Rob Smyth

Author's details

Name: Rob Smyth
Date registered: October 27, 2014
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/darts

Latest posts

  1. West Ham 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened — September 23, 2017
  2. England v West Indies: rain forces abandonment of second ODI – as it happened — September 21, 2017
  3. Watford 0-6 Manchester City, Liverpool 1-1 Burnley and more – as it happened — September 16, 2017
  4. US Open: Sharapova loses to Sevastova, Venus Williams through – as it happened — September 3, 2017
  5. Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City: Premier League – as it happened — August 26, 2017

Author's posts listings

Sep 23

West Ham 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – as it happened

Harry Kane scored twice and hit the post twice as ten-man Spurs withstood a late onslaught from West Ham to win an eventful London derby

2.27pm BST

That was a game of three thirds. West Ham were superior for the first half hour, Spurs were magnificent either side of half-time to go 3-0 up – but they had to survive a late onslaught after the sending off of Serge Aurier. Thanks for your company, you can follow all the 3pm games here.

Related: Southampton v Manchester United, Stoke v Chelsea and more: Premier League – live!

Related: Manchester City v Crystal Palace: Premier League – live!

2.24pm BST

Spurs have held on to win their third consecutive away game in the league this season.

2.24pm BST

90+6 min Yellow cards all round: Carroll, Llorente and, I think, Alderweireld.

2.22pm BST

90+5 min It’s all kicking off now! It started with a foul by Carroll on someone, and now players on both sides are shoving each other. It’s a bit more than manbags, though I don’t think any punches were thrown. Chicharito, who has already been booked, might be in trouble.

2.21pm BST

90+3 min Ayew is booked for a lunge at Davies.

2.20pm BST

90+2 min Carroll’s long-range shot deflects behind for another corner. Cresswell curls a lovely outswinger towards the far post, where Carroll arrives imperiously … and then heads the ball away from goal! He ended up ahead of the ball. Did he mistime his run or was he shoved by Sanchez? Carroll thinks the latter. There was some contact, but it’s hard to judge whether it was enough for a penalty.

2.18pm BST

90+1 min There will be four minutes of added time. Spurs suddenly looked ragged.

2.18pm BST

90 min Masuaku, who has made a significant impact on the left wing since coming on, wins a corner for West Ham. Cresswell takes it short to Masuaku, gets the return and stands up a gentle, deep cross that Lloris can only fingertip towards the right corner of the box. Reid runs round the ball and wallops it into orbit. He should have lifted that back into the area before Lloris was out of his goal.

2.17pm BST

89 min For Spurs, a cheery stroll has turned into a grim struggle for survival. They make their final substitution, with Fernando Llorente replacing the magnificent Harry Kane.

2.14pm BST

Oh my. Is something brilliant happening? Masuaku beats Winks on the left and curls in a beautiful cross to the far post. Kouyate attacks it at pace, gets above Davies and thumps a memorable header through the leaping Lloris. That was a brilliant goal.

2.10pm BST

82 min Carroll, who has had an absolute beast since coming on, ruins a promising attack with a needless foul on Davies.

2.09pm BST

81 min Chicharito is booked for a foul on Dier. Spurs are pretty comfortable, even with 10 men.

2.08pm BST

80 min Alli and Kane break dangerously for Spurs, but Alli can’t find the moment or angle for a shot and the danger passes. Moments later, Kouyate is booked for something or orher.

2.07pm BST

79 min Chicharito’s volleyed backflick hits Sanchez in the chest. While everyone is appealing for a penalty Chicharito collects the loose ball and smashes a shot from 15 yards that is beaten away by Lloris. Had that been anywhere near either corner I think he’d have scored.

2.05pm BST

78 min Another Spurs change: Kieran Trippier replaces Mohamed Sissoko at right wing-back.

2.05pm BST

77 min Carroll drags a shot well wide from the edge of the area. West Ham have been far too excitable since Spurs went down to 10 men.

2.02pm BST

75 min “It’s nice to see there’s at least one cavernous, divisive London stadium in which Spurs can win,” honks Matt Dony.

2.01pm BST

74 min A substitution apiece: Harry Winks for Christian Eriksen, and Arthur Masuaku for Jose Fonte. West Ham have gone to a back four, Spurs are now playing a 3-5-1 formation.

2.00pm BST

73 min West Ham need to calm down a bit. The red card has given them fresh hope, but they’ve been a little giddy in the few minutes since, hammering cross and shots from all angles.

1.59pm BST

71 min Spurs have moved Sissomo to right wing-back in a 3-3-2-1 formation.

1.58pm BST

70 min He’s an accident waiting to happen, this chap. He lunged at Carroll, who was leading a West Ham break, and a second yellow card was a reasonable decision from Michael Oliver.

1.57pm BST

68 min Noble crosses from a deep position on the right to Hernandez, who strains his neck muscles like a cuckolded Bruce Banner to power a header towards goal from 15 yards. It’s too close to Lloris, who saves comfortably, but it was a good effort.

1.55pm BST

67 min “To be fair Rob, Danny is right,” says Alistair Donegan. “West Ham look a bit poo.”

They do now. I thought they were the better team for half an hour.

1.54pm BST

66 min Andre Ayew replaces Marko Arnautovic for West Ham.

1.54pm BST

West Ham have got one back. Cresswell’s excellent corner is headed across goal by Fonte, and Chicharito backpedals into space to head in from four yards. A classic Chicharito goal.

1.52pm BST

64 min Serge Aurier has been asking for a yellow card all day and now he’s got one for a foul on Carroll.

1.51pm BST

63 min Kane hits the other post! He ran at Reid on the left side of the box, shifted the ball down the line and cracked an early left-footed shot that rattled off the outside of the post. It seems Hart got a slight touch with his right foot as a corner has been given.

1.50pm BST

62 min Spurs were subdued for half an hour, but since the goal they have been quietly majestic. They are such a lovely team to watch. All right-thinking neutrals should want them to win the league this year.

1.48pm BST

Game over. Kane, on a hat-trick, hits the post with a sensational free-kick, whacked across goal from an absurd angle on the left. The ball comes to Aurier, whose deflected cross bounces nicely for Eriksen to sidefoot a classy half-volley into the corner from 15 yards.

1.44pm BST

56 min Sissoko slides a straight pass into the area for Alli, who tries a clever turn back inside Reid and goes over. His penalty appeals are ignored by Michael Oliver. I thought Reid got something on the ball but replays show he didn’t. Whether he got enough of Alli to warrant a penalty is debatable; you could also argue that the sharpness of the turn was the main reason for Alli going down.

1.42pm BST

54 min This game is really open now, with West Ham trying to rough Spurs up. The next goal feels even more important than usual. This game could conceivably end 3-2 or 0-6.

1.39pm BST

52 min West Ham are starting to lump a few crosses into the area for Carroll. So far Spurs have dealt with him comfortably.

1.37pm BST

49 min Eriksen fouls Noble just outside the area on the right. Cresswell dinks in the free-kick and Vertonghen heads clear. Spurs break three-on-two only for Alli to overrun the ball.

1.36pm BST

48 min Arnautovic and Cresswell combine to win a corner. It’s headed away by Alderweireld.

1.33pm BST

47 min “Not sure what game you’re watching to call this scoreline a lie – West Ham had some dangerous looking runs into the box early on but no clear chances to speak of (Aurier’s hands on Arnautovic during his brilliant tackle would have been a soft penalty to give),” says Danny Michaux. “Spurs usually take a while to find a rhythm, and since Kane’s offside miss 25 minutes they’ve looked comfortably in control, even more so since Antonio came off injured.”

Cheers Danny. I don’t know if I could this do this without you.

1.33pm BST

46 min West Ham begin the second half, kicking from right to left.

1.18pm BST

There are lies, damned lies and this half-time scoreline, but Spurs won’t care about that. Harry Kane scored twice in four minutes to flatten a buoyant West Ham, who have a job on to get anything out of the game. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

1.16pm BST

45+1 min “Arnautovic + Carroll, time for some kick and rush?” says Yoann Lechenault. “Come on England, we know you want it!”

1.15pm BST

45 min Alli flips a lovely pass with the outside of the foot to usher Davies towards goal. He gets on the inside of the last man Zabaleta, who just does enough to ensure Davies can’t get a clear run at the ball. That was excellent, if slightly desperate defending.

1.14pm BST

43 min Spurs, so subdued until they scored, are now swaggering around like they own the place. West Ham looked a bit stunned, not unreasonably, and desperately need to hear the half-time bell.

1.12pm BST

41 min Kane demonstrates his stratospheric confidence by shooting from a ridiculous angle on the left, curling the ball across goal and a few yards wide. Hart had it covered.

1.11pm BST

39 min West Ham have been mugged.

1.10pm BST

Harry Kane gets another one! Eriksen and Vertonghen combined smoothly down the left to o put Alli through on goal. His first-time shot was well saved by the outrushing Hart but it rebounded straight to Kane, who had an open goal from 12 yards.

1.06pm BST

Spurs take the lead against the run of play with an excellent goal. Eriksen, picking up a loose pass from Carroll just past the halfway line, puts Alli clear down the right with a fine angled pass. He takes a touch and clips a fast cross towards the near post, where Kane stretches to flash a header in off the far post. That was clinical: from the moment Carroll played a poor pass on the halfway line Spurs needed just five touches to score.

1.05pm BST

33 min Arnatuovic’s long, dipping free-kick hits the arm of Aurier, who mistimed his attempted header. There were no real appeals for a penalty by West Ham.

1.04pm BST

32 min Noble ploughts through Sissoko, taking man and ball, and the players square up to each other. The excellent Michael Oliver sorts it out with the minimum of fuss and the two players shake hands.

1.02pm BST

31 min Eriksen plays a brilliant cutback to find Kane in space in the D. He tees himself up and hits a fierce shot that is crucially blocked by Fonte.

12.59pm BST

29 min “Well, Rob,” says Paul Neilan. “What’s the Sissoko situation? Where/how/why/who/which is he playing? We must know this information(s).”

He’s playing as a kind of inside-right midfielder in a loose 3-3-3-1 formation.

12.58pm BST

28 min Carroll does replace Antonio, so Chicharito will presumably move to the wing. Unless Andy Carroll is going to roam up and down the flank like an inverted Ormondroyd.

12.56pm BST

27 min Antonio is struggling with what looks like a thigh injury, and Andy Carroll is going to replace him.

12.56pm BST

24 min Harry Kane misses an open goal, though it wouldn’t have counted. Spurs worked the ball neatly until Sissoko eased a through pass to Aurier on the right of the area. He blasted the ball towards the far post, where the partially unsighted Kane diverted it wide from three yards. Just as hundreds of non-Spurs fans were deliriously preparing some banter, the linesman’s flag went up to thwart them.

12.52pm BST

22 min “So wrapped up as I am in my own team’s looming crisis I have lost track of the repercussions of Alli’s finger-gate,” says Ian Copestake. “Did he get a rap on his knuckle?”

No idea. I’ve developed a sophisticated internet tool that blocks anything with even a whiff of faux outrage.

12.50pm BST

20 min Spurs aren’t playing well, though much of that is down to the quality of West Ham’s defending and counter-attacking.

12.49pm BST

19 min Arnautovic runs at Alderweireld and wafts a poor cross straight out of play. He is getting in some dangerous positions, though, and has been the most threatening attacker on either side.

12.48pm BST

16 min West Ham break and Noble curves a superb long pass towards Arnautovic. He rumbles thrillingly into the area, between Aurier and Alderweireld, before Aurier makes a brilliant recovery tackle. I say brilliant: replays showed he had a fair chunk of Arnautovic’s shirt as he did so. That should have been a penalty.

12.44pm BST

15 min The game has been pretty low on intensity for a derby, certainly when compared to the match at Ibrox. West Ham look slightly sharper at the moment.

12.43pm BST

13 min Eriksen’s deflected shot is shovelled over the bar by Hart, who didn’t risk trying to catch it as it dropped out of the sky. Nothing happens from the corner.

12.41pm BST

11 min Antonio drags a through ball towards Arnautovic, and Lloris hares from his area to clear.

12.39pm BST

8 min West Ham are starting to play some good stuff. Chicharito plays a one-two with Antonio and whips an extravagant, long-range curler onto the roof of the net. Lloris had it covered but it was a decent effort.

12.38pm BST

6 min Spurs seem to be playing more of a 3-3-3-1 formation, with Dier just in front of the three defenders and Sissoko, Eriksen and Alli playing behind Kane. Tactics are so damn hot right now.

12.35pm BST

5 min Arnautovic beats Alderweireld with a stepover on the left side of the box and drives a dangerous low cross that is cleared from inside the six-yard box by the stretching Sanchez.

12.34pm BST

3 min Spurs have started confidently, with some smooth passing in the West Ham half. Alli plays a through pass round the corner to himself, in a manner that evokes Dimitar Berbatov’s awesome goal against Charlton all those years ago, and Cresswell comes across to cover.

12.30pm BST

1 min Spurs kick off, from right to left as I look at my 23-inch HD TV screen. They are in white; West Ham are wearing claret and blue.

12.30pm BST

Opta stats show that West Ham fans are precisely 0.00 per cent enamoured of Tottenham Hotspur, and there’s a decent atmosphere at the London Stadium as a consequence.

12.27pm BST

“It might indeed get nawty – which, naturally, turned my thoughts to Danny Dyer,” writes Gary Naylor. “Twelve years ago, he was brilliant in The Business, a film that more pseudo-highbrows than just me treasure as a guilty pleasure. So, betting without Wilson Phillips and the OC, what’s yours Rob?”

Good question, Gartholomew. Does Masterchef count? When I was a twentysomething kid my guiltiest cinematic pleasures were crap postmodern slashers and the American Pie films, though I reckon I could still go into bat for the American Pies. The slashers, not so much.

11.52am BST

This isn’t the only early kick-off today. The Old Firm derby is taking place at Ibrox, and you can follow that with Barry Glendenning.

Related: Rangers v Celtic: Scottish Premiership – live!

11.34am BST

West Ham (3-4-3) Hart; Fonte, Reid, Ogbonna; Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Cresswell; Antonio, Chicharito, Arnautovic.
Substitutes: Adrian, Masuaku, Byram, Rice, Ayew, Carroll, Sakho.

Spurs (3-4-2-1) Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Aurier, Sissoko, Dier, Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Kane.
Substitutes: Vorm, Trippier, Walker-Peters, Winks, Nkoudou, Son, Llorente.

3.03pm BST

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the lunchtime meeting between the homesick henries of the Premier League. Spurs have away advantage against West Ham, and really need a win to keep the Mancunian pacemakers within sight. The next few weeks are likely to determine whether Spurs will challenge for the title again, or whether this will become a bit of a lost season in which they end up focussing on the cups.

West Ham have started to pick up after a difficult start to the season, though Slaven Bilic still has reason to look over his shoulder. And he keeps having those weird dreams about Rafa Benitez and Anne Boleyn. Both sides need a result, they don’t like each other, and Tottenham want to avenge the May defeat that ended their title challenge. It should be lively, it might be nawty; it kicks off at 12.30pm.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/23/west-ham-v-tottenham-hotspur-premier-league-live

Sep 21

England v West Indies: rain forces abandonment of second ODI – as it happened

Only 2.2 overs were possible at Trent Bridge before heavy rain forced a frustrating washout

4.20pm BST

The umpires have accepted the inevitable and called the game off. I’m sure you’ll agree that this has been a triumph for all concerned. Thanks for your company, bye!

4.19pm BST

And Haseeb Hameed has suffered another broken finger, which presumably ends his hopes of being in the Ashes squad. That’s a blessing, I think, even if his poppadom fingers are a concern.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

4.16pm BST

The left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav has taken a hat-trick for India against Australia at Kolkata!

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

4.04pm BST

No need is bad news: it looks increasingly unlikely that there will be any play before the cut-off time just before 6pm.

3.42pm BST

The next match is in Bristol on Sunday. The forecast is much better – there is a 1 per cent chance of precipitation, it says here.

3.39pm BST

Rain update It’s still raining.

3.31pm BST

“Unlike you, I want to see a boring Ashes squad,” says Chris Anderson. “Pick the same XI from the last test plus few broken-finger-on-the-morning-of-the-game replacements. Hopefully this would send the message that the management are confident in the players selected. Then you put all your wildcards and young talent in the Lions squad, giving them experience of aussie conditions before some of them are inevitability drafted into the Test team when we are 2-0 down after two Tests.”

Ha. That reminds me of something I wanted to do to raise money in memory of our dear friend Dan Lucas: £10 each, everyone predicts the England XI for the fifth Ashes Test, the winners (if there are any) split half the cash and the other half goes to JDRF. Any interest? Let me know if so and I’ll try to arrange it.

3.26pm BST

“I don’t think the squad will have any surprises,” says Kevin Wilson. “Australia’s not the place to introduce anyone green or else they might return with a case of the Kerrigans. I reckon Hales will go because he covers two spots, Dawson probably will go because he’s a steady bloke and they like Wood even though I can’t see him having a long term Test career. Finn might be tacked onto the squad as an extra bowler or if TRJ gets injured. The Lions squad should be interesting though.”

As Mike Atherton said the other day, I don’t understand the argument about Hales covering two bases. He said he doesn’t want to open in first-class cricket any more, and we know he struggles in that position against high-class Test bowling. I could understand it back in the day, when you needed a squad to cover lots of bases, but the Lions will be nearby so they’ll have back-up openers there. I would probably pick a third opener in the squad, with a view to batting him at No3. I don’t think that will happen though.

3.22pm BST

I have a theory about Ballance (wait! Come back!) that his ugly style counts against him, just as the beauty of Stokes and Moeen’s batting makes it feel like they score more runs than is actually the case. For example, I think most people would tell you Ballance had a shocker v South Africa earlier this summer, yet his scores were not disastrous: 20, 34, 27, 4. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t pick him for this tour, but I can’t remember the last time there was such a strong aesthetic prejudice against an England batsman.

3.18pm BST

“Stokes, Woakes AND Foakes, he jokes?” croaks Andrew Benton. “Must be a hoax, folks.”

3.17pm BST

“What am I missing that Ballance gets repeat opportunity after repeat opportunity?” sniffs Jeff Smith. “Maybe having the captain be selector is a bad practice. Yes they basically run the team but every bad Test side ever assembled was basically picked by the captain, right?”

What about the good ones? I wouldn’t pick Ballance, certainly not in Australia, but the argument in his favour says he has a better Test and first-class average than all the other contenders, and clearly has the necessary temperament to succeed in Australia. But I’d agree with those who think the Aussie quicks will have a field day with that technique, certainly if he bats at No3.

3.14pm BST

“I read the Mark Nicholas piece covering much the same ground as everywhere else,” says Tony Harlow. “He does have the benefit of seeing the Aussies a lot at home and being inside their brains so those bits (must be able to play properly, must be aggressive …) are worth thinking about. I am quite persuaded by the idea of Patel being ready as a batsman. Sort of pick that would confuse the Aussies and might work. And the idea of a non-Adonis Test player is amusing too. But reality says the idea is fanciful and he should have been tried during the summer if it was an option.

“The Vince idea is also fanciful and to my mind a bit of home town picking by Hampshire favouring Nicholas. Loose outside off stump at Brisbane? Not such a good idea. But the omission seems the most obvious flaw .. what has Sam Robson done wrong. Why is he on the outer? He has clearly improved since his chance (in which he did as well as anyone else), he has had as good a summer as anyone else, he has a grounding on Australian wickets and he has the motivation to play well against old friends/ team mates. And he’s right handed. And to make it even better Stoneman was a number 3 for a long period so comfortable there but scores quicker than Compton. So for me: Cook, Robson, Stoneman, Root, Hales or Patel or Malan, Stokes, Bairstow, Moeen, Woakes, Broad, Anderson.

3.02pm BST

I do hope England pick a wildcard in their Ashes party, in the name of nostalgia if nothing else, but I suspect this will be the squad: Root (c), Stokes (vc), Cook, Stoneman, Ballance, Malan, Hales, Bairstow, Foakes, Ali, Dawson, Woakes, Wood, Broad, Anderson, Roland-Jones.

Any thoughts? About anything?

2.39pm BST

“Greetings from soggy Trent Bridge, Rob. Having a look at the rain radar out in the press box and (courtesy of a colleague who has paid for the predictive element) the algorithm suggests the wet stuff could stop falling circa 4.30pm. The question then would be whether the outfield can dry in time for a 5.56pm start time that would allow a 20-over match. West Indies may be keen to start the birthday celebrations with Chris Gayle early … although the Universe Boss is spending a chunk of his 38th having a scan on that twanged hamstring. Here’s hoping it’s not tour-ending…”

2.34pm BST

On the subject of Cricinfo, this piece from Mark Nicholas on who might be in England’s Ashes squad is so accomplished, knowledgeable and thought-provoking as to be almost thrilling.

2.24pm BST

According to Cricinfo legend Andrew McGlashan, the cut-off time for a 20-over match is 5.56pm. I think the rain wil have stopped by then, but I’m not sure the ground wil be playable.

2.06pm BST

Australia are in the malodorous stuff in Kolkata

.
Read all about it here.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

2.05pm BST

“What are the views on playing international cricket in England until the end of September?” wonders Neil Taylor. “I stopped buying tickets for matches in September as I’m a delicate flower. Can’t imagine the Windies are loving this much.”

There’s no alternative, is there? In a better world we would do unto the schedule as Freddy Krueger did unto the residents of Elm Street. But that’s not going to happen in a cuture where more is less and even more is barely sufficient.

1.52pm BST

The forecast improves around 5pm,

just in time for me to do one and lump Nick Miller with the remaining 97.4 overs of the match
so we should get a reduced game, maybe 20 or 25 overs per side.

1.48pm BST

Case closed, Columbo

“Nice idea,” says Ian Black, carefully lining up the inevitable ‘but’, “but the playing regulation that allows free hits also allows for the circumstances where the no-ball is as a result of a fielding restriction breach. From the ICC ODI playing regulations:

24.2 Free Hit

In addition to the above, the delivery following a no ball called (all modes of no ball) shall be a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it. If the delivery for the free hit is not a legitimate delivery (any kind of no ball or a wide ball) then the next delivery will become a free hit for whichever batsman is facing it.

1.45pm BST

There is live cricket in Kolkata, where Australia are chasing 253 to beat India. You can follow that with Adam Collins.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

1.33pm BST

The covers are still on. It’s going to be a while before we see any play.

1.30pm BST

Richard O’Hagan is the Umpire “Every umpire knows that sometimes you have to apply Law 43 – use your common sense. I would allow the fielding side to move the fielder closest to the striker’s end umpire in front of square.”

You can legally move the field if they rotate strike, can’t you? Though in theory the batting side could just swing for boundaries and not run.

1.17pm BST

You are the Umpire “A conundrum to ponder during the rain break,” writes our old friend Mike Selvey. “It came up over a few beers in Lahore last week (yes, the Pearl Continental does have a bar). In white-ball cricket, a no ball is called because 3 fielders behind square on the legside, which means a free hit. But the field cannot be changed for the free hit. And so the game goes on forever. Or does it?”

1.13pm BST

Play will not restart at 1.15pm, because it’s raining again. Great stuff.

1.02pm BST

The covers are coming off, a bit earlier than expected, and play wil restart at 1.15pm.

12.52pm BST

It’s raining in India as well. But if you just need one more hit of live cricket, Will Macpherson has some methadone for you.

Related: County cricket: Middlesex v Lancashire, Surrey v Somerset and more – live!

12.47pm BST

It’s the Ashes! Rain may have stopped play but it won’t cure Ashes fever, and it certainly won’t impinge upon gratuitous plugs. If anything, it’ll facilitate them. To wit: I’ve updated this history of the Ashes to include the 2015 series, and you can read it free if you have Kindle Unlimited! No, I haven’t got a clue what Kindle Unlimited is either!

12.43pm BST

2.2 overs: England 21-0 (Bairstow 9, Hales 10) After 14 balls, rain stops play. Nice one. It’s fairly heavy and it could be a while before the players return. We should get a reduced game, however, as the forecast is much better this evening.

12.40pm BST

Mind the Windows, Tino

Wish I had bowl at this one Hales bk then let’s see u pulling at 90+ not 84mph lol would of enjoyed cracking that Nut hahah

I faced you in 2010 mate in your peak. You literally couldn’t land it on the cut strip #90mphDross https://t.co/98QbdiygTp

12.40pm BST

2nd over: England 20-0 (Bairstow 8, Hales 10) Hales, who looks in devastating form at the moment, blasts consecutive off-side boundaries off Jerome Taylor. He’s not quite in the same class but the way he is bullying bowlers brings to mind the best of Matthew Hayden.

“Anderson was commentating during the first ODI,” says Kevin Wilson. “Is it a shoot-out for the one fast-bowling commentary spot when they both retire? For what it’s worth, someone really ought to suggest Anderson goes into coaching as he’s got so much expertise to share it would be wasted in the commentary box. Broad’s more extroverted and would be more of a natural fit with the Sky boys.”

12.35pm BST

1st over: England 10-0 (Bairstow 7, Hales 1) England’s last ODI here was the festival of record-breaking against Pakistan, when Alex Hales made 171 in a score of 444 for three. After the first over of today’s match, bowled by Jason Holder, their projected score is 500. Holder started with two leg-side wides, followed a by a leg-side non-wide that Bairstow clipped for four. Bairstow was lucky to survive the penultimate delivery when he and Hales took a ludicrous single to Kyle Hope at point. A direct hit at either end would have brought a wicket; Hope went for the striker’s end and missed.

12.15pm BST

Stuart Broad is part of the Sky team today. We already know his cricket brain is Mensa-level; early impressions are that he is very good at articulating his insights.

12.06pm BST

England are unchanged, West Indies are changed: Devendra Bishoo and Chris Gayle are replaced by Kyle Hope and Miguel Cummins. Gayle, 38 years cold today, has a hamstring injury.

England Bairstow, Hales, Root, Morgan (c), Stokes, Buttler (wk), Moeen, Willey, Woakes, Rashid, Plunkett.

12.02pm BST

That’s a straightforward decision given the weather forecast, even though the pitch looks a belter. Eoin Morgan says England would have done bowled as well.

11.59am BST

The weather forecast has improved in the last few hours, so there’s every chance we’ll start on time. The toss is imminent. Meantime, Australia have scrapped their way back into the game against India in Kolkata.

Related: India v Australia: second one-day international – live!

10.36am BST

England are a damn fine one-day team. Since the last World Cup they have the best win percentage (66) and run rate (6.23 per over) of any team in the world, and they’ve won 14 of their last 17 matches at home. They would be healthy favourites for the 2019 World Cup, to be staged in England, were it not for that confusing bloody defeat to Pakistan in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy.

