Over at Adealide Oval, it’s half time in the top of the table stoush between the Storm and the Roosters. The Melbourne side lead 12-6 via converted tries to Addo-Carr and Croft.

11.23am BST

AFL: Dogs have started well at the Docklands, ahead of North by 15 points half way through the second term. Ten marks inside their F50 for five goals. Efficient.

11.20am BST

Lions: The All Blacks ran away with the opening Test in the end, 30-15 victors. Here’s the match report from Robert Kitson at Eden Park.

Related: New Zealand and Rieko Ioane run away with first Test against Lions

11.18am BST

Before going around the grounds. Prompted by hearing Luke Darcy’s voice, the funniest thing I’ve seen in footy for a while for your quarter time enjoyment (one swear word, if you don’t like those). Can’t. Stop. Watching.

11.16am BST

AFL Quarter Time: WCE 2.5 (17) v Melbourne 3.1 (19). A few wifi issues that quarter, my apologies for the silence. Resolved now. I did see West Coast spray a couple of late set shots adding to their sense of frustration. And Melbourne finally missed one too, Vince unable to convert from long-range after the siren.

11.05am BST

AFL Q1 5:00 remaining. WCE 2.2 (14) v Melbourne 3.1 (19). Steadier for WCE, reward for earlier effort. The Dish has both of them for the Eagles.

11.04am BST

AFL Q1 6:11 remaining. WCE 1.1 (7) v Melbourne 3.1 (19). Jack Viney brilliant on his opposite foot, and Melbourne are putting a dent in this early. Talk about making the most of limited chances. Here is the previous one. Class.

Q1 | Alex Neal-Bullen gets the perfect bounce, and cruises through the arc to his first. @melbournefc making it count. #AFLEaglesDees

11.02am BST

AFL Q1 8:30 remaining. WCE 1.1 (7) v Melbourne 2.0 (12). Melbourne have barely had a sniff, but they do have the leads! Clever punch back into the corridor, and Neal-Bullen gets the burners on inside 50 slamming it home. That’ll hurt the Eagles.

10.56am BST

AFL Q1 9:30 remaining. WCE 1.1 (7) v Melbourne 1.0 (6). Subdued start far as the board is concerned. All very end to end, but no penetration. Shuey misses a set shot from 50. They lead the inside 50 count 9-2 early. Then we hear on the call – and this is pretty gear – that Jordan Lewis had to leave the field to pop his contact lenses in. Ever heard of that before?

10.46am BST

AFL Q1 16:55 remaining. WCE 1.0 (6) v Melbourne 1.0 (6). Billy Stretch back in the senioors and straight into the book. Set shot converted after Gaff infringed deep inside the 50. Bit sloppy from the Eagle mainstay. A goal apiece it is.

10.42am BST

AFL Q1 19:16 remaining. WCE 1.0 (6) v Melbourne 0.0 (0). Baaaaaaaaaaaaah! Consider that my ‘Peeeeeeep’ equivalent for an AFL goal-by-goal siren. And there’s a goal inside a minute! The Big Dish, Drew Petrie, gets his hands onto a bomb inside 50. Nice grab, nice set shot. We’re away at Subiaco.

10.38am BST

Women’s Cricket World Cup: Heather Knight has won the toss at Derby and with a bit of cloud about, so England will have a jam roll first against India in their World Cup opener. Join our live blog with Vish, who is at the ground and watching closely. We went to Paris together this week for a little midsummer getaway. It was bloody lovely.

Related: England v India: Women’s Cricket World Cup – live!

10.35am BST

NRL: We are also away in the top of the table NRL clash between the Storm and Roosters in Adelaide. It’s a Sydney home game, where AFL was played just two nights ago. With tired Origin lads everywhere from the powerhouse sides, nine all up; five purple, four tricolour.

After a midseason stumble the Storm have won four on the trot and look top be the team to beat again, two games clear on top of the ladder. It will be a shootout though, Sydney the highest scoring team in the NRL. It is the first time they have played in 2017, the Storm smashing them twice last year.

10.32am BST

AFL: Then in about ten minute we have the West Coast hosting the Dees, both teams coming in with 7-5 records, jostling for a position in the eight. Melbourne haven’t played finals footy for 11 years, so they require no incentive. And they have been good on the road, beating Adelaide away last month. Better still: they have All-Australian ruck Max Gawn back from hamstring surgery.

On the other hand, the Eagles haven’t lost to the Demons since 2009. Last time they met it was by a kick in Rd 18 at Subiaco, the venue for tonight’s game too. They also put together a very accomplished victory against Geelong last week. Volatile to the extreme in season 2017. Anything is possible from the blue and golds.

10.29am BST

AFL: Next! Two games coming up this evening.

Starting now, the Doggies and North at Docklands. In the case of the Bulldogs, their premiership hangover is nearing Hawthorn 2009 levels. They’ve lost four of their last five, unable to kick a matchwinning score. They were easily beaten by Melbourne last week, which hurt.

10.25am BST

All over at the Gabba as well, an even ten-goal win for GWS over botton-of-the-ladder Brisbane Lions. They go to a game clear on the ladder. The perfect way to see in Heath Shaw’s 250th game. Jeremy Cameron and Jon Patton both slotted four, reinforcing why they are the clear premiership favourites.

Some additional detail from the ground, via AAP:

10.14am BST

Game over! Matt Gillett backs up from Origin in the best possible way, over the line in the final minute to seal the win for the Broncos. They sleep tonight happily inside the top four. Siren sounds. Conversion made. That’s a 30-20 win over the Green Machine, their season just about over now. Brisbane with three tries to one in that second half really turned up the pressure when it mattered after going in 12-12 at the break.

Jarrod Croker from the Raiders on the radio: “We are going to have to do it a lot better or it is going to be too late.” Not wrong.

Man or machine?

Definitely superhuman from @MattGillett12.#NRLRaidersBroncos#NRL

10.12am BST

NRL: Dying stages, but the Raiders can’t make it work. Ten metres out from their own line the Broncos are feeding the scrum after an infringement from the hosts. Inside two minutes left, Brisbane lead 24-20. Can they kill enough clock with clean possession? Let you know in a couple of minutes.

10.11am BST

Lions: A try and a penalty swells the All Blacks’ lead to 23-8 over the Lions in their First Test at Eden Park. A quarter hour to go, time running out for the visitors. Follow the final stages live with Gerard Meagher.

Related: New Zealand v Lions: first Test – live!

10.08am BST

The recap. A plug. This is excellent. New product from HQ each Friday, bringing together the best of the Guardian’s sport from the week that was. Free, easy, just sign up at the link.

Related: The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage

10.04am BST

AFL: 20 minutes into the final term, GWS weren’t able to put the foot down for a monster win – yet anyway – the margin still 67-points as it was at the final change. Their forward line though… scary. Going to win everything, aren’t they?

That’s a fairly handy forward line #AFLLionsGiants

10.03am BST

NRL: From nowhere, Canberra are back in this game, dragging a try back in the 68th minute. Joseph Leilua showed “amazing strength” according to the caller, dragging multiple tacklers across the line with him. The video ref green lights the try. But the conversion is missed. It’s Brisbane still in the lead, 24-20.


Too good from Leilua.#NRLRaidersBroncos#NRL

9.58am BST

Netball: I will be keeping an eye on the Australian Netball Awards ceremony that starts in the next hour in Melbourne.

Caitlin Bassett is expected to feature prominently on stage for her work in the national side then spearheading the Sunshine Coast Lightning’s premiership win last week.

9.52am BST

NRL: Try time! Broncs again, leading the Raiders 22-16. Rewarded for the immense pressure they have put the hosts under in this second half. It’s converted, so make that 24-16, in the 60th minute now.

Too easy to for big Joe Ofahengaue!#NRLRaidersBroncos#NRL

9.46am BST

Quickly round the grounds…

Eden Park: All Blacks still lead the Lions 13-8.

Hunt to @MattGillett12!#NRLRaidersBroncos#NRL

9.42am BST

Neglected to mention earlier. Russ did an excellent thing during the week on Nicky Winmar’s ongoing omission from the Australian Football Hall of Fame. My head nearly came off for I was nodding so much. Recency bias, as he describes, must go. Your thoughts? Hit me.

Related: An Australian football hall of fame without Nicky Winmar verges on farce | Russell Jackson

9.36am BST

Gorgeous shot from the Gabba.

Twilight games Photo: Jason O’Brien/AFL Media #AFLLionsGiants

9.35am BST

AFL: Back to back majors for the Giants deep into the third term, both from the boot of Big Jezza Cameron. They’re seven goals clear now, and this becomes a percentage booster.

Speaking of Jezza… this from Glasto Silent Disco night before last. To the song that makes the sporting world go round.

9.25am BST

Nathan Buckley. Some ambitious spin from the Collingwood coach in his press conference here, after his side were easily beaten by Port. Via AAP:

Collingwood’s AFL finals hopes are slipping away but coach Nathan Buckley insists their latest defeat isn’t a fatal blow.

The Magpies looked a long way off top-eight contention on Saturday in their 31-point loss to Port Adelaide at the MCG.

With just five wins and eight losses, the 13th-placed Magpies could fall into the bottom four, depending on other results over the weekend.

Buckley, however, isn’t giving up hope that the even nature of the competition this season might still work in the Pies’ favour.

“It’s pretty tight,” Buckley said.

“A loss is not fatal but it doesn’t help.

“If a side can go on a four or five-week winning run, you’re going to put a fair bit of a dint in it, especially as we play a lot of sides that are going to be through the middle or the higher part of the ladder.”

9.22am BST

AFL: Half way through the third term at the Gabba, GWS have added three goals to two against the Lions, leading by a comfortable 38-point buffer. Port easily accounted for Collingwood earlier today, a 31-point win at the ‘G.

LIONS: All Blacks lead 13-8 in the First Test at Auckland. Brilliant try by the locals just before the half, by the reading of the live blog.

9.16am BST

Steve Harmison is a lovely human being. And doing a great thing in a new book opening up in depth about his depression. Have a look at this interview, in the paper today. Well worth it.

Related: Steve Harmison: ‘I didn’t want the public to know about my depression’

9.09am BST

NRL: How about the wheels on Nick Cotrick? “He’s a 400m runner isn’t he?” says the radio call. Get in. He scores in the corner for Canberra five minutes from half-time. They lead Brisbane 16-12.

The All Blacks lead the Lions 10-0 at Eden Park. Remember you can keep following that on our live blog, too.

Nick Cotric is 18.


9.06am BST

Women’s Cricket World Cup: We’re not far away from the tournament opener at Derby, hosts England playing India. Had the good fortune to witness a pretty amazing exchange the other night at the official launch at Whitehall in London with the Indian skipper, Mithali Raj. A journo – who had spent most of her media conference chatting to one of his colleagues and over her – asked who her favourite Indian or Pakistani male player is. Her response was rolled gold. I wrote a few words about it, and Vish Ehantharajah has a bit more few more when Raj spoke again at the pre-match conference yesterday.

Going to be a brilliant tournament. We’ll have OBO coverage for all of England and Australia’s games then into the finals. Get on board. See a full team-by-team ready reckoner to put in your favourites. Also by Vish, who is travelling with the England team. Very good.

Related: Women’s Cricket World Cup: team-by-team guide to the tournament | Vithushan Ehantharajah

8.59am BST

AFL: Half-time at the Gabba. After sticking with the Giants for most of the opening two quarters, GWS kicked the last three of the half to open up a 9.8 (52) to 4.5 (29) lead at the long break.

8.57am BST

NRL: Free-flowing opening 25 minutes at Bruce Stadium, the the Raiders and Broncos level at 12 apiece.

The pass from Benji! #NRLRaidersBroncos#NRL

8.34am BST

AFL: At the Gabba, the Lions are keeping the Giants honest in what looks a mismatch on paper. Greater Western Sydney are 14 points to the good 20 minutes into the second term. Here’s a good ‘un from the hosts, Lewis Taylor slotting one home to narrow that margin.

Turbo Taylor #AFLLionsGiants

8.28am BST

NRL: Next up in our trio of Round 16 games in the Rugby League today is 11th placed Canberra hosting 4th on the ladder Brisbane. The Raiders have been down on their luck this year, losing six games by less than a converted try. But this is a great time for them to be getting the Broncos, the origin window traditionally when they battle; three Brisbane players were in the bruising encounter on Wednesday compared to one from Canberra. Brisbane’s record on the road this year isn’t great either, winning just three of seven away fixtures. But they have won their last four on the trot against the Green Machine. We’ll keep a close eye on it. Play starts shortly.

8.25am BST

Lions v All Blacks. It’s alllllll about to kick-off at Eden Park in their first Test Match. Be sure to open a new tab and follow along with Gerard Meagher. The Lions have won the toss. Anthems there shortly, which means GDNZ! What a treat.

Related: New Zealand v Lions: first Test – live!

8.23am BST

Ground report from the Wallabies win.

Related: Rugby union: Wallabies hold on for tight win over Italy

8.11am BST

Robbie Gray booted five goals as Port Adelaide cruised to a 31-point win over Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday.

Port led throughout and put the result beyond doubt with a commanding third quarter in which they booted five straight goals.

8.09am BST

A last-minute sideline conversion from second rower Ethan Lowe has helped North Queensland escape with a thrilling 14-12 victory over Penrith in Townsville on Saturday.

Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt handed his side a chance to steal a win after flying high to take a spectacular catch for a 78th minute try and part-time goal kicker Lowe made no mistake to hand his side a much-needed win days after the club lost star halfback Johnathan Thurston for the season.

Vision of the @nthqldcowboys Try decision in the 77th minute of #NRLCowboysPanthers.#NRL

8.02am BST

It was scrappy, and not a lot of fun for Australian fans, but the Wallabies retain their undefeated run against Italy, despite the tourists giving them a serious scare deep into the second half with two tries in as many minutes to narrow the margin to one. But two late Australian tries – with Bernard Foley the clutch play of the game – secured the result. But make no mistake, there will be furious criticism of the performance for the sheer volume of handling errors, and a scrum that struggled for penetration throughout. Forlau and Naivalu both got over the line twice when the going was better for the home side, but the latter also copped a knock to the knee that ended his day prematurely.

“It probably shows where we are at,” says the captain Moore, citing a lack of confidence in the team at the moment. “We are not the finished product by any stretch. But the effort has been there.” August 19 they next play, against the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup leg. As Moore acknowledged himself in that chat, they have some way to go if they are going to seriously to compete in that series.

Related: Rugby union: Wallabies hold on for tight win over Italy

7.56am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 79th minute: Australia 40 – Italy 27. Lovely! Taken a while, but the passing and running from deep in their own half, Hodge getting a look at the sideline and scampering down to the line. “It has been a performance riddled with errors, but Australia finishing on an outstanding note,” the assessment of Bray. Foley misses the conversion, but there is the final whistle!

7.52am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 79th minute: Australia 35 – Italy 27. Bernard Foley with the matchwinner! Brilliant little run from four metres, stretching his right arm and slamming the ball into the turf from the tackle. Nothing pretty about that, but exactly what was required. He converts the try – his fifth straight kick of the afternoon – to almost certainly seal the victory.

7.50am BST

Rugby 76th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 27. “You know you can’t do that from the ground,” says the referee to Steyn. He’s popped his hands in where they aren’t allowed and he’s off too! Both teams to finish this one man short.

7.48am BST

Rugby 75th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 27. Yellow card! Toby Smith had been warned three times, but he’s lost shape again in the scrum. He’s off! Australia will finish this one short. This is getting desperate for the Wallabies, defending their one point lead. Italy surely will get their chance.

7.47am BST

Rugby 72nd minute: Australia 28 – Italy 27. Frantic tempo now, with Australia needing a clean finish. Within a metre of the line Cooper is clobbered, the ball spilling forward in the process. The scrum will meet five out from Italy’s line. Australia with a chance to steady. “Can Australia produce a scrum to change momentum?” asks Bray. “Because this Italian scrum has changed the game completely in this second half.”

7.44am BST

ITALY TRY! Rugby 69th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 27. “Harikiri from the Wallabies!” says Gordon Bray. Too cute passing across goal, Rory Arnold the player at fault, unable to get the ball out wide. Tommaso Benvenuti over for his second. The try is converted. One point game. Italy’s highest score against the Wallabies… who they have never beaten in 41 years of trying. Blimey!

I’m at the point of hoping Italy wins. Then no more hollow excuses. Australian Rugby needs a total clean-out from the top down#AUSvITA

7.40am BST

ITALY TRY! Rugby 66th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 20. And they have! Crossfield kick is high, and Edoardo Padovani collects the deflection from Dane Haylett Petty and does the rest. The try is converted. An eight point game. Grandstand finish? Italy’s first win in Australia? Ample for it. They are dominating possession at the moment.

7.36am BST

Rugby 62nd minute: Australia 28 – Italy 13. The scrum has been won by Italy today. A yellow card is threatened by the official for Toby Smith for three times losing his shape, close to the Australian line. Talk a penalty try if the Wallabies cannot get their act together in close. Important period here. Italy deserve to cross.

7.33am BST

AFL: Collingwood defeated by 31 points at the MCG by Port. That will be, as they say, a talking point. Next in the footy: Brisbane and GWS. The Giants had the bye last week but were knocked off by Carlton two weeks ago – so need to get back on winners list to keep their top two standing. They have an average winning magin of 51 points over the Lions in their last three meetings, including a 79 point hiding at the Gabba last time the teams met in round 17 last year.

7.29am BST

Rugby 56th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 13. Steven Moore comes off after a decent afternoon of toil in the no. 2. Between times, Italy fluffed another promising approach to the line, dropping the ball from close range. Australia increasingly look to have this under control. But they missed their chance to seal the game after an interception, Genia’s pass was a shocker, way over the head of Foley out wide.

“[Genia] does not trust his pace anymore”@FOXRugbyLive @qantaswallabies #AUSvITA

7.18am BST

Rugby 49th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 13. Bit of desperation from the Italian passing here, they just can’t break through and ultimately drop the ball. But in and around that, Naivalu is copped a whack to his knee. The trainers are on the field and the replay doesn’t look great. But he’s back on his feet. Relief for all in Camp Australia as he gets off the field without assistance, albeit limping.

7.15am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 44th minute: Australia 28 – Italy 13. Sefanaia Naivalu’s turn for a double! Responding in the best possible way to the overturned try from just a minute earlier. Hunt in the middle of that with the crucial pass to open up the left. And some magic from Foley in there too, passing between his legs! As you do. Australia well on this after half-time. Foley converts for a fourth time.

Some razzle dazzle stuff from Foley helps to set up Naivalu’s second for the afternoon! @qantaswallabies lead 28-13 #AUSvITA

7.12am BST

NO TRY! Rugby 42nd minute: Australia 21 – Italy 13. Talk of atomic wedgies from the Australian support players get over line after the movement has concluded. That’s not what the TMO said, but it is what he thought.

7.06am BST

NRL: Around the grounds to Townsville as well. Attritional stuff by the looks, the visiting Panthers leading the Cowboys 6-0 at the half. Corey Harawira-Naera has the try for Penrith.

7.00am BST

AFL: Around the grounds, and Port are home at the MCG, leading Collingwood by 35 points with ten minutes to go in the final term. That will shatter the Magpies, who were still in touch with a tightly-bunched middle group of sides, but can’t afford to drop games at home in the run to September. Robbie Gray has five majors for the Power.

6.57am BST

HALF TIME: Rugby: Australia 21 – Italy 13. “I think we’ll be pretty disappointed,” says back Bernard Foley when interviewed on the way off the ground. Laments their inability to hold onto the ball at important times. That final try of the half to the Italians, the most exciting passage of play of the stanza, has the margin where it should be in single digits. Especially having an early try disallowed controversially by the TMO. That said, Forlau looked unstoppable when the line was in sight, moving his impressive tally to ten tries in his past six international appearances. He might need one or two more to secure the result for the Wallabies in the second half here. Thankfully, he’s being well supported by Foley’s boot, converting all three tries with a trio of pristine strikes.

6.50am BST

ITALY TRY! Rugby 37th minute: Australia 21 – Italy 13. “Campagnaro! He’s quick. Has he got the legs? He sure has!” Gordon Bray rolls his Rs with the best of them as the no. 13 slices his way through the middle of the field and isn’t stopped after Vendetti puts him through with some clean hands. They’ve earned the chance to go into the break within striking distance. The try is converted, and the margin is back to right.

6.45am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 32nd minute: Australia 21 – Italy 6. Izzzzzzy! Another double for the winger, he has the home side’s third try. Easy peasy, none of this diving business, Forlau getting on the end of a tidy string of passes out to the right, the final one from Hunt slamming into his chest from long-range. Foley again converts; his kicking has been supreme at each time of asking so far today.

Folau becomes the first Wallaby the score multiple tries in three consecutive Test matches. AUS 21-6 after 32 minutes. #AUSvITA

6.41am BST

Rugby 23rd minute: Australia 14 – Italy 6. “It is said that Italy had a link to rugby all the way to the vatican,” says Gordon Bray. But he immediately mythbusts himself: the Pontiff was a goalkeeper. Carry on. They do get their second penalty at close range, Tommaso Allan popping through the three-pointer. The Scott Sio violation in the ruck is against the flow of play, with Australia exerting plenty of pressure after flicking the switch ten minutes into this opening half.

6.31am BST


Who’s ready for some Italian?! #AUSvITA #ArvoRugby

6.29am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 18th minute: Australia 14 – Italy 3. Israel! Five tries in three Tests for the big number 15. Sharp hands out to the right, passes all hitting the mark before Forlau does the rest, taking the responsibility to force himself over in the corner. Foley converts again, straight through the uprights. Italy were nearly in double figures within a couple of minutes, and now find themselves 11 down with Australian tails up.

6.26am BST

AUSTRALIA TRY! Rugby 13th minute: Australia 7 – Italy 3. “He has the pace, he’s electric!” Sefa Naival down the left, too fast and over! Created after a scrum infringement, taken advantage of by the Australian backs. Their first real opportunity, with 97 per cent of play to this point in the host’s half. Foley does the rest to grab the extra couple of points on offer. Nice strike to get his day underway.

6.18am BST

TRY! OVERTURNED! Rugby 7th minute: Australia 0 – Italy 3 Dean Budd has gotten himself over the line after a kick that caught Australia sleeping and gave Giovambattista Venditti space down the right. He’s been desparately tackled before the pass – is the foot on the line? Upstairs we go! “Can we rock and roll it,” asks the TMO in classic cricket third umpire style. “A cigarette paper in this,” reckons Gordon Bray. The TMO: “The blue player still has his finger on the ball and the ball is in touch…” that’s all you need to know. NO TRY. Goodness me. The Wallabies have got away with one there. Rattled.

It really is a game of inches…anxious moments for the @qantaswallabies#AUSvITA

6.13am BST

Belated… but have some teams.

Australia: 1. Scott Sio 2. Stephen Moore 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Rory Arnold 5. Adam Coleman 6. Ned Hanigan 7. Michael Hooper 8. Lopeti Timani 9. Will Genia 10. Bernard Foley 11. Sefa Naivalu 12. Karmichael Hunt 13. Rob Horne 14. Dane Haylett Petty 15. Israel Folau

6.12am BST

Rugby 2nd minute: Italy 3 – Australia 0. An early penalty. “The Italians will be disappointed they didn’t get seven points there,” the assessment of the TV. An early error from the boys in gold, a fumble at the back. They mishandle themselves as they take the advantage, but take the kick from directly in front. Well then.

6.08am BST

Peeeeeep! We’re away.

And before we get into the real stuff, one error: “In joyful strains AND let us sing.” Nooo. Half a dozen changes for the Austrlaian team, and three confirmed for Italy. We’ll grab those from the authorities (err, twitter).

6.05am BST

Anthems! Okay. We’re ready to roll. Italy first, then the Luke Kennedy with the Australian Girls Choir for Advance Austalia Fair. Few things better in world sport than anthems at a rugby international, no?

5.36am BST

Welcome to an overflowing Saturday of action across this big, brown land of ours. I’m Adam Collins, and I look forward to riding shotgun with you a feast of footy, with plenty else to keep us cracking deep into the night.

Already underway are the Pies and Port at the ‘G. This was tipped to be the closest game of the round, but after two stonkers on Thursday and Friday night, they’ll take some beating. 13th placed Collingwood are on the improve, but still in need or urgent wins, playing catch-up in season 2017. But Port, in fourth spot currently conceding fewer points than anyway. The visitors currently lead by three goals half way through the second term.

6.17am BST

Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s the latest on the debacle that is Australian rugby union at the moment:

Related: Status quo remains in Australian rugby after ARU emergency meeting – for now | Bret Harris

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Jun 18

Demons and Eels the winners, Bulldogs season in the balance – as it happened.

9.33am BST

If we learned anything in 2016, it is that we can’t rule out a team like Melbourne winning it all in 2017. They certainly issued a statement at the Docklands, thrashing last year’s premiers. The pressure they generate, the polish they show with ball in hand, the accuracy in execution… it’s a good time to be a Demon. The Dogs, on the other hand, have a rubbish week ahead of them, their season now really in the balance. To say the least.

In Sydney, the Eels did the double over the fourth-placed Dragons, emphasising their own September credentials. A way to go yet, but not for nothing that they have been able to again beat a team inside the eight.

9.26am BST

AFL Match report – Dees 113 – Dogs 56

MELBOURNE, June 18 AAP – Melbourne have stamped their AFL premiership credentials, smashing reigning premiers Western Bulldogs by 57 points in a spiteful Etihad Stadium encounter.
Jack Watts booted three goals in a dominant performance as the Demons climbed to fifth on the AFL ladder with a 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) victory on Sunday afternoon.
The Dees could hardly have been more impressive, beating the Dogs at their own hard-running, transition offence game and repelling everything thrown at them on the defensive end.
It was a dire loss for the Bulldogs, who remain stranded in ninth place, made worse by a serious and potentially season-ending knee injury to key midfielder Lin Jong.
Jong went straight to the rooms and was later in tears on the interchange bench, having crumpled to the ground when his kick was smothered by Nathan Jones early in the first quarter.
The Dees had injury concerns of their own, with Watts, Jones, Neville Jetta and Jayden Hunt all spending extended time on the bench.
Tensions between the two sides were stoked before the game, with Melbourne enforcer Tomas Bugg using social media to taunt Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen.
The Norm Smith medallist had a shocker during their loss to Sydney, courtesy of a hard tag from George Hewett, and Bugg took to Instagram to make it clear he could expect the same treatment.
The Dogs made a beeline for Bugg before the opening bounce but it was one of the few shots they fired in an otherwise meek performance.
Luke Beveridge’s men were held goalless in the opening quarter for the first time this season as Melbourne’s phenomenal pressure proved far too much for them to handle.
Marcus Bontempelli and Lachie Hunter racked up plenty of touches but to little effect as the physical Demons tackled, smothered and muscled their way to a four-goal lead at quarter-time.
The Dogs looked to fight back during a fiery, old-school second term, with the umpires kept busy by spotfires across the ground.
But it was Melbourne who came out on top, extending their lead with consecutive goals after Bugg – again the chief provocateur – was laid out by a frustrated Easton Wood.
It was all one-way traffic after halftime, with Jordan Lewis (31 touches), Oscar McDonald (23 disposals, 12 marks) and Christian Salem (23 touches) among the standout performers for the Dees.

9.24am BST

NRL Match report – Eels 24 – Dragons 10.

SYDNEY, June 18 AAP – Brad Arthur shifted Clinton Gutherson to fullback with immediate success for Parramatta, as the Eels beat St George Illawarra 24-10 on Sunday.
The Eels’ Mr. Fix-it for the first half of the NRL season, Gutherson finally found a spot of his own at the back and celebrated with two first-half tries and 207 metres at ANZ Stadium.
But the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury, while Beau Scott suffered an elbow complaint.
But after 14 weeks of injury reshuffles and the wait for Mitchell Moses’ arrival, Arthur looked to have finally found the Eels’ most potent backline combination.
Gutherson was faultless at the back, scoring the first try from a fortuitous rebound before blocking and scooping up a grubber to run 80 metres and score their second.
It helped built a 12-4 half-time lead that never looked in danger of being chased down.
His move to the back came after former NSW State of Origin centre Michael Jennings returned from a quad injury, while regular fullback Bevan French shifted to the right wing.
Jennings crossed for a try from a 55-metre break after a Dragons dropped ball and French scored after a perfectly placed cross-field chip kick from halfback Moses, as the hosts sealed the result in the second half.
French was also outstanding in defence, as he regularly pressured the Dragons’ attack with his speed and produced an intercept to save a try in his new-found position.
Moses had his best game for the Eels as he partnered Corey Norman in the halves for just the second time.
The pair forced four dropouts, as the Eels controlled the momentum of the match, despite only receiving their first penalty in the 71st minute.
Meanwhile, Nene Macdonald and Paul Vaughan scored tries for the Dragons, but they never looked in the hunt as their attack stuttered without Origin stars Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell.
Coach Paul McGregor took halfback Josh McCrone from the field with 13 minutes to play.

9.15am BST

NRL ladder afer round 15.

1 Melbourne 14 12 0 2 1 319 212 107 26
2 Sydney Roosters 14 10 0 4 1 310 228 82 22
3 Cronulla 14 10 0 4 1 264 194 70 22
4 Brisbane 14 9 0 5 1 301 225 76 20
5 Manly 13 8 0 5 2 299 237 62 20
6 St George Illawarra 14 8 0 6 1 297 235 62 18
7 North Queensland 14 8 0 6 1 287 259 28 18
8 Penrith 13 6 0 7 2 284 253 31 16
9 Parramatta 15 8 0 7 0 282 318 -36 16
10 Canberra 14 6 0 8 1 316 270 46 14
11 NZ Warriors 14 6 0 8 1 274 303 -29 14
12 Canterbury 14 6 0 8 1 194 247 -53 14
13 South Sydney 14 5 0 9 1 258 313 -55 12
14 Gold Coast 14 4 0 10 1 298 382 -84 10
15 Newcastle 13 2 0 11 2 210 351 -141 8
16 Wests Tigers 14 3 0 11 1 204 370 -166 8

9.12am BST

The AFL ladder after round 13.

P W L D For Agst PC Pts
Adelaide 12 9 3 – 1426 1006 141.8 36
Greater Western Sydney 12 9 3 – 1202 1033 116.4 36
Geelong 12 8 4 – 1234 1075 114.8 32
Port Adelaide 12 7 5 – 1262 939 134.4 28
Melbourne 12 7 5 – 1221 1055 115.7 28
Richmond 12 7 5 – 1051 958 109.7 28
West Coast 12 7 5 – 1066 1039 102.6 28
Essendon 12 6 6 – 1143 1111 102.9 24
Western Bulldogs 12 6 6 – 977 1012 96.5 24
St Kilda 12 6 6 – 1035 1090 95.0 24
Fremantle 12 6 6 – 919 1171 78.5 24
Sydney 12 5 7 – 1070 1014 105.5 20
Collingwood 12 5 7 – 1069 1051 101.7 20
Gold Coast 12 5 7 – 1078 1223 88.1 20
Carlton 12 5 7 – 882 1066 82.7 20
North Melbourne 12 4 8 – 1104 1189 92.8 16
Hawthorn 12 4 8 – 947 1231 76.9 16
Brisbane Lions 12 2 10 – 984 1407 69.9 8

9.06am BST

They can consult me, for a fee.

Dog fans can seek guidance from Hawk fans with how to deal with rubbish ‘flag was a fluke’ Barbs. #AFLDogsDees

9.03am BST

PARRAMATTA 24 (C Gutherson 2 B French M Jennings tries C Gutherson 3 M Moses goals) bt ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 10 (N MacDonald P Vaughan tries G Widdop goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 13,559. (via AAP).

Brad Arthur shifted Clinton Gutherson to fullback with immediate success for Parramatta, as the Eels beat St George Illawarra 24-10 on Sunday.
The Eels’ Mr. Fix-it for the first half of the NRL season, Gutherson finally found a spot of his own at the back and celebrated with two first-half tries and 207 metres at ANZ Stadium.
But the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury, while Beau Scott suffered an elbow complaint.
But after 14 weeks of injury reshuffles and the wait for Mitchell Moses’ arrival, Arthur looked to have finally found the Eels’ most potent backline combination.
Gutherson was faultless at the back, scoring the first try from a fortuitous rebound before blocking and scooping up a grubber to run 80 metres and score their second.

9.02am BST

You love singing the song after a win like that. The Melbourne faithful have copped it for a decade, a true laughing stock of the competition. But they are laughing now, all their way to September. It was a win built on the back of a relentless opening ten minutes, never letting the Dogs settle. Once they found their rhythm in front of goal, they came consistently – and disproportionately so from turnovers. That’ll will unsettle the Sons of the Scray as much as anything, just how loose they were. Premiership hangover or otherwise, the headaches are considerable at the kennel.

8.58am BST

NRL: The Dragons got a try back, but smooth sailing for the Eels who have got over the line 24-10 at the Olympic Stadium. Will have the full report with you shortly.

8.56am BST

AFL: Q4 3:30 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 17.11.113. Toooooo easy. Bugg an uncontested mark inside 50. Then finds Alex Neal-Bullen, also in there without opponent. A shot to the Doggie’s box, Luke Beveridge is understandably livid. Melbourne have been magnificent.

No side this year has played as well as Melbourne have played today. #AFLDogsDees

8.52am BST

AFL: Q4 7:00 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 16.10.106. Tom McDonald gets lucky, the bouncing into his arms as he strolls into goal. He’s had a big game. “Is there a chance the Dogs will miss the finals?” is the question on TV. A lot of Hawthorn 2009 about their campaign so far. What a brutal season that was.

8.47am BST

AFL: Q4 9:00 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 15.9.99. Loose ball gather by Tory Dickson allows him to kick his first of a very quiet day. Has plenty of friends who can say that, not least Tom Boyd. Mitch Honeychurch missed an earlier a set shot, which will set twitter off. An unpopular man today after a couple of bad blunders. “I think the Bulldogs have dropped off with their handball efficiency,” says Jonathan Brown. Brad Johnson agrees.

Looking forward to Melbourne knocking Richmond out of the finals #AFLDogsDees

8.40am BST

AFL: Q4 14:30 remaining. Dogs 7.5.47 v Dees 15.7.97. Cleeeever. Great grab from Pedersen, who looks up and sees Hannan, gives off the handball and he strolls into an open goal. Some tired boys out there now, a lot of arc-to-arc footy as the minutes drain from the clock. Not that the Dogs have any realistic hope at this stage. Jack Watts down the race, some ‘hamstring tightness’ the report from the boundary. Interesting debate about to begin about the Dogs. Getting beat in Sydney is one thing, but this will bring the back pages.

We all say Dogs premiership hangover. But they were 7th in 2016 + a great September, this year within their margin of error? #AFLDogsDees

8.33am BST

NRL: Another bad knee injury this Sunday. via AAP. Parra lead 24-4 after a Bevan French try, about 20 minutes to go at the Olympic Stadium.

Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard has been taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury.
Pritchard was stretchered off ANZ Stadium in a medicab for the Eels after he was hurt in a tackle midway through the first half of the Eels’ NRL clash with St George Illawarra on Sunday.
The Eels dummy-half has endured a horrid run with injuries in his five-year NRL career, including twin pectoral injuries in 2015.

In the blink of an eye, French was there!#NRLEelsDragons 24-4 after 58 minutes.#NRL

8.32am BST

AFL: Q4 18:30 remaining. Dogs 7.5.47 v Dees 14.7.91. Picken nearly has his head taken off in a marking contest inside 50. Rightly gets the free, and kicks truly for the first of the final quarter. Margin back to 44, for what it is worth.

A comment from… my brother, Ben, who predicts a Melbourne flag inside three years. “From the decade of chaos, they have built one of the most balanced and talented lists in the AFL.” Sounds about right. Good on ‘em. It’s been a terrible ten or more years for them.

8.26am BST

NRL: Ten minutes into the second half, Parra 18-4 over St George. Michael Jennings with the Eels third try, converted by Gutherson. Evidently a fair bit of excitement on TV about a kiss on the cheek.

Must have been a great tackle!#NRLEelsDragons #NRL

8.24am BST

AFL: Three Quater Time. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 14.7.91. Tom McDonald does exactly as Jack Watts did at half-time, draining a set shot after the hooter from long-range. That puts the lead out to 50 points. What a performance.

8.21am BST

AFL: Q3 2:00 remaining. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 13.7.85. The man who fired this game up, Tomas Bugg, gets another in the book from close range. Too easy.

8.17am BST

AFL: Q3 5:00 remaining. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 12.7.79. Roughead runs into what should have been a relatively simple open goal, but Jetta nearly chased him down. “That’s just the mindset of Melbourne today,” says Brad Johnson. Dogs’ first goal from a turnover today the TV tells me – Melbourne have six.

8.13am BST

AFL: Q3 7:00 remaining. Dogs 5.5.35 v Dees 12.7.79. Dees respond straight away! Margin straight back to 44 points. Jack Watts penetrates with his inside 50, a clever handball slips out to Jake Melksham who pops it on the boot and through the big sticks from 15m.

8.11am BST

AFL: Q3 7:00 remaining. Dogs 5.5.35 v Dees 11.7.73. Coast to coast from Melbourne through a string of precise handballs and short kicks, landing in the arms of Jazzy Jeff who bangs it home from the goalsquare. The Dogs in real strife, on the cusp of losing their first game at the Docklands this year. One more goal and they’re gone. Oh, and as I’m about to hit send, the Dogs do go and get one back. Libba is taken high from a hard ball get, converts the free kick from 30m.

Well done Dees. Too polished. We’re a mess.

8.08am BST

AFL: Q3 10:00 remaining. Dogs 4.4.28 v Dees 10.7.67. Melbourne, brilliant! Salem receives the handball at 55, steadies and drills it home, with Garlett shepherding it over the line. Again via a Dogs turnover, a long option taken and missed. “Time becoming an issue for them now,” says Huddo on the TV. 39 points the lead. Interesting from David King too, asking why Melbourne couldn’t legitimately challenge for the flag this year. Wouldn’t that be something.

8.04am BST

NRL: Half-time. Parramatta 12 v St George 4. Dragons get one back before the half, via Neve Macdonald.

The flick pass! Nailed it.

The @NRL_Dragons are on the board. #NRLEelsDragons 12-4 after 37 minutes.#NRL

7.58am BST

AFL: Q3 15:30 remaining. Dogs 4.4.28 v Dees 9.6.60. Tom Boyd has been nowhere today, but with his second kick of the encounter has his first goal from a 40m set shot. Cordy did well to chip with his non-referred left foot, Boyd getting into position nicely.

shocked about just how ragged @westernbulldogs use of the footy has been so far today. #afldogsdees

7.54am BST

AFL: Q3 19:00 remaining. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 9.6.60. What a deflating start for the Dogs. Jack Watts works his behind off to get into the hotspot, down from the wing. In the end, it is a relatively uncontested 2-on-1 grab that he takes in the square and bangs it home. Lead out to 39 points.

7.46am BST

NRL: Try time again for Parramatta (12-0). How about Gutherson’s wheels here? Wooot. His second try, converted. He has all 12 points in the game to his name so far.

King Clint scoots away! #NRLEelsDragons #NRL

7.40am BST

Below the line. “I’m at that stage of the year when I start barracking for teams based on how it affects my team’s position in the eight,” says MostlyGrey. “So GO Melbourne.”

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a proper eight point game this with both sides fighting for an elimination final spot in a couple of months from now.

STATS | The numbers at half-time #AFLDogsDees

7.35am BST

NRL: The Eels get the first try, Clinton Gutherson over the line then converting. At the midway point of the first half at the Olympic Stadium. Parra 6-0 ahead of St George.

7.33am BST

AFL: Half Time. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 8.6.54. Jack Watts! A shot after the siren from the car park, tucked up against the boundary needing to go right to left. Threads it through to get their fourth of the quarter; a nice little steadier to push the margin back beyond five goals at the long break. Predictably, a little push and shove before they walk off. Eight goals in the final ten minutes of that quarter. Margin a fraction deceptive relative to the flow of play and the Dogs will take something from that while sipping on an energy drink.

7.27am BST

AFL: Q2 1:00 remaining. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 7.6.48. Dogs bang, bang! Just as they looked on the cusp of being blown away the Dogs have slammed home two goals in a minute as the tempo of this game lifts dramatically. Bomtompelli utter class, a left foot snap from 50 moments after Daulhaus kicked his first of the afternoon. Back inside five goals. Expect more goals before the break, the game has opened up considerably in the last ten minutes. Could have came too through Mitch Honeychurch, who just misses to the near side are a frenetic passage of play through the middle.

How good is some genuine feeling in a game of footy?!