We should try to ignore that match. The final at Lord’s four days later confirmed that it dosen’t matter whether you’re the hosts, the holders or the best team in the world. When the force is with Pakistan, it’s no longer your film. It’s not easy for England to forget that defeat, however. It’s there all the time,sat in the corner, smugly telling us that next time, there’ll be no next time.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/21/england-v-west-indies-second-one-day-international-live

Sep 16

Watford 0-6 Manchester City, Liverpool 1-1 Burnley and more – as it happened

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as Manchester City demolished Watford, while Newcastle moved into the top four with victory over Stoke

5.30pm BST

Related: Jamaal Lascelles’ powerful header earns Newcastle United win over Stoke City

5.25pm BST

Related: Liverpool frustrated by missed chances after Burnley hold on for draw

5.22pm BST

Related: Gareth Barry equals record as West Bromwich Albion and West Ham draw

5.18pm BST

Related: Jamie Vardy penalty secures Leicester City a point at Huddersfield Town

5.14pm BST

Related: Sergio Agüero hat-trick puts rampant Manchester City top of the table

5.09pm BST

Get yer Football Pink here!

That’s all for today’s clockwatch. Some match reports will appear here, as if by magic, in the next 10-20 minutes. You can also follow Spurs v Swansea with house genius Scott Murray’s live blog. Thanks for your company, night!

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City: Premier League – live!

5.08pm BST

That’s an excellent victory for Barcelona, who showed they can win ugly. It takes them, for now at least, seven points clear of Real Madrid.

5.00pm BST

If Paulinho scores the winner i’ll dedicate my account to Cristiano Ronaldo for an entire month

If Paulinho scores the winner I’ll send everyone who Rts this $100

4.59pm BST

Getafe’s hopes and dreams have been smashed to smithereens. Paulinho has given Barcelona the lead moments after Arambarri hit the post at the other end.

4.57pm BST

Barcelona are running out of time to get a winner at Getafe. While they endeavour to get one, here’s Scott Murray with the team news for Spurs v Swansea.

Related: Tottenham Hotspur v Swansea City: Premier League – live!

4.55pm BST

Millwall have beaten the Championship leaders Leeds 1-0, while Wolves’ 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest takes them up to second. The brilliant Diogo Jota scored both goals.

4.53pm BST

All the Burnley players rush to congratulate the goalkeeper Nick Pope, whose grandchildren will get chapter and verse on the day he made his full Premier League debut at Anfield.

4.52pm BST

City go top with a spectacular shellacking of Watford, while Newcastle’s third consecutive victory takes them into the top four.

4.50pm BST

“Luis Suárez has been spectacularly poor, and to has started throwing himself to the floor,” says Charles Antaki. “To cap it all he’s invited the referee to some kind of fist fight and got booked for his pains.”

4.47pm BST

When you score 15 goals in three games, people tend not to look at the cleanliness of your sheets. But those three consecutive clean sheets will make Pep Guardiola pretty happy. City have only conceded two goals in their six games so far this season.

4.46pm BST

Raheem Sterling wins and scores a penalty at Vicarage Road to complete a spectacular afternoon’s work. City’s last three results: 5-0, 4-0, 6-0.

4.45pm BST

Eric Choupo-Moting has missed a great chance to equalise for Stoke. They trail Newcastle 2-1 with a few minutes remaining.

4.44pm BST

Nick Pope keeps Burnley level at Anfield with two terrific saves.

4.40pm BST

Burnley almost take the lead at Anfield, where Ben Mee’s header is desperately saved by Simon Mignolet.

4.39pm BST

Sergio Aguero gets his hat-trick, beating Heurelho Gomes with a crafty finish from a tight angle after a memorable solo run. City have been fifty shades of awesome and are on course for back-to-back 5-0 Premier League wins.

4.38pm BST

Denis Suarez, on for Andres Iniesta, has equalised for Barcelona after good work from Sergi Roberto.

4.34pm BST

Another one for James Forrest. This week sums up the strange limbo in which Celtic exist: beaten 5-0 in Europe, cruising 4-0 in the league.

4.32pm BST

Aiden O’Brien scores from close range to give Millwall a deserved lead against Leeds, whose unbeaten run is in jeopardy.

4.30pm BST

Liverpool are battering Burnley at Anfield, but the score is still 1-1.

4.28pm BST

Sound the Miss of the Season klaxon: Jamie Vardy has made a mess of an open goal from four yards. It’s still Huddersfield 1-1 Leicester

4.27pm BST

Ousmane Dembélé has a hamstring injury in his left leg, more tests are needed to find out the extent of the injury #FCBlive pic.twitter.com/tekYrp6AHQ

4.25pm BST

Jamaal Lascelles, who scored the winner at Swansea last weekend, has headed Newcastle back into the lead!

4.24pm BST

The West Brom keeper Ben Foster is booked for a studs-up tackle on Chicharito. It sounds like he is very lucky not to be sent off.

4.22pm BST

The assist machine Kevin de Bruyne cranks out another, crossing for Nicolas Otamendi to head into the net. Since the international break City have a combined score of 13-0 against Liverpool, Feyenoord and Watford.

4.20pm BST

Full time: Bayern 4-0 Mainz 05 Two for Robben, two for Lewandowski.

4.20pm BST

Sabiri has had a goal disallowed for Huddersfield against Leicester. My snouts tell me it was a pretty dubious decision.

4.16pm BST

West Brom v West Ham latest (it’s 0-0)

I’ve seen better games.

4.15pm BST

Stoke are level through Xherdan Shaqiri, who places an excellent left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

4.14pm BST

Burnley are still level at Anfield. They were hopeless away from home last year but this season they have had an exceptional start: a win at Chelsea, a draw at Spurs and now, potentially, a draw at Liverpool.

4.12pm BST

Celtic are cruising to another SPL victory, with James Forrest putting them 3-0 ahead.

4.09pm BST

Jordan Jones has scored a surprise equaliser for Kilmarnock at Pittodrie.

4.08pm BST

A routine day at the office for Bayern is almost complete, with Robert Lewandowski getting his second.

4.07pm BST

Jamie Vardy hammers Leicester level with his second penalty in consecutive games.

4.06pm BST

Half time: Getafe 1-0 Barcelona

4.05pm BST

It’s taken a while but Huddersfield deserve this lead. Depoitre rolls Maguire and smacks the ball past Schmeichel. If it stays like this, Huddersfield will be third tonight. What a story!

4.03pm BST

“Newcastle, Watford, Huddersfield, Burnley, all fighting over the Champions League places,” says Bill Hargreaves. “I think we all foresaw that.”

In a post-Leicester age, anything is possible in the best league in the world!

4.01pm BST

Full time: Crotone 0-2 Internazionale

A late goal from Ivan Perisic sealed victory for Inter in a game so dull that it won’t even be used as tomorrow’s chip paper.

4.00pm BST

A storming volley from Gaku Shibasaki gives Getafe the lead against Barcelona. That was more than a volley; it was a screamer.

3.59pm BST

Topical half-time reading Well, sort of. With Aguero and Jesus running riot at Watford, let’s celebrate some great strike partnerships of yesteryear.

3.49pm BST

This is the Premier League table as things stand, with Newcastle up in fourth.

3.48pm BST

Whistles are going up and down the country. These are the scores in our, erm, featured games.

Premier League

3.46pm BST

“Ousmane Dembele off for Barcelona, with the back-of-thigh-clutch suggesting a problem of the afternoon-ending variety,” says Charles Antaki. “Since Suarez has been more or less invisible, that leaves only Messi in the front line, who hasn’t done much yet. Getafe have successfully made it fairly snoozy all round.”

3.44pm BST

Moussa Dembele scores on his return to the team with a nice curling shot, it says here.

3.44pm BST

Milan Škriniar has enlivened a dog of a game with a late goal.

3.41pm BST

And in the Championship, Gary Hooper has given Sheffield Wednesday the lead at Cardiff.

3.40pm BST

“Please keep us updated on the Klopp pantomime, Rob,” says Bill Hargreaves. “Are the teeth yet bared?”

We don’t, alas, have any way of watching the 3pm kick-offs. I know you can get illegal streams, but this is the Guardian, so we don’t

publicly acknowledge our use of
use dodgy feeds.

3.38pm BST

What comes after rampant? Whatever it is, that’s what City are at Vicarage Road. Gabriel Jesus, possibly offside, has made it 3-0. They’ve now scored 12 goals in the last two and a half games.

3.34pm BST

If you’re into the whole European thing, a few scores of note

3.33pm BST

It’s still Millwall 0-0 Leeds at the Den, though Millwall are well on top. You can get all the latest scores from the Football League by clicking this.

3.31pm BST

City are rampant. David Silva’s cross finds its way to Sergio Aguero, who gets his second goal in five minutes.

3.30pm BST

Burnley have paid the price for tweaking the tiger’s tail. Liverpool took just four minutes to equalise, with the impressive Mo Salah getting the goal.

3.29pm BST

At the Hawthorns, West Ham’s Pedro Obiang has hit the bar from 45 yards.

3.28pm BST

The postman has arrived at Vicarage Road: Kevin De Bruyne’s superb ball in is headed emphatically into the net by Sergio Aguero.

3.27pm BST

Insert your own Arfield/Anfield pun here. For the second season in a row, Burnley take the lead at Anfield, this time thanks to excellent strike from Scott Arfield and some poor Liverpool defending.

3.25pm BST

Richarlison has headed just wide for Watford in what sounds like an excellent game against Manchester City.

3.23pm BST

“Barça are wearing, so far as one can tell, a kit that’s homage to the immortal Coventry 1978 chocolate-wth-an-art-deco-yellow-stripe of the late 1970s,” says Charles Antaki. “They might not play quite the same way though.”

3.22pm BST

To frost or not to frost “Seen Andy Carroll?” asks JR in Illinois. “What on earth could he be thinking? Who has told him to frost his tips? Was it a dare, maybe? I understand a lot of footballers are drawn to silly hairdos but this is a bridge too far.”

I don’t really think it’s appropriate to ridicule another man for his haircut, a non-negotiable moral stance that has absolutely nothing to do with the recent discovery of photos of my tips circa 2002.

3.20pm BST

It was only a few weeks ago that Newcastle were vying for possession of the Premier League Crisis Baton™. Now they are flying, and Christian Atsu has given them the lead against Stoke.

3.17pm BST

Still no goals in the 3pm Premier League games. But there is at least one and maybe four Manchester City goals in the post at Vicarage Road; they are all over Watford.

3.16pm BST

Aberdeen are no longer top of the as-it-stands table, because Tomas Rogic has given Celtic the lead against Ross County.

3.14pm BST

Aberdeen have taken an early lead against Kilmarknock through Stevie May, and as it stands they are top of the table.

3.12pm BST

West Brom almost score after poor defending from Obiang. Gibbs denied by Reid block, though.

3.10pm BST

Manchester City have started well in the top-of-the-table clash at Watford, with Fernandinho’s sweet-spotter saved by Heurelho Gomes.

3.08pm BST

Related: Steven Davis spoils Roy Hodgson’s big day as Crystal Palace lose again

3.05pm BST

The 3pm Premier League games are under way. Nothing has happened so far. You’re welcome!

2.59pm BST

Arjen Robben gets his second of the game – or his first, depending on how you feel about shots that are deflected off team-mates. What really matters – BECAUSE THERE’S NO I IN TEAM, IS THERE NOW – is that Bayern lead 2-0.

2.52pm BST

And so to Italy, where the half-time score is Crotone 0-0 Internazionale. The match is flattered by that scoreline. I’m getting Como flashbacks.

2.44pm BST

That didn’t take long. Thomas Muller’s shot deflects off Arjen Robben to give Bayern an early lead.

2.32pm BST

Laugh/cry dilemma

5 – Crystal Palace are the first side in English top-flight history to open the season with five defeats and no goals scored. Woe. pic.twitter.com/umoc2RwDdb

2.28pm BST

Plugs plugs plugs

2.27pm BST

Full time: Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton

Related: Crystal Palace v Southampton: Premier League – live!

2.25pm BST

Getafe v Barcelona team news

¡Ya conocemos el once elegido por José Bordalás para el partido frente al @FCBarcelona_es de esta tarde! #VamosGeta #GetafeBarcelona pic.twitter.com/Yrja3Kib7a

XI Barça:
1.Ter Stegen
3.Piqué
4.Rakitic
5.Sergio
8.Iniesta
9.Suárez
10.Messi
11.Dembélé
18.J.Alba
20.S.Roberto
23.Umtiti
#ForçaBarça

2.22pm BST

Huddersfield v Leicester team news

Huddersfield (4-2-3-1) Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler, Lowe; Williams, Mooy; Kachunga, Ince, Sabiri; Depoitre.
Substitutes: Coleman, Hefele, Malone, Hogg, van La Parra, Billing, Quaner.

2.21pm BST

Newcastle v Stoke team news

Newcastle (4-2-3-1) Elliot; Yedlin, Mbemba, Lascelles, Clark; Hayden, Merino; Ritchie, Perez, Atsu; Joselu.
Substitutes: Woodman, Manquillo, Lejeune, Murphy, Shelvey, Diame, Gayle.

2.18pm BST

Watford v Manchester City team news

Watford (4-3-3) Gomes; Janmaat, Kabasele, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucoure, Cleverley, Chalobah; Carrillo, Gray, Richarlison.
Substitutes: Karnezis, Wague, Zeegelaar, Capoue, Pereyra, Success, Deeney.

2.15pm BST

West Brom v West Ham team news

West Brom (4-2-3-1) Foster; Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs; Barry, Krychowiak; Morrison, Phillips, Brunt; Rodriguez.
Substitutes: Myhill, Nyom, McAuley, Yacob, McClean, Rondon, Robson-Kanu.

2.05pm BST

Liverpool v Burnley team news, aka the return of Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Robertson; Milner, Can, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Sturridge.
Substitutes: Karius, Lovren, Moreno, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Henderson.

1.48pm BST

The first email of the day!

“Glad to learn that Oldham Athletic are also in action!” says Michael Lavin. “Ooo Rogert Palmer.”

Related: How Oldham Athletic’s pinch-me season won over a nation | Rob Smyth

1.38pm BST

Bayern v Mainz 05 team news

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Rafinha; Vidal, Thiago; Robben, Müller, Coman; Lewandowski.
Substitutes: Ulreich, Sule, Ribery, Martinez, James, Rudy, Tolisso.

10.24am BST

Hello. It’s Saturday! It’s the afternoon! It’s Clockwatch o’clock! Whether you prefer to watch the clock or clock the watch, this is the place for you. (This or one of the 427 other clockwatches available on the information superhighway, but let’s not dwell on that.) There are some cracking fixtures around Europe, the pick of which is in dear old Hertfordshire. Watford and Manchester City, two of the three remaining unbeaten sides in the Premier League, meet at Vicarage Road. If Watford win they will go top of the top division for only the second time in their history and the first since, of course, 1982.

What else? Principle Cole, I’ll show you what else. Liverpool may or may not take the frustration of a bad week out on Burnley, while Huddersfield can move back into the top four with a win over Leicester. Celtic, Barcelona, Bayern, Internazionale and Oldham Athletic are also in action.

Related: Crystal Palace v Southampton: Premier League – live!

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/sep/16/liverpool-v-burnley-watford-v-man-city-getafe-v-barcelona-and-more-live

Sep 03

US Open: Sharapova loses to Sevastova, Venus Williams through – as it happened

12.20am BST

Venus leaps out to a 0-40 lead on her opponent’s serve – Suarez Navarro saves one match point but a beautiful drop-volley sends Venus through – a quarter-final and a new niece. Not a bad few days for the veteran.

12.16am BST

Venus looks like she’s cruising to victory but as she serves to make it 5-1 she double faults, and Suarez Navarro lives to fight another day (point). A few point later, she makes no mistake and she is one game from a quarter-final place.

12.02am BST

The moment I type that, Venus goes up a couple of gears and breaks emphatically to lead 2-1 in the final set.

11.57pm BST

Venus is not playing well here. At the moment Suarez Navarro looks much more assured and accomplished.

11.52pm BST

Suarez Navarro wins the second set 6-3! Venus Williams goes long with a backhand, and the match is level. That was a superb set from Suarez Navarro, almost flawless.

11.51pm BST

Suarez Navarro is keeping Venus at arms length in this set, and has been at least one break up since the first game: 3-0, 3-2, 4-2, 4-3, 5-3. And now she has a set point on the Williams serve…

11.42pm BST

A vital hold from Suarez Navarro, who was in trouble at 15-30 before composing herself to move 4-2 ahead.

11.35pm BST

Kevin Anderson has closed out the second set against Paolo Lorenzi, and is one away from the quarter-final. Meanwhile, Venus Williams has got one break back against Carla Suarez Navarro but trails 3-2 in the second set.

11.26pm BST

An early break in the second set for Suarez Navarro, and also for Kevin Anderson on Armstrong. He leads Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 4-2. Make that a double break for Suarez Navarro, who is 3-0 ahead.

11.15pm BST

Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s report on the end of Maria Sharapova’s US Open.

Related: Maria Sharapova knocked out of US Open by 16th seed Anastasija Sevastova

11.12pm BST

Venus Williams breaks again to take the first set 6-3. She’s halfway to what would be a humdinger of a quarter-final against either Petra Kvitova or Garbine Muguruza.

11.03pm BST

Diego Schwartzman beats Lucas Pouille 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2. He was a break down in that fourth set before running away with the match. Back on Arthur Ashe, Venus Williams has re-broken Suarez Navarro to lead 4-3.

10.59pm BST

A wild backhand from Venus allows Suarez Navarro to break back at 3-3. After a nervous start, Suarez Navarro is playing beautifully.

10.55pm BST

On Armstrong, Kevin Anderson has broken Paolo Lorenzi to take the first set 6-4.

10.54pm BST

After back-to-back breaks, Schwartzman leads Pouille 4-2 in the fourth set and is two games away from a quarter-final against Pablo Carreno Busta.

10.48pm BST

Diego Schwartzman has broken back on Grandstand. In the big game on Ashe, Venus Williams leads Carla Suarez Navarro 3-2 with a break.

10.42pm BST

Pouille is right back in that match now – he has broken early in the fourth to lead 2-1.

10.36pm BST

Lucas Pouille has won the third set 6-2 against Diego Schwartzman, who now leads by two sets to one.

10.35pm BST

Venus has got off to a great start against Carla Suarez Navarro. She broke in the first game and now leads 2-0.

10.29pm BST

Sloane Stephens’ meteoric rankings summer surge:

Before Toronto: #934
After Toronto SF: #151
After Cincinnati SF: #84
Into #USOpen QF: ~#51

10.23pm BST

Paolo Lorenzi and Kevin Anderson are under way in their last-16 match. On Grandstand, Lucas Pouille is a break up in the third against Diego Schwartzman, who took the first two sets.

10.05pm BST

Next up on Arthur Ashe is another cracking match – Carla Suarez Navarro against Venus Williams.

10.04pm BST

That’s a brilliant win for the No16 seed in an excellent match, and she will play Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals. Sharapova saved three match points before finally succumbing.

10.01pm BST

Diego Schwartzman is two sets up on Lucas Pouille after breaking to win the second set 7-5.

9.58pm BST

A beautiful slice from Sevastova gives her a break point for 5-2 – and she takes it after another unforced error from Sharapova.

9.54pm BST

Sloane Stephens is through to the quarter-finals, where she will face either Sevastova or Sharapova. She beat Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Next up on Armstrong is Paolo Lorenzi against Kevin Anderson for a place in the men’s quarters.

9.50pm BST

Sevastova was so dominant at the start of the set, winning 10 points in a row, but suddenly she looks a little edgy. Sharapova, who took a medical timeout at 3-0, has dragged it back to 3-2.

9.46pm BST

That’s one break back for Sharapova, helped by a couple of double faults from Sevastova. It’s 3-1 in the final set.

9.41pm BST

Here’s Kevin Mitchell’s report of the first match on Arthur Ashe, when Pablo Carren Busta beat the brilliant teenager Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 7-6, 7-6.

Related: US Open sensation Denis Shapovalov knocked out by Pablo Carreño Busta

9.39pm BST

Sevastova is bullying Sharapova in this final set. She holds to love, then breaks to love to move 3-0 ahead with a double break.

Always seemed likely that lack of preparation/emotions of her return would catch up with Sharapova at some stage. Could be now….

9.34pm BST

Sharapova is in a bit of trouble here; Sevastova has broken to lead 1-0 in the final set, helped by a couple of double-faults.

9.28pm BST

There will also be a deciding set on Armstrong, with Julia Georges taking the second 6-3 against Sloane Stephens.

9.25pm BST

Sevastova serves out the second set with authority, taking it 6-4. Sharapova has been to the well a few times in this tournament, and she’ll need to go again for a deciding set.

9.18pm BST

Diego Schwartzman takes the first set against Lucas Pouille on a tiebreak. The winner of that match will play Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals. Back on Ashe, Sevastova leads Sharapova 5-3 in the second set.

9.06pm BST

Sevastova is still in control of the second set, leading Sharapova 4-2. Julia Goerges has broken Sloane Stephens and is 3-0 up in the second set of their match on Armstrong.

8.55pm BST

The second set is warming up on Arthur Ashe. Sevastova saves a break point and then breaks Sharapova in the next game to lead 2-1.

8.51pm BST

The match between Lucas Pouille and Diego Schwartzman on Grandstand has thus far gone with serve. Pouille leads 3-2.

8.47pm BST

On Armstrong, Sloane Stephens has taken the first set 6-3 against autocorrect nightmare Julia Goerges. The winner of that game will play the winner of Sharapova/Sevastova.

8.39pm BST

Sharapova takes the first set 7-5! It seemed like we were heading inexorably for another tiebreak on Arthur Ashe, only for Sharapova to break Sevastova emphatically and take the set.

8.31pm BST

Sharapova edges out to 5-4 with a comfortabl-ish hold. Some drama on Armstrong though – Stephens is a triple break-point down but battles back to hold and it’s 2-2. We have a men’s match underway too – Argentina’s greatest Jewish tennis player, Diego Schwartzman, is taking on the No16 seed, Lucas Pouille. The Frenchman has held in the opening game of the match.

8.24pm BST

That break back has pepped up Sevastova a little – she’s 40-0 up on her serve until a blistering backhand (what’s the forehand equivalent of a blistering backhand? A fizzing forehand?) pulls us back to 40-15. A fizzing forehand then makes it 40-30. A bad backhand gives the game to the Latvian and we’re 4-4. Stephens-Goerges is 2-1 to the American.

8.19pm BST

Sharapova is inching her way towards the first set – until a bad net cord ends her hopes of taking the game and gives Sevastova a break point. A misplaced volley means we’re back on serve. Sharapova leads 4-3. On Louis Armstrong, Sloane Stephens is leading Julia Goerges 1-0 … actually make that 1-1. In important news: the sun is out in New York! Break out the sunlotion and shades.

8.14pm BST

One of the home hopes, Sloane Stephens, is warming up on for her fourth-round match with Germany’s Julia Goerges. The winner of that contest meets whoever comes out on top in this one between Sharapova and Sevastova. There’s a sprinkling of rain but both players are holding their footing. Sevastova hits a nice shot down the line to hold. Sharapova 4-2 Sevastova.

8.10pm BST

A harder game for Sharapova on her own serve and Sevastova gets advantage to bring up her first break point. The Russia hits a strong serve down the middle though that Sevastova can’t land in play and we’re back to deuce. Sevastova has hit a few weak drop shots today, and another one brings up gamepoint for Sharapova – another good serve helps her hold. Sharapova leads 4-1.

8.04pm BST

Two breaks points for Sharapova on Sevastova’s second service game. And Sharapova converts the break point on the first opportunity – a backhand down the line is just too good for the former champion’s opponent. Sharapova leads 3-1.

7.59pm BST

Sharapova pulls off a left-handed shot as she chases down a lob – not bad for a righthander. She wins the point too. She then wins the game with a lovely drop shot – although disappointingly it’s with her righthand. Still, she holds to love. Sharapova 2-1 Sevastova.

7.56pm BST

For all Sharapova’s skill and history at Flushing Meadows, Sevastova is the No16 seed and she breezes through her opening service game. It’s 1-1.

7.53pm BST

Sharapova leaps out to a 30-0 lead in the opening game but Sevastova battles back to deuce. Sharapova goes on to hold but it wasn’t as comfortable as it first looked – the skies are still grey here in NYC but it looks like the threat of rain is gone (source: my window).

7.47pm BST

I’m going to take a quick lunch break, so the Rt Hon Tom Lutz Esq. will look after you for the next half an hour or so.

7.45pm BST

Sevastova and Sharapova are ready to go on Arthur Ashe. Sharapova looks very intense.

7.36pm BST

Shapovalov started the hard swing at #161. He leaves it ranked ~#51 with a M1000 SF, a slam R4 and a 19-3 record. Incredible breakthrough.

7.30pm BST

Grandstand watch Henri Kontinen and John Peers, the No1 seeds in the men’s doubles, have won the first set 7-6 against Mikhail Elgin and Daniil Medvedev.

7.21pm BST

End of the road for @denis_shapo but what a run. Carreno-Busta just too solid, too good on the big points and in tiebreaks today

7.17pm BST

Next up on Arthur Ashe is Anastasija Sevastova against Maria Sharapova.

7.16pm BST

Carreno Busta beats Shapovalov 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. The game has been so close – apart from the tiebreaks, which Carreno Busta has won with ease. Shapovalov managed only seven points in the three tiebreaks. It’s a noble defeat

7.11pm BST

Shapovalov starts the tiebreak with a double fault. Ach!

7.10pm BST

In a surprising development, the third set has gone to a tiebreak.

7.07pm BST

Shapovalov holds with ease to go 6-5 ahead in the third set. He is such fun to watch, so dynamic and irrepressible. Carreno Busta has had a bit more street wisdom and made fewer unforced errors.

7.03pm BST

Ach! With Carreno Busta serving to stay in the set, Shapovalov makes unforced errors at 15- and 30-all. I suppose at least he’s willing to die by the sword. Carreno Busta holds to make it 5-5.

Roger Federer gets night billing again on Monday at @usopen, Nadal second on Ashe in the day after Pliskova-Brady

6.56pm BST

Brilliant stuff from Shapovalov, who saves three break points to eventually hold. He leads 5-4. Whatever happens here, and he’s likely to go out, he has done enough to reinforce the perception that he’s going to be a star.

6.52pm BST

It’s 4-4 in the third set. Shapovalov is refusing to accept the apparent logic of imminent defeat. He’s like a cockroach that Carreno Busta can’t kill.

6.42pm BST

Carreno Busta saves two break points and then breaks back in the next game. We’re back on serve, with Shapovalov leading 3-2. That’s a missed opportunity, who won 12 points in a row to move to the cusp of a 4-0 lead.

6.33pm BST

The rain has stopped and the players are warming up on the outside courts. You can see all the latest scores here. Shapovalov is threatening to run riot in the third set; he holds to love and leads 3-0.

6.30pm BST

It’s fair to say Shapovalov is not familiar with the concept of throwing the towel in. He leads 2-0 in the third set, after breaking Carreno Busta to love.

6.21pm BST

Shapovalov hit 15 winners to Carreno Busta’s nine in that set. But he also made 15 unforced errors to Carreno Busta’s ten. That’s the story of the game.

6.19pm BST

Carreno Busta wins the tiebreak 7-4 and leads 7-6, 7-6. There isn’t much between them, but the quality of Carreno Busta’s defensive game is proving decisive at the moment.

6.16pm BST

Carreno Busta leads 4-3 with one mini-break. This is the game, right here.