7.23am BST

AFL: Q2 5:00 remaining. Dogs 1.2.8 v Dees 7.6.48. Double goal! Oh what a mess for the Dogs, and no one to blame but premiership captain Easton Wood. To begin, Hannan snaps truly from a contest 20m from the big sticks. Nice finish. Man of the moment Tomas Bugg tells Wood. He returns the favour with a hit that The Pest wasn’t expecting. To ground he goes, a free kick given, a second goal kicked before the ball has returned to the middle.

7.19am BST

Rugby: the fall out from the Wallabies shocker last night. An AAP report from Will Genia’s press conference.

Putting his hand up for his own shocker, Will Genia admits the Wallabies need some serious soul searching if they’re to challenge the All Blacks in 2017.
Exasperated coach Michael Cheika is expected to wield the axe after the Wallabies slumped to a demoralising 24-19 loss to Scotland in Sydney on Saturday.
Accusing his team of being physically and mentally off the pace, Cheika singled out captain Michael Hooper, fullback Israel Folau and rookie inside centre Karmichael Hunt as among the few to have performed to Test standard.
The rest of the squad is on notice ahead of Saturday’s final Test of the June series, a seemingly easier assignment against Italy in Brisbane.
Cheika said physical intent would be the No.1 selection criteria for Australia’s last Test before back-to-back Bledisloe Cup battles in August with the world No.1 All Blacks, who thumped Samoa 78-0 on Friday.

7.17am BST

AFL: Q2 7:51 remaining. Dogs 1.2.8 v Dees 5.5.35. At last! Caleb Daniel gets on the end of a fast break, turns and slots it through from 40m. Only took the Dogs 23 entrances inside 50 to get a six pointer. 27 points now the margin. Meanwhile, the Tomas Bugg tweet generating plenty of chat on the world wide web. Thoughts?

How is that anything more than a bit of fun? It’s nothing more. Not a sledge, not disrespectful, not fuel on a fire. #AFLDogsDees

7.14am BST

AFL: Q2 8:55 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 5.5.35. Blimey, what’s going on there? Easton Wood is absolutely convinced he has got a finger on the Harmes snap, they prepare accordingly. But the TV umpire doesn’t agree and the goal is confirmed. “That will be a talking point during the week,” says Jonathan Brown. Not wrong. The lead could be a lot bigger, too. Moments earlier, Jazzy Jeff Garlett hits his low-percentage snap nicely, but it hits the post. That came after Jack Watts failed to score from a set shot 35m out. All Melbourne.

The McDonald brothers’ most productive day since the invention of the quarter pounder with cheese. #AFLDogsDees

7.07am BST

AFL: Q2 12:20 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 4.3.27. Plenty of unhappy Dogs fans. Unhappy at umpiring decisions. Unhappy with the opposition. Mostly unhappy that we’re nearly half way through the second quarter and they’re yet to kick a goal. A goalless half, anyone? In the NRL, we’re away at the Olympic Stadium, the Eels and the Dragons. I’ll keep an eye on it.

STAT | Inside 50s:
Dogs 18
Demons 13

But Melbourne leads 26 to 2. #AFLDogsDees

7.00am BST

AFL: Q2 17:44 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 4.2.26. We’re upstairs for a score review. Long snap from Daulhaus. It looks to be straight, but it has clipped the post according to the goal umpire and that can’t be overturned by the third umpire without conclusive proof. A behind registered, the Dogs still yet to put one through.

“We can put a man on the moon, surely we can get some camera’s that can actually a tell if a ball has hit the post” Nick Dal Santo

6.57am BST

The Jong injury. David King on TV saying that ACL is the talk on the boundary line. Let’s hope not.

Lin Jong was helped from the field after this incident. #AFLDogsDees

6.56am BST

I missed this before. About an hour before the game Tomas Bugg having a pop at JJ. Good from him, I think. Less good: Lin Jong. Nothing formal as yet, but all the boundary line reporting suggests he’s in real strife.

Luke Beveridge, says Jonathan Brown on the TV, spent the whole 1/4 time break addressing the players rather than them splitting off to line coaches. In other words, he’s probably given them a huge spray. Always have time for this.

Dees coach responds to Tomas Bugg’s Instagram post aimed at an opponent –>

6.53am BST

AFL: Quarter Time. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 4.2.26. The defending champs are in all sorts. They needed to bounce back badly urgently after their thrashing last week, but instead have registered their first goalless term for 15 months. Ouch. Not to take anything away from Melbourne, who are playing with the vigour of a side who know that they aren’t far away from a finals berth. Illustrated nicely by the fact that three of their four goals came from direct turnovers through excellent tackles.

Best Demons 1st quarter for 20+ years. #AFLDogsDees

6.47am BST

AFL: Q 2:08 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 4.2.26. And another! Bugg set up the previous goal, and does again here with a timely tackle on Matt Suckling, it’s boomed into the Melbourne 50 and last week’s hero Jack Watts takes the grab. Well, is paid the mark in any case. From 35m right in front, he kicks truly. Three goals in about 90 seconds. Boom.

Christian Petracca’s pressure sets the tone. #AFLDogsDees

6.45am BST

AFL: Q 3:00 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 3.2.20. Brilliant forward 50 pressure from Christian Petracca, stripping Shane Biggs of possession deep in the pocket and having the composure to collect the ball and bang it home from point blank range. On their way to a deserved handy lead at the quarter time break. Nearing a goalless quarter for the Dogs for the first time since Rd 3 last year. And another for Melbourne! From the clearance, Pedersen getting on the end of turnover inside 50, kicking over the top to Garlett in the squad, who gets Melbourne’s third of the quarter. Great footy.

6.40am BST

Bad news – Lin Jong. Helped off by the trainers with a knee injury. First signs: not good.

Mick Warner: “Lin Jong is in the back row of the bench. He appears to be in tears.” #AFLDogsDees

6.39am BST

AFL: Q 6:00 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 1.1.7. Turnovers, turnovers, turnoevers. Almost all going one way, Melbourne well on top here as the quarter ticks away with only three scoring shots so far. In turn, a post to denote a behind: James Harmes tried to thread a drop punt through from the pocket, but missed to the near side. At the other end, Bontempelli’s snap nearly gets over the line but bounces back the other way. Paul Roos on the TV: “What Melbourne have been able to do is taken the sting out of the Bulldog’s counter attack.”

Melbourne’s pressure has been superb in this first quarter. Dogs can’t catch a breath. #AFLDogsDees

6.31am BST

AFL: Q1 13:36 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 1.0.6. Opening major of the game after both sides took a while to settle with plenty of possessions around both 50m arcs, some big tackles made to prevent shots on goal. But Jeff Garlett weights an inside 50 perfectly to find Dom Tyson 30 out. He turns around and makes no mistake from the set shot.

“It’s a frantic pace early, they are almost going to quick for themselves though” Nick Dal Santo

6.21am BST

A lot of chat. Before this game about Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen. Had nine touches against Sydney last night bringing loads of scrutiny. “The footy world watches JJ for his response,” former Dogs great Brad Johnson’s assessment. Nice little montage with all this on the telly as the siren sounds. We’re away at the Docklands.

6.06am BST

Welcome to a truncated version of sportwatch this midwinter Sunday. Only on the basis that we’ve reached that part of the season where the footy codes get a breather via bye rounds and the like, and the netball has wrapped up with yesterday’s Grand Final.

But never fear: we still have a couple of feature games coming up for you this afternoon. It’s Adam Collins to steer you through the action before I hotfoot it to The Oval in London for the India v Pakistan Champions Trophy Final.

5.33am BST

Adam will be with you shortly. While you’re waiting, here’s a reminder of what happened on a busy day yesterday:

Related: Lightning crowned Super Netball champions, Wallabies fall to Scotland – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Jun 09

Bangladesh beat New Zealand by five wickets at Champions Trophy – as it happened

Fabulous centuries from Mahmadullah and Shakib al Hasan help Bangladesh recover from 33-4 and knock New Zealand out of the Champions Trophy

7.35pm BST

That’s all from me. Bangladesh are doing a lap of honour around a ground that was never very full, but however many fans remain, these cricketers deserve to milk their acclaim. Now they need England to do them a favour tomorrow by beating Australia and helping them through to the semi-finals. There will, of course, be full coverage of that tomorrow. For now, though, bye!

7.33pm BST

Incredible scenes! From 33-4, Mahmadullah and Shakib al Hasan produced two innings of fabulous pacing, concentration, judgement and quality to gradually and remorselessly drain all hope from New Zealand. Wonderful cricket.

7.29pm BST

47.2 overs: Bangladesh 268-5 (Mahmadullah 106, Mosaddek 7) Milne’s second ball is edged hard, fast and safe, racing away for four, and the game is won!

7.28pm BST

47th over: Bangladesh 264-5 (Mahmadullah 106, Mosaddek 3) Shakib backs away, Boult aims at his backtracking legs, and the ball gets pushed down the ground for four anyway. The batsman gives himself some space again from the next, and heaves it away for four more! These are killer blows, surely, even if the following delivery ends Shakib’s knock. Mosaddek comes in and sends his first two balls down to third man. Mahmadullah faces the last, and with six needed it might be his only chance to complete his century. So he doesn’t hold back: he swings hard, the ball flies high, and it lands a foot short of the rope and bounces over! Bangladesh need two runs, from 18 balls.

7.24pm BST

Shakib wants to end this in a hurry, but he heaves at a straight one, misses it completely and the bails light up. He deserved to finish this, but is nevertheless roared from the field, a hero.

7.21pm BST

46th over: Bangladesh 249-4 (Shakib 106, Mahmadullah 98) With two centuries just a few steps away, these are nervous times. The over starts slow: dot, single, dot, leg bye. Then Shakib pulls the ball high and fine – in all senses – down the leg side for six, to reach his century! Bangladesh need 17 runs from 24 balls!

7.15pm BST

45th over: Bangladesh 240-4 (Shakib 98, Mahmadullah 98) For a while it looks like Bangladesh will be content to milk Boult’s ninth over for singles. But then Shakib violently hammers the ball over long off for four, which puts paid to that. He swings at the next one as well, less – or rather, not at all – successfully. And the one after that, again without making contact. More haste, less speed and all that. A single off the last and the two batsmen are tied on 98 runs apiece, and their team need 26 from 30 deliveries.

7.11pm BST

44th over: Bangladesh 232-4 (Shakib 92, Mahmadullah 97) Neesham returns, Williamson shuffles his field so as to reveal an imminent bumper, and Mahmadullah is ready for it, and brilliantly nudge/scoops it over Ronchi and away for four. That aside, it’s all singles. They need 34 from 36 balls.

7.05pm BST

43rd over: Bangladesh 225-4 (Shakib 90, Mahmadullah 92) If the wheels aren’t yet coming off this New Zealand Champions Trophy victory wagon, the radar is certainly wobbling. Southee starts his ninth over with a wide, and then continues with another one. Then Shakib gets a single with the latest of late cut, a cut that if it were a fraction of a moment later would have come after the ball had already clattered into the stumps, causing all sorts of frustration/relief, depending. The next is a fabulous yorker, which Mahmadullah just survives, killing the ball, stealing a sharp single and giving Shakib the chance to clobber Southee’s fifth/seventh delivery of the over through the covers for four. Bangladesh need 41 from 42 balls.

6.59pm BST

42nd over: Bangladesh 215-4 (Shakib 84, Mahmadullah 90) This is now Bangladesh’s highest-ever ODI partnership. The first ball of Santner’s over is brutally dismissed down the ground by Mahmadullah for four. A wide later, he turns the ball gently to an giant gap in midwicket and runs two, and is so pleased with himself he does it again. Then, a moment of weakness, cutting the ball in the air straight to backward point, but it bounces a foot before the fielder. What a fabulous partnership this has already been for Bangladesh, and at the most crucial of times.

6.54pm BST

41st over: Bangladesh 205-4 (Shakib 84, Mahmadullah 81) Can the returning Southee do with the old ball what he did so spectacularly with its younger self? Not on this evidence: Shakib shuffles forward, leans backwards and slaps the ball wide of cover for four, and then tries to smash the next for six, doesn’t get enough on it and is fortunate to see it land well short of the fielder. Then Mahmadullah absolutely clobbers the last, but sends it straight to a fielder and gets only a single for his pains.

6.48pm BST

40th over: Bangladesh 196-4 (Shakib 79, Mahmadullah 77) Santner bowls a ninth over, and Bangladesh largely restrict themselves to prods, nudges and nurdles for ones and twos. Six from the over.

6.45pm BST

39th over: Bangladesh 190-4 (Shakib 76, Mahmadullah 74) Milne’s over yields but three runs. Bangladesh need 76 from 66 at 6.90 an over. New Zealand were 201-4 at this point with calamity yet to strike.

6.43pm BST

38th over: Bangladesh 186-4 (Shakib 75, Mahmadullah 73) There’s a tiny crowd in Cardiff, but the tension they’re feeling is starting to transmit itself across the miniature excuse for a TV that’s lurking in the top corner of my computer screen.

6.38pm BST

37th over: Bangladesh 183-4 (Shakib 73, Mahmadullah 71) Mahmadullah swings a little wildly, top-edges way into the air but also, handily, quite a bit behind him, and it bounces once before vaulting the rope. Milne’s next delivery cuts into the batsman, zips through the gate and high of the stumps, a fine comeback, and then the next is steered skywards past point, where Guptill dives, grasps and comes back with fresh air. The win predictor, which once rated New Zealand’s chances of victory at 84%, now suggests they’re on the right side of a 51-49 split.

6.32pm BST

36th over: Bangladesh 173-4 (Shakib 71, Mahmadullah 64) Shakib doesn’t look happy about life. He seems to be tired, and is conveying this by frequent sad looks at balconies, occasionally while stretching, feeling or rubbing some ailing body part. Still, he battles on bravely.

6.29pm BST

35th over: Bangladesh 169-4 (Shakib 68, Mahmadullah 63) Fifteen overs to go, and this game is now very finely poised. Bangladesh score six runs from Boult’s eighth over, and need just keep going at a similar pace, while not really losing any wickets if they can help it. Simple.

6.25pm BST

34th over: Bangladesh 163-4 (Shakib 65, Mahmadullah 61) That was indeed the last we’ll see of Williamson. Santner comes back with three dots, followed by three ones.

6.22pm BST

33rd over: Bangladesh 160-4 (Shakib 64, Mahmadullah 59) And Boult slams the brakes back on again. Two singles, and a lovely yorker to finish with, which Shakib just about jams his bat down in the way of.

Related: Steve Smith calls England ‘predictable’ ahead of Champions Trophy showdown

6.19pm BST

32nd over: Bangladesh 158-4 (Shakib 63, Mahmadullah 58) Blammo! Mahmadullah relocates the accelerator pedal, heaving the ball down the ground for six, and then Shakib straight down the ground for four. That may be Williamson’s last over for a while, and the required run rate is back to a precise and round six.

6.12pm BST

31st over: Bangladesh 145-4 (Shakib 57, Mahmadullah 51) Boult is back, and Mahmadullah guides the ball down to third man for a couple to bring up his half-century. It’s been a really fine knock, though it’s slowed down a bit after a speedy start. New Zealand are now huddling, and trying to work out how to get rid of one or both of this pair.

6.06pm BST

30th over: Bangladesh 139-4 (Shakib 55, Mahmadullah 47) There’s a delay in the middle of Kane Williamson’s first over while Shakib gets some finger-cramp dealt with, and then when he finally does heave his gloves back on, he guides the very next ball expertly wide of extra cover for a couple.

6.01pm BST

29th over: Bangladesh 133-4 (Shakib 50, Mahmadullah 46) These batsmen have successfully turned 33-4 into 133-4. New Zealand were 148-2 at this point, but their batting calamities were still to come. Shakib reaches his half-century, and celebrates it in the manner of someone who realises his previous celebration was a bit premature.

5.56pm BST

28th over: Bangladesh 130-4 (Shakib 49, Mahmadullah 45) Santner concedes a couple of singles before bowling one down the leg side that beats Ronchi and trundles off for five wides. Than Shakib scores a single that takes him to 49, an achievement he celebrates in the manner of someone who thinks he scored another run that nobody else is counting at some point.

5.52pm BST

27th over: Bangladesh 120-4 (Shakib 47, Mahmadullah 42) That’s nice from Mahmadullah, whose drive is so perfectly placed that it has one fielder diving to his right to stop it, and another one diving to his left, and neither gets so much as a touch. The Bangladesh fans in the Cardiff crowd, silenced by New Zealand’s opening wicket-capturing burst, are in full voice again now.

5.48pm BST

26th over: Bangladesh 111-4 (Shakib 47, Mahmadullah 41) Santner bowls. Two singles are scored.

5.46pm BST

25th over: Bangladesh 109-4 (Shakib 45, Mahmadullah 33) A short ball from Anderson, and Shakib slaps it down into the ground and away for four wider of long on. The next is edged, but safe. I’m not sure if I’m finding this game’s longueurs testing because I was up until muchtoolate o’clock watching election results and would find anything testing as a result, or if they’re authentically testing. For now, they get the benefit of the doubt.

5.41pm BST

24th over: Bangladesh 104-4 (Shakib 40, Mahmadullah 33) Mahmadullah tries to flick the ball over his left shoulder but instead top-edges it into his own face, thankfully helmet-protected. Shakib’s single off the first was the only run Santner conceded.

5.39pm BST

23rd over: Bangladesh 103-4 (Shakib 39, Mahmadullah 33) Mahmadullah pulls Anderson fine for four, and then the next goes square for a couple to tick Bangladesh’s tally into triple figures.

Bangladesh 100-4 in the 23rd over.

First 50 runs = 94 balls

Second 50 runs = 46 balls#NZvBAN #CT17 ^WN

5.35pm BST

22nd over: Bangladesh 94-4 (Shakib 36, Mahmadullah 27) Santner continues, vocally encouraged by Ronchi behind the stumps. “BOWLING SLINKY!” “NICE ONE SLINKY”

5.32pm BST

21st over: Bangladesh 90-4 (Shakib 34, Mahmadullah 25) Corey Anderson gets in on the bowling act. The game is in an interesting stage, interesting mainly because this stage is temporary, could end at any time and because the stage before it and (presumably) the stage after it were and will be more interesting still.

5.28pm BST

20th over: Bangladesh 85-4 (Shakib 30, Mahmadullah 24) Mitchell Santner has a go at the bowling, and concedes three runs in a one and a two. These batsmen are looking settled now. Comfortable, even.

5.25pm BST

19th over: Bangladesh 82-4 (Shakib 29, Mahmadullah 23) Fireworks, you say? There’s a rocket – Mahmadullah advances to Neesham and clubs the ball over square leg for a big old six, and then he top-edges a pull, safe as houses, for four.

5.21pm BST

18th over: Bangladesh 69-4 (Shakib 27, Mahmadullah 12) A fine, unshowy drive from Shakib sends the ball trundling away for four, as the rebuilding continues in firework-free style.

5.17pm BST

17th over: Bangladesh 63-4 (Shakib 22, Mahmadullah 11) It’s all about stability now for Bangladesh. Not exactly strong, but stable will do for now. The run rate is rising slowly, but still a manageable 6.15.

5.13pm BST

16th over: Bangladesh 59-4 (Shakib 19, Mahmadullah 10) The sense of constant peril has dissipated somewhat, a bit like the post-Spielberg Jurassic Park movies. Shakib pulls Milne through midwicket for a handsome four.

5.09pm BST

15th over: Bangladesh 53-4 (Shakib 14, Mahmadullah 9) James Neesham comes on second change, and Shakib wins the race to double figures with a single, and then celebrates with a fine four through the covers.

5.00pm BST

14th over: Bangladesh 47-4 (Shakib 9, Mahmadullah 8) After three dots Shakib goes for a risky single and gets it only because Williamson’s shy at the stumps – just one of them, really, from where he was standing – slides just wide.

4.57pm BST

13th over: Bangladesh 44-4 (Shakib 8, Mahmadullah 6) Southee keeps going, and for the first time since over one he concedes a boundary, smacked through cover by Shakib. And another! Mahmadullah thumps the last over midwicket. The race to be the second Bangladeshi batsman to double figures is well and truly on.

4.51pm BST

12th over: Bangladesh 35-4 (Shakib 3, Mahmadullah 2) A bowling change, with Adam Milne coming on, and Mushfiqur clubbing a shortish delivery over the bowler’s head for four. Maybe he’s expecting another short one next up, but instead it goes full and the batsman is profoundly beaten by the change of length, and on his way.

4.48pm BST

That’s a fine, full delivery from Milne, which cuts back through the gate and clobbers middle stump!

4.46pm BST

11th over: Bangladesh 28-3 (Mushfiqur 10, Shakib 3) The last 10 overs of New Zealand’s innings and the first 10 of Bangladesh’s brought 86 runs and seven wickets, the conditions transformed from the morning. This is the (joint) second most expensive over of the innings, though, Bangladesh plundering four off it.