6.11pm BST

Shapovalov holds to love, so we’re going to have another tiebreak.

6.08pm BST

Still no play on the other courts because of rain. I would have said that earlier had I, you know, been doing my job properly. After a comfortable hold apiece, Carreno Busta leads 6-5 in the second set.

6.02pm BST

Shapovalov breaks back! Carreno Busta seemed in control, serving for the set at 5-3; then, in the blink of an eye, Shapovalov had three break points. Carreno Busta saved two of them but not the third, with Shapovalov finally ending a superb rally with the kind of smash that brooks not a solitary argument.

5.52pm BST

Carreno Busta is playing some majestic tennis now, and a scorching forehand down the line gives him a 5-2 lead in the second set.

5.47pm BST

At the moment, experience is trumping youth. Shapovalov is still bouncing around full of optimism, however, and an easy hold keeps him in the second set at 2-4.

5.37pm BST

Carreno Busta breaks again, and now he leads 7-6, 3-1. Shapovalov is starting to look a little lost.

5.28pm BST

The mood of the match has changed so much in the last 10 minutes. At 6-7, 0-1, this already feels like a big service game for Shapovalov. He holds to 15, a hugely impressive response to a nascent crisis.

5.22pm BST

Carreno Busta wins the first set 7-6. He romped through the tiebreak 7-2, with some strokes of real authority. Shapovalov, who was serving for the set at 5-3 and had three set points at 6-5, will feel he’s been mugged.

5.19pm BST

Carreno Busta did brilliantly to stay in the first set, and now he’s going to win it: he leads 5-1 in the tiebreak.

5.15pm BST

Carreno Busta saves a third set point before taking the first set to a tie break. He has done brilliantly to stay in this set in the face of a bracing onslaught from Shapovalov.

5.13pm BST

Shapovalov has wasted two set points on the Carreno Busta serve, the second after the longest rally of the match so far. It’s deuce, with Shapovalov 6-5 ahead.

5.06pm BST

Another chance for Shapovalov, at 30-30 against serve, but Carreno Busta produces a brilliant lob and goes on to square the set at 5-5.

5.00pm BST

Shapovalov leads 5-4 in the first set At 5-3 down, a sensational return from Carreno Busta gives him two break points – and he takes the first with a ferocious forehand. It’s back on serve.

4.52pm BST

Shapovalov breaks! Carreno Busta nets a backhand to give Shapovalov a 4-2 lead in the first set. It’s an excellent game, and Shapovalov’s energy is threatening to overwhelm Carreno Busta.

4.45pm BST

Shapovalov leads Carreno Busta 3-2 Shapovalov responds to a first break point against him with an ace. You can’t teach that sort of timing. He is already hitting some punishing forehands, and a couple more ensure another hold.

4.31pm BST

Carreno Busta has just saved a couple of break points in his first service game, so it’s 1-1 in the first set. Shapovalov has started with a swagger.

4.30pm BST

‘Oh dear’ department

Sigh. pic.twitter.com/nVmZ8uPvV1

4.24pm BST

John McEnroe on ESPN on Shapovalov: “He’s going to win Grand Slams”

4.22pm BST

The players are on court. Pablo Carreno Busta is having his right wrist strapped, though he didn’t seem remotely alarmed about that fact. Shapovalov will serve first.

3.57pm BST

Here’s the singles schedule for the afternoon:

Arthur Ashe Stadium (from 11am local/4pm BST)

2.14pm BST

Hi there. Nothing in sport is quite as exhilarating as the emergence of a brilliant young talent. Even when those players go on to achieve greatness, they are rarely as thrilling to watch as when they first emerge. That’s logical enough, because nothing hits the G-spot of our imagination as consistently as a combination of novelty and infinite potential. Think Scorsese’s Mean Streets, Ronaldo, Mike Tyson, Michael van Gerwen, The Strokes’ Is This It – and maybe, just maybe, Denis Shapovalov.

His emergence in the last month is even more exciting because men’s tennis has been waiting the best part of a decade for a new superstar. Shapovalov, a Canadian who was born in Israel and lives in the Bahamas, has already taken care of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in straight sets and today he plays the 12th seed, Pablo Carreno Busta in the last 16.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/sep/03/us-open-maria-sharapova-and-venus-williams-in-action-on-day-seven-live

Aug 26

Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City: Premier League – as it happened

The substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini broke Leicester down in the final quarter after Kasper Schmeichel saved a Romelu Lukaku penalty

7.22pm BST

That’s it. Manchester United continue their intimidating start to the season with another win and another clean sheet. They had to work hard against an admirable Leicester defence before the substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini settled the match. Thanks for your company, night!

7.21pm BST

90+4 min Lukaku almost gets his goal, hitting a close-range shot that is deflected over the bar by the stretching Morgan. Great defending.

7.20pm BST

90+3 min De Gea makes a terrific late save from King, who diverted Gray’s low cross towards goal from barely five yards. De Gea spread himself to divert it wide with a stiff right leg.

7.17pm BST

90 min There will be four minutes of added time.

7.15pm BST

88 min James is booked for scything down Rashford, who made a great 50-yard run from the left.

7.13pm BST

86 min “Hi Rob,” says Peter Oh. “Does seeing Rashford & Simpson square off remind anyone else of this rock-solid radio hit from yesteryear?”

It does now!

7.12pm BST

85 min Six of United’s ten league goals this season have come from the 80th minute onwards.

7.10pm BST

Lingard made a great run behind the defence, came back inside Morgan and hit a shot that was kneed into the net by Fellaini. I don’t know how much Fellaini knew about it. I do knew he looked fractionally offside, so Leicester might have been hard done by there. It’s been a good day for Jose Mourinho though: two of his substitutes scored, and the other made the second goal.

7.09pm BST

United are going back to the top of the table.

7.08pm BST

82 min “It’s surely been said but this United team is almost a straight copy of Chelsea ‘05,” says Arthur Tee. “All Bailly needs is curly hair.”

I’d say this United team is a bit more technical, and nowhere near as good. Take your point though, there are loads of similarities.

7.08pm BST

81 min United are comfortable at the moment, killing time through the age-old method of passing the football to a team-mate.

7.07pm BST

80 min United are ten minutes away from a third consecutive clean sheet. They were solid even before Matic, so you can’t imagine that will be a problem area for them this season. It’s a much better defence on the pitch than on paper, which reflects well on Mourinho.

7.04pm BST

77 min “Afternoon Rob,” says Adam Roberts. “Yes, it was a harsh penalty; yes, it was poor effort from Lukaku. But why have referees completely stopped judging the goalkeepers’ adherence to the rules on penalties? It was as if Schmeichel was charging down a conversion in rugby.”

He was well off his line, it’s true.

7.03pm BST

76 min Leicester make their final substitution too, with Slimani replacing Vardy.

7.02pm BST

75 min United’s final change: Jesse Lingard replaces Anthony Martial, who was a sporadic but considerable threat, particularly when he ran at Simpson.

7.02pm BST

74 min Mkhitaryan comes off to be replaced by Marouane Fellaini. He makes an immediate impact with a strong header forward to Lukaku, who runs at the last man Morgan before smashing the ball over the bar from 20 yards.

6.58pm BST

It’s another assist for Mkhitaryan, an outswinging corner that was missed by everyone at the near post. Rashford, left alone 10 yards out by Ndidi, swung his right foot instinctively and the ball kicked off the pitch before going through the diving Schmeichel.

6.57pm BST

Marcus Rashford won the corner, and now he’s scored from it.

6.57pm BST

70 min Pogba plays a great pass to the overlapping Rashford, whose fierce low cross is blocked by the superb Maguire.

6.56pm BST

69 min “As wonderful a story as Leicester’s title win was, it was ruined for me by Robert Huth,” chirps Matt Dolny. “Comfortably my least favourite footballer. I have an irrational level of dislike for him. Even when he’s not playing, his very association with the club makes me want them to lose. Except, they’re playing United. Who I also want to lose. Yet another frustrating Saturday night, bound to end in disappointment. It’s like I’m 19 again.”

6.55pm BST

68 min United have been quite flat since missing the penalty, with Leicester posing a greater threat on the counter-attack. Craig Shakespeare might be a future England manager, you know.

6.54pm BST

67 min A United substitution: Marcus Rashford on, Juan Mata off.

6.54pm BST

66 min The little genius Mahrez is really straight to threaten. He sends Blind off to another postcode with a lovely dragback before rifling the ball right across the face of goal.

6.53pm BST

65 min We haven’t seen Harry Maguire marauding forward today. What we have seen, as Owen Hargreaves points out on BT Sport, is that he is a bloody good defender.

6.52pm BST

64 min What a chance for Leicester! Gray broke forward, with Mahrez in a wonderful position to his right, but his through pass was late and overhit. Mahrez still managed to manufacture a shot, which was blocked by Jones, but with a better pass he’d have had a one-on-one.

6.50pm BST

63 min Mkhitaryan fizzes a penetrative angled pass into Martial, who is superbly tackled in the box by Morgan.

6.50pm BST

62 min Leicester have had a very narrow defence, happy for United to cross towards Morgan and Maguire. So far it has worked very well. Maguire in particular has had a fine game.

6.48pm BST

61 min “Rob!” says Iloti Mutoka. “FM 2017 has it at Matic as DM/MC and Herrera as a M/AMC. Incidentally, it says Utd are 11th because I haven’t started the season yet and that Herrera’s morale is good, to Matic’s Very Good. Maybe Mourinho is is looking at that, too.”

6.47pm BST

60 min A double change for Leicester: Demarai Gray for Albrighton, and Andy King for Okazaki. That should mean a switch to 4-3-3-.

6.46pm BST

59 min Mahrez dances beautifully past Jones and into the box, only for the ball to hit his standing foot as he shapes to shoot. It dribbles wide, but without that unwitting touch he’d have had a great chance.

6.43pm BST

56 min Simpson is really struggling to deal with Martial, who wins another corner. It’s cleared and Leicester break dangerously. Eventually Mahrez slithers away from Jones and rattles an early shot from a tight angle that is kicked away by De Gea.

6.42pm BST

55 min Bailly bumps Albrighton over 25 yards from goal, and again Michael Oliver surprisingly gives no foul.

6.41pm BST

54 min Mkhitaryan is booked for fouling Mahrez, who danced past him on a rare Leicester break.

6.39pm BST

It was a poor penalty from Lukaku, hit with pace but telegraphed and nowhere near the corner. Schmeichel dived to his right to push it away. Leicester will feel that justice has been done. There were maybe five yards between Martial and Simpson, but Simpson did not move his hand towards the ball.

6.38pm BST

Martial’s cross hits the hand of Simpson, and Michael Oliver gives a penalty. I think that’s a bit harsh.

6.37pm BST

50 min Leicester are defending so deep. Lukaku rolls Maguire on the line of the box and goes over after a bit of contact. Maguire put hands on him but I’m not sure there was enough for a penalty.

6.35pm BST

48 min Both teams have good attacking options on the bench: Rashford, Fellaini, Lingard, Slimani, Iheanacho, Gray.

6.32pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Leicester begin the second half, kicking from right to left on my screen.

6.25pm BST

“Re Herrera v Matic: different players,” says Paul Ewart. “Herrera may have more quality but Matic is a specialist. Simple as that isn’t it?”

Yep! In Football Manager terms, Matic is a DMC, Herrera is an MC. I assume they still define players like that, anyway. I haven’t actually played it since the Tonton Zola Moukoko years.

6.17pm BST

Peep peep! Attack and defence, invasion and repulsion … the last 30 minutes of that half were like a training session. Yet for all United’s dominance and bright football, not to mention the series of heatseekers that came off Paul Pogba’s right foot, Kasper Schmeichel didn’t have that much to do. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

6.15pm BST

45 min Pogba is bumped over in the D by Okazaki, but Michael Oliver plays on. Seconds earlier, Lukaku took down Valencia’s cross in the area – possibly with his arm – before being crowded out.

6.13pm BST

43 min Matic, Bailly and Pogba have all had excellent halves.

6.11pm BST

41 min Blind’s flat cross is headed well wide by Lukaku, who was under pressure from Maguire. That came from another excellent crossfield reacher from Pogba.

6.10pm BST

40 min Leicester started the game really well but they’ve been unable to keep the ball in the last 20 minutes or so.

6.07pm BST

37 min Maguire is penalised for wrestling Lukaku to the floor 25 yards from goal. Pogba hits the free-kick into the top of the wall.

6.06pm BST

36 min “You have to feel for Herrera a little, being out of the side despite being the outstanding player last year,” says David Wall. “Do you really think that Matic does that much that he couldn’t do? Would you agree with people who say that that signing was the moment United crossed the Rubicon to become real title challengers?”

Arf. Yes, Matic is much better in that particular position. Herrera will get plenty of games alongside Matic though, particularly the big ones.

6.05pm BST

35 min Pogba has a bit of room 30 yards out and belts an excellent low shot just wide of the left post. Schmeichel, who I think was unsighted, wouldn’t have got to it.

6.04pm BST

35 min Matic and Mata combine to find Pogba, whose fierce shot from a tight angle is beaten away by Schmeichel.

6.04pm BST

34 min United are thumping on the door now, though Leicester have generally restricted them to long-range efforts.

6.02pm BST

33 min “Zlatan could play a different role upon his return,” says Jens Koch. “Some of his best matches for Sweden before he retired from the international scene, was as a number ten, playing behind the main striker. He was such a joy to watch in that role. If he has lost (even more) pace after the injury, then that withdrawn role is one where he could still be influential.”

Yes, good point. I think there are times, particularly late in games, when they will play two up front as well.

6.02pm BST

32 min Phil Jones goes on a demented charge from the back and collides with Simpson on the edge of the box. Michael Oliver says play on. Mourinho isn’t happy, though I’m not sure how Simpson could have got out the way of the beast that was marauding towards him.

6.00pm BST

31 min Martial works Schmeichel with a well-struck shot from 25 yards. It was too straight and therefore a relatively comfortable save.

5.59pm BST

30 min Rubicon!

5.59pm BST

29 min Pogba again tries to provide some long-range razzmatazz. Goalkick.

5.57pm BST

28 min Pogba tries another long-range curler. It goes miles wide.

5.56pm BST

25 min The referee Sir Chris Foy, on BT Sport, reckons Mata was fractionally offside for that disallowed goal. I’m still not sure – it looked to me as if Morgan’s bum was playing him on, but there you go.

5.54pm BST

24 min Pogba runs onto the ball and hits a monstrous rising shot from 25 yards that beats Schmeichel and swerves just wide of the far post. United are certainly more exciting in attack than they have been for the last five years. I don’t know if you could call it sexy football, but it’s certainly pretty risque at times.

5.53pm BST

23 min James drives a ball over the top for Vardy, who takes it down and drags it across to the supporting Okazaki. He drives a decent low shot from 20 yards that is comfortably saved by the plunging De Gea.

5.52pm BST

21 min “That style guide section has some lovely words in it,” says Kari Tulinius. “Hopefully some of them will find their way to this minute-by-minute. It’ll be some game if you can make use the words razzmatazz, realpolitik, risque and Rubicon.”

5.50pm BST

20 min All of a sudden United are flying. Mata nutmegs Maguire and teases a curler towards the far corner that brings a fine save from Schmeichel, leaping to his right.

5.49pm BST

19 min That’s lovely play from United. Lukaku pushes it wide to Martial, who runs at Simpson and floats a gentle cross towards the far post. Pogba arrives round the back, stretches to volley back across goal, and the ball drifts just wide of the far post. He probably should have scored.

5.48pm BST

18 min Mata has a goal wrongly disallowed for offside. Lukaku made something out of nothing, turning to welt a low shot towards goal from inside the D. Schmeichel got down smartly but could only push it out in front of goal, and Mata followed up to score. Replays showed he was definitely onside, though it was tight.

5.47pm BST

17 min Vardy tries to run Bailly, and is made to realise his error when he is matched for speed and beaten for strength.

5.46pm BST

16 min It’s been a decent start, with neither side really on top. United are working their way into the game, particularly the creative hub of Pogba and Mkhitaryan.

5.42pm BST

12 min A free-kick is blasted 60 yards towards Vardy, who gets behind Jones and just fails to reach the ball before it bounces into the arms of De Gea. At the other end, Mkhitaryan loses Ndidi and hits a 25-yard shot that hits the hell of Morgan and loops into Schmeichel’s arms.

5.41pm BST

11 min United build up patiently on the right, until Valencia rakes a cross straight out of play on the other side of the pitch.

5.40pm BST

9 min The wandering Mahrez beats Blind with a fine turn, plays a give-and-go with Okazaki and is fouled by Bailly. He looks in the mood. The free-kick is dumped into the box towards Morgan, who is offside.

5.38pm BST

8 min Pogba sprays a lovely crossfield pass to Mata, whose cross is cleared by Morgan.

5.35pm BST

5 min This has been a good start from Leicester, who look bullish in possession. Their fans are making all kinds of noise as well.

5.34pm BST

4 min Matty James tries a curler from 25 yards. It drifts gently wide.

5.33pm BST

2 min “Does the Guardian style guide have anything to say about resigning and re-signing?” asks Lizz Poulter. “Thanks to David Wall’s opening line, I genuinely went off looking for the news that Ibrahimovic had quit, until I forced myself to ‘mispronounce’ resign. I know the preposition ‘for’ was a clue, but honestly, I didn’t understand. Say I wasn’t alone!”

Indeed it does (see ‘re/re-‘).

5.31pm BST

1 min A fast start from United, with Mkhitaryan almost scoring after 25 seconds. His low shot was blocked by Morgan.

5.30pm BST

1 min Peep peep! United kick off from right to left. They are in red; Leicester aer wearing blue.

5.28pm BST

The players emerge from the tunnel on a lovely sunny evening in Manchester. Let’s get this over with, then.

5.07pm BST

An email! “Reflecting on the news that Ibrahimovic has resigned for United, might his injury turn out to have been the best thing that could have happened last season, for the team although obviously not for him,” says David Wall. “It didn’t stop them winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions’ League. And it forced Mourinho into signing a proper centre forward to take his place, rather than a withdrawn forward like Griezman (or someone similar). If they’d not signed Lukaku, and Zlatan was still playing as the main centre forward then they’d not have the pace and threat that they’ve shown so far this year. The fact that opposition defences now have to really worry about people running beyond them in turn makes more space for the midfield to play, something that didn’t often happen last season.”

Yes, possibly. They look faster this season, though that’s down to a lot more than just the swap from Ibrahimovic to Lukaku. In many ways Lukaku has been like Zlatan last season – almost anonymous, apart from on the scoresheet, though I take the point about stretching defences. Either way, I think re-signing him is a great move because they’ll need him in the the second half of the season if they progress in the cups, as Mourinho’s teams tend to do. If he accepts the role, he should be a superb glory substitute as well.

5.04pm BST

If you’re one of those old-fashioned folk who still read books, I’ve read a couple of excellent United-related ones of late: Red Rebels, the Shakespearean story of FC United, and the autobiography of the briefly adored Andrei Kanchelskis.

4.34pm BST

While you wait…

Related: Newcastle v West Ham, Crystal Palace v Swansea and more – live!

4.34pm BST

Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Pogba, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial; Lukaku.
Substitutes: Romero, Darmian, Smalling, Lingard, Herrera, Fellaini, Rashford

Leicester (4-2-3-1) Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs; Ndidi, James; Mahrez, Okazaki, Albrighton; Vardy.
Substitutes: Hamer, Chilwell, Amartey, King, Gray, Slimani, Iheanacho.

5.46pm BST

Hello. Jose Mourinho’s greatest gift to the Premier League was to make people realise that matches won in autumn are worth as much as those won in the spring. Before that, the first half of the season was almost a warm-up; Sir Alex Ferguson regularly told us that Manchester United only really got going after Christmas, and the same was true of most of the eventual Premier League winners.

Mourinho changed all that. In his first season Chelsea won 20 of their first 25 league games to keep pace with and then overtake the Invincibles; in his second they won 20 of their first 22 games. The title race was effectively over before Santa sat down for a hard-earned eggnog treat and to reflect on whether he could really be bothered to go through all that again next year. It was a strange sort of flattery when, a year later, United scored four times in the first 20 minutes of the season and never looked back until they had taken Chelsea’s title.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/26/manchester-united-v-leicester-city-premier-league-live

Aug 26

Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester City: Premier League – as it happened

Raheem Sterling was sent off for celebrating his 97th-minute winner, with City coming from behind in a highly entertaining game

Related: Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling breaks Bournemouth but then sees red

That dramatic end will probably obscure what was a terrific game. City deserved to win, though Bournemouth were heroic and clever and will take a huge amount out of this game. I need a lie-down after that. Thanks for your company and emails, bye!

In the 101st minute, Mike Dean blows the final whistle and City have won.

90+11 min There were only supposed to be five minutes of added time!

90+10 min John Stones has come on for somebody or other. Some finish this!

I did wonder whether this might happen. Sterling, already booked, went into the crowd after scoring and so he receives a second yellow card before Bournemouth kick off. A few of them might have gone, in truth, and Kompany and Ake should have been off earlier.

90+9 min What a finish! Before that, Mousset was booked for flattening someone. King really should have won it for Bournemouth by playing Gosling in just before that.

That is so cruel on Bournemouth. City’s players are going mad, they are all in with the crowd. It was such a scruffy goal. Danilo’s low cross from the right came to Sterling, who got it out of his feet and hit a shot that took a deflection off Surman and looped slowly, agonisingly into the corner.

City have won it!

90+6 min Bournemouth almost steal the win! King robbed Mendy and had a two v one. He should have played Gosling through but went on his own and hit a good 25-yard shot that was pushed away by the diving Ederson. King has been Bournemouth’s best player but he got that badly wrong.

90+6 min There were supposed to be five minutes of added time but there have been a few stoppages in that time so on we go. Daniels stoops to head Sane’s brilliant deep cross behind for a corner.

90+5 min Smith becomes the 87th person to be booked, and rightly so, for a bad tackle on Sane.

90+4 min The substitute Afobe is coming off. He was flattened in an aerial challenge with Kompany, and will be replaced by Lys Mousset.

90+3 min Arter does superbly to dispossess Sterling, who trips him petulantly and is booked.

90+2 min The corner is eventually taken and half cleared to Sterling, who wallops it into orbit from 25 yards. City, for all their brilliant play, have not given Begovic that much to do.

90 min City win a corner. Guardiola continues to make a bit of a fool of himself, complaining demonstratively to Eddie Howe about Bournemouth’s unsporting reluctance to play basketball against a side with significantly greater resources. Mike Dean comes over to tell both managers off.

89 min Pep Guardiola is stomping round the touchline with an affronted coupon. He knows that, on chances alone, City should have nine points rather than five.

87 min Hello, somebody’s put their tanks on Mac Millings’ lawn! It’s all going to go off now. Here’s Pjotr van Rooijen with his Ocean’s XI.

86 min … and Aguero curls it well wide. Begovic waved it away. He’s had an excellent game. There haven’t been any spectacular saves, but he’s made a lot of solid stops and looked calm throughout.

86 min Sterling makes an electric diagonal run from the right and is brought down by Arter, who is booked. City have a free-kick 22 yards from goal…

84 min Mendy’s low cross is shinned across his own area by Ake, and David Silva sidefoots it into orbit from 10 yards. The challenge of Daniels did just enough to put him off.

83 min Pep Guardiola is having another fierce go at the fourth official.

82 min The superb Gabriel Jesus is coming off, to be replaced by Leroy Sane.

80 min “Continuing your fishy riff, I remember an FA Cup match at Anfield in 1980 when Grimsby Town were the visitors,” says Simon Gill. “Once victory was assured (the Reds won 5-0) the crowd entertained themselves with fishy paeans to the Liverpool team – I remember Phil Eel and Kenny Dogfish, but there must have been plenty of others too.”

79 min Mendy is booked for a cynical foul on King, who had made another of his effective solo counter-attacks.

78 min Bournemouth are hanging on now, as they were at the end of the first half. Danilo’s dangerous low cross into the six-yard area is beaten away excellently by the diving Begovic.

77 min “What a player this boy is, honestly,” enthuses Alan Smith after another piece of skill from Jesus. He’s still only 20.

76 min Steve Cook is booked for a late tackle on Jesus.

75 min Otamendi hits the post! De Bruyne’s dipping corner from the left found him weirdly unmarked onto the six-yard line. He strained his neck muscles to produce a downward header back across goal, and it bounced up to hit the post with Begovic unmoved.

74 min “Millings’ sterling work (as always) put me in mind of the period where Charlton’s back four were Young, Fish, Costa, Fortune,” says Matt Dony. “Simple things, and all that…”

It’s what Millings would have wanted.

73 min A Bournemouth change: Jermain Defoe is replaced by Benik Afobe.

72 min Fernandinho shuffles smartly away from Gosling, 25 yards out, and hits a fierce low shot that is smartly saved by Begovic. Moments later, Daniels’ tackle on Sterling divers the ball to Aguero, whose low shot from 15 yards is too close to Begovic. That was a good chance.

71 min “How could Mac Millings omit Mark Fish from his all-time Fish XI?!” sniffs Alex Khadivi.

70 min City come again in this superb match, enjoying a long spell of possession. The better Bournemouth play, the more you feel the match has late heartbreak written all over it.

69 min City are annoyed again when Mike Dean rejects a penalty appeal. Aguero went down after a collision with Smith. That’s all it was, a collision. If anything it was a foul by Aguero.

68 min Otamendi is booked for doing something nasty to Defoe. At the moment, Bournemouth look the likelier scorers.

67 min Kompany, who has been booked, is lucky that Mike Dean doesn’t spot him shoving Defoe over off the ball. That’s 1-1 in the red-cards-that-weren’t stakes.

67 min “‘What kind of barbaric dystopia is this, Michael?’” says Hubert O’Hearn. “Thank you for that Rob! I’d give anything for an actual footballer to say similar in a post-match interview. ‘’I have recaptured something of the verdant rapacity of my youth,’ said Wayne Rooney on Match of the Day…””

Where are the YouTube clips of Jorge Valdano’s post-match interviews when you need them?

66 min A Manchester City substitution: Sergio Aguero replaces Bernardo Silva. It looks like City will play a 4-1-3-2 now.

63 min This has been a cracking game, and Bournemouth are starting to threaten again. Defoe takes Surman’s pass in his stride and almost wriggles away from the last man Otamendi.

61 min Josh King hits the post! Fernandino was robbed in a dangerous area by a combination of Arter and Daniels. Arter crossed to low to King, who curled a first-time effort with his left effort from just inside the area. Ederson didn’t move and it smacked off the face of the post.

60 min A brief lull allows us to turn our attention to more important matters: it’s a new Mac Millings XI!

“Wotcha, Rob,” says Mac. “You want an All-Time Fish XI?

58 min A training-ground free-kick from Bournemouth almost leads to a goal – for City. They made a complete mess of it, and City break down the left through De Bruyne. His low cross went across the face of goal and deflected just behind Bernardo Silva.

57 min David Silva has been booked as well, presumably for complaining about some of Mike Dean’s decisions.

56 min King breaks menacingly and is invited to challenge gravity by Kompany, who is booked. King has been excellent today.

55 min Sterling’s snapshot is blocked by one of a posse of Bournemouth defenders. City have settled into a nice passing rhythm, albeit thus far without the incessant menace of the 20 minutes before half-time.

53 min Bernardo Silva has been the least effective of City’s attackers, so they may look to replace him if it stays 1-1. You’d expect him to need a little time to settle in This League™. Most delicate attackers do, which makes Jesus’s explosive start even more impressive.

51 min Cook takes the ball and then flattens Jesus with his follow through. David Silva looks to the referee Mike Dean as if to say, ‘What kind of barbaric dystopia is this, Michael?’ He gives a throw-in.

49 min City break dangerously through Sterling. He doesn’t pick the wrong pass; he doesn’t pick any pass, running the ball straight out of play.

48 min King makes a fine run down the right and crosses towards Defoe. Kompany stretches to make an important clearance.

46 min Peep peep! City begin the second half.

Peep peep! That was excellent entertainment from two attacking teams. Charlie Daniels gave Bournemouth the lead with an authentic Goal of the Season contender; Gabriel Jesus’s excellent equaliser came against the run of play and altered the run of play. From the moment City equalised they were pretty awesome, and could easily be ahead. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

45 min Ake is playing on, until half-time at least.

44 min Jesus, on the right of the box, backheels the ball into the path of Fernandinho. He hits a rasping rising shot from a tight angle that almost knocks Begovic off his feet as he beats it away, and eventually Bournemouth manage to clear. Bournemouth will be very pleased if they get to half-time at 1-1 because they have subject to a furious interrogation for the last 25 minutes.

41 min This doesn’t look good for Ake. His right leg got stuck as he stretched to clear with his left. I’m not sure he’ll be able to carry on.

40 min Ake is down injured, possibly with twisted blood, and there’s a break in play.

39 min “Romario, Ronaldo & Ronaldinho also loved the oft derided toe bung,” says Niall Mullen. “Is it fair to say that rather than a rabona or rainbow flick that this is the true Brazilian art form?”

Good point. Yet when Mick Harford toebunged one into Row Y it was “primitive”. Typical cultural cringe.

38 min “Is Mike Dean Jasper Carrott’s love child?” asks Steve, who has a point.

37 min Ake makes an excellent defensive header from Mendy’s dangerous cross.

35 min It’s been a breathless first half, and Bournemouth look in need of some oxygen and/or a nice cup of tea. A second City goal feels inevitable.

33 min “Out of 10,” says Paul Neilan, “where does that strike lie on your scale of ‘hairy-arsed chancers’?”

I think the modern man is a little more enlightened when it comes to personal groo- oh, I see what you mean. It’s right up there, an 8 at least. A first-time, outside-of-the-foot half-volley, with a soupcon of swoosh, that goes in off the woodwork: that’s almost screamer bingo.

32 min Bernardo Silva wastes a great chance for City, going it alone when he should have played in David Silva. Instead he placed the ball tamely at Begovic from 18 yards. The chance came from another mistake by the nervous Ake.

29 min For the first 20 minutes, Bournemouth were brilliant. For the last 10, City have been awesome. They look like scoring with every attack. Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, is giving the fourth official a roasting over that yellow card for Ake. He has a strong case, even if he and his team have presented it a little charmlessly.

28 min Bournemouth are under siege. David Silva’s angled through pass finds the overlapping Danilo, whose low shot is kicked away by Begovic.

25 min After a slow start City are playing majestically. De Bruyne’s cute stabbed pass finds Danilo – the right-back – in the area, and his shot is desperately blocked. It comes back to David Silva, who takes it on the chest and volleys over from 25 yards.

24 min That could have been another for Jesus! De Bruyne drove a sweet crossfield pass to Mendy, who fizzed a wonderful volleyed cross into the corridor of uncertainty. It bounced up slightly awkwardly beyond the far post for Jesus, who slapped it wide.

23 min Ake dithers and is robbed by Jesus, who is about to run clear on goal when Ake brings him down. He is booked, though City are apoplectic that it wasn’t a red card. The replays suggest they have a case.

David Silva received a quick free-kick from Jesus, waited for some movement and sliced Bournemouth open with a wonderful, disguised through-pass. Jesus made a great run, held off Ake and toebunged it first time past Begovic.

This is a high-class equaliser from City.

21 min “Hi, Rob!” says Karl Ruben Weseth. Any insight into why Daniels seemed so angry when he ran to the corner flag after the goal?”

None whatsoever. I was too busy typing ‘bloody hell, what a goal!’ or something like that, so I didn’t see it. Maybe it was just that angry orgasm face to which we are all occasionally susceptible.

20 min Sterling’s ambitious long-range curler is straight at Begovic.

19 min Ederson makes a good save from Defoe! Surman, in a central position, curled a nice left-footed pass over the defence to find Defoe, who had got inbtween Mendy and Kompany. He stretched to hit a first-time volley from 15 yards and Ederson plunged to his left to push it away.

17 min It’s tempting to say City aren’t playing well. I’d be more inclined to say Bournemouth are playing extremely well.

16 min “Hey Rob,” says JR in Illinois. “David Siva’s new hairdo is not working for him in any sense. Firstly, he looks odd. Secondly, he’s already sprayed around multiple off target passes. Either that or Harry Arter is yelling “LEAVE IT” every time Silva makes a pass.”

Yeah, I can’t get used to it. He looks like a Trainspotting extra.

15 min De Bruyne’s bouncing corner from the right is shinned miles wide by Otamendi.

14 min That was, in any currency, a magnificent goal.

What a goal! It was a heatseeker from Charlie Daniels. Gosling’s cross from the left was half cleared by Kompany at the near post. The ball bounced just outside the area on the left, where Daniels ran onto the ball, mistook himself for Roberto Carlos – and then hit one like Roberto Carlos. From a tight angle he thrashed a left-footed half-volley that screamed across Ederson and in off the bar!

This is an absolute screamer!

10 min De Bruyne’s awkward low cross is diverted towards his own goal by the stretching Ake. Happily for him, the ball loops straight into the loving embrace of Begovic.

7 min This has been a fine start from Bournemouth, who have had more of the ball and look sharp in and out of possession.

5 min Lovely play from Bournemouth. King loses Otamendi with a slick turn near the halfway line, flicking the ball behind his standing leg, and then plays it down the right to Smith. He gets into the area and cuts a return ball back towards King, whose first-time strike from 15 yards is blocked.

4 min Otamendi heads a free-kick behind to give Bournemouth the first corner. Nowt happens.

3 min There are suggestions that Sergio Aguero is in a volcanic funk at being rotated, and stayed on the team coach on his own for a long time when the team arrived at the stadium. Reports that he was listening to Everybody Hurts on loop are unconfirmed.

2 min For the time being, the formations are as expected: 3-5-2 for Bournemouth, 4-1-2-3 for City. Actually, looking at it again, it’s more a 3-5-1-1 for Bournemouth with King dropping off Defoe.

1 min Peep peep! Bournemouth kick off from right to left as we look at our HD television screen. They are in red and black; City are in sky blue.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bournemouth line up. They picked a back three to match up against City, not knowing that Pep Guardiola had switched to a back four. So maybe Eddie Howe will revert to 4-4-2. Sometimes tactics can so goddamn thrilling.

An email! “Nice of City to allow Delph out for the day (on the bench of course),” says Ian Copestake. “Signing for them must have been both the best day of his career and the least sensible.”

You could make a good XI of English players who lost some of their best years because they flew too close to the sun – Delph, Wright-Phillips, Parker, Carroll, Zaha, Downing, Sidwell. But then if they’d rejected a move to a big club they would have been dismissed as bottlers, and they would die wondering.

Bournemouth (3-5-1-1) Begovic; S Cook, Ake, Mings; A Smith, Gosling, Surman, Arter, Daniels; King; Defoe.
Substitutes: Boruc, B Smith, Fraser, Ibe, L Cook, Mousset, Afobe.

Manchester City (4-1-2-3) Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho; De Bruyne, D Silva; B Silva, Jesus, Sterling.
Substitutes: Bravo, Stones, Mangala, Sane, Delph, Toure, Aguero.

Morning. There are two ways to win a football match: you can score more goals than your opponent, or you can concede fewer. Eddie Howe and Pep Guardiola only have eyes for the first approach. There were 122 goals in Bournemouth’s 38 league games last season, the most in the league, and 119 in City’s. The attacking ability and defensive fragility of both is such that any minute now I’m going to make an inane gag about this match being a nailed-on 0-0.

Ordinarily Bournemouth could view this game as a free hit, with any points a bonus. But they have lost their first two games, and have an extremely hard start to the season. In their next eight games they play five of the Big Seven™, and things don’t really ease up until November.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/26/bournemouth-v-manchester-city-premier-league-live

Aug 18

England v West Indies: day-night Test at Edgbaston, day two – as it happened

Alastair Cook scored 243 as England declared on 514 for eight, with West Indies reaching 44-1 as rain stopped play before darkness fell

8.16pm BST

Play has been abandoned, alas. So West Indies have nine wickets to play with, and they are a mere 470 runs behind. The day belonged to Alastair Cook, who cruised to 243, but Jason Holder deserves some credit too, for somehow concocting five quick wickets to keep England down to the low 500s.

An email comes in from J Sims, entitled Animal. “I can say with some certainty that your occasional OBO contributor and erstwhile Guardian colleague, Dixe Wills, was the Life and Soul of said shenanigans in Bolivia and Peru in 1989.” Not a sentence I’ve ever read before. “Even those of us elsewhere over the continent heard the reports, and believed them all. As confirmation, I’m still at work on the East Coast of the USA, enjoying the same weather forecast (prolonged showers and intermittent thunder storms until 10pm) as my friends and family in Birmingham.

8.04pm BST

More on the great meal-break debate. “In my (tongue-in-cheek) opinion,” says Graeme Thorn, “the game changed irrevocably when limited-overs games moved from two breaks (lunch/tea) to one between innings.” Say what you like about the single break, it does make it easier for us OBO-ers to split the day in half.

7.54pm BST

The rain in Birmingham is attracting participles like “pelting” (D Gower) and “minging” (A Miller of Cricinfo). But at least we have a quick response from Phil Sawyer to my query about Friday nights in Lincoln (19:44).

“Well, I can’t speak for the rest of Lincoln, Tim, but for me that’s a pretty wild evening. They don’t call me Phil ‘The Party Animal’ Sawyer for nothing. Actually, they don’t call me Phil ‘The Party Animal’ Sawyer even if I pay them.” Ha. Is there an OBO reader out there who IS known as a party animal?

7.48pm BST

Cometh the rain, cometh Tom van der Gucht. “Weighing in on the fruit nicknames for the pink ball, perhaps it should be called a peach, as in Anderson just bowled a peach of a delivery – honk honk… I’ll get my coat.”

7.44pm BST

A confession. “Sorry,” says Phil Sawyer, “that was almost definitely my fault. Have been doing some spring (summer?) cleaning for the last couple of hours. Almost literally the moment I switched the vacuum cleaner off and thought ‘Job done, time for a drink and some cricket’ the rain came down and the players went off. On the other hand, it’s a lovely evening in Lincoln, I have a clean flat, and I’ve also mixed myself a large Moscow Mule, so swings and roundabouts.” Indeed. Is this a typical Friday night in Lincoln?

7.35pm BST

The forecast is for a longish break, which will at least allow a few plastered people to make it to the front of the pie queue.

On Twitter, Austin Baird has a question. “How common is it for a woman footballer to be represented by Windies batsmen? Hope Powell?” I don’t know, but I’m sure there was once a holding midfielder called Courtney Curtly.

7.30pm BST

16th over: West Indies 44-1 (Powell 18, Hope 25) Broad continues, over-pitches, and hands Powell the chance to cover-drive for four, which he accepts. He adds a two and a single with nudges to leg. These two have done OK, quietly moving through the gears. And the umps are calling for the covers. Shame.

7.24pm BST

15th over: West Indies 37-1 (Powell 11, Hope 25) Hope cuts Anderson for four and pushes him for two. Time for Roland-Jones, surely.

“I tried starting the tea debate yesterday,” says Sam Spijkers-Shaw. “I hadn’t come up with a suggestion at the time, but there’s a lot odd about this Test, whether it be for the better or the worse, so changing a name wouldn’t cause the biggest stir.

7.21pm BST

14th over: West Indies 31-1 (Powell 11, Hope 19) Hope nudges a single, and Powell keeps Broad out before playing a stylish tuck for four through midwicket. When the camera zooms in on Powell, he has the same look in his eye that Dele Alli has in the box.

7.16pm BST

13th over: West Indies 26-1 (Powell 7, Hope 18) Anderson restores order with a fine maiden to Powell. The crowd are singing, in a way that suggests they may have given up on the pie queue but persevered with the one at the bar.

A tweet from Mike Selvey, who was bowling for England against West Indies this time 41 years ago. “Eng, esp Broad, trying too hard with pink ball. Just pretend it’s the red one and revert to normal mode.”

7.12pm BST

12th over: West Indies 26-1 (Powell 7, Hope 18) The race for double figures has been a post-modern fable: The Tortoise and the Tortoise. It is won by a tortoise called Hope, with a clip for two off Broad, and suddenly the runs are flowing – a pull for four, an edge for four more. Root has had three slips all innings, when he could easily have five.

7.08pm BST

11th over: West Indies 16-1 (Powell 7, Hope 8) Anderson’s latest grapefruit is well handled by Hope, who tracks the swing and takes a single into the covers. Powell survives another lbw shout, possibly high, possibly pitching outside leg. Definitely high.

7.04pm BST

10th over: West Indies 14-1 (Powell 6, Hope 7) On come the lights, which is handy as the sky has gone charcoal grey. Broad locates the corridor of uncertainty better than he did before the break. Powell takes another sharp single, and would be gone if the throw had hit.

6.53pm BST

Is it me, or have they really messed up the meal breaks here? The first one should be tea, 20 minutes, at 4pm, as it has been, more or less, since 1899. And the second, round about now, should be 40 minutes (at least) and called something like supper. The person who made the decision must have forgotten what it’s like to be in a crowd of 20,000, most of whom feel like a pie.

“Looking at your picture of Jimmy Anderson’s quiff,” says Tom van der Gucht, “is a strangely exhilarating experience. Has he styled it like that in memory of Elvis after the anniversary of his death? Or is he aiming for more of a Morrissey look? Either way, it’s impressive stuff and reminds me that I need to book in to have my ears lowered.”

6.45pm BST

So West Indies go for a bite 501 runs behind. And an email arrives from Keith Aitchison. “Can we call a pink jaffa by its proper name? A grapefruit me thinks!” I like it.

6.42pm BST

9th over: West Indies 13-1 (Powell 5, Hope 7) Another quick single from Powell and that’s “tea”. After the clatter in late afternoon, it feels like an age since we had a wicket, but at least Steve Bannon is out – c Press Corps b Kelly, for a long-drawn-out 0.

6.38pm BST

8th over: West Indies 12-1 (Powell 4, Hope 7) Powell plays a crisp defensive shot and runs a quick single, which gets Mike Atherton purring.

6.34pm BST

7th over: West Indies 11-1 (Powell 3, Hope 7) Anderson beats Hope, twice: he’s producing two pink jaffas per over. But he also bowls a wide in between, to show that he’s human.

“Perspective?” says Geoff Wignall. “There have been plenty of (occasionally patronising) comments about how bad the Windies were in the field and obviously they weren’t great.
But they did run into history’s highest-scoring Test opener and a possible all-time great, both in form. Only one other batsman reached 20, so were they really all that poor? I’ve only been able to follow by OBO so can’t judge for myself.” Me neither – I came racing back from Edinburgh this morning. What does anyone else reckon?

6.30pm BST

6th over: West Indies 10-1 (Powell 3, Hope 7) Ian Botham spots that the edge beat Stokes for pace, which may have been because the pitch has been sexed up by the drizzle.

6.28pm BST

Ben Stokes, at gully, can’t quite hold on to a flashing edge from Powell off Broad.

6.27pm BST

5th over: West Indies 8-1 (Powell 2, Hope 6) Raindrops are falling, so Anderson finds an even better line and beats Powell twice in a row. Powell fights back with a flick to fine leg, whereupon Anderson has another big shout for lbw, this time against Hope.

“Tim.” Ah, the reassuring sound of John Starbuck, picking up on my remark about the wicket at 18:14. “So what would you mix together to achieve the colour of the pink ball? And would it be drinkable?” For me, the answer is Benylin, and yes, at the risk of contradicting myself.

6.22pm BST

4th over: West Indies 7-1 (Powell 1, Hope 6) Kieran Powell nudges a single off Broad. And here’s Tom Bowtell, the OBO’s own Bearded Wonder. “Jimmy’s parsimonious summer has seen his average dip below 28 for the first time since Trent Bridge 2003. Could be a fair bit lower by the time the series is out.”

6.18pm BST

3rd over: West Indies 6-1 (Powell 0, Hope 6) Kyle Hope, making his debut, survives a big lbw shout (a bit high), and immediately plays a handsome clip for four, and then a cover push for two. So he seems to have a good temperament.

An email from Tom Morgan. “These new session intervals would be perfect here in Spain. Lunch at 4 and tea (aka merienda) at 6.30. Just need to popularise the game a bit here…”

6.14pm BST

The perfect outswinger. Classic Anderson in every way, except that the ball is the colour of a very nasty drink.

6.12pm BST

2nd over: West Indies 0-0 (Brathwaite 0, Powell 0) Stuart Broad’s turn for a pink-cherry debut, and he beats the bat with his first ball as Kieran Powell wafts outside off. “His legs are pumping here, Broad,” Nasser Hussain notes, “he’s fired up.” But then he goes too wide. Save that for when the Windies are 500-7.

“I’m about to fly from Orkney to Aberdeen,” says Andrew Wheeler. “I expect the vast majority of the Windies innings will be over by the time I land!”

6.07pm BST

1st over: West Indies 0-0 (Brathwaite 0, Powell 0) Jimmy Anderson bowls England’s first over with the pink ball, and like one or two of the West Indians, he gets it swinging too early. Kraigg Brathwaite lets the first four deliveries go by, then blocks one, and leaves the last.

6.03pm BST

So, place your bets on how many more wickets will fall tonight. England, from 449-3, lost five for 65. Alastair Cook is back out on the field, with, as ever, not a bead of sweat to show for his immense efforts. And it feels like a good declaration by Root, erring on the side of getting on with the game.

“Hello Tim, hello everybody.” Hello Simon McMahon. “Hope you’re all well. Sad news indeed about Brucie. As for Cook, didn’t he do well? And to the West Indian openers, you get nothing for a pair (not in this game).”

5.55pm BST

And so the collapse continued, which was a disappointment for Cook but (whisper it) a relief for the rest of us. Poor old TRJ is left high and dry on 6 not out.

Time to see if the bowlers can dig England out of this hole.

5.54pm BST

And England declare on 514-8.

5.53pm BST

For lbw, playing across the spinner. Looks outish.

5.50pm BST

135th over: England 512-7 (Cook 242, Roland-Jones 5) Cummins returns, armed with a 7/2 off-side field, and aiming for about seventh stump. The ump indulges him. Cook squirts a single to third man. And they say the smartphone has made boredom obsolete.

“Afternoon Tim!” says Stuie Neale. “Hope Cookie can get his triple. Or bat till tea & declare.” Hmmmm.

5.46pm BST

134th over: England 511-7 (Cook 241, Roland-Jones 5) TRJ plays out a maiden from Chase, whose figures (3-111) are now almost respectable.

5.44pm BST

133rd over: England 511-7 (Cook 241, Roland-Jones 5) Thanks Rob and evening everyone. A shift of Test cricket starting at 5.40pm, but at least we have the reassuring sight of an England collapse. Toby Roland-Jones, gobsmacked at finding himself batting with Alastair Cook, gets off the mark with an edge for four off Holder between keeper and first slip, which wouldn’t have carried anyway.

5.39pm BST

132nd over: England 506-7 (Cook 241, Roland-Jones 0) “I have sort of lost track with all this juggling with the lunch, tiffin etc,” says Andy MacInally. “When are we in terms of sessions?”

We’re about halfway through the second session, which means it’s time for me to hand over to Tim de Lisle. You can mail him at tim.delisle.casual@theguardian.com. Thanks for your company, bye.

5.36pm BST

Moeen goes for a selfless duck. He tried to launch Chase down the ground for six and sliced the ball high to Brathwaite at point.

5.32pm BST

131st over: England 505-6 (Cook 240, Moeen 0) “Hi Rob,” says Derek Fordham. “My mate, an avid Liverpool fan, went to watch them play a pre-season game some years ago and arrived in time to see them get off the team bus 90 mins before kick off. All of the squad entered the ground apart from Julian Dicks who set off in the other direction. My mate followed him to a chip shop where he watched him order pie and chips twice and, with these tucked under his arm, he returned to the ground. History doesn’t record whether they were both for him but I can’t imagine may people would send Julian Dicks out to run errands for them. He played in the game.”

Who are both of the pies, etc.

5.30pm BST

Bairstow goes, dragging Holder back onto the stumps. It was a quiet night in at the library for him too, 18 from 32 balls. England’s musketeers haven’t fired as we expected. At least not yet: here comes Moeen Ali.

5.27pm BST

130th over: England 503-5 (Cook 240, Bairstow 15) Cook glides Chase to the third-man boundary twice in three balls to take England past 500.

5.25pm BST

129th over: England 493-5 (Cook 231, Bairstow 15) Cook mistimes a pull shot that goes up in the air and falls tantalisingly short of the bowler Holder as he runs towards midwicket.

“In a more retro cricket/restaurant story,” begins Colin Dean, “my one and only brush with greatness came when I found myself eating on the table next to John Emburey at the Happy Eater on the A303. I’m not sure what he had, but am fairly certain it would have been served with baked beans.”

5.20pm BST

128th over: England 489-5 (Cook 228, Bairstow 14) Cook and Bairstow scamper five runs in Chase’s over. It’s all pretty low-key.

5.17pm BST

127th over: England 484-5 (Cook 227, Bairstow 10) “It pains me to say it, because I don’t want to give him any more publicity, but that Rees-Mogg fellow could be a good costume model for a pedant,” says John Starbuck.

5.12pm BST

126th over: England 482-5 (Cook 226, Bairstow 9) Bairstow demonstrates the speed of his brain, feet and hands by improvising to steer Chase past short third man for four. A premeditated lap brings a couple more.

5.09pm BST

125th over: England 476-5 (Cook 226, Bairstow 3) Holder beats Bairstow on the inside with a good delivery that bounces over middle stump. That’s it.

“I travelled from Joburg to Potchefstroom at the start of the last England tour to South Africa to watch a warm up match,” says John Bowker. “Not knowing where else to eat, we went to a local Nando’s after the day’s play and were shortly joined by Stokes, Jordan, Moeen, Hales, Buttler and Ballance. I only tell this poor excuse for a story because Jos ordered a full chicken all to himself. A full chicken!”

5.06pm BST

124th over: England 475-5 (Cook 226, Bairstow 2) Chase skids a nice delivery past Cook’s attempted cut. He has bowled pretty well, the best of the attack apart from Roach.

“I will be attending fancy-dress Saturday at Edgbaston and wondered what a regular OBOer should wear,” says Ian Copestake. “How does one dress as a pedant?”

5.03pm BST

123rd over: England 471-5 (Cook 223, Bairstow 1) “It’s that time of year again when I ask you if you’ll be kind enough to give the Hampshire Hogs Six-a-side a plug,” says George Browne. “We’re into our fourth year now and it gets better each time! Warnford is a gorgeous ground, and the beer really is excellent. Drinking is very much encouraged, though we had to put a stop to Pimm’s being delivered to players between overs as it was taking up too much time. All the details can be seen here.”

4.58pm BST

122nd over: England 469-5 (Cook 221, Bairstow 1) Turns out it was a quiet night in at the library for Stokes, yet even that failure (sic) does him some credit. He didn’t play himself in or think about his average, he just tried to score quick runs for the team. That’s one of the best things about England’s three allrounders; they are all so unselfish.

4.55pm BST

Stokes enlivens proceedings… by getting out. He top-edged a reverse sweep off Chase, and Blackwood took an excellent leaping catch at slip.

4.54pm BST

121st over: England 466-4 (Cook 219, Stokes 10) Cook back cuts Holder for a couple, aided and abetted by another misfield. It’s been a slow start to the session, though I suspect Stokes will address that at his earliest convenience.

“My husband has just suggested that the fielders can’t see the ball well (like the spectators can’t) in the outfield hence the misfielding?” says Christine Harrison.

4.49pm BST

120th over: England 462-4 (Cook 214, Stokes 10) Stokes plants the front dog, as I believe it is known, and drags a sweep for four off Chase.

“I need to fess up to the OBO’s mercy for historical opprobrium to Alastair Cook,” says Guy Hornsby. “I can only suggest he bore some brunt of the skillsets-era mess of Andy Flower’s overlording. So he’s not Flintoff or Stokes, but every team would beg to have a player like him. An indefatigable, ice-cool run machine who puts the team above himself. What WAS I thinking? Forgive me!”

4.47pm BST

119th over: England 455-4 (Cook 213, Stokes 5) Always start with a joke, said David Brent, and Holder does just that: his first delivery after lunch is a no-ball half-volley that Stokes rifles whence it came for four. I’m a bit distracted, because I’ve just read about the death of Bruce Forsyth. Ach, that’s really sad. Entertainment just got a bit heavier.

Here’s Brucie at his best during the 1974 FA Cup final.

4.41pm BST

118th over: England 450-4 (Cook 213, Stokes 1) Roston Chase, who dismissed Dawid Malan on the stroke of lunch, has four balls remaining. Ben Stokes drives the second of those for a single to get off the mark.

“Cook will never have a better chance to get a triple ton than today,” says James Austin. “But could he go bigger? If he gets to, say, 330 – 350 in the hour after tea would Root hold the declaration to give him a chance of going for 400? Is there any honour in doing that against this West Indies team?”

4.26pm BST

The award for tweet of the day goes to…

Ben Stokes coming in after lunch at 449-4 #ENGvWI pic.twitter.com/JGDMsGMmsy

4.02pm BST

117.2 overs: England 449-4 (Cook 213) The wicket means that will be the last ball before lunch. Malan looks pretty down as he walks off; he knows what a great opportunity that was. It was a good delivery from Chase, although Malan’s defensive stroke was a little bit indecisive.

Cook goes to lunch on 213 not out, and will be joined by Ben Stokes after the break. See you then!

3.59pm BST

There will be no Test hundred for Dawid Malan, at least not yet. He pushes defensively at a good delivery from Chase that turns to take the edge, and Blackwood at slip takes a good catch.

3.58pm BST

117th over: England 449-3 (Cook 213, Malan 65) Cook slams a pull stroke for four off Holder. He’ll probably never get a better chance of scoring a Test triple-hundred than today.

“Dear Rob,” says Sara Torvalds. “I stopped reading about the atrocities in Spain yesterday and Turku, Finland, today – which may yet prove to be a madman rather than a terrorist, but is nonetheless depressing) and turned to the OBO, expecting to find sane and peaceful people who settle their differences by playing cricket, discussing cricket, perhaps e-mailing you or TMS on a point of contention – only to be further saddened that there are people who can’t hold their liquor at the cricket (103rd over). I doubt a tequila breakfast is to blame, it’s just a lack of manners.”