STAT: 48 dot balls out of the 60 balls bowled in the opening power play by Southee and Boult. Swing, seam & accuracy #NZvBAN #CT17 ^WN

4.40pm BST

10th over: Bangladesh 24-3 (Mushfiqur 8, Shakib 2) Dropped! Mushfiqur edges, and Ross Taylor at second slip dives to his left – where first slip really should have been, in the circumstances, but wasn’t – gets both hands to it but only deflects it away for four. That aside, five dots. After 10 overs New Zealand were 60-1.

4.37pm BST

9th over: Bangladesh 20-3 (Mushfiqur 4, Shakib 2) Southee continues, and Bangladesh still can’t score off him. Two singles, and the required run rate climbs to six. Not impossible, but so far away right now.

4.33pm BST

8th over: Bangladesh 18-3 (Mushfiqur 3, Shakib 1) Boult, whose four overs have brought seven runs but no wickets. Both batsmen take on shortish deliveries here, but they both pick out fielders and are restricted to singles.

4.29pm BST

7th over: Bangladesh 15-3 (Mushfiqur 2, Shakib 0) Two fours, two singles and a wide represents the sum total of the encouragement Bangladesh have taken from Southee, while he has taken three wickets. That’s 16 dot balls and three wickets out of 24 deliveries. There are five of those dots here, including a final delivery to Shakib that tempts the batsman into a drive and then whizzes just past the bat. One off the over.

4.24pm BST

6th over: Bangladesh 14-3 (Mushfiqur 1, Shakib 0) Broom performs another excellent stop at point to save four runs, and then Mushfiqur scoops the last ball into the air in a similar direction, but it lands safe.

4.21pm BST

5th over: Bangladesh 12-3 (Mushfiqur 0, Shakib 0) Cardiff’s a seam bowler’s playground sometimes, and they’re having a ball at the moment. Southee’s third over is a wicket maiden, and the pressure on the batsmen just isn’t letting up.

The previous time a bowler dismissed two batsmen inside three overs in an ODI the batsmen were… Tamim and Sabbir (by Kulasekara, in April)

4.19pm BST

5th over: Bangladesh 12-3 (Mushfiqur 0, Shakib 0) It turns out a review would have saved Soumya, the ball being on its way just over the stumps, but Bangladesh chucked theirs away in the first over and so have to roll with the punches. Of which there are many at the moment, well aimed and reliably vicious.

4.16pm BST

This one cuts back in a long way, and Soumya is bemused, beaten and on his bike!

4.13pm BST

4th over: Bangladesh 12-2 (Soumya 3, Mushfiqur 0) More drama! Boult’s first ball is fine but missed the edge, but the second doesn’t – it flies off Soumya’s bat but doesn’t carry to second slip, though an excellent catch, diving forward and to his right, from Guptill gives the umpires a decision to make, which they do with the help of their TV-watching chum. One run off the over, and New Zealand’s bowling has been fabulous so far.

4.08pm BST

3rd over: Bangladesh 11-2 (Soumya 2, Mushfiqur 0) Southee is causing all sorts of problems, getting a bit of movement, a lot of bounce, and a great deal of batsman-squirm. 266 seems very distant at the moment.

4.04pm BST

Another Southee stonker! Sabbir gets the gentlest of edges, Ronchi claims the catch and the second innings has started just splendidly for the Kiwis!

4.01pm BST

2nd over: Bangladesh 9-1 (Soumya 1, Sabbir 8) Trent Boult starts with a stonker, angled into the left-handed Soumya and then straightening just past the bat. Soumya then lashes the final ball of the over to point, where it’s excellently stopped one-handed by a diving Broom.

3.57pm BST

1st over: Bangladesh 8-1 (Soumya 0, Sabbir 8) A lovely delivery for the wicket, straightening past the bat and into the pad on its way to off stump. Sabbir comes in, and his second ball is flicked down leg side for four – New Zealand’s leg slip leaping and whirling in frustration in its wake – and then his second is driven nicely wide of cover.

3.52pm BST

That is plummer than a small plum enveloped in a bigger plum on a giant plum tree. Bangladesh have lost Tamim Iqbal – and their review.

3.51pm BST

New Zealand think so, the umpire thinks so, but Bangladesh want a second opinion …

3.49pm BST

Hello world!

The players are on their way back out, and in a few hours some of them will be out for good, at least as far as the Champions Trophy is concerned. Some excellent death bowling from Bangladesh has left them with an achievable, if not exactly straightforward target. It’s all set up very tastily indeed.

3.24pm BST

Well, they have made a mess of that. 152-2 at 30 overs isn’t anything to get excited about, but it is a foundation that has to generate 300 in the modern game. But at that moment Williamson was ran out for 57, changing the trajectory of this innings.

Taylor remained, but was never fluent, his 63 ultimately more noteworthy for the 82 balls it took to get there. Broom and Neesham made starts sown the list, as did Guptill early, but none significant enough or quickly enough to bother Mashrafe’s men.

3.19pm BST

50th over: New Zealand 265-8 (Santner 14, Milne 10). Bangladesh are 15 minutes behind the over rate, but they won’t mind. Southee premeditates a lap to begin the final set. Gets one. Rubel is straight back to the block hole. His figures don’t reflect how well he has gone today. Santner gets another in the hole, digging it to midwicket, leaving Southee the final ball. It’s a shocker, full toss on Southee’s hip that he spin-kicks to fine leg. 4-62 in the final ten overs the final analysis, including eight from the final over. Not ideal. Back in a tic to wrap it up.

3.15pm BST

49th over: New Zealand 257-8 (Santner 11, Milne 5). Seven from the over, principally due to a Tim Southee clip off his pads, to the rope past square leg. Shot. He retains the strike for the final over of the innings, which will go to Rubel. Class over from Mustafizur, slower balls and quicker balls interchanged, McCullum on TV noting how similar his action is in delivery of them. Good trick to have.

3.13pm BST

NOT OUT. Santner is back with a full dive. Very good throw. Carry on.

3.11pm BST

RUN OUT? We’ll see. They’re upstairs. Direct hit. Stand by.

3.11pm BST

Superb death bowling from Mustafizur, who the TV commentators feel compelled to call “The Fizz” over and over. Fair enough, as he fizzes this yorker through Milne after setting him up with a slower one the ball before it. Middle stump dealt with. “The Fizz is big in The Desh!” adds Nas. Gotta just roll with that one, I guess.

3.07pm BST

48th over: New Zealand 250-7 (Santner 11, Milne 5). Rubel is brought back for the final two overs from the River Taff End. Mosaddek did nothing wrong of course, but Rubel has been on the mark and quick today. As he is here, beating Santner with a full toss that’s a yard too quick then a yorker that misses by the proverbial coat of paint. Another yorker is speared in at middle and missed as well, but an inside edge saves him. A throw to the Santner end would have done him in too, but it misses. Rubel absolutely brilliant with the penultimate delivery, a yorker tailing away perfectly from the left-hander, giving him very little chance to make contact. One from the over, one ball to come. The all-rounder moves across his stumps and times it well to midwicket for a couple. The 250 is up with the stroke, but only three came from the over. They’re going to be well short what is typically considered par in ODI cricket these days. 21 from the last five overs.

3.02pm BST

47th over: New Zealand 247-7 (Santner 9, Milne 4). Mashrafe knows the drill here. Keep Milne down there, whatever it takes. A wide begins it, not quite landing the bouncer. And they score off every ball bar one, making seven from the over. But no boundaries, and Milne retains the strike. So that’s a win for Bangladesh.Surely Mosaddek to continue?

Nick Wilson on the email sees a similarity in Ross Taylor’s battle. “A bit like Ian Bell towards the end of his one day career,” he says. “Always seemed to get around 50 but at a rate that didn’t really do his team any favours.”

Related: Andy Murray v Stanislas Wawrinka: French Open semi-final – live!

2.56pm BST

Brilliant! Neesham, in an effort to take the initiative, comes down the track before the ball is bowled. Not so fast, buster. Mosaddek, high on life, spits it down quickly and with the arm, beating Neesham, with Rahim doing the rest behind the stumps. Three wickets in three overs. What a cameo. They’ve lost 4-for-39 and we’re into the NZ bowlers.

2.54pm BST

45th over: New Zealand 235-6 (Neesham 22, Santner 3). Only four from Mashrafe’s over, the captain back into the attack at a time where NZ have to delay any final assault as Santner plays himself in a bit. Pace way off the ball too, showing all his experience. Superb cricket.

2.52pm BST

44th over: New Zealand 231-6 (Neesham 20, Santner 1). You can tell from the urgency in the field that Bangladesh realise they are very close to breaking this open. They will know what Australia did late, and England too. One more, two more. Santner is the new man, a combined young player who is yet to impose himself in this tournament.

Few minutes have elapsed since this – they are 52% now, the Tigers.

#WinViz as Bangladesh keep chipping away. #NZvBAN

2.46pm BST

Corey, cory, story, allegory, montessori! First ball Mosaddek has him too! Umpire Llong has him given lbw when he misses a straight one around the wicket. There’s a review but only because you have to in order to keep up appearances in that situation, don’t you? Blimey. What a bowling change!

2.42pm BST

Mosaddek first ball of a new over, Broom can’t help himself and goes for a frolic down the strip. But gets very little of it, straight into the air it goes, no mistake made. Brilliant bowling change.

2.40pm BST

43rd over: New Zealand 228-4 (Broom 36, Neesham 18). That’s the over they have been crying out for. Neesham shows sound composure after missing a short ball to begin the over, the ball looking briefly like it would end up back on his stumps. It isn’t a sustainable long-term strategy for Neesham to absorb these short balls so he slaps them instead. Excellent pulled boundary. Ten another down the ground next ball when he goes for the yorker and misses. 12 from it. Neesham in, at least.

2.37pm BST

42nd over: New Zealand 216-4 (Broom 34, Neesham 8). Michael Clarke-style Funky Captaincy from Mashrafe bringing on offie Mosaddek – back into the XI today – for his first trundle of the day with nine overs remaining. And he immediately beats Neesham’s edge. That has taken off and spat. He’s raced through it too, five from the over. The crowd know how important that is. The last ball is knocked into the deep and two should have probably come if for the full commitment by the deep mid wicket. The way to do it.

2.32pm BST

41st over: New Zealand 211-4 (Broom 32, Neesham 5). Rubel Hossain. Can I just say again how much I love that little squat he does before exploding at the batsman? Like a pro wrestler about to race at an opponent to spear them to the mat. An improvement for the Kiwis, finding eight from the first of the final ten. Coming after Broom nearly fell to a leading Edge, Neesham cleverly used the pace of the ball to deflect fine for a boundary. Perhaps not in complete control, but you can’t win them all.

2.30pm BST

40th over: New Zealand 203-4 (Broom 29, Neesham 0). Last over before an extra man can go outside the circle. Bangladesh, it would be reasonable to say, are favourites at this very moment. And England certainly will be tomorrow. In turn, after being 15 minutes from elimination to start the week, well, who knows. Neesham again the recipient of a short ball into, deflecting off his thick pad. Next comes the yorker, at a perfect length but just down the legside. A familar, but effective, routine. Another dot ends the set – just two from it! Neesham not yet off the mark. Well. Ten to go.

Taylor, if you were wondering, finishes the group take with 148 runs at a SR of 74. Not very Rainbow Rhythms.

2.24pm BST

39th over: New Zealand 201-4 (Broom 28, Neesham 0). Predictably, the short ball immediately deployed to Neesham. A perception around the place that he doesn’t like it much. Perhaps a tad unfair given in Australia last year he copped a ball flush on the arm from Pat Cummins and kept batting for a half-century. But he isn’t able to get yet off the mark, the run rate down at an anemic 5.1 an over.

2.22pm BST

Big moment! Taylor, who has been there for a long time but never got motoring, tries to innovate by getting inside the line. But he doesn’t pick the change of pace, well deployed, and can’t make sufficient contact with the scoop. Only suceeds in picking out the man on the 45 inside the circle. Well. Bangladesh are really in this game of cricket, make no mistake. And in turn, the tournament.

2.19pm BST

38th over: New Zealand 198-3 (Taylor 61, Broom 27). Back to relatively regular programming here, Broom then Taylor happy enough picking the gaps and hitting the sweepers, as they say in the jargon. They’re all slower balls at this stage of the innings, Mustafizur highlighting that he really is a quick of the new generation.

2.16pm BST

37th over: New Zealand 192-3 (Taylor 58, Broom 25). 11 from it! WILD! Two boundaries! Party on! First, to begin the over, Broom cuts with authority. Don’t bowl there, Taskin. He’s short again to Taylor later in the over, who does as Williamson did earlier in going straight past the bowler. Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Apartment block at Lord’s. I know we’ve seen this before, but… yeah? Thoughts?

Related: Lord’s redevelopment: MCC members to be surveyed on £150m plan

2.11pm BST

36th over: New Zealand 181-3 (Taylor 53, Broom 19). Mustafizur replaces Shakib. And the sun is out! First time we’ve seen that for the better part of a week. It doesn’t help NZ though, three more added and Taylor nearly chopping on. It’s broadly under control for the Black Caps still, but they’d want to get a move on soon with wickets in the shed and happy hour nearing. Only four boundaries in 15 overs. I know; hard work. Stick with me.

2.04pm BST

35th over: New Zealand 178-3 (Taylor 51, Broom 18). Ross Taylor to a half century from the first ball of the over, he 67th he has faced. Easy as so many of the runs he’s taken, to third man. Has a responsibility to go on with it now, though. It’s all a bit stop-start at the moment though, another over short of a run a ball, four singles their fill.

2.02pm BST

34th over: New Zealand 174-3 (Taylor 49, Broom 16). Not many people in that big grandstand they have at Sophia Gardens. During the Test in 2015 the road of Bread of Heaven really was something, especially when running through Australia in the second dig. Watto’s final stand in Test Cricket. If you’re reading, Big Rig, we miss you. It’s Shakib’s last over, and it gives up a rare boundary when Broom plays late and plays well behind point. Singles elsewhere to take eight from it, finishing his work with the analysis of 10-0-0-52. Won’t be featuring in any highlights packages, but absolutely done the job racing through those overs with a minimum of fuss.

1.55pm BST

33rd over: New Zealand 166-3 (Taylor 47, Broom 10). Mashrafe wins the leading edge of Broom out to cover but doesn’t go to hand. I know I said he was taking off from Williamson finished, but Mashrafe has him looking unfortable here and unable to get the board ticked over until the last ball, which is in the air through straight mid-wicket. Don’t reckon he had much control over that. We saw them lose 7-37 last week and something similar against England on Tuesday. Two from it.

They’re off for a drink, ending a middle session where Bangladesh have consistently prevented NZ from getting away. Nothing special, just attritional cricket. In a world of razzle dazzle, there’s something to be said for that. Latest in the pay dispute in Australia: a summit! Well, wouldn’t that be the event of the year?

1.50pm BST

32nd over: New Zealand 164-3 (Taylor 46, Broom 9). A legside wide gets the over off to a fine start for NZ before scoring from all but one delivery, Broom starting from where Williamson finished up.

1.47pm BST

31st over: New Zealand 157-3 (Taylor 44, Broom 5). Broom off the mark with a staight drive from the top drawer off Mashrafe. He times nicely to point as well to put Taylor back down the business end to see out the over. When will he take it up a gear or two?

Williamson has been run out in three of his last four ODIs. #NZvBAN

1.42pm BST

Another run out between these twoin international cricket! Williamson tries to call Taylor through but he wants none of it, he’s short by four metres. Came close to the same outcome to begin the over. Oh that’s inexcusable at this stage, with so much care taken through this quiet period to now take a risk. The captain will know that was his fault too; no way Taylor could have made it. Brilliant from Shakib at the bowlers’ end to pick up the Mossadek throw and move in one transition to the stumps. Exactly the same point of the innings that Williamson fell against England too. Two in three Champs Trophy innings run out.

1.39pm BST

29th over: New Zealand 148-2 (Williamson 57, Taylor 40). The skipper Mashrafe brings himself back and it is a very tidy over, five dots within. The best of those, rolling his fingers down the seam and beating Williamson who is well through his stroke, a fan inside edge spilling out.

1.35pm BST

28th over: New Zealand 147-2 (Williamson 57, Taylor 39). Shakib gets through another of these 75 second wonders, shedding only three runs. That’s 33 from his seven. At the end of the set, a commentator (Nasser, I think) informs us that you can “double your score at 30” if wickets are in hand to work out the final score in an ODI. Who knew? (Sorry).

1.33pm BST

27th over: New Zealand 144-2 (Williamson 56, Taylor 37). Rubel again. He does this yoga-style squad before charging in to bowl each delivery, a run up no longer than Mark Wood. Slingy, slippery, joyous. But not overly threatening to either of these experience campaigners here. Milking, using his pace to take six more.

1.29pm BST

26th over: New Zealand 134-2 (Williamson 52, Taylor 35). Shakib races through another quick set where four are taken through the field to the sweepers. Nine hundreds and seven 90s for Williamson in his 100-odd ODIs, TV reminds me. Gotta go the whole way here.

Huuuuge game tomorrow for my countrymen. Win, they stick around. Lose, on QF2 at dinner time Sunday. Plenty going on off the field as well as England try to knock them out. My preview.

1.25pm BST

25th over: New Zealand 134-2 (Williamson 50, Taylor 33). Rubel, comfortably the best of the Bangladesh bowlers so far, back into the attack. An eventful over proceeds. He gets one to spit at Williamson, the NZ captain able to keep it down in steering to third man. Have another half-century, Kane. A combination of beautiful strokes and less convincing moments, beaten far more often than we are accustomed with him. Later in the over, Taylor plays a flat-batted pull shot that you can imagine seeing Steve Smith play when chasing second innings declaration runs. Finds the gap though, and into the 30s he goes. To conclude, a mix-up! Heads literally clash between the batsmen, but they have enough awareness to scamper back to where they need to be to avoid any run out. That’s how Williamson went in Birmingham a week ago – albeit on 100 at the time. Eight from it. And we’re half way there!

1.22pm BST

24th over: New Zealand 126-2 (Williamson 48, Taylor 27). Carbon copy of the Shakib over that he’s been rolling out from when he came into the attack, prompting Taylor to come down the track to take the initiative. No freebies here. Four from it. Few brower issues by the way, back to more verbose updates in a tic.

1.19pm BST

23rd over: New Zealand 122-2 (Williamson 45, Taylor 26). Mustafizur gives Williamson a chance to pounce, width and time he doesn’t miss out on, straight past the bowler too. Much harder to do than it looks.

1.18pm BST

22nd over: New Zealand 116-2 (Williamson 40, Taylor 25). Excellent bowling from Shakib, mixing accurate darts with hard-spun variety. Both men use their feet to turn the strike over early in the over, with two more singles to end the over on the legside. The last five overs worth only 18, no boundaries to speak of.

1.14pm BST

21st over: New Zealand 112-2 (Williamson 38, Taylor 23). Absolutely belt and braces here. Three singles from Mustafizur. NZ happy to lay the base, nothing more. Bangladesh happy to go at fewer than a run a ball. Everyone wins.

1.10pm BST

20th over: New Zealand 109-2 (Williamson 37, Taylor 21). Shakib al Hasan. The sort of name you just feel the need to say in full rather each time it appears. He has an important role here keeping Williamson on the leash. Singles to long off, midwicket, fine leg and cover. Quiet, patient accumulation.

The PM is formally the PM after a trip to Buckingham Palace, if the cricket is your one and only focus at the moment. Not the most enthusiastic speech, if twitter is to be believed.

1.06pm BST

19th over: New Zealand 105-2 (Williamson 35, Taylor 19). Mustafizur is back. Battled earlier for consistency, but his numbers don’t lie, he can be a matchwinner. Williamson has his measure right away though, his best stroke for some time, a beautiful cover drive. The 100 up in the process. Taylor more circumspect, happy absorb four dots on the trot.

1.02pm BST

18th over: New Zealand 99-2 (Williamson 30, Taylor 19). Two HUGE shouts for lbw from Shakib. He’s absolutely leading with Umpire Llong, who isn’t interested on either occasion. The first of those actually went to the rope, a sweep shot that the replay shows hit the full face of the bat. Eight come from it.

John Starbuck on the email wants to confirmation that the game is 50 overs apiece. That it is. You only start to lose time after 75 minutes has been lost, if I recall correctly.