3.53pm BST

116th over: England 443-3 (Cook 207, Malan 65) Cook drives Chase pleasantly for a couple and then cracks a cut to the cover sweeper. We’re a few minutes away from lunch

“Currently in the wilds of Oregon aiming to watch the eclipse,” says Kevin Rodgers. “Day/night timings (although clearly weird in the UK) are perfect to catch OBO out here ‘cos we’re eight hours behind you. Fitting, given why I’m here (day/night, eclipse? Oh, please yourselves.)”

3.50pm BST

115th over: England 440-3 (Cook 204, Malan 65) The admirable Roach seams a cracking delivery past Cook’s outside edge, and responds by striking the FML pose for a few seconds.

3.46pm BST

114th over: England 439-3 (Cook 203, Malan 65) Chase bowls a maiden to Malan. What more can I say?

Here’s Ian Copestake. “Can I reassure those distraught at the fall of civilised society (again) that the worst crowd aggro I witnessed was at Headingley in 1997, when an Aussie fan and a Brit went at it in the middle of the road forcing hordes of fans to stand and stare and wait for the whole thing to blow over (into a nearby carpark).”

3.43pm BST

113th over: England 439-3 (Cook 203, Malan 65) Cook edges Roach to third man, where a ludicrous misfield turns one run into four – and takes Cook to 200! It’s his fourth in Tests. Brisbane 2010, Edgbaston 2011, Abu Dhabi 2015 and now Edgbaston 2017. Only Len Hutton (4) and Wally Hammond (7) have made as many in Tests for England. He’s a national treasure, in his own modest way, and there is a lot of love for him from the crowd as he raises his bat.

3.39pm BST

112th over: England 433-3 (Cook 198, Malan 64) Malan swipes Chase over mid-off for four. He didn’t quite get hold of it but it had enough on it to clear Cummins. He gets another boundary two balls later with a classy inside-out drive between extra cover and mid-off. That was lovely. These are heady moments in life of Dawid Malan. A few weeks ago he assumed he’d never play Test cricket; now he has a massive chance of a Test hundred.

I’ll just leave this here…” says Phil Russell.

3.35pm BST

111th over: England 422-3 (Cook 197, Malan 54) Kemar Roach returns, the poor chap, and zips a good delivery past the outside edge of Malan. He has bowled well in this innings and deserves better than a score of 422 for three.

“Dear Rob,” says Alasdair MacDonald. “On the subject of drunkenness at cricket matches, I and a number of London-based friends spent the 1980s getting very, very, drunk at cricket matches. Our nadir, as I can just about recall, was spending the MCC Bicentenary match (a couple of days off thirty years ago) urging Sunil Gavaskar to ‘hit out or get out’ during his masterly 188 in the Rest of the World’s first innings. Times? We’ve ‘ad ‘em (I think)…”

3.30pm BST

110th over: England 421-3 (Cook 196, Malan 54) The offspinner Roston Chase comes into the attack, or should I say the defence. Cook cuts a single to move to 196; Malan chases a wide one and is beaten.

“An update,” says our weatherman Paul Kavanagh. “The skies are darkening and there are spots of rain on the office windows.”

3.27pm BST

109th over: England 420-3 (Cook 195, Malan 54) “I’m wfh today and my nine-year-old son Noah wants to know when England should declare?” says Peter Lovell. “I’ve told him you’re my mate so you’ll definitely reply – Don’t let me down. Twilight surely?”

Yeah, either half an hour before or half an hour after tea. I’d set the middle-order musketeers a target of 700 by 7pm, mate.

3.24pm BST

108th over: England 417-3 (Cook 192, Malan 54) Malan pulls Cummins for two to reach his first Test fifty! Well played youngish man. Whatever happens, that’s in Wisden forever. You can’t become a former Test half-centurion. He’ll fancy his chances of becoming a Test centurion today, and he moves to 54 by pinging a low full toss past backward point for four.

We’re delighted to have @westindies great Winston Davis and @Trotty with us in the PCA office at @edgbaston today pic.twitter.com/62nqfEZqKN

3.18pm BST

107th over: England 408-3 (Cook 189, Malan 48) Joseph overpitches to Malan, who laces a beautiful extra-cover drive for four. He plays that shot with such elegance. That’s the 62nd boundary of the innings. After a good start to the day, West Indies are starting to put the ‘pathetic’ in apathetic once again. Their fielding in particular has been atrocious.

3.14pm BST

106th over: England 403-3 (Cook 188, Malan 44) Cook brings up the 400 with a beautiful straight drive for four off Cummins. The words ‘classical’ and ‘Alastair Cook’ don’t go together often, at least not since his choirboy days, but that was straight from the MCC coaching manual.

3.10pm BST

105th over: England 397-3 (Cook 183, Malan 44) Too straight again for Joseph, and Malan clips it for four. He is six away from a beautiful, beautiful thing: a first Test fifty. It’s too easy to forget just how much these individual achievements mean, particularly to players at the start of their career.

“Further to Susan Perry’s email (over 103) I was at a Surrey vs Kent T20 last year when two groups started laying into each other at the end of the game,” says Adam Williamson. “Sadly, the stewards clearly had no idea what to do and it was down to the rest of us to placate all concerned. A sad development in the normally genteel world of willow and leather.”

3.02pm BST

104th over: England 390-3 (Cook 182, Malan 39) Cummins is too full and too straight to Cook, who punishes him to the midwicket boundary. A single brings up a century partnership that he has dominated. Cook almost falls to the final ball of the over, checking a cut that loops just over the man at backward point.

“How good (or bad) is the West Indies batting?” says Robin Hazlehurst. “Because resilient and aggressive batting from them combined with iffy weather could keep this match and series live and interesting. But if they bat like they have bowled it could all be a bit cringe-inducing.”

#ENGvWI

@5liveSport & @BBCRadio4 LW

https://t.co/hkWFhobwI5

@BBCSport App

https://t.co/OflNGyho4h

In-play highlights pic.twitter.com/pweOEk9aoC

2.56pm BST

103rd over: England 382-3 (Cook 175, Malan 38) Joseph has found his line after that poor start. He slips a good on past Malan’s outside edge, then brings one back to hit him amidships. Malan has played watchfully and has 38 from 96 balls. Cook has 175 from 313.

“Hi Rob,” says Susan Perry. “I was at Edgbaston yesterday and left early – not to get a train as I was lucky enough to be staying over (in the same hotel as Beefy it turns out). The reason I left was that despite stewards stepping in to stop various altercations, it felt like it was all about to kick off in the Eric Holies Stand and that it might turn into an enormous punch up. Not something I wanted to be anywhere near.”

2.54pm BST

102nd over: England 379-3 (Cook 175, Malan 37) A good delivery from the new bowler Cummins turns Cook round and takes a very thick edge that goes for a single.

“I also found some of the abuse Cook took quite extraordinary,” says Dave Brown. “One of the greatest batsmen and a wonderful chap. KP criticised him by saying that he tried to be friends with everyone! Is that really such a bad thing? Perhaps KP should have tried it.”

2.47pm BST

101st over: England 378-3 (Cook 174, Malan 37) Alzarri Joseph replaces Kemar Roach. He starts abysmally, with two leg-stump half-volleys that are put away for four by Cook. It wouldn’t be remotely surprising if Cook made 300 today.

2.42pm BST

100th over: England 369-3 (Cook 165, Malan 37) Holder strays onto the hip of Cook, who does the necessary to the fine-leg boundary. It’s been a slow start for England, with 21 runs from the first 10 overs, but that’s fine – by seeing off the new ball, these two are building a perfect platform for the three musketeers in the lower middle-order.

2.37pm BST

99th over: England 364-3 (Cook 160, Malan 37) Roach shrieks an LBW appeal when Cook flicks around the front pad. Not out. I suspect it was going down, with Roach bowling around the wicket. Replays confirm that was indeed the case.

2.34pm BST

98th over: England 363-3 (Cook 159, Malan 37) “Interesting looking at the list of highest runscorers,” says Jonny Wilkins. “Cook is the highest opener on the list (which I image contributes to his lower average). All those above batted No3 or below for most of their career? He also has fewer ducks than most. We will miss him dearly when he does go….”

Yes, he’s scored more Test runs than any other opener (though he had a summer at No3 himself). He’s a beautiful freak. What I like most about him are his dignity and decency. The way he dealt with a never-ending crisis in 2014, and some despicable abuse from posturing non-achievers, was beyond admirable.

2.28pm BST

97th over: England 361-3 (Cook 158, Malan 36) Cook has gone into his shell – or, rather, is yet to emerge from his shell today. He is declining to attack anything pitched up because of the new-ball movement; even in the seventh hour of his innings, he has the patience to play the long game. The reverse of that, as Beefy says on Sky, is that Roach hasn’t made him play nearly enough. There is nice shape but his line is too wide.

2.25pm BST

96th over: England 361-3 (Cook 158, Malan 36) Holder snaps a fantastic delivery past Malan’s defensive grope. West Indies have been much better this morning, with the newish ball doing enough to make life tricky for the batsmen.

“Hi Rob,” says Tom Atkins. “On the subject of drunken oafish behaviour at Tests, something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while now. In 2002 a group of us dressed up as Richie Benaud and went to the Lord’s Test against Sri Lanka. We got leathered on smuggled-in booze and thought we were hilarious. We weren’t, we were a bunch of noisy, obnoxious berks who probably ruined a day out for a lot of the people around us. If anyone reading this was there, I’m really sorry. I can’t see the day-night experiment going well in this country. On the plus side, we got to meet Going For Gold’s Henry Kelly outside the ground; he was as plastered as we were.”

2.21pm BST

95th over: England 359-3 (Cook 158, Malan 34) A wide half-volley from Roach is driven emphatically for four by Malan, down on one knee. That was a beautiful stroke. Cook then feels for a good awayswinger, aborting his stroke just before it whistles through to the keeper.

“Someone elsewhere has mentioned that the reason why there were fewer people in the ground last night is that train timetables haven’t been changed,” says Richard O’Hagan, “so for some people the only option was to leave at 8 or they wouldn’t have made it home.”

2.16pm BST

94th over: England 354-3 (Cook 158, Malan 29) Cook inside-edges Holder into the leg side for the first run of the day, and then gets a thick edge along the ground for the first boundary of the day.

“After yesterday’s OBO and the comments from colour-blind people, like me, I was keen to see the Channel 5 highlights (memo to your sports desk, the highlights are at midnight, not 7pm – someone forgot to tell the people who do the Big Paper layout),” begins John Starbuck. “There were times when I could infer where the ball was but not actually see it, especially when it went out to the deep, where a fielder picked it up and threw it back. All very like the tennis game towards the end of Blow Up. Maybe it heralds a new kind of Virtual Cricket?”

2.12pm BST

93rd over: England 348-3 (Cook 153, Malan 28) Roach continues to tempt Malan with full deliveries angled across him. Malan ignores those, but is hit on the arm when he tries to pull a surprise bouncer later in the over. He was through the shot too early. Another maiden, the third in a row. This is much better from the West Indies.

“PS: They’re not showing the cricket in Australia at the moment because the darts is running late,” says Phil Withall. “This isn’t helping.”

2.08pm BST

92nd over: England 348-3 (Cook 153, Malan 28) The captain Jason Holder will start at the other end. He was carrying a few injuries yesterday, and wasn’t as accurate as usual, but he starts here with a good maiden to Cook.

“That ‘Don’t Take Me Home’ song is sooooooo annoying,” says Simon. “Was annoying in the Euros last summer and is still annoying now. Not quite on a par with the Toure chant but it does feel like the crowd is more a footie/darts crowd than cricket.”

2.04pm BST

91st over: England 348-3 (Cook 153, Malan 28) Kemar Roach begins the day’s play, and slips a full-length tempter past Dawid Malan’s attempted drive. Roach is a good bowler; it’s odd that he hasn’t played a Test for 18 months.

“Evening Rob,” says Phil Withall. “I’m not a fan of the whole day/night test thing. It’s nearly 11 at night, I’ve been up since four this morning and will be lucky to see two overs before I fall asleep. I understand the reasoning behind the experiment and that it has probably increased ticket sales for what, more than likely, would have been a tough series to sell. However I will miss a lot of cricket and this is not good for my peace of mind. (Bugger you lot that pay and support it at the ground.)”

2.00pm BST

After a minute’s silence for the victims of the Barcelona terror attacks, the players get ready for action. It’s a lovely sunny afternoon in Birmingham.

1.52pm BST

“Afternoon Rob,” says Matt Potter. “How long do we realistically think Cook has left of his Test career? I’d just love him to knock Ponting off second spot but there’s a fair way left to go!”

This is the list of the highest runscorers in Tests. He’ll almost certainly go past Ricky Ponting, and I think he’ll overtake Sachin Tendulkar as well. He should be able to play for at least another five years, maybe longer; he’s very fit and looks so relaxed since giving up the captaincy. The only problem would be if his eyes go, as can suddenly happen to a batsman in his mid-30s. But I have a feeling he will follow his mentor Graham Gooch and score Test hundreds in his forties.

Make it a Daddy #ENGvWI pic.twitter.com/oM4eBenOHH

1.46pm BST

Latest from @bbcweather suggests we’ll get a bit of everything.

Sunny spells, hail, showers, thunderstorms & then longer spells of rain pic.twitter.com/Mja1WstTeA

1.39pm BST

Possible future statgasm If England win this series 3-0, as most people expect, they will have won more than five Tests in one summer for only the second time in their history. The first was, of course, the summer of Rob Key: 2004, when England won seven out of seven against New Zealand and West Indies.

1.36pm BST

Weather watch “Morning Rob,” says Paul Kavanagh. “It feels like the morning. Still not over the jet lag of starting at 2pm. Gorgeous weather after thunder and lightning an hour ago. Looks like we might get some play.”

If the weather holds, England’s plan is simple: bat until just after tea, then give Jimmy Anderson a new pink ball under lights.

1.30pm BST

The first email of the day

“Am I the only one whose enjoyment of day-night Test cricket was ruined by the incesssant, moronic chanting coming from the stands during the last hour or so yesterday?” says Richard O’Hagan. “There used to be a convention that you at least shut up when the ball was about to be delivered (see footage of Botham’s 5-1 in ‘81, for example), but not any more apparently. It does render the argument over whether Edgbaston should name an end after Ian Bell otiose, though. There were quite enough of those there last night as it was.”

1.05pm BST

“Remember when is the lowest form of conversation” – Tony Soprano.

So here’s a piece about when the West Indies were the scariest and most brilliant team in the world. If you’re not into the whole words thing, please click it anyway: the pictures are glorious.

Related: The scariest Test England ever played: terror at the hands of West Indies

10.38am BST

Hello there. At the start of play yesterday, everyone was talking about day/night Test cricket. By the close of play, the conversation had switched to the fact that, when it comes to Test cricket, England and West Indies are like night and day. This wasn’t the mismatch we expected; it was worse.

West Indies’ quick bowling is supposed to be their strength, yet Alastair Cook and Joe Root scored probably the easiest centuries of their international careers. Kemar Roach bowled bloody well at times. The rest, not so much. There were 53 boundaries in the day, which is more than England have scored in many full Test matches against West Indies. And not just in 20th century.

Related: Cook and Root shine for England against West Indies in day-night Test

Related: Captain dependable Joe Root hits another landmark score for England | Ali Martin

Related: Trollied by Trunch: Edgbaston fans toast new day-night schedule | Andy Bull

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/aug/18/england-v-west-indies-day-night-test-at-edgbaston-day-two-live

Aug 16

Celtic 5-0 Astana: Champions League play-off first leg – as it happened

Scott Sinclair scored twice as Celtic thrashed the Kazakhstan champions to all but book their place in the Champions League group stages

9.37pm BST

Peep peep! Celtic have qualified for the Champions League group stages with a match to spare. There is a second leg to be played on Tuesday but their five-goal lead is insurmountable. The scoreline flatters them a touch – it includes two own-goals and a controversial third – but Celtic will not care about that, and nor should they. Thanks for your company, night!

9.31pm BST

Another own goal finishes off a perfect night for Celtic. Griffiths’ shot was going well wide before it took a decisive deflection off Shitov. It’s a shame that’s an own goal because Griffiths deserves a goal after an utterly brilliant centre-forward performance.

9.27pm BST

9.27pm BST

85 min There is some atmosphere now, a mixture of disbelief and joy. I don’t think anybody expected this score.

9.24pm BST

83 min Celtic Park has turned into a bouncy castle.

9.24pm BST

82 min Celtic make another change, with Forrest replaced by Stuart Armstrong.

9.23pm BST

82 min Astana’s final substitution: Muzhikov off, Grahovac on.

9.22pm BST

What a lovely move that was. Ntcham drove a long crossfield pass to Griffiths, who had stretched the defence with yet another excellent run in behind. He took the ball down smartly, waited for some movement and played a beautiful reverse pass to Forrest. He pitter-pattered into the area and, from a tight angle, slid the ball calmly across Mokin and into the far corner. Great goal.

9.20pm BST

This is a marvellous goal!

9.20pm BST

79 min Astana played well for long spells of this game, but since going 3-0 down they have been all over the place.

9.20pm BST

78 min Shomko shoots from 45 yards. You can guess the rest.

9.19pm BST

77 min Astana make another substitution, with Murtazayev replacing Tomaso.

9.16pm BST

75 min Sinclair, whose confidence is suddenly stratospheric, is muscled over on the left wing. Another free-kick for Griffiths to whip into the box. It’s a poor one, and headed away at the near post.

9.14pm BST

73 min Astana have lost the collective noggin. They are putting the boot in all over the pitch. One such free-kick almost leads to a fourth for Celtic, with Griffiths’ free-kick flashing right across the face of goal.

9.13pm BST

72 min “Hey Rob,” says JR in Illinois. “Good to see they’ve finally started to take head injuries seriously outside the U.S. Not. I thought officials were required to stop games for obvious head injuries. How could the ref have let play continue after that nasty clash of heads? Seems very wrong.”

The strange thing is that he looked at it, saw them fall over and then decided to play on anyway.

9.11pm BST

69 min Marvellous old-fashioned thuggery from Shitov, who rampages through Sinclair and and then Tierney in the space of a couple of seconds. He’s booked for the first challenge.

9.09pm BST

68 min “The refereeing around that goal,” says Matt Dony, “was absolute Shitov.”

9.09pm BST

67 min Kabananka wriggles past his man in the area and attempts a cutback that deflects over Gordon and onto the roof of the net.

9.07pm BST

66 min An Astana substitution: the injured Logvinenko is replaced by Beysebekov.

9.06pm BST

64 min Griffiths scampers onto a long pass from Tierney, moves into the box in the inside-left channel and then splatters a shot well wide of the near post. That was another decent chance.

9.05pm BST

63 min Tom Rogic is replaced by Callum McGregor. Logvinenko will miss the second leg because of that yellow card.

9.04pm BST

62 min Both players are still being treated. Rogic has a gash in the back of his head as is gong to come off, while Logvinenko has a bandaged head. I suspect he’ll be going off as well. As he is moving gingerly off the field, the referee books him for the challenge on Rogic!

9.02pm BST

There was a nasty clash of heads between Rogic and Logvinenko near the halfway line. They both went down, but the referee didn’t stop the game and Celtic broke two against two. Griffiths played a nice pass down the side of the defence for Sinclair, who timed his run excellently and finished first time under Mokin.

9.01pm BST

A controversial third goal puts Celtic in a wonderful position.

8.59pm BST

56 min Astana are settling into the second half now, moving the ball with the same confidence they showed in the first half. The last man Simunovic makes an excellent sliding challenge after a smart one-two between Kabananga and Kleinheisler.

8.57pm BST

55 min Kabananga is deliberately muscled to the floor by Simunovic, who might have been booked.

8.55pm BST

53 min For at least the third time tonight, Griffifths is played through on goal and then flagged offside. This one was very tight, though still the right decision.

8.53pm BST

52 min Muzhikov’s left-wing corner flicks off a head at the near post and flashes across the area to Kabananga, whose acrobatic shot is crucially blocked.

8.52pm BST

51 min It’s been a sluggish start to the second half from Astana, surprisingly so in the circumstances. That said, a 2-1 defeat would be an excellent result for them so there’s no need to panic,

8.51pm BST

49 min Tierney is booked for a high foot on Shitov.

8.48pm BST

47 min “I’m Phil, currently of Astoria, Queens, and I care for neither the Guardian nor Celtic,” says Phil Podolsky. “In fact, I don’t like or enjoy anything anymore. There’s a medical term for it: it’s called being extremely cool.”

8.47pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Celtic begin the second half. They’d be happy to hear the final whistle now.

8.42pm BST

Half-time reading (thanks to David Bolam)

Related: I’ll get my goat: Kazakhstan’s ancient sport for modern times

8.33pm BST

Stat of the night

Celtic have had one shot on target. They lead 2-0.

8.32pm BST

A nervous half for Celtic ends with a wonderful scoreline. Two slightly fortunate but very timely goals have put them in a great position in the tie, particularly if they can keep a clean sheet tonight. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

8.29pm BST

The goal came out of nothing. Rogic, in the centre circle, tried to play the ball out to the left. He was challenged by Kleinheisler and the ball deflected behind the defence for Sinclair, who read the play and made an excellent run. He scampered into the box, to the right of centre, and sidefooted the ball through Mokin and into the far corner. The keeper might have done better. Celtic give not one fig.

8.27pm BST

Never mind the run of play, Celtic are 2-0 up!

8.27pm BST

41 min On reflection I think Brown was booked for a sort of hand-off/elbow.

“Re that Astana chance on 34 mins – watching the game from my home in the southerly part of Glasgow, I’m surprised to learn that my next door neighbour is a Kazakh,” says Jim Crane. “At least that is all I can surmise from his roar of anguish as the chance went begging…”

8.25pm BST

40 min Scott Brown is booked for opening his mouth once too often in the vicinity of the referee.

8.24pm BST

38 min Tierney gallops down the left and slides a fine ball across the face of goal, but there are no Celtic players there to finish it.

8.23pm BST

37 min Twumasi wins another corner. Astana have responded brilliantly to the goal, with some menacing attacks. This corner leads to another, which is eventually cleared. Celtic still don’t look comfortable.

8.21pm BST

35 min “That goal,” says Brendan in Spain, “really tied the room together.”

That’s just, like, your opinion, man.

8.19pm BST

34 min Astana should have equalised there. In fact, Postnikov should have equalised his own goal. He had a freeish header, six yards from goal from a left-wing corner, and thumped it just wide of the near post. It came off the side of his head I think.

8.18pm BST

I take it back, it’s an own goal. Rogic slithered superbly through the defence on the right of the box and dinked the ball over the advancing keeper with his right foot. It was spinning wide of the far post, but the stretching Postnikov – who was trying to clear a shot he thought was going in – put it into his own net.

8.17pm BST

This is a fine goal from Tom Rogic!

8.16pm BST

31 min “Speaking of fake news as you almost were,” says Ian Copestake, “all this talk of alt-right and alt-left seems utterly based in twaddle, as nothing happens when I press them on my keyboard.”

I blame alt-J. For everything, but primarily for the fact I can never lick a crisp packet again.

8.16pm BST

30 min Tierney’s dipping cross is headed behind for a corner. It’s played short, tossed deep, and headed behind by Lustig. Bah.

8.14pm BST

30 min Forrest looks sharp for Celtic, the biggest attacking plus for them. Sinclair has been quiet, as has Griffiths, with Rogic good in patches.

8.13pm BST

28 min “I’m Diego from Guatemala, a big fan of the Guardian and vivid Celtic supporter,” says Diego Ortiz, challening Brendan for the Unique Sentence of the Night award. “Do you think we have a shot of qualifying to the CL Group Stage and making a good run? Or do we have more chance in Europa League and maybe think of winning it?”

I’m not sure about winning the Europa League, but with a fair wind they could go to the later stages. In the Champions League, they’d do extremely well to get out of the group stages. But they’ll get more money and the players will learn more. If it was me I’d quite fancy the Europa League.

8.11pm BST

26 min Celtic are pretty fortunate that Shitov’s deep cross from the right goes just over the head of the unmarked Kabananga, allowing Lustig to head behind for a corner.

8.10pm BST

25 min “Evening Señor,” says Jim Crane. “The Standing Section (pleasingly) is priced as standard – but perhaps unsurprisingly all spaces are sold out via Season Tickets. I understand the emotion attached to the issue with some supporters, but having stood there a couple of times I would say that it’s not only a safe experience but also a fantastic addition to the matchday experience (Christ, I sound like Richard Scudamore).”

It sells Michelin-star food as well, right?

8.09pm BST

24 min That shows what I know: according to the stats, Celtic have had 63 per cent possession. FAKE STATS.

8.08pm BST

23 min The crowd are somewhere between restless and nervous. Astana have dominated possession and are playing with a striking confidence.

8.07pm BST

22 min Muzhikov strikes a bouncing, wobbling shot from 25 yards that is excellently held by Gordon. It was straight at him but the movement – both sideways and up and down – made it a very awkward ball to hold.

8.06pm BST

21 min Twumasi cuts inside Tierney 25 yards from goal and whacks the bouncing ball well wide of the near post. The two wingers, Twuamsi and Tomaso, look dangerous.

8.05pm BST

21 min Brown is a little fortunate to avoid a yellow card for a foul on Twumasi.

8.04pm BST

19 min “Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Always nice to see Scottish teams doing well in Europe, especially seeing as Celtic have a healthy number of Scots in their starting eleven. Though it’s not exactly McAlpine, Stark, Malpas, Gough, Hegarty, Narey, Bannon, Milne, Kirkwood, Sturrock and Dodds, is it?”

That’s just asking for the finger.

8.01pm BST

17 min Astana have been the better team in general play, yet Celtic have had those two excellent opportunities. It’s a really interesting game.

8.00pm BST

16 min Kabananga eyes immortality from 25 yards. Goal kick to Celtic.

8.00pm BST

15 min Ntcham sprays a nice pass wide to Tierney, who takes it well on his chest and swings in a good cross that is headed away by Postnikov. Or Logvinenko. I haven’t a clue, to be honest, I’m just assuming it was a centre-half.

7.58pm BST

14 min “Prowling like a demented animal in a zoo clicking refresh on my phone the way they would if they had fancy phones,” says an unnamed correspondent. “I now have to go to the pub. Impossible to get the BBC Scotland radio coverage over my network to my phone and I have no blinking wifi (relationships ending have incalculable consequences). C’mon you Hoops!”

I like that you have to go to the pub.

7.58pm BST

13 min The elegant left winger Tomasov, a former Croatia international, looks a threat. Astana are a decent side, though that won’t come as a surprise to Celtic after last year.

7.55pm BST

9 min “The issue with Griffiths there,” says Brendan in Spain, “was he has far too much hair.” Larry David would have buried it.

7.53pm BST

8 min What a chance for Griffiths! Forrest, found by Rogic, curls an excellent first-time cross towards the six-yard line. Griffiths gets ahead of his man, hangs in the air – and heads it just wide of the near post. Brendan Rodgers had his arm up in celebration as it came off Griffiths’ head.