12.57pm BST

17th over: New Zealand 91-2 (Williamson 28, Taylor 13). Rubel’s fourth over here. Four more singles, ranging from the thrid man dab to the push through midwicket. Both players too experienced here to do anything either than knock it around for now. Essential that New Zealand don’t expose their faltering lower-order quite yet.

Fantastic sign in the crowd. “Mashrafe Mortaza: The Man Never Gives Up.” As the commentary goes onto say on TV, he has plates in both knees and is bandaged and strapped up just to get through a game. Simon Doull it is. “It’s amazing what players will go through to get themselves through a game.”

12.53pm BST

16th over: New Zealand 87-2 (Williamson 26, Taylor 11). Spin for the first time today, courtesy of Shakib al Hasan, the world no. 1 all-rounder. You see, I’m obliged to say that every time he enters the game. It’s a rule. Every commentator, every forum, every time he plays. The left arm ortho has six risk-free runs taken from his opening set as we enter the accumulation phase.

12.51pm BST

15th over: New Zealand 81-2 (Williamson 21, Taylor 8). Rubel gets the last over before they have a little drink. Singles past point for both to begin. Calm. Length back, Williamson joins deeper in the crease but then cops one in the thigh pad. Oh and some superb bowling to finish the session, beating the outside edge now. Rubel with that feisty little run up has got it darting around both ways. Kane far from his most fluent, but still there. Proper battle.

12.45pm BST

14th over: New Zealand 79-2 (Williamson 21, Taylor 8). Taskin to Taylor. Neither giving an inch, the former bending his back, the latter leaving then defending as he gets in. But to the last two balls, he’s ready to roll. First, a graceful drive down the ground. Lovely way to get off the mark. Then he repeats it! Down the ground again, a half-volley, but you’ve still gotta put them away. Beautiful.

Vampire Weekend on the Cricket Ground PA system between overs. Lovely areas, Sophia Gardens DJ. No second invitation required for me to do the same. Make sure next time Vish is on the OBO you all pester him to tell you his Vampire Weekend story. I won’t steal his yarn. Specifically: ask him why he has an mix-tape that Ezra Koenig compiled in his house. Not a CD, a tape.

12.38pm BST

13th over: New Zealand 70-2 (Williamson 20, Taylor 0). Was going pretty well earlier in the over when Williamson leapt on an overpitched Rubel delivery on his pads, down to long-on for a boundary. Doesn’t miss out there, the Kiwi captain. Ross Taylor the new man in, getting a wide bouncer first up, getting underneath it. These two for the briefest time had the Black Caps in the chase against England, requiring 155 with 20 overs to go.

I’ve already directed you to a second tab for our election coverage as the results continue to trickle in and firm up. Now I’ll send you to Will Macpherson over on the county OBO. New round starting today, games across the country. No better place to stay across it day in, day out than with the CMJ Young Cricket Writer for 2016. (How’s that for a plug, Will?)

Related: County cricket: Surrey v Essex, Somerset v Yorkshire and more – live!

12.32pm BST

Oh yes! That’s what fast bowlers dream of late at night, Rubel getting that to career back into the pads of Guptill, who is late on it and hit adjacent. He considers a review, but that wouldn’t be a good idea as it looks to be crashing into middle stump. Reward for an excellent period for Bangladesh. The crowd are up and about as well.

12.30pm BST

12th over: New Zealand 62-1 (Guptill 33, Williamson 13). Very tidy little period for Bangladesh’s change seamers. Taskin, already in the book, is bending his back and getting ample reward. This over that includes beaten Williamson’s outside edge – again. To be fair, it has done plenty. Also crashing into his pad. The lbw shout is quickly turned down but the pace is what matters there. The final ball Williamson retains the strike, but from an inside edge as well.

12.28pm BST

11th over: New Zealand 61-1 (Guptill 33, Williamson 13). Rubel Hossain, who you may remember as the man who had England eliminated from the 2015 World Cup with a bag in Adelaide, is into the attack. And he wins Williamson’s edge! The only run of the over. Twice beaten out there and now a legitimate snick to second slip, but no man in there. It’s a feisty over too, getting up in Guptill’s grill by the end of it. Good contest, here.

A note from Andrew Benton on the twitter. “Adam, that’s one great hairdo – did you come straight out of the ‘60s?” Thanks for noticing, Andrew. As I don’t mind telling people, it’s the best Barnet in London. “I say B’desh will blooter NZ today.” Blooter. I’m thieving that. Productive correspondence. Thank you.

12.20pm BST

10th over: New Zealand 60-1 (Guptill 33, Williamson 11). Williamson beaten for a second time! You don’t see this very often. Almost identical to the over before, on the back foot. It comes the ball after he drives with typical class down the ground to the rope, taking advantage of the field restrictions that come to an end with this over, the power play netting the Black Caps an even run a ball. Sound.

Oh! Anyone else hear that on the TV? Sky accidentally cut to the producer’s mic between overs rather than the commentators. I have fellow OBO-er Nick Miller sitting opposite me who asks: “Did he call any of the commentators dicks?” Sadly not. As he says: “Missed opportunity, then.” That it is.

@collinsadam Bozza

12.15pm BST

9th over: New Zealand 54-1 (Guptill 32, Williamson 6). Hiiiii Kane. Mashrafe, into his fifth over, hits that fourth stump line. Williamson, deep in the crease and on the balls of his feet, times it to the rope. Not the swing of a cut, nor the jolt of a punch. Have it. Proving he is human though, tries it on again to end the over and beaten outside the off-stump with one that swings away. Good bowling. The 50 up in that over as well.

Want to read the best of the Guardian Sport’s offering each week? A pretty competitive field with the writers who swan about this joint, so I can only commend this curated offering as an excellent use of your time. An email, from HQ to you, every Friday morning. Sign up for free to The Recap here.

Related: The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage

12.10pm BST

8th over: New Zealand 48-1 (Guptill 31, Williamson 1). Welcome, Kane. Hi Kane. You little gem. You prince. You gorgeous thing. Stay a while? Off the mark with a little dab to third man. All the time in the world. I’ll end up saying that a fair bit.

More from Simon. It’s the man of the hour, Jezza. What’s he about to roll out there? A little ortho? Out the back of the hand? Some frog-in-blenders? I do hope his next stanza as Opposition Leader allows us to find out.

@collinsadam Jezza

12.06pm BST

Ronchi has completely mishit that, beaten by the extra yarn Taskin has I suspect. Instead of clobbering over midwicket, it is high off the splice and into the hands of mid-on. I know it’s early, but the Tigers needed that.

12.04pm BST

7th over: New Zealand 46-0 (Guptill 30, Ronchi 16). Mashrafe again taken over cover by Guptill to start the over. Only for four this time, mind. He started well but has lost his line now, four of the six balls scored off. NZ away here, I reckon.

12.03pm BST

6th over: New Zealand 38-0 (Guptill 25, Ronchi 13). The quick man Taskin into the attack replacing Mustafizur. Into the XI today for the spinner Mehedi. He’s good, then bad. Ronchi is the other way, swinging without footwork, then smashing a drive on the up in glorious fashion.

More Hawkey? His 1984 re-election was seriously effected by hooking a bouncer onto his glasses in the annual Policians v Press game. A lot of damage and bruising and the like. Great fixture, that. Managed to stitch together quick half-centuries in my first two years in the Policians XI. Did more for my rep around the parliament than anything I did at work.

11.56am BST

5th over: New Zealand 31-0 (Guptill 24, Ronchi 7). Boom, boom! No, Boris Becker isn’t here, it’s the other red head Marty Guptill. Through the line to the first delivery he literally pops Mashrafe into the bloody river! As you do. Once they fetch a new one from the box of balls, he sits back and crunches him to the rope along the carpet through cover. That’s one way to break up a bowler’s momentum after picking up a maiden in the previous set. Things calm down a bit thereafter, only a further single down the ground.

The first of Simon Bogli’s cricket/politics series below. Featuring non other than Robert James Lee Hawke!

@collinsadam Major and Hawke.

11.51am BST

4th over: New Zealand 20-0 (Guptill 13, Ronchi 7). Singles to each of them to begin the over, Ronchi off the mark in the process. Mustafizur then sends one racing past the ‘keeper/bat’s outside edge. Superb bowling. “He’s learned from his mistake,” says Nas. “After the first couple of deliveries he’s pulled his length back.” An false-kinda stroke from Ronchi follows, shovelling over midwicket. Then again, he’s never been conventional and won’t be changing now deep into his 30s. But just as we’ve talked him up, Mustafizur gives Ronchi some help-yourself stuff well wide off off-stump and short, the batsman lashing it over gully for his first boundary of the day.

Richard the Skiver has written me on the tweet – you can too, yer know. “Martin Guptill is, without doubt, the finest seven-toed cricketer the world has ever seen.”

11.46am BST

3rd over: New Zealand 12-0 (Guptill 12, Ronchi 0). Mashrafe has Guptill neither forward nor back a couple of times here. He picks out a fielder with a forceful punch last ball of the set, which secures him a maiden. Very good start from the veteran. Some footage from the last time he played here? Why not.

11.41am BST

2nd over: New Zealand 12-0 (Guptill 12, Ronchi 0). Mustafizur begins from the River Taff End. Not 100% sure what end he’s bowling from to be honest, but I know there’s a River Taff End at Sophia Gardens, so we’ll go with that. Guptill strikes consecutive boundaries to begin the over. The first isn’t that convincing, squirted through point. The next is struck better. Mashrafe takes out his slip. The bowler comes straighter, worked for three through midwicket. So that’s 11 in half an hour. Not ideal for the 21-year-old left-arm whippet. Ronchi happy to watch the rest.

Shorter boundary to the pavilion today as the pitch is four strips across from the one used for the England game #NZvBAN #CT17

11.36am BST

1st over: New Zealand 1-0 (Guptill 1, Ronchi 0). Mashrafe the skipper opening the attack. Twitter suggests a small crowd, but the Bangladesh fans are making plenty of noise. They were magnificent at The Oval the other night. Down the legside to begin, but they appeal anyway. Marty G is peeved that he didn’t get a legside wide for it. Mashrafe is on the mark shortly thereafter. Good start. Wins an edge that probably wouldn’t have carried to third slip, but encouraging. Actually, cancel that: second slip, and it would have carried. No one to blame but himself for not having a more aggressive field in place.

He’s due, Marty. I spoke to him before the tourney about averaging 50 and striking at 100 since Baz McCullum retired. Quite the purple patch. But yet to really fire a shot here. Lovely man, and gives it a wallop. Entertain us.

11.30am BST

An excellent email. If you’re new to these wondrous parts, the OBO works best when you talk to me, then I talk to you via my posts. Simon Bogli has come correct with an epic email titled “cricket and politics.” Tons to pick through.

“Politicians as cricketers in the Anglosphere shares a bit with neo-liberalism,” he writes. “Had its last great peak in the late 80s and since then it has been shuffling downwards. Let me explain in pictures.”

11.26am BST

Anthems! Bangladesh’s is up there with Sri Lanka’s and American Pie for length. Admire that. Builds the anticipation for God Defend New Zealand, which is objectively the best, surely? Anyone care to suggest an alternative? If so, please include evidence via youtube link, preferably with rugby players crying as they belt it out.

11.06am BST

The teams, in picture form.

Mehedi is the second man out for Bangladesh. Barely got a jam roll the other night – stiff! Mosaddek in for him.

Here are the @BLACKCAPS and @BCBtigers team sheets for today! #NZvBAN #CT17

11.05am BST

Nasser talking to the skippers. Kane Williamson says they “learned a little bit” from the other day. And despite the grass on top, it remains dry. They’re going in with the same XI as Tuesday when they were well beaten by England. “It’s been a pretty amazing tournament,” Kane adds. Easy to please, then.

Mashrafe says they would have bowled anyway. They’re dropped Imrul for Taskin; a bat for a quick. As for the other change, when asked, he said “someone else” is in. Love this bloke. Both teams as named as soon as we get the sheets.

10.57am BST

Good news! Toss in five minutes! Play to begin at 11:30am. No overs lost. Get in.

10.54am BST

If you’re mesmerised by the Sky highlights. And haven’t switched back over to the election during the rain. Sources reporting to The Guardian that the DUP will join a minority government with the Tories, PM May to see the Queen at lunchtime to confirm the tryst.

Having been involved in one of those bad boys in Australia between 2010-2013, all I can say is g’luck with that! Let us know how you get on! Keep a tab open for both blogs.

Related: Election 2017: Theresa May strikes deal with DUP following shock result – live

10.40am BST

Our OBO colleague, and the man I spend rougly 15 hours a day talking absolute trash at, Vithushan Ehantharajah, did a series of tip top election/cricket funnies last night. Indulge. Do one yourself. Go wild.

I’m done #GeneralElection

10.38am BST

Reminded of this article. When chatting to All Out Cricket’s Phil Walker who’s commentating today’s game over at TalkSport. Every batting verb the great man Jim Maxwell has ever used in his 43 year career behind the mic on the ABC.

10.34am BST

It’s sunny in Cardiff. So twitter tells me. Don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit sick of having all the expensive drainage under control, but cannot cover enough of the playing area to prevent lengthy delays after rain has stopped.

I had a bit of a rant about this the other night in relation to the fact that we can’t get back on when it is drizzling; the playing condition still that it has to come to a complete stop. I don’t want to start this on a negative note, but you know what I’m saying.

10.09am BST

Good morning to you all from Guardian HQ in London. Not sure about you, but I’m operating off the minimum hours sleep required to function as a proper human after the election night that was. Those who recall my OBO from last year’s Australian election day will anticipate a healthy dollop of that as we progress through the morning. Oh, neglected to mention, it’s Adam Collins here on the OBO ones and twos. Hello.

Righto. The game ahead of is New Zealand and Bangladesh, the ninth of Champions Trophy 2017 and the final pool rubber for both of these teams. The equation is simple: the winner stays alive. For 24 hours at least. If Australia win tomorrow, this will have been a retrospective dead rubber. But seeing as we haven’t found a way to travel through time yet (AND WHY NOT?), neither side know that now.

12.02am BST

Adam will be here shortly. Here’s Ali Martin’s interview with Australia’s David Warner, who faces Joe Root in tomorrow’s match at Edgbaston:

The Reverend David Warner, as he is now known by his Australia team-mates, has pointed to his late-night swing at Joe Root in Birmingham’s Walkabout bar four years ago as the turning point in his career, one that has led to him becoming the most feared of openers on the field while transforming him into a mild family man off it.

The meeting on Saturday between Australia and England at Edgbaston – a match Steve Smith’s side likely need to win to join their opponents in the Champions Trophy semi-finals – was always going to lead to Warner’s infamous punch being revisited. It came after the corresponding fixture in 2013, resulting in his banishment from the start of the Ashes series that summer.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Jun 03

Tigers, Giants and Roosters the big winners. Australia sportwatch – as it happened

  • AFL: Tigers 101 def North 66, Giants 117 def Bombers 101, Suns 80 def Eagles 77. Netball: Giants 52 Magpies 51. Lightning 56 def Vixens 55. NRL: Cowboys 20 def Titans 8, Roosters 18 def Broncos 16, Dragons 16 def Wests 12. Rugby: Brumbies 32 def Rebels 3, Chiefs 46 def Waratahs 31.

2.03pm BST

Okay. It being 11pm on the east coast, that’s where we’ll leave for Saturday Sportwatch. Thanks for your company through the course of the afternoon and evening. We’ll be back tomorrow from 2pm. Till next time. Adios.

This was The Day That Was – or how I saw it from behind the keyboard at least. And here are those scores and recaps one final time:

1.59pm BST

SUPER RUGBY. Half-time. Force 0 – Hurricanes 12. Not looking good for the lads out West, the Hurricanes converting two tries in the first half, the hosts yet to score. And that’s where we’ll leave this particular fixture for tonight.

1.58pm BST


The final term of the Giants and Magpies elimination final could probably fit into every category here. The Western Sydney hosts looked set for elimination from the post-season at the first time of asking after trailing by up to six goals in the concluding stanza.

1.32pm BST

CRICKET: Good fightback from Sri Lanka at The Oval. The Proteas were cruising, but a couple of quick wickets – including ABdV for four. They are currently 213-3 in the 38th. Still on track for 320+, which is only par in the 50-over game these days. Keep following it on the mighty OBO with Nick Miller now, and the doyen Rob Smyth later.

TENNIS: Live action from Roland-Garros as well, with Andy Murray in action today. Indeed, he’s a set and a break up at the moment. Follow it game-by-game.

1.26pm BST

AFL: More from the Docklands, where the Tigers ended up doing it easy over North, taking the win by 35 points to bounce into fourth place on the ladder at the half way mark of the season. Via AAP.

A Dustin Martin masterclass has propelled Richmond to a 35-point win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
The Tigers superstar was brilliant throughout but elevated his game even higher in a blistering six-goals-to-one third-quarter that set up the 14.17 (101) to 9.12 (66) win on Saturday night.
If Martin is the target of a North Melbourne free agency poaching raid, as has been widely reported, the Kangaroos will need to up their offer on the evidence of his 38-possession, two-goal game.
North couldn’t combat the bullocking midfielder’s trademark strength, but Martin also wowed the 36,100-strong crowd with breathtaking disposal by foot.
As good as the Tigers were in the pivotal third term, the Roos were equally bad.
Brad Scott’s side imploded with three 50m penalties and a free kick gifting Richmond scores as they turned a two-point half-time deficit into a decisive 28-point lead at three-quarter time.

1.23pm BST

SUPER RUGBY: 20 minutes. Force 0 Hurricanes 7. You thought it was all done, didn’t you? Well, nearly. In Perth, the final game of the evening is underway as the Western Storm host the Hurricanes I’ll keep an eye on it as we wrap up the day.

The Force are third in the Australian conference and will be encouraged by the Waratah’s loss earlier today; they can join them on points by winning this evening.

1.12pm BST

AFL: Tigers 101 def North 66, Giants 117 def Bombers 101, Suns 80 def Eagles 77.

SUPER NETBALL: Giants 52 Magpies 51, Lightning 56 def Vixens 55.

1.08pm BST

AFL: Final score Richmond 14.17 (101) def North 9.12 (66). Very impressive second half, from a two point deficit to a 35 point win for the Richmond Footy Club. Been a while since they had beaten the Kangaroos, but picked a good time for it. Dustin Martin, who North are trying to buy as well, spoke after the game. He said it was the quickest game he had played all year. Then joked that his Best On Ground performance wasn’t a bad outcome given clubs are after him. Brilliant subplot to season 2017, that one. But the main game is whether Richmond can not only make the final four, but win a final. Or a couple. Or a few. It’s been a while. But they were fast and furious when it mattered. Scarily so.

12.56pm BST

AFL: Q4 3:00 remaining. North 9.12 (66) Richmond 14.16 (100). Dan Butler kicks truly from a 48m set shot directly in front, extending the lead to 34 points. Are they contenders? It feels odd to say that. But turning at 7-4, kicking 100+ points tonight, coming back form a half-time deficit… all good signs. Especially from a side who have struggled to put games away.

12.53pm BST

NRL: And the Cowboys impressive comeback over the Titans in Townsville.

Maroons utility Michael Morgan helped put the disappointment of a State of Origin opening loss behind him by guiding North Queensland to a much-needed 20-8 home NRL win on Saturday night over Gold Coast.
With Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston still sidelined, Townsville junior Morgan played arguably his best game of the season, the halfback bagging a try and impressing with his kicking game all night.
Opposing Origin star Jarryd Hayne had a largely forgettable night, the Blues’ centre barely noticeable in a Titans side needing some attacking spark.
Outside of a 10-minute period up to halftime, the Titans struggled and were outscored 14-0 in the final term to slip to another listless loss.
North Queensland looked promising in attack and enjoyed 65 per cent of possession in the opening 20 minutes but couldn’t finish a number of half chances against resolute Gold Coast defence.
After a mountain of pressure and possession, the Cowboys were finally rewarded when Morgan powered over for a signature running try.
Winger Kyle Feldt missed an easy conversion attempt but, soon after, a penalty goal took North Queensland to 6-0 nearing halftime.
The Titans were then quick to pounce on a Cowboys error, as Dale Copley combined with Ash Taylor to send the Titans’ halfback over for an impressive 50-metre try.
While a stellar Lachlan Coote tackle stopped a certain Gold Coast try, a ruck penalty allowed Taylor to boot the Titans to an unlikely 8-6 halftime lead.
North Queensland started the second period with great attacking intent and were soon rewarded when standout rookie Coen Hess stormed over for his ninth try of the year to recapture the lead for the Cowboys.
Feldt added another penalty goal to extend the Cowboys’ lead to six and he added four more points shortly after with a smart finish from an inch-perfect Morgan cut-out pass.
The Cowboys went out further to 20-8 lead after the Titans gifted Feldt a penalty shot from in front when they failed to get a line dropout away in time.