7.51pm BST

6 min Postnikov is booked for unapologetically taking out Rogic near the halfway line. Celtic had a break on so it was a a sensible piece of cynicism.

7.50pm BST

5 min Astana have started confidently in possession, with Tomasov beating Lustig easily on the left before flashing a cross that is headed clear by Simunovic.

7.49pm BST

4 min Forrest runs at Shomko down the right and wins a free-kick. Griffiths swings a lovely inswinging ball that bounces off Maevski on the six-yard line. It falls slightly behind Sinclair, who slices an instinctive snapshot wide of the far post. That was a chance.

7.47pm BST

2 min Here’s Ian Copestake. “Regarding the onset of entitlement and Scotland’s possible status as a Lost World, preserved from vulgar things like cash and evolution, do tickets for safe-standing seats cost an and arm and a leg, or is this a way for the wee man to sneak back into footer?”

Good question. I don’t know. What do you think this is, a national newspaper? Anyone know how much they cost?

7.46pm BST

1 min Peep peep! Astana, in yellow, kick off from right to left. Celtic are in the hoops.

7.44pm BST

The players emerge from the tunnel to a familiar din. This is some atmosphere. And they haven’t even played the Champions League music yet!

7.37pm BST

The defenestration of impartiality

Come on Celtic!

7.36pm BST

An email “I am an Australian following Celtic with great interest from Santiago de Compostela in Spain,” writes Brendan, winning the prize for ‘Unique Sentence of the Night’ before a ball has been kicked. “Looking forward to your updates!”

7.35pm BST

Longshot

Is anyone reading this who lives in Orkney and has an interest in a regular game of five-a-side?

6.49pm BST

Celtic (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Bitton, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest, Rogic, Sinclair; Griffiths.
Substitutes: Armstrong, de Vries, Benyu, Ajer, McGregor, Ralston, Miller.

Astana (4-2-3-1) Mokin; Shitov, Postnikov, Logvinenko, Shomko; Maevski, Kleinheisler; Twumasi, Muzhikov, Tomasov; Kabananga.
Substitutes: Eric, Anicic, Grahovac, Beysebekov, Tagybergen, Maliy, Murtazayev.

12.36am BST

Good evening. With the possible exception of u, nothing compares to European nights in Scotland. The atmospheres are like something from the 1980s, cacophonous and entitlement-free. It’ll certainly be an ear-splitter at Celtic Park tonight, as Celtic try to take out the Kazakhstan champions Astana for the second year running.

Celtic needed an injury-time penalty to win the third qualifying round match between the sides a year ago, and that was with home advantage in the second leg. Astana, in the best traditions of crack eastern European teams (sic), are formidable at home and a bit useless away, so Celtic will want a decent win tonight: 4-2, 3-1, 2-0 and 1-0 would all be acceptable.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/16/celtic-v-astana-champions-league-play-off-first-leg-live

Aug 13

Manchester United 4-0 West Ham: Lukaku hits double on debut – as it happened

Romelu Lukaku scored twice on his league debut for United, who produced a very confident statement of intent by battering West Ham

6.11pm BST

And here’s Daniel Taylor’s match report from Old Trafford.

Related: Romelu Lukaku gives Manchester United dream start against West Ham

5.50pm BST

Peep peep! That was a very confident statement of intent from United. Matic was good, Lukaku scored twice, and there were patches when United played with devastating speed in attack. Most importantly, they scored four goals, something they managed only once in the league in the previous two seasons. It would be wrong to jump to conclusions, so that’s what everyone will do, but United were good today, particularly when the game opened up in the second half. Thanks for your company, I’ll leave you with this from Matt Dony: “Welcome back, Joe Hart.”

5.47pm BST

Paul Pogba completes a very good day’s work with an excellent goal. Martial ushered him forward with a simple little pass into space, and Pogba marched onto it before opening his body to curl the ball under the diving Hart from 20 yards.

5.45pm BST

88 min Mkhitaryan, who has had a quiet game yet created two goals, is replaced by Jesse Lingard.

5.44pm BST

This is a nice goal. Mkhitaryan slips a superb first-time pass through the defence for Martial, who takes it in his stride and sidefoots crisply under Hart.

5.42pm BST

86 min Pogba comes infield from the left, plays a square pass to Lukaku and keeps running. Lukaku dinks a nice return pass over the top which Pogba takes on the chest before swishing a half-volley that is crucially blocked by Zabaleta.

5.41pm BST

85 min Matic plays a give-and-go with Martial before overhitting a through pass to Lukaku, who had made another terrific angled run behind the defence. That was a fairly straightforward pass for Matic.

5.37pm BST

82 min Another West Ham change: Aaron Cresswell replaces Masuaku.

5.37pm BST

81 min This game is over. United know it, West Ham know it. Even educated fleas know it.

5.36pm BST

79 min Another Manchester United substitution: Anthony Martial for Marcus Rashford, who had a good game in his newish role on the left wing and made the first goal.

5.34pm BST

78 min A cross from the left falls nicely for Arnautovic, in space to the right of the box. He controls the ball on his thigh but then blasts a half-volley into orbit.

5.32pm BST

77 min “I do like Mkhitaryan,” says Matt Dony. “Very much ‘one that got away’ for Liverpool. Still, at least he got his wish and joined a ‘big team’. (7, 4, 5, 6…)”

With banter like that, it’s on!

5.32pm BST

76 min A like-for-like substitution from United: Juan Mata is replaced by Marouane Fellaini. Mata was his useful busy, skilful self.

5.31pm BST

75 min Lukaku finds himself in space 25 yards out, draws back his left foot … and batters the ball into orbit.

5.30pm BST

73 min Rashford wins a corner with another eye-catching turn of speed down the left. Blind makes a mess of it.

5.30pm BST

72 min How do you think Henrik, son of Hamlet, will get on this year, after a patchy first season?” sniffs David Wall. “Can he be, or not be, at the level he achieved at Dortmund again consistently?”

It would be so much better if he regularly played No10, but you can’t really do that with Pogba in the side, not in the tougher games when Mourinho will want the protection of Matic and Herrera. He’ll be fine though; he’s class.

5.28pm BST

71 min United’s full-back almost combine for a great goal. Valencia rampages down the right and picks out a very deep cross from Blind, whose deliberate volley goes into the ground and bounces up onto the roof of the net.

5.25pm BST

68 min United look like a side who are ready to challenge for the title. Mind you, we said that last August. It’s probably worth reserving judgement until we are 10 games into the season.

5.23pm BST

66 min Rashford hits the base of the post with a quite brilliant curling shot from 20 yards. That was a beautiful effort, whipped extravagantly around Hart from an inside-left position. It curled appreciably but not quite enough before rattling off the inside of the post and across goal.

5.20pm BST

63 min Mkhitaryan dances into space and hits a fierce low shot from 20 yards that is well held by the plunging Hart.

5.19pm BST

63 min Just before that Lukaku chance, Sakho made a mess of a free header from a corner, flicking it right across the face of goal.

5.18pm BST

62 min Zabaleta makes a great block to deny Lukaku a hat-trick. He was teed up beautifully by Rashford and Mkhitaryan, and drilled a low right-footed shot that would probably have gone in the corner but for Zabaleta’s desperate sliding block.

5.17pm BST

61 min West Ham made a double change, with Declan Rice and Diafra Sakho replacing Noble and Fernandes.

5.16pm BST

60 min Valencia is booked for a late tackle on Arnautovic.

5.15pm BST

59 min Arnautovic hits the bar! It was a terrific looping header from Fernandes’s lofted pass. De Gea backpedalled but didn’t get there, and it hit the top of the bar before going behind.

5.13pm BST

57 min Mkhitaryan has a goal disallowed for offside against Rashford in the build up.

5.11pm BST

55 min West Ham have a job on now. Only Spurs conceded fewer league goals than United last season, and that was before Matic.

5.09pm BST

It was another straightforward goal. Mkhitaryan curled a free-kick in from the left, and Lukaku got in front of Masuaku to flick an accomplished downward header into the far corner. That’s a really good finish.

5.09pm BST

Another one for Romelu Lukaku!

5.07pm BST

51 min Zabaleta is booked for fouling Rashford just outside the area.

5.07pm BST

50 min Rashford misses a decent chance to make it 2-0. He vroomed away from Reid to meet Pogba’s through pass before opening up his body to try to curl it into the far top corner. He didn’t get enough curl on it and it flew high and wide.

5.02pm BST

46 min Peep peep! West Ham begin the second half. If you like to picture these things in the TV style, they are kicking from right to left.

4.53pm BST

Ah

“I see that John Hone ‘Can’t believe that nobody has come up with the stat that Lukaku never failed to score against West Ham in ALL his time with Everton!’” says Mo Holkar. “There might be a reason for that.”

4.48pm BST

Half-time statgasm

“Can’t believe that nobody has come up with the stat that Lukaku never failed to score against West Ham in ALL his time with Everton!” says John Hone. “That goal makes it 10 in a row!”

4.48pm BST

Peep peep! West Ham defended very well for all bar a few seconds of the half, when Romelu Lukaku scored a goal that brought Ian Rush to mind: a perfectly timed angled run behind the defence and an emphatic first-time finish

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

4.47pm BST

45+1 min West Ham almost equalise on the stroke of half-time. Ayew plays a short pass into the area for Noble, who flicks it cleverly behind him while being clattered by Valencia. Fernandes runs onto the ball and thrashes a shot from 17 yards that takes a slight deflection off Bailly and is beaten away by De Gea.

4.44pm BST

44 min “Hi Rob,” says Felix Wood. “The sale of Matic to Man U is so baffling for me. Why on earth did Chelsea do it? You must know. You must.”

Look, it’s all related to the 9/11 Cover Up and the Brexit vote. If I say any more than that, I’ll be find in a dump truck.

4.42pm BST

43 min Bailly is booked for a hack at Hernandez.

4.40pm BST

40 min Hernandez’s deft lay-off finds Fernandes, whose stinging 20-yard shot is blocked.

4.39pm BST

40 min Matic goes on a superb, twinkle-toed run down the right before giving the ball away. He has been the best player on the pitch. He looks a serious signing.

4.37pm BST

38 min United win their ninth corner of the half. It’s half cleared to Valencia, whose low shot is kicked clear. West Ham are being ushered in the direction of the ropes.

4.36pm BST

36 min I didn’t give Matic enough, or indeed any, credit for his part in the goal. He got in Obiang’s face and blocked his attempted pass, which diverted it straight to Rashford.

4.35pm BST

35 min Pogba dances into the area and goes down after a double challenge from Obiang and Arnautovic. Obiang got the ball so Martin Atkinson is right to ignore the penalty appeals.

4.34pm BST

That’s why United bought him. He has done bugger all apart from score a goal. Obiang, just inside the United half, played an abysmal square pass to Rashford, who scooted 40 yards and then slipped a nice through ball into the area. Lukaku had made a good angled run behind the defence and clattered the ball in off the near post with his left foot.

4.33pm BST

Romelu Lukaku scores on his league debut for United. It was a simple goal, whacked in off the post from 10 yards.

4.32pm BST

32 min Get Fellaini on.

4.32pm BST

31 min So far, so last season for United. You’d expect them to sharpen up as the match and the season progress but at the moment they aren’t creating much.

4.30pm BST

28 min “Has the Premier League mandated simplified, two-tone badges as a new feature of their recent rebrand?” says Matt Loten. “I see Spurs in the last game and West Ham in this one are sporting more modern crests than in previous years. The cynic in me wonders if it’s an attempt by club marketing departments to make themselves more easily identifiable to a global audience, but I’m sure that would never happen in the old-fashioned world of football.”

Sorry Matt, I missed that, I was enjoying a beverage from the Guardian’s official Hot Drink Partner.

4.28pm BST

27 min Mata misses a great chance. Pogba found him with a glorious chip over the defence. Mata made another superb, stealthy run and controlled the ball deftly on the six-yard line. He should have shot but tried to square it to Lukaku, and Ogbonna cleared from under his own crossbar.

4.26pm BST

26 min SOMEBODY GET ME MATIC’S PASSING STATS RIGHT NOW.

4.26pm BST

25 min Rashford beats Zabaleta twice on the left of the area before hitting a shot that deflects behind for a corner. Blind’s outswinger flashes all the way across goal.

4.25pm BST

24 min Matic is playing like he has been at Old Trafford for a decade. He looks so comfortable and authoritative. That aside, United have been average so far. The attacking play hasn’t clicked.

4.21pm BST

22 min West Ham will be really pleased with this start. Hart has only had that one block to make, and they have been bright in possession.

4.21pm BST

20 min Noble plays a terrific angled chip over the defence to find the run of Hernandez, who mishits his left-footed volley across the area. It was a half-chance at best.

4.19pm BST

18 min A good chance for United. Mkhitaryan’s pass through the inside-left channel finds Mata, who makes a lovely angled run behind the defence. His attempted clip across goal is blocked by the leg of Hart. It comes back to Mata, who feeds it towards Lukaku on the six-yard line. That leads to a scramble between Lukaku and two defenders, and eventually West Ham clear.

4.16pm BST

16 min “Carroll’s unavailable for West Ham?” sniffs John Beaven. “I’m shocked, shocked I tell you….”

But for injuries I reckon he’d have won the Ballon d’Or by now.

4.14pm BST

14 min After that sluggish start, United are starting to impose themselves. Matic drives a fine long pass to Mkhitaryan, who wins a corner. Matic has started excellently.

4.11pm BST

12 min A dismal defensive header from Masuaku goes straight to Mkhitaryan on the right corner of the box. He swings a left-footed shot high over the bar.

4.10pm BST

11 min United enjoy their first extended spell of possession until Pogba’s low cross is well cleared by the sliding Reid.

4.09pm BST

9 min “Just take a look at the bench Slaven Bilic has named: a goalkeeper, two senior centre halves, two senior full backs, a junior centre half (the highly promising Declan Rice), and a forward who’s barely played a game in two years,” says Daniel Barnett. “What do you think his plan B could possibly be in the unlikely event that West Ham are behind in the second half? It does seem a trifle unambitious. Then again, if a backs-to-the-wall defensive display ends up with Mourinho spitting furiously about “19th-century football”, there can be no complaints. I would love to hear Bilic claiming to have “out-tacticed” him.”

In his defence, he has loads of players unavailable: Lanzini, Cresswell, Feghouli, Carroll, etc.

4.08pm BST

8 min Lukaku scorches down the left to win United’s first corner. Blind’s outswinger is met in front of the near post by Bailly, whose header flashes across goal before a West Ham defender boots it clear.

4.06pm BST

7 min Get Fellaini on.

4.06pm BST

6 min West Ham continue to play like the home side, moving the ball away with a lot of confidence.

4.04pm BST

5 min It’s been a frantic start, with both sides full of attacking intent. Thus far West Ham have been the more accomplished in possession.

4.02pm BST

3 min Jones gets a talking-to after taking a clumsy shortcut through the back of Hernandez. It’s been a bright start from West Ham.

4.01pm BST

2 min If you’re into the whole tactics thing, Mkhitaryan rather than Mata is playing as a No10.

4.00pm BST

1 min Peep peep! United kick off from right to left. They are in red, West Ham are in claret.

3.57pm BST

The players emerge from the tunnel on a cool Manchester afternoon. Joe Hart looks very happy to be back in the Premier League, and in Manchester.

3.52pm BST

Since you asked, West Ham’s last win at Old Trafford was in 2007 – a game no Hammer will ever forget.

Related: Premiership: Man Utd 0 – 1 West Ham

3.36pm BST

In the early game, Spurs got their title challenge off to a solid start with a 2-0 win at Newcastle. You can read about it here.

Related: Newcastle United 0-2 Tottenham: Alli and Davies strike after Shelvey red – as it happened

3.29pm BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Mourinho ‘on fire’ at Manchester United in bid to maintain second-season habit

Related: Joe Hart: ‘I want to be an England goalkeeper playing for West Ham’

3.03pm BST

Man Utd (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Pogba, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan,Rashford; Lukaku.
Substitutes: Romero, Smalling, Darmian, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Martial.

West Ham (4-3-3) Hart; Zabaleta, Reid, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Noble, Obiang, Fernandes; Ayew, Hernandez, Arnautovic.
Substitutes: Adrian, Rice, Byram, Collins, Fonte, Cresswell, Sakho.

10.44am BST

What comes next in this sequence: 1, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 7, 4, 5, 6? It reads like a maths puzzle that even Max Fischer couldn’t solve. In fact, as you have doubtless realised, these are Manchester United’s league positions in the last 10 years. There have been plenty of reasons for United’s league struggles; this year, however, everyone at the club will at least expect them to challenge for the title for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. It’s not as easy as it seems – a very good team will finish sixth this season – but this looks like a very powerful, very Mourinho team.

United’s biggest problem last season was that they repeatedly thrashed teams 1-1 and 0-0 at Old Trafford. Today will give us an early indication whether they will be more clinical this season. The signing of Romelu Lukaku, a small-game specialist at this stage of his career, should certainly help.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/13/manchester-united-v-west-ham-united-premier-league-live

Aug 13

The scariest Test England ever played: terror at the hands of West Indies

In 1986, England went to the Caribbean fancying their chances. After Patrick Patterson inspired a brutal first Test thrashing, a 5-0 defeat was inevitable

Graham Gooch’s specialist subject is West Indian pace bowling. He is probably the leading authority on what it was like to face the four horsemen of the apocalypse. From 1980 to 1995, when the West Indies dominated Test cricket, nobody scored more runs against them than Gooch, and only Allan Border faced more deliveries. Gooch also played the greatest innings of all time, 154 not out at Headingley in 1991. It is worth listening, then, when he says that only once in his career did he feel unsafe: Friday 21 February 1986 at Sabina Park, the first day of a much anticipated series, and the start of a weekend festival of chin music.

England had a bespoke batting line-up full of men who didn’t understand the concept of pain, yet they were still brutalised inside three days. It was horror bingo: they had to contend with a corrugated pitch, a low sightscreen, an umpire with a laissez-faire attitude towards bouncers and the volcanic pace of the debutant Patrick Patterson. “It was the first time,” said Gooch, “I’d ever really got the whiff of danger in the nostrils.”

Related: Graham Gooch’s finest hour: when the runs flowed in the face of fear | Mike Selvey

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/13/scariest-test-england-ever-played-terror-west-indies-cricket-1986-patrick-patterson

Aug 12

Brighton 0-2 Manchester City: Premier League – as it happened

The home side defended admirably on their Premier League debut but eventually succumbed to Sergio Aguero’s strike and a Lewis Dunk own goal

7.22pm BST

Peep peep! It’s a great day for Brighton, despite the result. They are a Premier League team, and did enough to suggest they will pick up their share of points against teams outside the top six. The self-inflicted manner of the goals will irritate them though. City were smooth, if a bit one-paced for a Pep Guardiola team, and fully deserved to win. Thanks for your company, goodnight!

7.17pm BST

88 min BT Sport’s Man of the Match is Kyle Walker. He’s been excellent, though I’d have given it to De Bruyne.

7.16pm BST

87 min Both sides have done their work for the day. Brighton will be happy to have avoided a pasting, and to have defended so well for large parts of the game.

7.13pm BST

84 min City are now playing a freestyle 3-1-6-0 formation.

7.12pm BST

83 min Aguero is replaced by the new boy Bernardo Silva.

7.11pm BST

82 min Sterling is booked for a cynical foul on Glenn Murray.

7.10pm BST

81 min Knockaert runs onto a brilliant long pass from Dunk, tries to wriggle between two defenders and falls over. No penalty.

7.07pm BST

78 min The superb Gabriel Jesus is replaced by Raheem Sterling.

7.07pm BST

77 min Just before that second goal, De Bruyne played a lofted pass – a golf shot, really – of extraordinary precision onto the head of Silva. He nodded it across the face of goal and it was half cleared, before Brighton lost the ball and City scored the second. It’s worth looking out for on the highlights, because it was the touch of a genius.

7.05pm BST

76 min Brighton have brought on Anthony Knockaert for March.

7.05pm BST

Brighton again gave the ball away, this time to Aguero. It went wide to Fernandinho, who curled a cross onto the six-yard line. Dunk challenged for it with Jesus and unwittingly headed it into his own net.

7.04pm BST

That’s it.

7.03pm BST

72 min It’s such a cliche, but good Premier League teams can be ruthless at punishing little mistakes. One moment Stephens dithered on the halfway line, the next moment Aguero scored.

7.02pm BST

71 min “With Brighton defending with 10 men in their half,” says Phil Podolsky, “it feels like City could use the calm, elegant midfield presence of a Yaya Toure to give the clever pass, no?”

They are definitely short of clever passers.

7.00pm BST

City break Brighton on the counter-attack. It came from a mistake by Stephens, who gave the ball to De Bruyne on the halfway line. He played it into Silva, who slipped a killer first-time pass to put Aguero clear on goal. He took a touch, looked up and crashed the ball past Ryan.

6.57pm BST

68 min A City substitution: Leroy Sane replaces Danilo.

6.57pm BST

67 min De Bruyne thrashes a drive that hits the hand of Dunk in the area. Michael Oliver ignores City’s penalty appeals. Dunk was a fair way from the original shot and, although he was trying to pull it away from the ball, it was in an unnatural position. That could easily have been given.

6.55pm BST

65 min De Bruyne wins a corner with a terrific run down the right. He plays ballboy for himself, grabbing the ball before running over to take the corner. He is the most admirable, brilliant footballer.

6.54pm BST

64 min De Bruyne’s imaginative scoop is too far in front of Walker and goes through to Ryan. City look frustrated. Leroy Sane is about to come on.

6.52pm BST

63 min It’s not happening for City, despite the purposeful probing of De Bruyne in particular. I’m surprised Guardiola hasn’t changed anything because at the moment they don’t look like scoring.

6.51pm BST

62 min “Completely agree that the judgement over a handball is open to interpretation,” says Ben Paul. “What I’m puzzling over is whether a handball can be deliberate enough to warrant a free-kick, but at the same time accidental enough that a yellow card is harsh. Is it not one or the other? And if it’s deemed accidental then the goal should have stood, no? I know this is one of this instances where the law is often applied in a rather loose way, but it seems odd that the law should be explicit about the deliberate nature of a handball offence for referees to then interpret it based on the situation. I remember in the Barcelona – Inter Milan UCL semi-final, Iniesta scored a very late goal that would have seen Barcelona go through only to see it ruled out for a handball that was clearly accidental. Rankles me to this day that that goal should have stood.”

I remember that, and was surprised how little fuss there was about it at the time. Didn’t suit the story I suppose. It’s hard to say without checking the law but I think there are three tiers of handball, at least in the way the law is enforced: cynical and bookable, accidental but sufficiently reckless and/or significant to be a foul, and then accidental and no foul. I agree though, it’s a bit strange. I suspect if we all read the laws we’d find all kinds of things we didn’t know, or that don’t quite make sense.

6.49pm BST

59 min Another Brighton change: Glenn Murray replaces Tomer Hemed up front.

6.47pm BST

57 min Ederson is all over the place from the corner. He palms it straight to Dunk, whose shot is blocked by the feet of Ederson. His follow-up is blocked again, this time by a defender, and ricochets to Propper, who thrashes a superb low shot from 25 yards that goes just wide. Ederson didn’t look good there.

6.46pm BST

56 min The corner is half cleared to Duffy, whose snapshot goes fractionally wide of the post with Ederson beaten. Another corner is given, so maybe it took a deflection.

6.45pm BST

55 min A good attack from Brighton. Suttner swings a deep cross that tempts Ederson from his line. He’s stuck in no man’s land and Danilo, under pressure from Propper, heads onto the roof of his own net for a Brighton corner.

6.43pm BST

53 min Aguero misses a sitter! It was gifted to him by Duffy, whose blind backpass was woefully short of the keeper Ryan. Aguero intercepted it, opened up his body to place it in the far corner – and instead sliced it well wide.

6.41pm BST

52 min Jesus has another goal disallowed, this time for offside against Silva in the build up. It was the right decision, though it was much closer than it looked at first sight.

6.40pm BST

50 min A long, slow build-up from City, lasting two minutes or so, until Fernandinho rakes a low drive from distance that is comfortably held by the sprawling Ryan.

6.37pm BST

48 min The second half has started as the first ended, in the Brighton half. It’s been a strange game so far, with City enjoying a total yet harmless domination.

6.35pm BST

47 min Sane, Sterling and Silva (B) are already warming up for City.

6.35pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Brighton begin the second half.

6.31pm BST

Tomer Hemed not doing enough work up front for Brighton. Needs to quicken up. Bruno, Duffy and March have been good. 0-0 ht.

6.28pm BST

More importantly…

“Pep has basically dressed as Larry David today,” says Jeremy Dresner. “Beige trousers sensible normcore sweater and white ‘soccer shoes’. Pretty pretty good!”

6.18pm BST

Brighton will be very pleased with that. They have hardly touched the ball, it’s true, but far more important is that the keeper Matt Ryan has hardly touched the ball. Aside from one terrific save from Jesus, he hasn’t had much to do. And although City have been bright and busy, the 3-1-4-2 formation hasn’t quite worked as they would have hoped. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

6.16pm BST

45 min “Just a quick point, but if the Jesus handball was (as you say) accidental and not deserving of a yellow card, then shouldn’t the goal have stood?” says Ben Paul. “By the laws of the game, a handball is only a handball if it’s a deliberate act. An accidental handball should result in continuation of play, even if what follows might be deemed an unfair outcome for the opposition team. I know it would seem harsh to concede a goal in that way, but isn’t that the law?”

Isn’t It partly an issue of interpretation? I can’t be sure as I haven’t done my revision but I thought the law didn’t specify what constituted ‘deliberate’.

6.15pm BST

45 min Brighton win a free-kick on the right wing, their first set piece in a decent position. Gross curls it onto the head of the backpedalling Dunk, whose looping header is easily held by Ederson.

6.12pm BST

41 min That was a chance for Brighton. Stephens drives an excellent angled pass over the defence for Murphy, who gets the wrong side of Walker but miscontrols the ball in the area.

6.08pm BST

38 min Brighton break four against four, but March overhits his pass and it goes out for a goalkick.

6.08pm BST

37 min Brighton aren’t camped in their own half; they’re camped in their own third.

6.05pm BST

34 min Ryan makes an excellent save from Jesus, who then hits the post with the follow-up. City played some lovely rat-a-tat passes down the right before Aguero clipped an excellent cross onto the head of the unmarked Jesus. His header was clawed away by Ryan, who had to change direction after scampering across his line, and Jesus was under pressure from Bruno when he slapped the rebound off the outside of the post.

6.01pm BST

32 min De Bruyne smacks the free-kick into the wall.

6.01pm BST

31 min Stephens takes a needless shortcut through Silva 25 yards from goal. It’s another free-kick in a good position for De Bruyne, slightly to left of centre.

6.00pm BST

30 min Brighton will be pleased with how well they have defended in the first half hour. It’s been hard work against a very good attack, yet they have restricted them to half-chances.