12.53pm BST

SUPER RUGBY: Here is how the Brumbies got it done in the nation’s capital. Courtesy of AAP.

The Brumbies have clinched Super Rugby’s Australian conference with a 32-3 bonus-point thrashing of the hapless Melbourne Rebels in Canberra.
Saturday night’s four-tries-to-one victory means the Brumbies head into the June international break assured of playing finals for the fifth year running.
Heavy dew made things difficult for players on Saturday night with both sides making handling errors throughout the match.
Despite the slippery conditions, the Brumbies had no problem illustrating the gulf in class between Australia’s best and worst performed franchises this season in front of a 8,970 supporters at GIO Stadium.
The Brumbies controlled a scrappy first half and went to the break leading 11-3.
Winger Henry Speight took a quick tap from a penalty on the half hour mark and drew a slew of defenders as he attempted to dive over under the posts.
Two phases later Kyle Godwin found Jordan Smiler out wide, with the No. 8 breaking a 25-game try drought and scoring the only five-pointer of the first half.
The home side made a dream start to the second period with outside centre Tevita Kurindrani bullocking his way through the Rebels’ defence to score under the posts, and Wharenui Hawera added the points to extend the lead to 15.
A brilliant run from flanker Chris Alcock just before the hour mark gave halfback Joe Powell the chance to set up Hawera who crossed under the posts before converting his own try to take the Brumbies to a 25-3 lead.
A dashing break from winger Marika Koroibete late in the second half produced the Rebels best chance for a try, but he was denied by Tom Banks and Kyle Godwin metres from the line.
Nigel Ah Wong dived on a loose ball to score the final try of the game in the dying minutes to cap a dominant Brumbies performance.
Hawera notched both his penalty goal attempts while Reece Hodge scored the Rebels’ only points of the match with a long-range penalty goal mid way through the first half.

12.51pm BST

AFL: Q4 5:00 remaining. North 9.12 (66) Richmond 13.15 (94). Sorry, Tiges. I shouldn’t have said that thing about the bandwagon. A dated stereotype. You lot are thick and thin. Back to the Docklands, McDonald and Lloyd miss set shots for North and Richmond respectively as this game now looks certain to delivery four points to Punt Road.

12.45pm BST

AFL: Q4 10:00 remaining. North 9.12 (65) Richmond 13.15 (93). The steadier! Richmond under assault, but they aren’t giving this up. Kane Lambert slots it through and North need five goals in ten minutes. Richmond, if they get up, will be inside the top four overnight. Fire up that famous bandwagon.

12.43pm BST

NETBALL. The report from a ridiculous first-semi final in Western Sydney, the Giants getting over the line inside the final 12 seconds.

Giants Netball have produced an extraordinary final assault to overcome Collingwood Magpies 52-51 in a Super Netball minor semi-final nailbiter on Saturday night.
The Giants looked set for a season-ending loss when they trailed the Magpies by six goals with seven minutes remaining at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
However, the team that have battled without injured captain Kim Green since round five staged a courageous rally to score seven of the last 10 goals of the game.
The decisive moment came with 17 seconds remaining and the scores locked at 51-51, when veteran Susan Pettitt threw a long pass into the circle where goal shooter Kristina Brice gained the ball and held her nerve to sink the winner.

12.40pm BST

SUPER RUGBY. All over, the Brumbies account for the hapless Rebels, 32 to 3.

Who did what, via AAP:

12.39pm BST

AFL: Q4 13.57 remaining. North 9.12 (65) Richmond 12.14 (86). Well. Castagna (CAN’T STAND YA) turns it over at half back, North go down the other end, the mark taken inside 50 by Hansen who turns around and knocks it in. So, we’re back inside four goals. Game on, yeah?

12.37pm BST

AFL: Q4 15:40 remaining. North 8.12 (60) Richmond 12.14 (86). Another moment of near-brilliance for North, this time Jarrad Waite getting through heavy traffic and snapping around his body. The goal umpire has said it has gone over the top of the post. Hmm. I reckon he’s still not to win the Bertochi Ham for goal of the week. North needed one of those to drop in order to have a realistic chance. But they do have the run of play since the final break. Oh dear: salt in the wounds here, a snap from big man Mason Wood from relatively close range popped out on the full. Brad Scott is laughing. Doubt the bloke in the cheer squad is who used to scare the life out of me when we played North as a kid. I bet he still sits there, too.

12.33pm BST

AFL: Q4 18:30 remaining. North 8.10 (58) Richmond 12.14 (86). Nearly one of the great AFL goals there from North’s McMillan, who collected the ball before half way, took a bounce and kicked an old-fashioned Malcolm Blight barrel from 90-odd metres. It took a leg break in the square and nearly rolled in, but the post got in the way.

12.26pm BST

CRICKET: South Africa have got their act together after a slow start at The Oval, sitting pretty at 129-1 in the 25th. Amal is 65. Naturally. Became the quickest man to 7000 ODI runs last week.

12.25pm BST

AFL: Three-quarter time. North 8.9 (57) Richmond 12.13 (85). Six goal to one quarter for the Tiges, and a 28 point lead. The highlight, this gem from Dusty. He’s having blinder. Again.

Absolute class from Dustin Martin. #AFLNorthTigers

12.23pm BST

SUPER RUGBY. 74 minutes. Brumbies 25 – Rebels 3. As expected, this is petering out. After scoring the initial field goal, the Rebels haven’t threatened the scoreboard again. With this win, the Canberrans stitch up top spot in the Australian conference. A big post-season awaits.

12.22pm BST

AFL: Q3 1:00 remaining. North 8.8 (56) Richmond 12.13 (85). “Guess who?” says BT on the call. Dustin Martin, of course. It’s a straightforward snap from close range after some clever hands close in. “He has to be firming for outright Brownlow favourite,” adds Luke Darcy. Sounds about right.

12.20pm BST

NRL: Full-time at Townsville, where North Queensland had comfortably held off the the Gold Coast 20-8 in the end courtesy of a 14-0 second half. Messy for the Titans.

12.19pm BST

AFL: Q3 3:00 remaining. North 8.7 (55) Richmond 11.13 (79). At last! Brilliant finish from Atlee, but they made hard work of that. Got out the back and they needed that desperately, North.

12.04pm BST

AFL: Q3 16:38 remaining. North 7.6 (48) Richmond 10.10 (70). Out of the blocks with four quicks goals to start the second half. On fire. Tiger Time. With the netball over, my attention will return to the Docklands to see this one through I think.

SUPER RUGBY: 56 minutes. Brumbies 18 – Rebels 3. A try in the minutes after the restart for the Brumbies to take control of this game. Built on the back of a solid scrum, Tevita Kuridrani over the line and Wharenui Hawera converts. Has a familiar, sinking feeling about it now for the battling Melbourne side.

11.57am BST

NRL: The Cowboys have turned around the earlier deficit to open up a commanding 10 point lead with 20 minutes to go at Townsville, ahead of the Titans 18-8.

11.55am BST


Congratulations to the @GIANTS_Netball! “What a performance.” – @AnnieSargeant. #SuncorpSuperNetball

11.50am BST

NETBALL: GIANTS WIN! Out of jail, down by four goals at one stage during the final term, but the hosts held their nerve. They progress to next week’s Preliminary Final at Melbourne against the Vixens. Detailed report coming soon.

Brice scores and the Giants win by 1! #GIAvMAG #SuncorpSuperNetball

11.47am BST

NETBALL: How about the GRANDSTAND FINISH coming up!

Brown scores to level! 58 secs left! #GIAvMAG #SuncorpSuperNetball

11.39am BST

NETBALL: Magpies early surge in the last! Can they knock of the Giants? The Sydney side were within a goal of a double chance, and might find themselves out of the comp altogether a week later.

We don’t know where to look! Magpies lead by three, 45-42 with just under 8.30 on the clock. #GIAvMAG #SuncorpSuperNetball

11.38am BST

AFL: Jumper punching. Who knew it was going to be the talking point of 2017? Anyway, Tomahawk’s in strife. And knows it, based on this AAP report from ABC earlier today.

Tom Hawkins can’t believe he jumper punched Adelaide’s Matt Crouch after the well-publicised AFL crack down, but the Geelong star remains hopeful he will escape suspension.
Hawkins admitted his angst over the second-quarter incident sat in the pit of his stomach after the Cats’ 22-point win over the Crows at Simonds Stadium.
The 28-year-old remonstrated with Matt and Brad Crouch after Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was taken to ground in a heavy tackle.
Hawkins’ 200-game milestone appears set to be marred by an AFL ban after he made contact with Crouch’s jaw – an observation he disputes.
“It was a bit of a funny one … on a night when there was a bit of push and shove I felt like I got him in the chest,” Hawkins said on ABC Radio.

11.36am BST

AFL: Half time also in the footy, North taking a two point advantage (48-46) to the long break over Richmond. I might flick over to that for the third quarter. Twitter suggests a tasty contest.

Richo: “There’s not much in this game, you look across stat sheet…”
Ch 7 show time in forward 1/2 stat: R 70%, NM 30% #AFLNorthTigers

11.34am BST

SUPER RUGBY. Half time. Brumbies 11 – Rebels 3. The try eventually came for the hosts in the 31st minute after getting the ball deep into Rebel territory but electing to tap rather than kick. Out to the left they went, Jordan Smller the try scorer. They did miss the chance to press home the advantage with a conversion. To the break with an eight point lead.

11.24am BST

NETBALL: All happening at Western Sydney! Collingwood, the visitors, are leading GWS 33-32 in the third term. All to play for, the lower eliminated.

AFL: Looks like a cracking game in Melbourne, but Richmond not kicking straight. 5.9 to North’s 5.4 about half way through the second term at Docklands.

11.14am BST

SUPER RUGBY: 27 minutes. Brumbies 6 – Rebels 3. Rebels on the board with a penalty goal via Hodge. Drained the kick from 50m. Nicely hit. But minutes later, the Rebels penalised for offside. Hawera gets it done. Two penalty goals to one.

I’ll swing around the other venues and get back to the ruggers before half-time.

11.09am BST

SUPER RUGBY: 17 minutes. Brumbies 3 – Rebels 0. It is top versus bottom of Australia conference, nine points clear for ACT at top of the table, where this game is being played.

The Rebels can take some hope though – the only game they have won for the year was against the Brumbies, back in round eight. Could the bottom ranked side do the double over the top? Strange times.

10.55am BST

NRL: Early try at Townsville.

The @nthqldcowboys finally crack the @GCTitans defence!#NRLCowboysTitans #NRL

10.46am BST

NETBALL: Q2, 11 minutes remaining. Giants 17 – Magpies 13. After the Lightning’s upset earlier in the second semi-final (don’t make me say major and minor, I can’t do it, Page & McIntyre won’t allow it) the winner of the Giants and Pies will take on the Vixens next week in the Prelim.

The Giants blew their double chance opportunity last week, losing by a single goal at home to the Lightning. They are tonight’s host.

10.41am BST

AFL: We’re already ten minutes into the North v Tigers match at Docklands, North leading 8-2. The Kangas come into the clash 13th on the ladder, while Richmond consolidated their top eight last week, currently sixth.

Last time they met was round 11 last year when North thrashed the Yellow and Black 70 in Tasmania. It’s the pattern of recent history between the teams, North winning seven of the last eight.

10.36am BST

NRL: Here’s the AAP report of the thriller at the SFS, the Roosters holding off the Broncos for an 18-16 triumph.

“Two tries from Boyd Cordner have inspired the Sydney Roosters to a thrilling 18-16 win over Brisbane which moves them into the NRL top four.

10.33am BST

Let’s keep whipping around. Sri Lanka have won the toss and will bat against South Africa at The Oval in the first pool game of Group B in the Champs Trophy. Pick up the OBO with Nick Miller.

At the French Open Andy Murray is up today. We have rolling coverage from Paris in the game-by-game (I think it is called) over here.

10.31am BST

NRL: The Roosters got over the line against the Broncos, but it was a close run thing. Sydney consolidated their top four standing with an 18-16 victory. More on that as it comes to hand.

Next up in a few minutes in that competition, Cowboys v Titans. They are coming into this game at Willows Sports Complex in Townsville 7th and 12th respectively.

10.21am BST

AFL: Full Time. Giants 18.9 (117) v Dons 15.11 (101). The Giants have done it, moving to the top of the ladder for the first time in their six season history. For the most part, Essendon stayed with league leaders. The visitors can take plenty of that, but not the four points. A lot expected from GWS after reaching the final four last year. With one more game before their bye (Carlton in Melbourne), they should be able to consolidate their position heading into the back half of the season. A lot to like. Josh Kelly was best afield, collecting 38 touches and 12 score involvements. Toby Greene was also fantastic, finishing with three goals for the winners. SING THE SONG.

10.17am BST

AFL: Q4 1:00 remaining. Giants 18.9 (117) v Dons 15.11 (101). Cameron hits the post from 40! Could have just about ran all the way in, he had a paddock. Greene has another chance, a set shot in an almost identical place on the field to where he missed earlier in the quarter. And he misses again. But it doesn’t go the distance, so the scrap continues, the ball ultimately ending up back in the GWS 50 after taking some time of the clock. Eventually Kennedy gets under a high bomb and he kicks the winner from close range. Bellchambers responds with one himself down the other end, but it’s all over now.

10.06am BST

AFL: Q4 9:00 remaining. Giants 17.8 (110) v Dons 14.11 (95). They’re a classy outfit, the GWS. Moments like this that the really good teams, the true contenders, find a way through. After the short break and the travel. In spite of the injuries and the most start. Irrespective of the baggage from last year and the expectations on their shoulders to go two better in 2017. That was all embodied in this clinical response to two Essendon goals in a minute to make it a single-digit game. Immediately from the restart the switch was flicked with bodies flung at the ball. Quick hands from Scully got the ball out, composure from Williams shown to take an extra second before having his shot. He made no mistake. Quality.

10.03am BST

AFL: Q4 9:00 remaining. Giants 16.8 (104) v Dons 14.11 (95). McDonald-Tipungwuti! Daniher takes his second strong mark at centre half forward in the space of a couple of minutes. He takes a shot but mishits it and the forward takes his second mark close to goal in the space of a minute. Taken on his chest in the end, poor defending from GWS. But he is, as Brown says on the call, rewarded for playing in front. Nine point margin, nine minutes left. Game on. Do the the hosts have the legs after their cross-continental journey? We’ll find out soon.

10.01am BST

AFL: Q4 12:30 remaining. Giants 16.8 (104) v Dons 13.11 (89). They won’t go away! Just when it looked like GWS were going to waltz away with this one, Essendon have a penetrative few minutes with a handful of inside 50s. At last, one goes to hand with McDonald-Tipungwuti taking a strong grab and converting from 20. Maybe?

9.58am BST

AFL: Q4 12:30 remaining. Giants 16.8 (104) v Dons 12.11 (83). James Stewart is gifted a set shot for a notional infringement in the contest. Had that been the application of the rule a generation ago Jason Dunstall would have kicked 1500. Anyway, he misses. I’m pleased. Essendon lament. That may have been their window. Down the other end again in a flash from the kick-off, Toby Greene is found on the chest inside 50. They’ve kicked so well tonight. But not so Greene here who misses out on what would have been his fourth.

9.55am BST

AFL: Q4 17:30 remaining. Giants 16.7 (103) v Dons 12.10 (82). GWS with everything to play for here, a chance to go top of the ladder for the first time in their history if they can get the points. They’ll lead the comp going into the half-way mark as well. Cameron has another chance to extend the lead, a set shot from where the 50 meets the boundary line, but can’t thread it through, missing – just – to the near side. The spearhead is now equal leader in the Coleman after his goal moments earlier. Kelly misses another shot, albeit a chancier swing from outside the 50. Still: they’re once again peppering. One more should do it.

9.52am BST

AFL: Q4 17:30 remaining. Giants 16.5 (101) v Dons 11.10 (82). Plenty of noise from the travelling Essendon fans, the Bombers chant audible around the ground. Giants have been good in close games with a string of single-digit victories, including an eight point triumph over the Eagles in Perth last week. But how much will that hurt now? (Nearly) the longest trip in footy, and all that, on a six day break. Oh, but Jeremy Cameron is having none of that! The star forward latches onto the contested ball in the pocket, composes himself and snaps truly. An old-fashioned steadier, right there.

9.48am BST

AFL: Q4 18:30 remaining. Giants 15.5 (95) v Dons 11.10 (82). Two in a minute for Essendon and they have got it back to 13 points! Josh Green has got the first. Merrett put the ball into the 50 and the small-who-plays-tall snaked it through. The second came through a succession of handballs and a clever Colyer snap after a turnover in the pocket. “I think they are a big chance,” says Jonathan Brown on the telly.

9.45am BST

Lions tour: I just saw we have a live blog going of their Barbarians tour match. Get on that if you fancy the minute by minute.

9.38am BST

AFL: Three-quarter time. Giants 15.5 (95) v Dons 10.10 (70). Another exchange of goals keeps the margin to 20 points, where it has bounced around through this quarter. The Giants aren’t able to quite kill off the Dons yet. They’ll still have some work to do when the final stanza comes. Oh but as I write, de Boer gets another on the stroke of the siren. So, 25 points it is into the final change.

9.30am BST

NETBALL: How it went down on Showcourt One, the Lightning getting over the Vixens by one goal. Brilliant start to the finals series. Here’s the AAP report.

“Sunshine Coach Lightning are through to the Super Netball grand final after they upset minor premiers Melbourne Vixens with a 56-55 win at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday.

9.26am BST

AFL: Q3 11.00 remaining Giants 13.5 (83) v Dons 9.8 62). Another opportunity for Derm to talk about hitting blokes, saying that his classic shirtfront on Paul van der Haar in the 1989 second semi final “paid for his pool” before going on to call the Flying Dutchman a “great bloke.” All I’d say is that it’s an absolute disgrace that isn’t on youtube. I was sitting just above it as a five year old lad. Formative memories.

On the field, the sides have exchanged goals, continuing the pattern of the game where goals have come on a flurry. Josh Green’s for Essendon was a good’un, racing onto an open ball and opting to take a shot rather than giving it off. Back yourself, lad.

9.21am BST

NRL: Across town, a second converted try for the Roosters gives them a 12-6 lead over the Broncos at half time at the Football Stadium.

9.19am BST

AFL: Q3 14:15 remaining Giants 12.5 (77) v Dons 8.8 (56). Bad missed shot from Hooker, 40 out and pulls it like Ricky Ponting. But then, not like him at all. Back to full-back, mate. GWS make them pay, racing it down from the kick in with a string of handballs, Williams pinpointing the inside 50 before Perryman in his third game collects and goals with poise. 21 points the margin, but you get the feeling they’re only a goal away from shutting this down.

9.15am BST

AFL: Q3 16:55 remaining Giants 11.5 (71) v Dons 8.7 (55). The definition of end to end stuff to start the second half. Fantasia collects and goals to get us underway and narrow the margin to ten. But within a minute Toby Greene busts through a tackle at the other end and collects his third major of the night. They’re talking about the strength of his hips on the call. They don’t lie, that much I know.

9.12am BST

AFL: Back for the second half. Derm has a cracking stat. GWS kicking efficiency is 83 percent so far tonight. That’s equal to Hawthorn of 2008, who had the best rating on that measure for the time that stat has been measured (about 20 years). What a time to be alive that was. Can I indulge? I’m going to.

“Franklin. To Dew. He might kick this… AND HE HAS! He’s had the best five minutes of his footy life, and that includes the ‘04 Grand Final!” Thanks, Bruce. And yes, I know that by heart.

9.07am BST

NRL: We’re half an hour into the Roosters (5th) v Broncos (4th) blockbuster at the SFS, with the teams level at six apiece.

Five Sydney and six Brisbane played Origin on Wednesday and all are backing up. Tough as. Four of last five times this clash has occurred in Sydney, the visiting Brons have got up. They also knocked them off 32-8 in round six.

9.00am BST

AFL: Whoa! Goddard, playing his 300th, has smashed over the lollies in the rooms at the half-time break. Proper tantrum. Given the milestone he can do what he wants, but his teammates will be quietly filthy at wasting the good stuff.

8.52am BST

NETBALL: Thrilling finish! The Lightning have come from behind the knock off the Vixens 56-55. Wow, two weeks in a row Sunshine Coast have won by a single goal away from home in the second semi. They’ve earned their Grand Final birth, that is for sure. More details as they come to hand. The Vixens have to do it the hard way with their double chance, taking on the winner of the Giants and Magpies who face off in the first semi shortly.