5.58pm BST

27 min Jesus has a goal disallowed for handball. He ran behind the defence to meet a tremendous through pass from De Bruyne a few yards from goal. As the ball bounced up Jesus tried to take it on the chest but miscontrolled it onto his hand, which then knocked the ball past Ryan. Jesus is booked, which is a bit harsh because it was completely accidental.

5.54pm BST

23 min Brown limps off, to be replaced by Jamie Murphy. The corner is half cleared to Silva, whose awkward inswinging cross skims off the head of Stephens and drifts this far wide of the post.

5.52pm BST

22 min Aguero’s cross goes behind off Dunk for a corner. Before it can be taken, Brown needs treatment for a problem with his right left. I think his game is over.

5.49pm BST

19 min Brighton’s problem is not how little they have of the ball – that was inevitable – but how little they are doing with it when they get it. They keep giving it straight back to City.

5.48pm BST

18 min City have had 77 per cent of the possession so far.

5.47pm BST

17 min … and he wobbles it straight into the welcoming embrace of the keeper Ryan.

5.47pm BST

16 min Silva is fouled by Stephens, 25 yards from goal. De Bruyne will take it…

5.46pm BST

15 min A few uneventful minutes, which is just what Brighton needed. Pep Guardiola, wearing beige slacks, has a confused look on his coupon and seems unhappy with one of his team.

5.44pm BST

14 min Silva’s outswinging corner is headed well wide by the under pressure Fernandinho.

5.42pm BST

12 min The good thing for Brighton is that Ryan hasn’t had a save to make yet, but he will soon if it carries on like this.

5.41pm BST

11 min Brighton can’t get hold of the ball. City have the full swagger on. I’ve just realised, incidentally, who Silva’s body movement reminds me of now that he has a shaved head: Freddie Ljungberg.s

5.38pm BST

8 min This is ominous for Brighton. City look extremely sharp in attack, prompted inevitably by De Bruyne. Walker and Jesus are also right on it. At times City’s formation is almost 4-0-6.

5.36pm BST

7 min Fashion watch: David Silva has had a buzzcut, and now looks like an extra from Trainspotting.

5.36pm BST

6 min Brilliant play from Jesus, who lobs the ball over Dunk’s head and scoots into the area before sidefooting a low cross that is sliced behind for a corner.

5.35pm BST

5 min From an attacking point of view, this system is perfect for City. It allows them to play two playmakers, two strikers and two de facto wingers. Defensively? We’ll see about that.

5.34pm BST

4 min Walker plays a smart one-two with De Bruyne and cuts the ball back to Aguero, who fresh-airs his attempted shot at the near post. That was a chance. The ball is recycled to Jesus, who tries to make room for a shot but is crowded out.

5.33pm BST

3 min As expected, City have started in a 3-1-4-2 formation, with Danilo and Walker very high up the pitch.

5.30pm BST

1 min Peep peep! City kick off, from right to left if you like to visualise these things in the TV style. They are in claret; Brighton are wearing blue-and-white stripes.

5.29pm BST

There is a tremendous atmosphere at the Amex Stadium, so much so that you can barely hear the BT Sport commentators. (Insert your own joke here.)

5.28pm BST

“Hey Rob,” says Pete H. “Why is B. Mendy not suited up for MCFC? Is he injured? Not match fit?”

Yeah, he has a thigh injury.

5.16pm BST

You’ve doubtless heard about Chelsea’s inventive approach to defending their title. Now you can read about it.

There are title defences. And then there are Chelsea title defences. As an exercise in exploring just how quickly a steamrollering champion team can be reduced to a frazzled, meandering rabble, Chelsea’s opening half of the season against Burnley at Stamford Bridge is likely to take some beating.

Related: Nine-man Chelsea shocked by Sam Vokes double for Burnley

5.13pm BST

What are you doing tomorrow?

As you may know, our much-loved colleague Dan Lucas died suddenly in March at the age of 31. In south London tomorrow, there will be a cricket match in his memory, and to raise money for charity. Here are some details from his girlfriend Liz.

Dan loved his cricket – whether it be his passionate writing for the Guardian OBO, his enthusiastic commentary for Guerrilla Cricket or in his day to day encyclopaedic cricket chat with friends and family – it’s fair to say he adored the sport. The wonderful guys over at Guerrilla Cricket came up with the idea of holding a cricket match for Dan each year to remember him and his love for the game.

On August 13th 2017 we are going to hold a cricket match for Dan. The event will see two teams play against each other for 30 overs, made up of Dan’s Guerrilla colleagues, his friends, family, fellow Guardian writers and OBO readers. The event will also aim to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes research (JDRF). On the day, they’ll be an afternoon tea, BBQ, music, raffle and a quiz with some wonderful cricket and music themed prizes.”

5.13pm BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls fans get ready for top flight

Related: Brighton’s chances of staying up will not depend on spending money | Liam Rosenior

Related: Pep Guardiola hands Mangala chance to rebuild his Manchester City career

4.35pm BST

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-1-1) Ryan; Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Suttner; March, Propper, Stephens, Brown; Gross; Hemed.
Substitutes: Maenpaa, Huenemeier, Rosenior, Sidwell, Murphy, Knockaert, Murray.

Manchester City (3-1-4-2) Ederson; Kompany, Stones, Otamendi; Fernandinho; Walker, De Bruyne, D Silva, Danilo; Jesus, Aguero.
Substitutes: Bravo, Sterling, Mangala, Sane, B Silva, Yaya Toure, Foden.

11.34am BST

Right on! To the delight of Guardian readers everywhere, Brighton are back in the top flight for the first time since 1983. If ever there was a day for celebratory Prosecco and foie gras ramekins, this is it.

Yes, yes, enough of the clichés. Brighton & Hove Albion are a Premier League side for the first time, and today will be one big party, unless they lose 6-0. It’s a story with no side to it; a feelgood tale we can trust. The club has been through so much to get here, and they have received plenty of goodwill as a result – and also because of their manager Chris Hughton, a strong contender for the most decent man in football.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/12/brighton-v-manchester-city-premier-league-live

Aug 12

Watford 3-3 Liverpool: Premier League – as it happened

The thrilling start to the Premier League season continued as Watford and Liverpool shared six goals in a wildly entertaining match

2.29pm BST

Two games, 13 goals. No, not the 1990 FA Cup semi-finals but the first two matches of the 2017-18 Premier League season. This was a scruffy yet very entertaining match, and a draw is probably about right. Thanks for your company. You can follow the 3pm kick-offs with Barry Glendenning. Bye!

Related: Everton v Stoke and more – Premier League clockwatch: live

2.27pm BST

90+5 min Britos looked offside when Richarlison put the ball across goal, though whether he was technically active, I don’t know. It’s absurd to say he wasn’t, because he was jockstrap-tight to Mignolet, but the law is the law is an ass.

2.25pm BST

The corner was mishit to the near post, where Wijnaldum’s attempted headed clearance hit Richarlison. He smacked the ball across goal and Mignolet, who stuck out an arm instinctively, diverted it onto the bar with his right bicep. It bounced down and was forced over the line by Britos. It’s his goal.

2.23pm BST

Watford have equalised from the corner!

2.23pm BST

90+3 min Richarlison is fouled by Gomez down the Watford left. Holebas free-kick loops up in the air and is punched clear by Mignolet. It comes to Britos, who whips a shot towards goal from just outside the box. Mignolet moves to his left to punch it behind with both fists.

2.20pm BST

90+1 Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has had a good game, is replaced by Joe Gomez.

2.20pm BST

90 min There will be five minutes of added huff and puff. Watford look like they have shot their bolt.

2.17pm BST

88 min Simon Mignolet is booked for timewasting.

2.16pm BST

86 min James Milner replaces Mo Salah, who will be the subject of many headlines tomorrow (and this afternoon, haven’t you heard of the internet grandad?) if the score stays like this.

2.15pm BST

86 min Salah wafts a long, diagonal pass to Mane, who moves into the area and plays a precise pass that allows Wijnaldum to strike first time from the edge of the box. He slices it miles wide.

2.13pm BST

83 min Liverpool’s defence looks more in control than at any stage in the match, which doubtless means Watford are about to equalise.

2.11pm BST

81 min Divock Origi replaces the weary Firmino, who made one and scored one in the second half (and also made the penalty that he eventually scored). He’s a beautiful player that lad, so underrated.

2.09pm BST

State of it @finnysteve pic.twitter.com/ywvaXeFtPc

2.07pm BST

78 min “It was Alexander-Arnold and not Firmino who took the corner that Matip headed onto the crossbar,” says Thomas Johannessen. “Should’ve gone to Specsavers :p”

That’s the problem: I did.

2.06pm BST

77 min Salah could have had a hat-trick today. Mane plays him in with another fine through pass, and he stabs the ball into the side netting at the near post. He was under pressure, and the angle was tight.

2.06pm BST

75 min I wouldn’t like to be punched in the face by Andre Gray. His muscles are almost bursting through his shirt.

2.04pm BST

74 min “One more year is better than selling Coutinho now with no replacement,” says Tim. “That was the mistake with Suarez, trying to replace him with Rickie Lambert and Balotelli. Maybe say give us one more year, and we’ll line up a replacement (or hope Gruic turns out well). I think the fact Can has yet to sign a new contract probably doesn’t help…”

I would certainly try that. Whether he’ll accept is another matter.

2.04pm BST

73 min A mix-up between Mignolet and Lovren, who can’t work out who should deal with a routine straight pass and almost end up giving it to Cleverley. The ball bounces kindly for Liverpool and Mignolet is able to claim it at the second attempt.

2.01pm BST

71 min Salah, found in loads of space on the edge of the area by Can, wallops a bouncing ball a few yards over the bar. After a slow start he has been increasingly influential.

1.59pm BST

70 min Another chance for Liverpool. Alexander-Arnold’s excellent corner from the right is flashed across goal by the head of Lovren, and Gomes moves smartly to his right to push it away.

1.57pm BST

67 min Holebas is fouled near the corner flag by Salah. Firmino heads the free-kick clear.

1.54pm BST

65 min From the resulting corner, whipped in by Firmino, the stooping Matip shoulders the ball onto the crossbar.

1.53pm BST

64 min Liverpool are slowly rediscovering their swagger. Moreno brushes aside Fermenia on the edge of the box and slashes the bouncing ball towards goal with his left foot. Gomes leaps to his right to make an excellent save.

1.52pm BST

63 min It’s time for Watford’s record signing Andre Gray, who replaces Stefano Okaka.

1.51pm BST

62 min “Couldn’t agree more with Tom Walker re Klopp and Sakho,” says Tim. “I am a fan of Klopp, but he does seem to be shooting himself in the foot with Sakho, and for not seeming to consider anyone other than Van Dijk. I also disagree with the pre-match Coutinho discussion. For as long as Liverpool keep selling their best players each summer, they’ll never aspire to more than the occasional fourth place. While we are no spendthrifts, Man City have spent three times as much as we have this summer just on full-backs. And it’s not our fault if Barca screwed up with Neymar’s buyout clause (I see Isco’s is now £600m, how long before PSG pay that too?).”

If you keep him and he refuses to play, what do you do then? It just becomes a damaging distraction. At best you can ask him to give you another year, like Ronaldo and Suarez, before selling him.

1.50pm BST

61 min Alexander-Arnold is booked for a foul on Richarlison.

1.49pm BST

61 min Salah just fails to reach Alexander-Arnold’s curling through pass. He is lightning.

1.48pm BST

59 min That’s what Liverpool can do. They’ve been poor for most of this game but lead due to isolated moments of brilliance from their superb front three.

1.48pm BST

Mo Salah gives Liverpool the lead on his debut. Lovren wafted a pass down the inside-left channel to find Firmino in far too much space. He controlled it beautifully and lifted a lazy chip high over the outrushing Gomes. It wasn’t going in, but it didn’t matter because Salah followed in to bundle the ball over the line.

1.46pm BST

This is Liverpool.

1.44pm BST

Firmino drives a solid penalty into the bottom-left corner, with Gomes going the other way.

1.43pm BST

Anthony Taylor took an age to give this. Firmino stabbed a great pass round the corner to Salah, who knew Gomes was coming and deliberately pushed the ball away from goal. A split-second later Gomes took him out, and it was a clear penalty.

1.40pm BST

51 min It’s hard to reconcile this Liverpool performance with their exciting pre-season. They look really sluggish by their high-octane standards.

1.38pm BST

49 min Richarlison, the exciting young Brazilian, replaces Pereyra.

1.38pm BST

49 min A good move from Liverpool. Eventually Wijnaldum plays a nice pass to Salah, who shuffles the ball to the side and curls a decent effort a few yards wide of the far post.

1.36pm BST

48 min More injury problems for Watford, who lost Janmaat in the first half. Now Roberto Pereyra has limped off, and is going to be replaced in a minute.

1.35pm BST

47 min “Liverpool just need a really good centre-back,” says Tom Walker. Hard to get in the current market, though there is this bloke that plays for France, was immense for Crystal Palace at the end of last season going relatively cheap…oh…wait… I fail to understand why Klopp hasn’t had more scrutiny over his handling of the Sakho situation. Less feted managers would have had the third degree from the press over the inability to resolve a personal issue with a player that the club desperately need, who appears committed, and who surely deserves a second chance with the club. Whatever Sakho’s past transgressions he’s no Balotelli.”

1.34pm BST

46 min Liverpool kick off from right to left.

1.25pm BST

Half-time chit-chat

“I guess Okaka could only be considered ‘inactive’ if you don’t consider a 215-pound goalscorer distracting to defenders,” says Johnathan Kaszynski. “He definitely influenced the play with his presence in an offside position. No goal for me.”

1.22pm BST

Your half-time homework

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

1.22pm BST

Your Sunday starts here

As you may know, our much-loved colleague Dan Lucas died suddenly in March at the age of 31. In south London tomorrow, there will be a cricket match in his memory, and to raise money for charity. Here are some details from his girlfriend Liz.

Dan loved his cricket – whether it be his passionate writing for the Guardian OBO, his enthusiastic commentary for Guerrilla Cricket or in his day to day encyclopaedic cricket chat with friends and family – it’s fair to say he adored the sport. The wonderful guys over at Guerrilla Cricket came up with the idea of holding a cricket match for Dan each year to remember him and his love for the game.

On August 13th 2017 we are going to hold a cricket match for Dan. The event will see two teams play against each other for 30 overs, made up of Dan’s Guerrilla colleagues, his friends, family, fellow Guardian writers and OBO readers. The event will also aim to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes research (JDRF). On the day, they’ll be an afternoon tea, BBQ, music, raffle and a quiz with some wonderful cricket and music themed prizes.”

1.19pm BST

The goalicious start to the Premier League season continues. We’ve had ten in one and a half games, and I’d bet my bottom Rolo that there will be more in the second half. Watford deserve to be ahead, having done a savvy counter-attacking job on a subdued Liverpool. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.

1.18pm BST

45+3 min Oof, that was close to an equaliser. Firmino swerves a left-wing corner towards Mane, who flicks an excellent header across goal and just wide of the far post.

1.15pm BST

45 min Apart from that wonderful goal from Mane, Liverpool’s football hasn’t been heavy metal so much as ambient. They can play a lot better than this, and I suspect they will in the second half.

1.14pm BST

42 min Replays show that Watford’s second goal was fine. Okaka was only in an offside position at a point when he was inactive.

1.13pm BST

40 min “Amongst all football’s metrics (how did we ever appreciate the game without them?), is there one for ‘Team minutes spent in opposition penalty box’?” muses Gary Naylor. “Strikes me that adding one more man to an attack turns bad final balls into good ones – and goals. I always felt much of Beckham’s crossing reputation was built on having lots of targets.”

Yes, there’s something in that. The great 1998-2001 United team usually had four, sometimes five or six players, in the box. Beckham didn’t hit targets so much as areas, but he got such devastating whip and dip that they were very hard to defend.

1.09pm BST

38 min Salah misses an excellent chance to score on his debut. Matip played a sharp pass into Firmino, who tried to stab it first time through to Salah. Holebas got his feet in a muddle, allowing Salah to rob him and scoot into the area. He tried to poke the ball past Gomes with his left foot, and instead toebunged it high over the bar.

1.07pm BST

36 min “Is this game going to follow the route of last night’s ding-dong?” asks Hubert O’Hearn. “I hope so. Tuned in late, but just in time for Mane’s goal. Have a great season (that applies equally to Reds and MBM journos)!”

It’s a tough old season for MBM journos. No winter break, not even a summer break with the World Cup. It’s a good thing we all love our work so much because it’d be hard work otherwise.

1.05pm BST

34 min There’s a suggestion that Watford’s goal might have been offside. It can’t have been Doucoure, as he was always behind the ball, but maybe somebody in the middle was offside when Cleverley put in the low cross that led to the goal.

1.04pm BST

The goal was created on the right, where Amrabat wrestled Moreno to win a loose ball. He stabbed it back to Doucoure, who marched forward and angled a good pass to find Cleverley in space on the right of the box. His dangerous low cross pinballed around the six-yard box and fell perfectly for Doucoure, who swept it into the net from close range.

1.02pm BST

Watford are back in front straight away!

1.00pm BST

That really was a beautiful team goal. Liverpool moved the ball around 30 yards from goal before exploding into life. Moreno fed a short angled ball towards Mane, who dummied it and kept running. Can stabbed the ball brilliantly round the corner to find Mane, who controlled the ball and then opened his body to finish emphatically into the far top corner. There was plenty of wit in that move all right.

12.59pm BST

This is a magnificent goal!

12.57pm BST

28 min There has been a lack of wit in Liverpool’s attacking play. They haven’t played well at all, at least not yet.

“Liverpool only play second halves, once they have been abused by Klopp,” says Ian Copestake. “Their priority is not to be 4-0 down at the break.”

12.56pm BST

26 min “Football players’ contracts are fixed-term contracts, which means they either expire at the date agreed upon or can be terminated extraordinarily,” says Konstantin Sauer. “Regular terminations are not possible for both club and player. As there are certain prerequisites for fixed-term contracts, especially their renewal. there’s an ongoing legal dispute about that question between Bundesliga club Mainz 05 and their former goalkeeper Mueller.”

12.55pm BST

25 min Mignolet makes a vital interception to deny Okaka a second goal. Oh, he was miles offside, forget it.

12.52pm BST

22 min “Not even one and a half games into the season and there seems to be a trend of unbelievably crap defending at set pieces,” says JR. “It’s like they don’t even care. People just standing around. It’s crazy. Perhaps one of these big clubs should sign up Tony Pulis as set-pieces coach.”

It’s kids these days. They just don’t respect set pieces any more.

12.51pm BST

21 min The game still feels a bit formless, even though we’re halfway through the first half. Liverpool are having a bit more of the ball, though with no sign of penetration. I can’t remember Salah touching the ball.

12.48pm BST

19 min “Afternoon, Rob!” says Matt Dony. “Afternoon, all! Afternoon, Premier League! Obviously, in an ideal world, Coutinho would want to stay, play a great season, and finish it off with some kind of silverware. That plan has fallen at the first, so take the money and run. £90m is crazy money, and the attack has options. Lallana has consistently improved, and maybe the extra responsibility will push him even further. He can find the defence-splitting pass when teams sit back and lock down. Mane and Firmino marry work-rate to flare, and I’m excited about Salah. I’ll miss Coutinho, but not as much as I missed Suarez, and definitely not as much as I (still!) miss Torres. Ah. Just saw the score while writing this. Yup. Welcome back, Premier League. It’s like you never left.”

12.48pm BST

18 min The injured Janmaat is replaced by Kiko Femenia at right-back.

12.47pm BST

17 min In the absence of Coutinho and Lallana, Liverpool’s midfield lacks a bit of pizazz. They haven’t really got going yet.

12.45pm BST

16 min There’s a break in play while Janmaat receives treatment. Jurgen Klopp takes the opportunity to remind his team to EFFING DO SOMETHING.

12.43pm BST

14 min Watford have been the better side since the goal, with Liverpool looking a little sluggish at this juncture.

12.43pm BST

12 min “Hi Rob,” says John Barry. “A footballer could certainly resign, like any other person. But given that the club holds his registration, he wouldn’t be allowed to play for any other team in a FIFA-backed league. He could go to a non-FIFA league, like Alfredo di Stéfano and others did going to Colombia, but there aren’t really any of those leagues around these days. Oh and the club wouldn’t pay him anymore, either…”

Well that’s the clincher. A man needs his £300,000 a week to buy bread and water for his family.

12.41pm BST

11 min That was a bad goal to concede. I’m not sure why Firmino was marking Okaka in the first place, as he is a beast, but he didn’t do his job properly anyway. He just allowed Okaka to run off him, and from that range Mignolet had no chance.

12.39pm BST

It was an offensively simple goal. Holebas swung a right-wing corner into the six-yard box, where Okaka ran away from Firmino at the near post and thumped a header straight through Mignolet. Dreadful defending from Liverpool.

12.38pm BST

New season, old problem: Liverpool have conceded from a set piece.

12.38pm BST

8 min Mignolet makes a good save to deny Pereyra. He received a good through pass from Okaka in the inside-left channel, twisted Lovren one way and then the deny other and then drove a low left-footed shot that was deflected behind. Actually the touch was by Lovren rather than Mignolet.

12.36pm BST

7 min A good couple of minutes for Watford, with Matip heading away a dangerous cross from Janmaat.

12.34pm BST

5 min Watford have started pretty defensively, with the lone striker Okaka already looking a bit isolated. They have some decent options on the bench if they need them later in the game, including Andre Gray and Richarlison.

12.33pm BST

4 min “Just thinking about Coutinho has me wondering why footballers can’t resign from their contracts like normal workers?” says Even teachers can hand in their notice, though at fixed points in the year. Surprised that no one has legally tested that in the current climate.”

They could give their notice by email as well.

12.33pm BST

3 min Liverpool have had plenty of possession in the first few minutes. Janmaat fells Mane, who has started on the left because of the signing of Salah.

12.30pm BST

2 min “Completely agree with the assessment that selling Coutinho and signing a few £30-40m players,” says Matt Turland. “However, they’d need those deals done pre-sale or they’ll see a huge inflation in prices. Just look at Barca. Pre-Neymar, I don’t think they’d have expected to have to pay in excess of £100m for Dembele or Coutinho. But now they’re flush with cash (or, shpuld I say, flush with even more cash), clubs will rinse them. Or not. Who knows.”

That’s a good point. That said, I think Neymar and a few other deals have thrown everything so far out of whack that nobody has a clue what a fair price is anymore. It’s like when those two beards starting charging £4.50 for a bowl of cereal. It was chaos.

12.30pm BST

1 min Peep peep! Watford, in yellow, kick off from right to left on the television screen. Liverpool are in red.

12.26pm BST

The players emerge from the tunnel, their business faces diligently applied for the new season. Let’s have a game of football!

12.26pm BST

“Good afternoon Rob and congratulations on the Sambas,” says Paul Ewart. “Phil Coutinho is, of course, a regular winner of The Golden Samba, awarded annually by supporters. Does something similar happen at Guardian Towers? Lots of pressure on Henderson today. I expect he’ll be the deep-lying playmaker in Coutinho’s absence. Look out for quick switches to Mane & Salah to stretch the play. Moreno’s name in a starting XI fills me with horror, but he has had a strong pre-season.”

They’ll miss Lallana too. His movement is so important to this team. You’d expect them to have enough today though. As for the Golden Samba, what a great idea. We could let the readers vote for

the writer they’d most like to eliminate
their favourite writer each year.

12.15pm BST

The first email of the day!

“Welcome back Rob; I’m sure I’m not the only one giddy with excitement for the first lunchtime kickoff of the new season in The Greatest League on Earth,” chirps Matt Tolen. “What’s your take on the Coutinho situation? I’d be devastated to see the league deprived of one of its most watchable talents, but if I was FSG, I’d take £100m and invest in a top goalkeeper, centre-half, and Duracell Bunny-type defensive midfielder. Salah, Mane, Firmino, Lallana, Sturridge and Solanke have the ability to survive post-Coutinho life, but without a reinforced backline Liverpool will fall short of a proper title challenge.”

12.11pm BST

Words are overrated

⚽ Updates
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Follow our live blog for extensive coverage of #LFC‘s @premierleague opener: https://t.co/w9WN2zPRI3 pic.twitter.com/Pt2QLzhvMR

11.47am BST

Some more pre-match reading

Related: It’s the season of … what to expect in the Premier League in 2017-18

Related: New Sky thinking: how the Premier League revolution was televised | Scott Murray

11.35am BST

Watford (4-2-3-1) Gomes; Janmaat, Kaboul, Britos, Holebas; Doucoure, Chalobah; Amrabat, Cleverley, Pereyra; Okaka.
Substitutes: Pantilimon, Prödl, Femenía, Watson, Capoue, Richarlison, Gray.

Liverpool (4-3-3) Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutes: Karius, Klavan, Gomez, Milner, Grujic, Solanke, Origi.

10.32am BST

Ah, the first day of a new season. A time to dream; a time to lovingly unwrap your 48th consecutive pair of Adidas Sambas; a time to wonder whether effing Barcelona are going to nick your best player again. It’s pretty sad that Liverpool’s opening game at Watford will be partially overshadowed by Philippe Coutinho’s decision to submit a transfer request. It’s another reminder that, in Football Inc., the actual football becomes less important with every passing year. (It’s also why the transfer window should shut in the first week of August, but that’s another story.)

Coutinho isn’t fit for today’s match against Watford, which is probably a blessing for all concerned. Even if they lose him to Barcelona, Liverpool have a chance of winning their first title in 28 years. At their best they are the most exhilarating side in the country. Their concerns are a lack of consistency and a return to the Champions League, which means an increased workload for a pretty thin squad. Oh, and effing Barcelona.

Related: Philippe Coutinho defies Liverpool with transfer request

Related: Watford’s Andre Gray: ‘I got into trouble – we grew up just having to survive’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/aug/12/watford-v-liverpool-premier-league-live

Aug 01

As Roland-Jones showed us, it’s rotation that makes the sporting world go round | Rob Smyth

England’s cricket selectors need to follow Alex Ferguson, whose tinkering helped him get the best out of his Manchester United stars on the big occasions

In Fight Club, his incendiary rumination on the existential thrill of being punched in the gob, David Fincher does a spectacular job of skewering the “Ikea nesting instinct” that lives in most of us. One quote has always stayed in the Spin’s mind. After his condo is burned down – by himself, the daft bugger, but he doesn’t know that yet – Ed Norton’s character tells Brad Pitt: “When you buy furniture, you tell yourself: ‘That’s it, that’s the last sofa I’m gonna need. Whatever else happens, I’ve got that sofa problem handled.’”

Cricket teams are constructed in a similar way. We have the same nesting instinct, to build a team piece by piece. It came to mind again after Toby Roland-Jones’s wonderful debut at The Oval. Whatever else happens, England have got that backup third-seamer problem handled.

Related: Moeen Ali: ‘If it wasn’t for cricket I don’t know what I’d be doing now’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/01/roland-jones-england-cricket-the-spin

Jul 28

England v South Africa: hosts all out 353 as Stokes hits 112 on day two of third Test – live!