8.48am BST

NRL: The AAP report from the Dragons 16-12 win over Wests at the Olympic Stadium.

“NSW Origin lock Tyson Frizell was taken from the field with a rib injury as St George Illawarra held on for a 16-12 NRL win over the Wests Tigers.
The Blues starting forward was injured attempting a tackle on Tim Grant midway through the second half and played no further part in Saturday’s game at ANZ Stadium.
The blow comes just two-and-a-half weeks out from State of Origin II.
It’s the second time Frizell has had a rib problem this year.
He also failed to return against Manly in round six with a similar issue, but did not miss any matches.
In a further concern for the Blues, Josh Dugan appeared to suffer a knee injury late in the match and required attention from trainers, but stayed on the field as the Dragons survived a late scare.”

8.47am BST

AFL: Half Time. Giants 10.5 (65) v Dons 7.7 (49). Wonderful football, Josh Kelly launching a picture-perfect tackle in the GWS forward 50, rewarded with a holding the ball free kick. He makes no mistake. That’s two goals in the final minute of the half to extend their lead to 16 as the siren sounds, a 28 point turnaround in the second quarter.

8.42am BST

AFL: Q2 1:47 remaining Giants 9.5 (59) v Dons 7.7 (49). Time for GWS to go straight back up the other end. Beautifully set up by Patton, who find Whitfield on the lead, and smacks the set shot in from 55m. Some beautiful kicking from both sides tonight.

8.41am BST

AFL: Q2 2:45 remaining Giants 8.5 (53) v Dons 7.7 (49). Oh, such a strong mark from Toby Greene. He’s a gun. Goes back from 42 and swings it like Damien Fleming right to left and through the middle. Important too, as it came just after Essendon tucked one back via Josh Green. But Essendon aren’t giving anything up here, the big ruckman Tom Bellchambers converting a set shot from behind the arc, Essendon’s second major of the quarter to keep the margin within a straight kick. Good game of footy, this.

Illustrative of that, here’s that Tom Scully goal from earlier that I was carrying on about.

Tom Scully puts his foot down and kicks a terrific goal. #AFLGiantsDons

8.35am BST

My Dad has seen the GWS song story below and written in. “Their loss. Best jingle I ever wrote. Even had that “yellow and black” moment. Words even more relevant now they are a force. And thanks for remembering my birthday.” Call you later.

8.31am BST

AFL: Q2 8:16 remaining Giants 7.4 (46) v Dons 5.5 (36). And again! Scully has three. GWS on point with their tweet about it, too. In control now. Bad set shot miss from Jobe Watson up the other end to stop the bleeding.

Moves like Jagger? More like moves like Kelly!

His incredible footwork sets up Scully’s third goal of the night.#AFLGIANTSDons

8.29am BST

AFL: Q2 11:10 remaining Giants 6.4 (40) v Dons 5.4 (34). Back in business, the Giants have the first three goals of the second term to get back into the lead. The best of the three: some swift movement across the traditional centre half forward line, precise kicking finding Tom Scully who finishes from 49m with no fuss at all. His second of the night. Toby Greene gets the next. On the call, I just heard Dermie saying something about putting a knee into Greene to stop him. Never change, Kid. Never change.

8.18am BST

NETBALL: The Vixens have earned themselves some breathing room on Showcourt One. Can they lean on their home ground advantage and be the first team to quality for the competition’s first Grand Final?

(Yeah, Showcourt One. I know you can see what I am doing there.)

The Vixens take a four goal lead, with almost 5 mins gone in Q3. #VIXvLIG #SuncorpSuperNetball

8.14am BST

AFL: quarter time Giants 3.3 (21) v Dons 5.3 (33). Well, the Giants, who could go top of the pops tonight, were up by 14 deep into that opening term. But Essendon have gone to the break a couple go majors up. Fantasia and Daniher kicked goals in the final minute of the term. So that’s four goals to nothing in the final ten minutes, with eight inside 50s to nothing in that period. Leon Cameron has a mic popped underneath him as he walks back to the coach’s box, and judging by his tone, he’s just given the Giants an absolute bake at the breather.

8.08am BST

Note in from Chris Hill. Thanks Hilly.

“GWS theme song just about the best in the league #joininthechorus

8.03am BST

AFL: Q1 2:26 remaining Giants 3.3 (21) v Dons 3.2 (20). Two in a minute for the Dons! First, some total football, moving the ball through the guts with a series of precise handballs before Irishman Conor McKenna gets on the end of it and converts on the run from 50. Pretty stuff all round.

Straight back inside 50 from the bounce, Daniher tries to go himself taking on a defender, but when tackled he has the presence of mind to snap to the kick-off line. Josh Green takes the mark and kicks the set shot.

7.59am BST

NRL: Full-time at the Olympic Stadium, the Dragons withstanding a late surge from Wests, getting over the line 16-12.

And in the Super Rugby, the Chiefs have done enough to see off the Tahs in Waikato, winning 46-31.

7.55am BST

AFL: Q1 8:30 remaining Giants 3.2 (20) v Dons 1.1 (7). Another excellent finish for the G-Dubs. Contested ball won on centre wing and banged forward, some clever work at the bottom of the pack freeing up Zac Williams, who wheels around and drills it from 50. Loves a celebration too. As Dwayne and Derm say on the commentary, he’s on the way to an All Australian jumper come September.

7.50am BST

AFL: Q1 11:16 remaining Giants 2.0 (12) v Dons 1.1 (7). Classssss from Tom Scully, latching onto a free ball and running around the boundary, taking a bounce and bisecting the big sticks to get the Giants their second. Absolutely no room for error there. Will probably be the goals of the week. Not a bad time to tune in. But Essendon go back down the other end within a minute, creating a turnover that lands with Cale Hooker. He converts the set shot, and Essendon have their first.

7.42am BST

Netball: 13 each of two at quarter time in the major semi final between the Melbourne Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning. In other words, that’s first vs second, the winner progressing to the Grans Final.

The loser will play the winner of the Giants and Pies, who are up later tonight.

7.37am BST

AFL feature game: Giants v Bombers.

We’re about ten minutes away from kicking things off in Western Sydney where the hosts come in second, the visitors 11th.

7.29am BST

Round the grounds, shall we? For the first time today.

Righto. In the AFL, it has started with a thriller on the Gold Coast! They’ve gotten over the line against West Coast by three point, Peter Wright taking a grab and converting with a couple of minutes to go.

7.12am BST

Before we get into it, I should note that this always works better when we’re talking to one another. Do it on the email. Do it on the tweet. Want to do it on ICQ? I can probably arrange for that.

While you consider those options, here’s Andy Bull on what was a dreary old day at Edgbaston yesterday as Australia opened their Champs Trophy campaign with a washout against New Zealand. Never have I spent so long somewhere for so little payoff. Anyway, Andy explains it better.

Related: Australia’s pace bowling storm subdued by New Zealand and Edgbaston hoodoo | Andy Bull

1.55am BST

Afternoon. It’s your old friend Adam Collins here, ready and raring to nurse you through another heavily stacked Saturday of action from all the codes across all points of our big brown land. Welcome to Sportwatch.

They’re the two staples of Australian sport in winter: footy and netball. That’s what today is all about now that we’re formally ticked over to the coldest season. Of the former, we have all the codes coming up for you today. In the latter, two huge semi-finals.

5.25am BST

Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, something big happened in Brisbane earlier in the week and Nick Tedeschi wrote about it:

Related: A new generation of Blues come of age in fast and furious win over Maroons | Nick Tedeschi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

May 21

Storm and Vixens back on top, and more: Australia sportwatch – as it happened

  • Updates from Australian sport on Sunday 21 May
  • Storm down Rabbitohs, Waratahs smash Rebels, Vixens ease past T-birds

12.23pm BST

NRL: Storm beat Rabbitohs 14-6; Roosters beat Bulldogs 24-18; Panthers beat Knights 30-20
AFL: Essendon beat West Coast 125-64; North Melbourne beat Melbourne104-90; Fremantle beat Carlton 90-51
Super Rugby: Waratahs beat Rebels 50-23
Super Netball: Vixens beat Thunderbirds 71-50

11.59am BST

And that’s me out. Thanks for your company through the course of Australia Sportswatch’s first weekend. We are grateful for all feedback so we can fine tune as we go, so please drop me a line if anything comes to mind and I’ll pass it on to the boss. Until next time. Be well.

11.56am BST


AFL: Essendon pumped the Eagles and North held firm against the Demons before Freo easily accounted for Carlton to end the round.

11.22am BST

Popped this up for the AFL, so only right to give the wires wrap of the NRL round as well, with an updated ladder and the like. Back in a moment to wrap up the day that was.

NRL Rd 11

11.18am BST

A clutch win for the Storm sending them back to the top of the NRL ladder. Not only as it comes the week after a bad loss to the Titans, but because they will be ravaged by Origin duties over the coming period. The second half in the rain was rough and rugged, the only score coming through Vunivalu’s potent run to the corner with five minutes to go to take the score from 14-6 and Melbourne to victory.

Cameron Smith, the Storm skipper, on the telly after the game: “We were pretty embarrassed with how we defended last week,” he said. “We had clear intentions to defend our way to a win, and we did that really well.”

11.09am BST

Storm try! That should be the game. Brilliant 50 metre movement and Vunivalu cannot be stopped in his push to the corner. Souths a long way off it now given the lack of scoring opportunities. His ninth try of the season. Cameron Smith misses to the right, so it’s 14-6.

Rabbitoh’s have had 60% of the possession, but haven’t converted that to territory gained in this second half. After Melbourne leaked points over the last month, they’ll be very happy with the defensive effort in the second period.

Slam dunk for Vunivalu!#NRLSouthsStorm 6-14 with four minutes to go. #NRL

10.57am BST

“It’s becoming a real grind” says the TV call. Evidenced by what looked to be a knock on from Souths close to their line, but Storm had knocked it on first. Messy footy. 10-6 still the score.

Meanwhile, Sam Burgess – who has been their best afield with metres gained – is in the hands of two trainers. But he’s going to play on. Tough lad. Suffered the injury in a tackle where his back was contorted. All rather unpleasant. No ramifications for the Storm.

10.56am BST

More party tricks from Souths, this time John Sutton reaching down to pick up the ball with one hand like he’s Anthony Koutoufides. Has to spark something.

That pick up by Sutton!#NRLSouthsStorm #NRL

10.43am BST

Tremendous chase early in the second half! Vunivalu looked GONE, but Alex Johnston somehow tracked him down. Storm’s lead over Souths remains 10-6.

Not many people can chase down Suliasi Vunivalu!#NRLSouthsStorm #NRL

10.34am BST

From BTL, this from Wheelspinner on the afternoon at the ‘G. Not wrong that there was a lot going on in that second quarter. Frustrating outing for Dees. They must have expected a lot more today. They’re not far away.

“I would never say it cost us the game – Melbourne didn’t play well enough to win – but I never want to see umpiring as bad as that again as long as I live. How is it even possible for a payer to be punched so hard that he has to leave the ground, at a stoppage, right in front of the umpire, and no free kick is paid? How can an umpire award a mark, see the player who took the mark grabbed and thrown to the ground after the whistle has blown, and no 50 metres is paid? These umpires were a disgrace who allowed this game to get totally out of control; it was shocking.”

10.30am BST

Fresh from the wires, here’s a fairly comprehensive wrap of the round that was in the AFL.

GEELONG 3.0 8.5 9.5 16.8 (104)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.3 4.3 10.8 12.9 (81)
Goals: Geelong: H Taylor 5 P Dangerfield 4 D Menzel 2 J Selwood M Blicavs S Selwood T Hawkins Z Tuohy. Western Bulldogs: C Smith 2 J Redpath 2 M Wallis 2 T Boyd 2 T Dickson 2 L Webb T Cloke.
Best: Geelong: P Dangerfield S Selwood T Stewart Z Smith Z Tuohy M Duncan. Western Bulldogs: C Daniel M Wallis L Jong E Wood M Adams M Bontempelli.
Injuries: Geelong: N Cockatoo (hamstring) C Guthrie (ill) replaced in selected side by J Murdoch. Western Bulldogs: Nil.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Scott Jeffery, Shane McInerney, Nathan Williamson.
Venue: Simonds Stadium.

SYDNEY 4.2 7.3 12.8 18.10 (118)
ST KILDA 3.2 5.4 7.5 10.8 (68)
Goals: Sydney: L Franklin 4 D Hannebery 2 H Cunningham 2 T Papley 2 D Towers G Hewett G Rohan J Kennedy K Tippett N Newman S Reid W Hayward. St Kilda: N Riewoldt 3 J Gresham 2 T Membrey 2 B Acres D Roberton P McCartin.
Best: Sydney: D Hannebery J Kennedy J Lloyd N Newman N Smith H Grundy L Melican. St Kilda: J Billings J Steven B Acres S Ross S Gilbert J Geary.
Injuries: Sydney: H Cunningham (foot). St Kilda: J Newnes (concussion).
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Jacob Mollison, Andrew Mitchell.
Official Crowd: 29,778 at Etihad Stadium.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 1.2 4.5 6.9 11.12 (78)
RICHMOND 6.3 7.8 10.10 10.15 (75)
Goals: Greater Western Sydney: J Cameron 3 S Reid 2 M De Boer R Lobb T Greene T Scully T Taranto Z Williams. Richmond: C Menadue 2 J Castagna 2 J Riewoldt 2 T Cotchin 2 S Grigg S Lloyd.
Best: Greater Western Sydney: L Whitfield J Kelly D Shiel T Scully N Wilson. Richmond: A Rance S Grigg D Martin T Cotchin.
Injuries: Greater Western Sydney: R Lobb (groin). Richmond: J Caddy (groin) replaced in selected side by A Miles.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Robert Findlay, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 10,677 at Spotless Stadium.

COLLINGWOOD 0.1 4.6 9.11 13.12 (90)
HAWTHORN 6.1 10.4 10.5 11.6 (72)
Goals: Collingwood: J Elliott 3 D Moore 2 A Treloar B Maynard J Crisp J Howe J Smith L Greenwood S Pendlebury S Sidebottom. Hawthorn: J Sicily 3 L Breust 3 P Puopolo 2 B McEvoy L Shiels T Vickery.
Best: Collingwood: S Pendlebury A Treloar D Moore T Adams T Goldsack J Howe. Hawthorn: T Mitchell L Shiels L Hodge P Puopolo.
Injuries: Collingwood: J Aish (cheekbone). Hawthorn: K Brand (illness) and T O’Brien (hip) late withdrawls, replaced by K Heatherly and J Sicily.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Chris Donlon, Brett Rosebury, Robert O’Gorman.
Official Crowd: 54,252 at MCG.

ADELAIDE 3.3 10.5 17.9 21.14 (140)
BRISBANE LIONS 3.6 4.11 5.12 7.18 (60)
Goals: Adelaide: C Cameron 4 E Betts 3 H Greenwood 3 T Lynch 3 T Walker 3 A Otten 2 B Crouch J Gallucci W Milera. Brisbane Lions: D Zorko 2 J Barrett 2 H McCluggage J Walker M Hammelmann.
Best: Adelaide: T Lynch R Laird R Sloane C Cameron E Betts. Brisbane Lions: D Beams D Rich D Zorko.
Injuries: Adelaide: C Hampton (ankle). Brisbane Lions: C Beams (hamstring).
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Chris Kamolins, David Harris, Curtis Deboy.
Official Crowd: 13,802 at Gabba.

ESSENDON 5.2 12.8 16.10 19.11 (125)
WEST COAST 2.4 3.7 5.13 8.16 (64)
Goals: Essendon: J Daniher 5 O Fantasia 3 A McDonald-Tipungwuti 2 C Hooker 2 J Green 2 D Parish J Stewart M Dea M Leuenberger T Colyer. West Coast: J Kennedy 4 J Darling 2 N Vardy 2.
Best: Essendon: M Hurley Z Merrett J Daniher D Zaharakis D Heppell J Watson T Colyer. West Coast: J Kennedy S Mitchell L Shuey M Priddis.
Injuries: Nil.
Reports: Nil.
Umpires: Shaun Ryan, Simon Meredith, Eleni Glouftsis.
Official Crowd: 36,403 at Etihad Stadium.

NORTH MELBOURNE 6.7 8.9 12.13 15.14 (104)
MELBOURNE 2.5 8.7 9.9 13.12 (90)
Goals: North Melbourne: B Brown 5 M Wood 3 T Garner 2 B Cunnington J Ziebell L McDonald M Williams S Higgins. Melbourne: M Hannan 3 C Pedersen 2 C Oliver C Salem D Kent J Lewis J Viney N Jetta N Jones S Frost.
Best: North Melbourne: B Brown B Cunnington M Wood R Tarrant S Thompson T Goldstein K Turner. Melbourne: M Hibberd S Frost N Jones J Viney B Vince T McDonald C Pedersen.
Umpires: Sam Hay, Mathew Nicholls, Brendan Hosking.
Official Crowd: 33,218 at MCG.

FREMANTLE 1.2 5.4 10.7 13.8 (86)
CARLTON 4.4 5.6 6.9 7.9 (51)
Goals: Fremantle: H Crozier 3 M Walters 3 B Hill 2 S Kersten 2 C McCarthy L Neale M Taberner. Carlton: L Casboult 2 B Gibbs D Thomas M Murphy S Docherty Z Fisher.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Ray Chamberlain, Nicholas Foot.
Official Crowd: 30,313 at Domain Stadium.
Bye – Port Adelaide, Gold Coast
P W L D For Agst PC Pts
Adelaide 9 7 2 – 1098 813 135.1 28
Greater Western Sydney 9 7 2 – 917 771 118.9 28
Geelong 9 6 3 – 987 839 117.6 24
West Coast 9 6 3 – 816 791 103.2 24
Fremantle 9 6 3 – 727 802 90.6 24
Port Adelaide 8 5 3 – 903 599 150.8 20
Richmond 9 5 4 – 798 746 107.0 20
Western Bulldogs 9 5 4 – 789 761 103.7 20
St Kilda 9 5 4 – 842 817 103.1 20
Essendon 9 5 4 – 845 852 99.2 20
Melbourne 9 4 5 – 882 812 108.6 16
Sydney 9 3 6 – 827 820 100.8 12
Collingwood 9 3 6 – 735 778 94.5 12
North Melbourne 9 3 6 – 853 903 94.5 12
Gold Coast 8 3 5 – 743 862 86.2 12
Carlton 9 3 6 – 632 810 78.0 12
Hawthorn 9 3 6 – 740 963 76.8 12
Brisbane Lions 9 1 8 – 698 1093 63.9 4
31: J Kennedy (West Coast) 4, J Cameron (GWS) 3
28: E Betts (Adelaide) 3
27: L Franklin (Sydney) 4, T Hawkins (Geelong) 1
26: B Brown (Nth Melb) 5, J Daniher (Essendon) 5
25: J Riewoldt (Richmond) 2
24: T Walker (Adelaide) 3
22: O Fantasia (Essendon)

10.27am BST

Righto. AFL, done. Rugby, done. Netball, done. Supercars, well they got a mention. That leaves the final half of the last NRL game – the Storm leading the Bunnies 10-6 – and somehow delivering on my promise to get some badminton into the blog. Stand by.

10.19am BST

Matt Tabenar held in the square, grabbing final goal for Freo moments before the siren. They get the win by 35 points, comprehensively outplaying the hard-held Blues in the second half. That’s six wins for Freo in seven starts, now up to fifth and one game off top spot. Cop that. After such a shambolic 2016 it is easy to forget how good they were in 2015. In a season without a clear flag favourite… who knows?

Fremantle is one game off top spot. Dear lord.

10.10am BST

Storm are over the line a second time in Perth! Required video confirmation, but they won’t mind that. 10-6 the lead nearing the half.

Vision of the @storm Try Decision in the 24th minute of #NRLSouthsStorm.#NRL

10.02am BST

Oh that hurts. Moments after getting on the board in the final term, after plenty of hard work, Carlton turn the ball over and Fremantle race it down the other end. Three-Time Premiership Hero Brad Hill takes an uncontested mark and nails the set shot. The Fremantle lead is out to 22 and they are well on their way to six wins in seven starts.

9.57am BST

Pouring rain at Subiaco. Pleased to see this, even if it makes a Carlton comeback unlikely with the margin still 22 points well into the final quarter now. Get this: Freo are 16th for attack and Carlton are the lowest scoring side in the comp. Scrap! Scrap! Scrap!

Another stat I saw pre-game was that Carlton have dished off the least handballs in the comp through 2017. What ever would Barrass and Teddy Hopkins think?

9.49am BST

We’re ten minutes into the final NRL fixture of the round as well. It’s over in Perth, where twelfth placed South Sydney host an annual fixture, against the Storm, who are third on the ladder but battling of late on and off the park.

The storm lost 38-36 to Cowboys last week in a performance defined by sloppy defence. They’ve now conceded 20 or more points three of the last four weeks. Not very Melbourne Storm, that. But it’s been nearly two years since they have lost two on the bounce.

9.41am BST

After Mundy’s post-siren winner to break Richmond’s heart, Fremantle are hosting Carlton having won five of their last six and back in business. With three of those by less than a kick. That’s poise under pressure. But the evidence from this third quarter suggests it won’t be another close finish here, Freo turning for home 22 points in front, piling on four goals to one in the term, three after the 22-minute mark. That hurts. Including this gem.

Shane Kersten with some fancy footwork. #AFLFreoBlues

9.28am BST

The Tahs did what they needed to at the SFS against the battling Rebels and as a result, can still make the Super Rugby post-season. A couple of tries from fullback Israel Forlau helped run up the big score, earning a vital bonus point for their efforts. It was a scrappy start for the hosts, conceding seven penalties on the trot to begin, but upon finding their groove they were destined to overwhelm Melbourne.

9.17am BST

It’s all over at the Olympic Stadium, the Roosters holding off the fast-finishing Bulldogs to force their way back into the top four. If the Storm get done later on, they’ll be third at the end of the round. Mitchell Peace put on a clinic at half-back, scoring the winning try in the 76th minute. Timely form ahead of Origin selection as well.

Of note is Latrell Mitchell’s injury. The 19-year-old centre was making his own Origin case with involvement in two first-half tries before hurting his sternum.

9.08am BST

North have 16th win in a row over Melbourne. They also have three of their last four for season 2017. Melbourne were everywhere for the early portion of the final term, clawing the margin back to within a kick after turning at the final change 22 in deficit. But North steadied and the Dees were spent. For Melbourne, they have again let themselves down in a fixture where they were in favourites. It’s hard to make the case that they’re ready for September football with that in mind. And one of the longest streaks in footy remains, 11 years since they last got to sing the song in victory against the Shinboners. I love stuff like that. For instance, did you know that the last time Carlton beat Hawthorn youtube was a week old?

Okay, that’s it from Melbourne. We’ll shortly pick up the Fremantle v Carlton game to finish the round. Half time just about done with there, the visitors leading by two points. Low scoring (36-34) as anticipated.

9.01am BST

Luke McDonald with what will be the winner for North! There’s been nothing pretty about North’s resistance in this final stanza, but it has been so impressive. When you consider how poor they were last week and that 2017 is essentially a write-off for them already far as finals are concerned. Ben Brown ends up with a set shot with 2:30 on the clock, with his run up, 30 extra seconds are taken off the clock by the time he delivers to the goal mouth. It finds the hands of a teammate. That’ll do it.

8.57am BST

Mitchell Pearce again! Crucial in the first half, and he has crossed again for what will surely be the winning try. His Roosters are six points up with two minutes to go.

#NRLBulldogsRoosters #NRL

8.54am BST

North! Where did these goals? Two minutes after the Lewis major Taylor Garner converted after a quick entry inside 50. After five fierce minutes, after Melbourne got one back, Mason Wood snapped truly for the second time today to make the lead back to 8. They’re on the cusp of making it 16 wins on the trot against the Demons. But still time if they’re good enough, six minutes remain.

8.51am BST

The Tahs have it completely under control at the SFS, extending their advantage through the course of the second half, leading 43-23 inside the final five minutes. The Rebels ending their dreadful week just as it started.

8.46am BST

JORDIE! Oh, I can’t help but get excited there. The four-time HFC Premiership Hero gets himself a set shot where the 50 meets the boundary line in the Southern Stand pocket kicking to Punt Road. That methodical approach, smooth and sound, perfect contact, slotting it home to put them two points behind half way through the final quarter. But they have the run, there is no doubt about that, doubling North’s inside 50s this term. And four of the last five goals in this match.

8.43am BST

We also have a thriller at the Olympic Stadium! 14 minutes to go, it’s the Roosters leading the Bulldogs 20-18. Rapid Bulldogs try by Frawley (then converted) to narrowed the margin.

Through the hands!#NRLBulldogsRoosters #NRL

8.40am BST

Brilliant finish! It’s Oliver for Melbourne’s second of the quarter and we are back to a ten-point game! Frost won the contest at half-forward, roved the pack and put the handpass through. Oliver off two steps drains it from 52. Even the most MCC of all would’ve been forced to throw the rugs off their laps to stand up and roar that one home.

8.36am BST

I promised Supercars earlier, didn’t I? Okay, quickly. Shane Van Gisbergen has won the 200km race at Winton in Victoria, knocking off Jamie Whincup who got up in race one yesterday. That’s a one-two for Red Bull. Do people still bring Holden and Ford flags to this? Does anyone else remember when Nissan intervened in the early 90s and won everything before they got banned, or something like that? Is Mark Skaife still a big deal? More questions than answers. But at least you know who won.

8.31am BST

Drama on the siren. In short: Bugg gets a shot from the identical angle to the one he missed minutes before, albeit another 10m closer. And he’s missed again! Great grab too, albeit one that probably had a hand in there from a teammate. All told, it’s a four-goals-to-one quarter for North, who stretched their lead from two points to 22. Melbourne had plenty of play to finish off there and really should be within a couple of kicks. We’ve got to be some chance of a grandstand finish.

Just saw an ad on Fox Footy where Dermie is wearing a full white suit and a white tie talking about snotting blokes. What is happening? Please stop doing things like this.

8.23am BST

Ben Brown is held off the contest and gets himself a free kick within range. The run-up is worth every step as he splits the big ones to ensure North hit right back. Down the other end again, Tomas Bugg gets himself a shot, no more than 30m out. Misses to the far side. A contrast in the way he went about it to Brown, a stuttering approach and unconvincing strike. Bad kicking, bad football and all that. North by 23, couple minutes left in the quarter.

8.18am BST

Higgins misses two set shots, one easier than the other, much to the enjoyment of Melbourne fans who have really enjoyed giving him grief on and off the park this afternoon. But the chances keep coming.

Saying that, from the behind Melbourne work the ball forward and finally break through. Nice grab at half forward, through to Jetta, who plays on and kicks the Demons’ first of the half with six minutes left on the clock in the third.

8.11am BST

Back at the Cricket Ground, Ben Brown kicks his fourth form a set shot, their third on the trot to begin the half. He has a longer run-up than Merv Hughes. Oh, that reminds me, here’s a very enjoyable piece about long run-ups if that’s your bag. It certainly is mine.

It’s the Shinboners by 22 and they’re dominant at the moment, pretty much the entire 12 minutes of this term being played in their attacking 50. The TV informs me that 10 Melbourne players haven’t had a touch so far in the quarter.

8.06am BST

And some final thoughts from the Super Netball at Showcourt One where the Vixens did it in a canter over the battling Thunderbirds. Claire Daly from The Net Effect has kindly looked after me through the course of the afternoon with her updates. Here is her final recap.

And just like that, the Vixens have restored their position at the top of the ladder. They have taken out a 21-goal win over the Thunderbirds to nab one of the highest scores of the Super Netball competition so far. Emily Mannix has taken home the Player of the Match for her stunning effort today. A quiet achiever of the season, she held her own against the various shooting combinations the Thunderbirds tried out and delivered several turnovers for her side. In her post-match interview, Erin Bell noted she had ‘been searching for [her] own personal consistency all season’. While she may have had a stronger game today, in her own words, ‘you’re never happy when you lose by 21 goals’. Vixens captain Kate Maloney admitted her side didn’t have the start they were hoping for, but was happy with her team’s ability to recover. Maloney said that it was a pre-season goal of the Vixens to ‘be the hardest working team’ in the league – a title they can certainly own tonight. As a final note, it is the Vixen’s 10-year anniversary today. As the only ‘original’ state team in the Super Netball with a shot at the finals, they have both a legacy and a future to celebrate.

8.02am BST

Around the grounds to the rugby codes. First the NRL, where the video ref has had a fair work out by the looks, ruling one Roosters try in and another out. They jump out to a 20-6 lead at the half though, Mitchell Pearce orchestrating a third crossing before the interval. Plenty of chat that he should be the NSW starting half-back for Origin.

Sticking in Sydney at the Football Stadium (proper ground names forever, commercial tags never) Israel Forlau is put through for a try just on the cusp of half time, giving the Waratahs a 24-11 lead over the Rebels at the break.

7.55am BST

It was a rapid end to the half of footy at the ‘G. North kicking 6 to 2 in the opening term, the Dees flipping that in the second stanza, including the last three. They’re still targeting Shaun Higgins around the ball, North captain on the telly saying they need to “do a better job” of helping him out after the breather. Mitch Hannan has three of those Melbourne majors. Most of the highlights are blokes hitting each other or trying to hit each other or pretending they have been hit.

It’s been a really good game of footy, let’s take nothing away from it. For all that, the main talking point on the world world web is the North banner from before the game. They let Brent Harvey write the message. Events speak for themselves sometimes, don’t they?

“Boomer’s given himself a bit of a pump-up!” #AFLDeesNorth

7.41am BST

Half time in the footy, I’ll be back with this in a tic. But for now: we have a result in the netball, the Vixens running away with it in the end. Top of the league, ‘avin’ a larf.

Oooft. @MelbourneVixens beat @AdelaideTBirds by 21. 71-50 the final score – quite a turnaround from the first half. #VIXvTHU @collinsadam

7.37am BST

They go upstairs to confirm that Friend crossed the line in keeping with the rules for the Roosters, their second try. And it is converted. 12-6 their lead over the Bulldogs after 18 minutes at the Olympic Stadium. Decide for yourself.

Vision of the @sydneyroosters Try decision in the 15th minute of #NRLBulldogsRoosters.#NRL

7.32am BST

Vixens in cruise control now at Melbourne Park, at three-quarter time leading 50-38. If they can close this out they’ll be top of the table heading into next weekend’s Super Netball final round. Thanks again to Claire Daly for her updates.

The Adelaide side again swapped their shooting combo, with Glasgow coming back on to replace Bailey. The frequent shuffling of players has been one of the criticisms levelled at the Thunderbirds this season, though it’s hard to know what else they can do at this stage when their combinations clearly aren’t working. Emily Mannix has a fantastic quarter, with several circle intercepts (most devastatingly, most of which saw an end to Thunderbirds’ attempts to convert turnovers). Tegan Philip still looking a little out of sorts, but Kumwenda is more than making up for it with one of her strongest games of the season. And that’s saying something.

7.29am BST

Super Ruggers! I think they call this a ‘derby’ between Melbourne and NSW, or the Rebels and Tahs as they prefer. The backdrop is the southerly side’s shocking season, having won just one game in ten starts. During the week the ARU tried to buy the club with a view to shutting it down as part of the competition’s aim to lose as Australian side.

The club, naturally, said no being purchased/eliminated. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

7.22am BST

Phwoar! It’s firing up at the MCG! Melbourne have kicked the last three and it is game on, North’s lead narrowing to nine. But it’s the niggle that have the crowd up and about, Bernie Vince copping a punch to the guts from Cunnington! Vince tried to take his head off before the whack. He’ll get a week for that. It stems from a stoush in the first term where Higgins was involved in a clip off the ball as well with Oliver. Vince gave Higgins plenty of attention following that. All happening.

Oh and an utterly superb set-shot snap from 40m by Mason Wood running from the MCC pocket. Higgins now lands a set shot and gives it the big ones at the opposing number Vince! Good stuff, this. They lead by 21.

@collinsadam this is how i imagine your working environment

7.10am BST

Half-time in the Super Netball, the Vixens just doing enough. Thanks again to Claire Daly from The Net Effect.

Vixens have extended their lead over the Thunderbirds, 34-29 at half time. Adelaide is certainly making them work for it though. Glasgow was pulled off this quarter, with Karyn Bailey moving into GS and Erin Bell coming out to GA. An interesting choice given the strong shooting for Adelaide, but perhaps Dan Ryan saw momentum starting to slip and made the call. Overall, the Thunderbirds’ attacking play has been patient, smooth and quite confident. Emily Mannix and Jo Weston are working well in the circle together, but it’s the intensity in the Vixens’ centrecourt players – particularly captain Kate Moloney and Liz Watson – that is helping the Vixens whisk any turnovers down to Philip and Kumwenda quickly. On that note – some classic aerial play from Kumwenda this quarter. Exhilarating to watch as always!

7.07am BST

30-20 the final score at Newcastle. What a mess for the hosts, going down after taking a 14-0 lead to the break. Penrith go into the bye with back to back wins for the first time this season, keeping their season vaguely alive. They face the Bulldogs after that.

Next up on NRL Sunday are the Bulldogs, up against their traditional rivals the Roosters at Olympic Stadium – 9th v 5th respectively. Sydney got over the line by four points when they last played in round two and had a big 48-10 win last week against Parra. An unchanged team too – nothing better in footy at this point of the season.

Hear from @sydneyroosters coach Trent Robinson in the lead up to #NRLBulldogsRoosters.#NRL

6.57am BST

Big issues for Melbourne, North have already had 13 shots on goal (6.7). But we should have expected this. North have knocked off Melbourne the last 15 times they have played, dating back to 2006. For a reference point: it came during the same month that John Howard was suggesting Big Brother should be taken off air. Feel old?

North are dominating the hit outs via Goldstein, who kicked five last time the teams met in a Bellerive Oval shoot-out in round three last year. Both sides had shots to win the game late. Cracking game of footy. Melbourne, without a recognised ruckman at the moment, are trailing the hit-outs early 20-4.

6.47am BST

Siren at Docklands! Essendon complete a superb home win against the Eagles by 61 points. “A really well balanced outfit,” Brereton says of the Dons. “It could just be a defining moment in their season,” adds Sandy Roberts. With Dreamtime at the ‘G next weekend coming up. And they’re giving their jackets and scarves a bit of a wave, as is the custom.

Okay enough of this, time to move across town to the ‘G for North and the Dees. Late in the first term, North are already three goals clear. Ominous signs for Melbourne. There’s a bit of history to this fixture that I’ll come to in a tic. Check this out. Tekkers.

Magnificent tap from Goldstein who puts it on a silver platter for Cunnington. #AFLDeesNorth

6.37am BST

Penrith hit the lead in Newcastle! They came from the clouds to get over the line last week after trailing NZ 28-6 at the half. There are worse party tricks to have. Meanwhile, this could this be the fifth (!) time the Knights have blown a half-time lead in 2017. If so, they’ll be where they belong at the bottom of the ladder ahead of the Origin disruption.

And as I type, another! They’re just about home here.

The comeback continues for the @PenrithPanthers.#NRLKnightsPanthers 14-24 with 10 minutes remaining.#NRL

6.33am BST

Another open goal for Essendon via a shocking pass across goal intercepted by Leunberger, the big man also electing to boot it well into the crowd. Fair enough, too. Good times to be red and black.

It’s quarter time at the Super Netball. Thunderbirds with only pride to play for at the bottom of the table, but accounting well for themselves early. This again from The Net Effect’s Claire Daly:

Vixens lead 17-16 at the end of the first quarter. An impressive start from the Thunderbirds – it was always going to be crucial for them to not allow an early lead to the home side. Phenomenal stats from their goalers, with Bell on 10/10 and Glasgow on 6/6, while there have been a few rare misses from Philip and Kumwenda. There has been some strong defensive centrecourt action for the Vixens, with Liz Watson taking a blinder of an intercept. It’s early days but it looks like we have a good game on our hands.

6.28am BST

A quick shout out for the badminton I promised earlier, before we end up with three games of footy and a Super Netball game running at the same time. Here is what I learned yesterday.

The Sudirman Cup kicks off today, the World Mixed Team Champs. It is going on at the new courts at the Gold Coast sport and leisure centre, which will host the event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

6.23am BST

Penrith back in this at Newcastle! Two converted tries to start their second half push. Ample time.

Here come the @PenrithPanthers!

Game on.#NRLKnightsPanthers 14-12 after 54 minutes.#NRL

6.21am BST

Brilliant end to end stuff from the Bombers, Hurley generates a turnover down back and it is down the other end a matter of seconds. Joe Daniher get it over the back, runs into an open goal and kicks it into the third tier. He’s only kicked six in a game once before, and has plenty of time to set a new PB with 14 minutes to go. Essendon’s lead is back to ten goals. That’s a proper percentage booster.

6.12am BST

We’re also away in the Super Netball down at Melbourne Park. Showcourt One, to be precise.

To make sure we are all over that, pleased to say that Claire Daly of The Net Effect will be dropping into the blog at regular intervals. Here are her pre-game thoughts and I’m grateful for them. In short: if the Vixens win, they’ll be top of the pops at the conclusion of this penultimate home and away round.

This time last week, Vixens were sitting top of the ladder. Now they’re sitting third. Their top-four status is unlikely to change after today’s match against the consistently bottom-of-ladder Thunderbirds, but they’ll want to show a return to the strong form they’ve carried for most of the season. You can bet it would have been a hard of week of training following Vixens’ loss to the NSW Giants last week. They’ll be looking to rebuild their confidence today – particularly Tegan Philip, who had an uncharacteriscally poor game in Round 12 despite her otherwise outstanding form this competition. With only one win to their name, the Thunderbirds will at best be hoping for minimal unforced errors and some better individual performances from their top players. Captain Erin Bell’s inconsistency saw coach Dan Ryan benching her in the final quarter on Round 12. The Adelaide players know they’re all on notice for re-selection next year and the pressure will be on for their penultimate game today.

6.05am BST

Half time in Newcastle with the hosts getting the job done, ahead of the Panthers 14-0. I’ll pop that on for the second half as the result at Docklands is very much sorted. The Knights are bottom of the ladder, but got over Canberra last week – their first win since Round 2. Stringing two wins together on the spin wouldn’t be for nothing ahead of Origin.

Before leaving though, a superb tackle McKenna chasing down Darling who was close to goal. The home fans love it. It sets up a shot at the other end, Fantasia infringed when taking a strong mark. Goes back from 50m and drills it. 70 points the lead to the Bombers.

Second half underway!#NRLKnightsPanthers #NRL

5.56am BST

Another set shot missed by the Eagles, Darling the culprit on this occasion. Dermie on the call responds by jesting that he’s “on the take”. Immediately cleans it up before “the fun police” get on his case. When you’re ‘five-time day, five-time night’ evidence suggests you can say pretty much whatever you want anyway. Excellent ball movement from Colin McKenna through the guts after winning a stoppage at half-back. Gee, they run the ball well. James Stewart gets on the end of it 20m out directly in front and slots it through. 64 points clear.

5.50am BST

Josh Kennedy misses from 30m. Poorly, too. They’ve kicked 4.9 so far today. Brilliant to hear Eleni Glouftsis through the effects mic in that passage of play. Today is the first time a woman has served as a field umpire in an AFL fixture. Essendon go down the other end to pocket-rocket Josh Green who takes a strong, leaping grab and converts from 20. Their lead swells to 59.

Historic first centre-bounce by a woman field umpire in senior #AFL game. Welcome Eleni Glouftsis #womeninsport

5.45am BST

We’re back for the second half at the Docklands. The winning side still wave their scarves at the end of these clashes, don’t they? I shouldn’t begrudge that given the origin is from the 1993 season, scientifically proven as the greatest of them all. West Coast have the first of the second half, a nice finish from 50 from Jack Darling after taking the mark on the lead. Dons by 48.

5.23am BST

Dons thrashing Eagles.

Allow me a few minutes to get my act together. As a London local for the cricket summers, I’ve crossed town to Guardian Towers at 4:30am to be with you. Watching the punters streaming out of nightclubs chewing on hotdogs, I can’t deny a shot of envy. I’m quite good value at 4:30am out front of a nightclub, you know.

5.06am BST

A good afternoon to you all for edition two of Guardian Australia’s Sportswatch Live! Adam Collins here and I’m quite looking forward to nursing you through the final blessed hours of another packed weekend of action across our big brown land.

To get a flavour for how this will work, take a skim through Geoff Lemon’s work on the debut blog yesterday. Predictably, he’s set a high bar. His description of the Richmond capitulation was especially tasty. In short: if it’s happening, and it matters, it’ll feature. Track the scores, have your say, sack your coach. Do it all here with me.

2.38am BST

Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s how Geoff Lemon saw yesterday’s action:

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