3.23pm BST

1st over: South Africa 3-0 (Elgar 2, Kuhn 1) Jimmy Anderson, still glowing from his crowd-pleasing 1*, opens the proceedings in conditions that should be made for him – clouds overhead, runs in the bank, Duke ball swinging. But he offers no immediate threat, and the openers help themselves to three singles. In the crowd, the cameras alight on a young woman in a leather jacket who, on closer inspection, turns out to be a World Cup-winning England captain: Heather Knight.

3.14pm BST

England had to bat for a decent length of time, and they did – more overs in one innings than they managed in two at Trent Bridge. More than that, they managed to find a balance between the demands of Test cricket and their natural urge to have a go. Cook set the tone, Stokes showed maturity, and Joe Root, Tom Westley, Jonny Bairstow and Toby Roland-Jones all chipped in: between them, they could give a cameo a good name.

“Stokes,” says the subject line of an email from Jonathan Salisbury, which continues, in its entirety: “Give him the new ball.”

3.09pm BST

Stokes plays one mow too many, but that is a memorable vice-captain’s innings, to go with a classic ex-captain’s innings from Alastair Cook.

3.07pm BST

103rd over: England 351-9 (Stokes 110, Anderson 1) Anderson’s first run gets almost as big a cheer as Stokes’s 100th. Only in England. And the 350 has been reached, which is a handy morale boost for England, and a much-needed dose of self-respect after the debacle at Trent Bridge.

“Toby-Roland-Jones would do well here in Turkey,” says Rob Lewis. “His name fits the rule of vowel harmony, which means that you have the same sound in the vowels of both first name and surname. Of course poor old Vernon Philander would appreciate some harmony in his own vowels this week.” As runs puns go, that’s a good one.

3.03pm BST

102nd over: England 349-9 (Stokes 109, Anderson 0) Stokes adds a third successive six, just for a laugh – whereupon Maharaj hits back with a couple of wily near-wides. It’s been a fascinating innings from Stokes, alternately dour and expansive.

3.01pm BST

Stokes gets to 97 with a six! And then to 103 with six more!! Sensational stuff. The first one needed a hand from du Plessis, who caught it but fell on to the rope. The second was immaculate.

2.57pm BST

101st over: England 331-9 (Stokes 91, Anderson 0) So Rabada sees off Broad, and Anderson sees out the over. Over to you, Ben.

2.55pm BST

The commentators have just been showing how Broad can now fend off the short stuff, but then gets out to the one that’s pitched up. And so it comes to pass, with a tame snick to first slip. Can Jimmy Anderson see Stokes to his hundred?

2.52pm BST

100th over: England 329-8 (Stokes 90, Broad 2) Broad survives an appeal from Maharaj and takes a single. And Stokes smites a six! Walloped over mid-on, and dropped by the bloke in the crowd with a navy sweatshirt and thick specs.

2.49pm BST

Afternoon everyone and thanks Rob. That man is a hard act to follow but an easy act to work with. I’ve been reading him with pleasure today, waiting for my turn. It’s a bit like having an exam in the afternoon – in your favourite subject.

2.47pm BST

That’s drinks. The great Tim de Lisle will be with you for the rest of the day. You can email him on tim.delisle.casual@theguardian.com or tweet @TimdeLisle.

2.45pm BST

99th over: England 322-8 (Stokes 84, Broad 1) Stokes does go into one-day mode – but only the middle overs of an ODI, with a no-risk single off Rabada’s first ball. That’s not quite what I was expecting. He gets back on strike for the last delivery and hooks it round the corner for four. It’s a reflection of how devastating Stokes can be that he’s made a cautious 85 from 140 balls. A barnstorming 85 from Chris Tavare would have taken 240 balls.

2.40pm BST

98th over: England 316-8 (Stokes 79, Broad 0) Stokes has scored 22 from his last 59 deliveries. I suspect he’ll go into one-day/Cape Town Test mode now that we are down to the tail. Broad is dangerous but he’s not somebody you’d trust to hang around while you get to your century in singles.

2.38pm BST

I doubt Faf du Plessis wanted to go to spin after only 17 overs with the new ball, but Philander’s dodgy tummy and Morris’s dodgy radar have given him no choice. And the change has worked straight away. Maharaj skids one on to trap Roland-Jones LBW and end a jaunty debut innings of 25 from 25 balls. He discussed a review with Stokes, who gave him the honest answer: it was plumb.

2.33pm BST

97th over: England 315-7 (Stokes 77, Roland-Jones 25) Rabada replaces the weary, wonderful Morkel. Roland-Jones does very well to dig out a blistering yorker; the next ball is the bouncer, and Roland-Jones clouts it for four! He has raced merrily to 25 from 24 balls.

“Afternoon Smyth,” says Neil Taylor. “Very much enjoying the memories being offered up today. My first two cricketing experiences were being taken by my grandfather to see Notts/Sussex and seeing Tim Robinson just wandering round the ground. I couldn’t believe a star like him would be just sauntering by! My second experience was sitting in the front row of the Pavilion at the Oval. I vividly remember Robin Smith walking past me to bat and thinking his forearms were bigger than my thighs!”

2.28pm BST

96th over: England 310-7 (Stokes 77, Roland-Jones 21) Morris swings a full-length delivery onto the pads of Stokes, who flicks him round the corner for four. Roland-Jones then flicks crisply to the square-leg boundary and top-edges a pulls for six to make it 17 from the over. Morris is

haemmorhaging
WHY CAN’T I SPELL THAT BLOODY WORD haemorrhaging runs.

“I hear Philander unlikely to return to the field today,” says Patrick Brennan, trying not to giggle as he lovingly lines up his pay-off. “Not to worry SA, when you bat, he’s sure to get the runs.”

2.24pm BST

95th over: England 293-7 (Stokes 70, Roland-Jones 11) Roland-Jones demonstrates his batting ability with a confident drive for four off Morkel. South Africa seem to be focussing only on dismissing Roland-Jones, which is surely a mistake. If he was the No11 I’d get it but he’s the No9, and a good one.

“Hi Rob, long time listener, first time caller,” says Colin Walker. “Can I do the customary shameless charity fundraiser plug? I’m doing the RideLondon event this weekend for War Child, who work with children whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. To make it interesting, I’m doing it on a fat bike – basically built with five inch tires for use on snow and sand, certainly not tarmac. I hope the certainty of pain and misery might encourage some OBOers to take pity and make a small contribution. Many thanks!”

2.19pm BST

94th over: England 289-7 (Stokes 70, Roland-Jones 7) Morris replaces Rabada (22-4-70-2). Stokes tries to pull, is beaten for pace and ends up lobbing a single towards mid-off off the toe end of the bat. Roland-Jones then tucks a loose delivery for fine leg for his first boundary in Test cricket. Morris has been loose in this game, as figures of 16-1-74-1 would suggest.

“Hi Rob,” says Stephen Cooper. “The offer yesterday from Simon Thomas of spare tickets for today reminded me of August 1994, when I had a ticket for the Oval but was unwell and travelling down from Norwich felt beyond me. On the off-chance, I posted the ticket down to a friend in Cambridge, one Ian Alister. Ian didn’t quite make the start of play, but joined my friends and what a day he had. That was the day Devon Malcolm took 9 for 57 against South Africa! I’ve a feeling that was Ian’s first experience of live test cricket and it scarcely comes better than that, does it?”

2.14pm BST

93rd over: England 283-7 (Stokes 69, Roland-Jones 2) Stokes hasn’t hit a boundary in ages. What does he think this is, a Champions Trophy semi-final? I jest; he has played a smart, admirably disciplined innings – and he’s still scoring at a strike rate of 54.

“I only had the pleasure of seeing Sylvester Clarke once,” says Kevin Ryan. “Surrey v Kent late afternoon. Sylvester opens the bowling with a loosener which pitched halfway down the pitch and cleared Jack Richards who must have been standing at least 30 yards back. A memory that has stuck with me was the sight of certain Kent batsmen pacing up and down in their quarters like expectant fathers and at least one who shall remain nameless puffing furiously on a fag. All awaiting their unfortunate and predictable fate.”

2.10pm BST

92nd over: England 282-7 (Stokes 68, Roland-Jones 2) Rabada again surprises his mate Stokes with a bit of extra bounce. Stokes has been largely strokeless since around midday, scoring 11 from his last 47 deliveries.

“Thanks for opening up the ‘Bowlers who didn’t play many Tests’ rabbit hole!” says Elliot Carr-Barnsley “Colin Croft must be up there, only 27 Tests, yielding 122 wickets at 23, including a 9-for. Bruce Reid, 27 matches, 113 at 24. Let us not forget Mohammed Asif either, what he might have become. 106 scalps in 23 matches at 24. And Michael Bevan. Yes. 18 tests, 29 wickets at 24 at a strike rate of 44 including a ten-for.”

2.05pm BST

91st over: England 279-7 (Stokes 68, Roland-Jones 0) The debutant Toby Roland-Jones is a useful batsman. He has a first-class hundred and made 37 not out against South Africa on his ODI debut. Moeen might be unlucky to have been given out. Mike Atherton has pointed out that the spike on Ultra Edge may well have been bat on pad, rather than inside edge on ball, and that it’s debatable whether there was definitive evidence to overturn the decision. Oh well, it’s done now.

“Just to clarify,” says Tom Hopkins. what are the circumstances when human beings wouldn’t choose to postpone the moment of performance?”

2.02pm BST

Moeen has gone! He inside-edged Morkel onto the pad, with the ball deflecting through to de Kock. Ultra Edge did the necessary, and the original on-field decision was overturned.

2.01pm BST

REVIEW! 90.3 overs: England 279-6 (Stokes 68, Moeen 16) Morkel, from around the wicket, rips one back to hit Moeen in the locale of the unmentionables. It has the desired effect: Moeen is beaten, his feet stuck in cement, and then there’s a review from South Africa. I’m not sure whether this is for LBW or caught behind. I suspect it’s for both. I think he might be out here.

1.57pm BST

90th over: England 279-6 (Stokes 68, Moeen 16) Rabada has got some sharp lift today, and that’s another example: a delivery that surprises Stokes, who had shaped to attack, and hits high on the bat before dribbling into the off side for a single. Rabada is barely 22 yet bowls with such wisdom.

“I’ve just finished your piece on Duncan Spencer and went looking in vain for clips of him bowling on the WACA pitch,” says Eamonn Maloney. “Channel 9 used to broadcast Shield games and I vaguely remember Spencer roughing up 9 alumnus James Brayshaw, a Redback batsman of Gowerian elegance whose post-cricket career has at times seemed exclusively dedicated to destroying the reserves of admiration his batting built up, in me at least.”

1.54pm BST

89th over: England 275-6 (Stokes 66, Moeen 14) There’s a bit of mizzle at the Oval. When does mizzle become drizzle? Or is mizzle drizzle? Can you measure it with data, like a batting average, or do you have to trust your expert eye? Another quiet over from Morkel to the hitherto watchful pair of Stokes and Moeen. The possibility of going off for rain in the next few minutes gives England even more incentive to dig in. Preserve your wickets; they’re all that’s left you.

“Are we still doing Sylvester Clarke stories?” says Phil Harison. “My friend Neil – who was an average club batsman at best – faced him in the Lancashire League. He said the first ball hit him on the thigh without him having been aware of Clarke having let go of it. They scrambled a painful leg-bye and Neil chipped one up in the air at the other end rather than face him again. When he got back to the pavilion, he discovered the the whole top half of his left leg had gone purple. The Lancashire Leagues sound nuts – clubbies facing Test bowlers without helmets. How did no one die?”

1.48pm BST

88th over: England 274-6 (Stokes 65, Moeen 14) Philander is still off the field with a bad stomach, perhaps refusing to move from his seat for something other than superstitious reasons. That gives England an even greater incentive to see off these two and go after Morris, who has had a poor game so far, and Maharaj, who is good but not as threatening as the others on day two. At the moment that’s what they are doing, which has made for a low-key start to the afternoon session.

“So,” says Andrew Benton, “if not Stokes, Moeen and Bairstow, which three all-rounders would you have in their places, Rob?”

1.45pm BST

87th over: England 270-6 (Stokes 64, Moeen 11) Morkel starts after lunch with an uneventful over to Moeen. In an ideal world Moeen would bat at No7 – he is far too good to be at No8 – but England need all the extra batting they can get at the moment.

“Why do batsmen “play for lunch” (or tea, or bad light) when a wicket is frequently lost at the resumption of play?” says Tone White. “Habit?”

1.30pm BST

Ach! I posted the wrong link for the Dan Lucas fundraiser early. Thanks to Huw Swanborough for pointing it out. Here’s the correct link.

1.28pm BST

“Hi Rob,” says Gareth Wilson. “Really interested by your comment on Bairstow’s propensity to make nothing scores, so I statsguru’d a little, and found this. If you take a nothing score for a batsman to be between 20 and 49 (maybe harsh), then Bairstow hits this in 36 per cent of his innings. Root’s figures is 21 per cent, Cook 26, Alec Stewart 30 and Gilchrist 27.

“Interestingly, or not, Bairstow’s average in those innings is almost identical to his career average (40.27 v 40.51), and Stewart is similar (39.7 v 39.54). All the others have a much higher overall average (Root: 37.66 v 53.3; Cook: 35.85 v 46.34, Gilchrist: 37.39 v 47.6) which just goes to show, I guess, that Bairstow will give you 40 runs per innings and never much more, which is potentially a reason to bat him at 7 rather than 6. I think this makes some sense.”

1.01pm BST

Lunchtime viewing

1.01pm BST

86th over: England 269-6 (Stokes 64, Moeen 10) Moeen tries to pull his bat away from a delivery from Rabada that pings off the face of the bat to the third-man boundary. Moeen is so talented that he can leave you for four. A pleasant square-drive for three ends another excellent session in this rough, tough arm-wrestle of a Test. England lost Cook and Bairstow; South Africa lost Philander, who is off the field with diarrhoea and vomiting. Ben Stokes played two innings in one, a scorching counter-attack followed by some diligent defence to ensure England went to lunch only six down. See you in half an hour for the afternoon session.

12.56pm BST

85th over: England 262-6 (Stokes 64, Moeen 3) Morkel begins the process of working Moeen over. He rips a bouncer past his nose and then jags one back to hit high on the pad. Moeen does the sensible thing and gets off strike, at which point Morkel bursts another beauty past Stokes’s defensive stroke. That was a brilliant over.

“Michael Cross’s tale of Sylvester Clarke mentioned Wayne Daniel en passant (well, in the bar) and reminded me of a visit to Enfield CC circa 1980,” says Brian Withington. “Apparently Wayne had been stood down by Middlesex and was free to play for the club that weekend – but arrived too late for the 1st team’s away trip. Undeterred (and possibly not in the best of humour) he turned out for the Saturday 2nds! An hour later he had to be “rested” after hospitalising the opposition upper order – I think the lower order were threatening a mutiny. Fortunately he didn’t show up for our game on the Sunday …”

12.52pm BST

84th over: England 261-6 (Stokes 64, Moeen 2) Another good over from Rabada, who kicks an excellent delivery past Stokes’s defensive stroke. England are playing for lunch, which is two overs away.

12.48pm BST

83rd over: England 260-6 (Stokes 64, Moeen 1) One more wicket before lunch would put South Africa well on top. Stokes, after that thrilling counter-attack earlier in the day, seems to have shut up shop until lunch.

“As a long-suffering fan of the South Australian Redbacks I can confirm Ryan Harris was a bit crap before moving to Queensland, where it suddenly occurred to him to bowl 10kph faster,” says Eamonn Maloney. “He was even thought of as an allrounder in Adelaide – preposterous in retrospect.”

12.44pm BST

82nd over: England 258-6 (Stokes 63, Moeen 0) “Casually watching the Test with my nine year old daughter,” says Phil Withall. “She’s not overly interested but I try talking up the quality of the South African bowling, Bairstow’s heritage and the fact that the reaction time of a batsman is really rather impressive. There is a lull then she pipes up with ‘What age do you reach puberty>’ I mumbled a reply and handed her a copy of The Dandy before exiting stage left. Never watch cricket with children or animals…”

12.42pm BST

Terrific bowling from Rabada. He made Bairstow play at everything, including a fine delivery that kicked and straightened to hit high on the bat, and du Plessis at second slip took a smart catch to his left. It’s another nothing score for Bairstow. He gets a lot of those, though in this case he fell to an excellent delivery.

12.38pm BST

81st over: England 256-5 (Stokes 63, Bairstow 34) Morne Morkel takes the second new ball. His first over is not the best, a bit too wide to Stokes, who leaves most of the deliveries. A maiden.

“Gary Naylor, my old friend, makes a good point about the way England approach their batting,” writes Dileep Premachandran. “With respect to your response, Waugh’s Aussies had Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Martyn, Gilchrist…bit harder to pull it off with the likes of Dawid Malan and Gary Ballance!”

12.33pm BST

80th over: England 256-5 (Stokes 63, Bairstow 34) Right, enough of that filler: it’s time for the second new-ball, and some assertions of masculinity.

“While we’re reminiscing, I have very fond memories of the Oval,” says Guy Hornsby. “Was a junior member with my twin brother back in the 80s as a pair of nippers, and spent many a Saturday/Sunday in the Pavilion staring at Honours Boards, in my C&A anorak and green flash (I KNOW). My first ever Test match was in August 1989, when the Aussies came for revenge, bringing a certain Terry Alderman with them. On day 2, Dean Jones smashed 122, and we watched aghast as our great hope Gooch was LBW 3rd ball. We went autograph hunting, wide-eyed and fearless, and bagged many legends that we’d only first seen that day. And Nick Cook. I found the programme clearing my spare room this year, and I’ll cherish it forever. I think I fell in love with the game that day.”

12.30pm BST

79th over: England 255-5 (Stokes 62, Bairstow 34) Philander is still off the field with his stomach bug, so he won’t be able to take the second new ball. That’ll mean Rabada v Stokes and Bairstow with the hard new cherry, a contest that is incapable of producing dull cricket. At the moment dull cricket is precisely what we’re getting, with both teams killing time until that new ball.

“Would you agree that ‘what if Ryan Harris had been selected four years earlier?’ is the greatest sporting what-if of our times?” says Rob Little. “Certainly the selection of people like Hilfenhaus, Bollinger etc instead did seem to rather diminish that great Australian team as soon as the titans (sans Punter + Hayden (who wasn’t really at his best anyway) retired at the end of the 06-07 Ashes.”

12.26pm BST

78th over: England 254-5 (Stokes 61, Bairstow 34) “Watching my uncle play club cricket in cape town when I was eight years old was the catalyst of my love for the sport,” writes Mo. “ Back then (1982) it was not uncommon to have ten Provincial players in the club lineup. Many who, if given the chance, would have played for South Africa. I still remember the buzz of excitement watching the opening bowlers tear in, and releasing the ball at speeds I thought were supersonic. There’d be up to 10,000 people watching a club game.”

Really? 10,000?

12.23pm BST

77th over: England 251-5 (Stokes 59, Bairstow 33) Morris replaces Rabada and bowls a quiet over that goes for a couple. The last 10 minutes have been pretty quiet, with both sides taking a breather before for the second new ball.

“Morning Rob,” says Nick Walmsley. “Speaking of “lost” express-quick bowlers from yesteryear, I saw Andre van Troost clobber Jimmy Adams during a match at Taunton against the West Indies in 1995, breaking his cheekbone. His first-class career was patchy and unimpressive, mainly because he was injury-prone but also because of his unerring *inaccuracy*. He bowled like a hungry gorilla during a famine. I don’t have access to my Wisdens, but several county batsmen of the time testified that he was the quickest on the circuit.”

Related: Recalling Duncan Spencer, the cricketer who lived fast and bowled even faster

12.19pm BST

76th over: England 249-5 (Stokes 58, Bairstow 32) Heather Knight has popped into the Sky commentary box to talk about what it’s like to win a World Cup. Apparently Katherine Brunt was trying to get into a London nightclub at 3am on Monday morning, still in her England tracksuit, and was turned away because she had trainers on. Tremendous stuff.

“Is it me, or do England always seem to bat as if they have 100 more runs on the board than is actually the case?” says Gary Naylor. “Makes for attractive cricket, but does invite the wheels to fall off rather more often than they should.”

12.16pm BST

75th over: England 248-5 (Stokes 58, Bairstow 31) Bairstow back cuts Rabada confidently for four. England’s lower middle order have received plenty of criticism in the last few months, so it’s only fair to point out that this is their good side. When Cook was out England were 183 for five and in trouble; these two have since added 65 at a run a ball. It’s been an excellent and courageous counter-attack. South Africa might be feeling the first prods of deja vu.

12.12pm BST

74th over: England 241-5 (Stokes 58, Bairstow 24) Stokes had 21 from 41 balls overnight, and 22 from 51 at one stage this morning, so his last 36 runs have come from 30 deliveries.

12.09pm BST

73rd over: England 239-5 (Stokes 57, Bairstow 23) Rabada switches ends to replace Morris, who was taking some tap. Stokes continues to attack, pulling Rabada just over the leaping mid-on for four. That takes him to a very good fifty from just 72 balls. Objectively, he is looking extremely dangerous. When I say ‘objectively’, what I mean is: DON’T BLAME ME FOR CURSING HIM IF HE FLOGS ONE STRAIGHT UP IN THE AIR IN THE NEXT FIVE MINUTES.

“Morning!” says Michael Cross. “I’m Michael Cross, and I am indeed at the Oval with Sean (opening mail of the day). At the risk of missing more of Stokes’s savage beauty, one more Sylvester yarn? Surrey had resumed after lunch against a Leicestershire side for whom Gower had begun to score freely. Leaving the Members’ bar, I was surprised to see our man in his whites, on a stool, chatting over a very obvious rum n coke with an in-civvies Wayne Daniel. He rejoined the fray a little later (“returning to the field, Sylvester Clarke”; smattering of applause) took the next over – no rules then about having to wait – and had Gower at third slip. A rueful Gower returned to the pavilion waving his glove – from which the unplayable delivery had separated the thumb from the body. I think it was his 3rd ball. A proper Surrey great.”

12.01pm BST

72nd over: England 230-5 (Stokes 48, Bairstow 23) Maharaj replaces Rabada. Bairstow, who has had trouble with Maharaj in this series, decides to go on the attack. He sweeps the second ball over square leg and clouts the third down the ground for a second consecutive boundary. It was in the air but Maharaj would have needed inhuman reactions to catch it. The last ball of the over, and the last before drinks, is lapped round the corner for another four to make it 12 from the over.

“Morning Rob, morning everyone,” says Harkarn Sumal. “Perhaps the real tale in the earlier magnificent “runs in victories” stat-link is that of one Brian Charles Lara, languishing very near the bottom with 2,929. That means he scored over 9,000 of his 11,953 Test runs in losing or drawing causes. For a man who is wrongly remembered by too many as a flighty chancer of a genius who didn’t buckle down when the pressure was on, that’s not a bad effort. He was truly a king atop the turrets of a once-mighty castle’s crumbling ruins as the great West Indies era drew to a close. And a non-empirical measure of the man was that I don’t recall ever hearing him scorning or belittling the lesser mortals around him in that batting order.”

11.57am BST

71st over: England 218-5 (Stokes 48, Bairstow 12) Bairstow belts a gentle outswinger from Morris through extra cover for his second boundary, a carbon copy of the first.

“I won’t have any Murdoch-owned filth in the house and I never remember anything from my annual Test at Old Trafford,” chirps Paul Smith. “But from the OBO, Philander sounds a lot like Ryan Harris. Is he?”

11.52am BST

70th over: England 212-5 (Stokes 47, Bairstow 7) A double bowling change, with Rabada replacing Philander. Bairstow is surprised by some malevolent extra bounce, and does well to punch the ball short of the cordon. That unsettles him sufficiently that he chases and misses a wide one later in the over.

“I grew up in Johannesburg in the 1980s, and was a member of the young Transvaal fan club.,” asys Richard Mansell. “My school was almost next door to the Wanderers, Jimmy Cook was my year 6 teacher, and Ray Jennings used to come by to hang out with him some times. It has always baffled me how Sylvester Clarke could have come to live and play in South Africa during the height of apartheid. I can only imagine that he was granted “honorary white” status, which made him white in the eyes of the law and allowed him to live in white areas, travel on white trains, go to white beaches, etc. The perversity is unbelievable. I appreciate that he needed money, but would be fascinated to explore and understand how men like him dealt with their undoubtedly troubled consciences. He might have been an “honorary white” but all around him the very visible effects of apartheid must have been impossible to ignore.”

11.48am BST

69th over: England 210-5 (Stokes 46, Bairstow 6) Chris Morris replaces Morne Morkel. Morris v Ben Stokes = enough machismo to power 48 street brawls. A low full toss is clubbed for four, an attempted yorker is timed down the ground, and then a wide half-volley is driven classically through extra cover for the third boundary of the over. If I were a South African fan, I would think Stokes looks in exceedingly ominous form. As an England fan, I expect him to hole out any second.

“Harold Larwood used to drink ale during the lunch interval,” says Dave Adams. “Apparently, Arthur Carr, his captain, used to positively encourage him to enjoy a lunch comprising of cheese and pickle sandwiches and a couple of ales. As someone who can barely raise a trot after a few beers, this seems utterly bewildering.”

11.43am BST

The good news: women’s cricket makes it into @TheEconomist. The bad news: the only player mentioned is Len Hutton https://t.co/GedXWx9H5E

11.42am BST

68th over: England 198-5 (Stokes 34, Bairstow 6) Bairstow reaches to thump a Philander outswinger through extra cover for his first boundary. That shot contained 0.00 per cent nonsense. Philander responds, as he usually does, by seaming one past the outside edge.

“Thanks for sorting out the spare tickets last night,” says Simon Thomas. “A hundred quid raised for the Dan Lucas Fund and three happy punters, one at his first ever Test. Also, what happened to Stumpy & Willow, eh?”

11.38am BST

67th over: England 194-5 (Stokes 34, Bairstow 2) Morkel drops short to Stokes, who cuffs a swaggering pull through midwicket for four. The next ball is rifled straight down the ground for two, and it would have been four more but for a touch from Morkel in his follow-through. You invariably need to use the phrase “so far” during a Stokes innings, but so far his judgement of when to attack and when to defend has been almost perfect.

“Re Angus King. Surely Broad is an adjective, not a noun,” says Martin Brady, who has clearly never seen The Sopranos. “Though I’m reminded of the heyday of 2009, when Cook Swann and Onions appeared both on the England team sheet and in the Queen’s breakfast order.”

11.33am BST

66th over: England 186-5 (Stokes 28, Bairstow 2) Philander returns to the field to continue his spell. There is still some orthodox swing, even though the ball is 66 overs old, and Bairstow is sensibly content to defend.

The great Chris Ryan wrote the following some time ago about Thommo, bowling fast, feeling rough and feeling a great injustice,” says Jamesy. “I like the sound of this Sylvester character though.”

11.28am BST

65th over: England 183-5 (Stokes 27, Bairstow 0) This is tremendous Test cricket. It would, I might humbly suggest, be a very good time for one of Stokes, Bairstow or Moeen to show that they can also make 250-ball hundreds.

Meanwhile, a good stat from Shane Warne on Sky: Morkel has dismissed Cook 10 times in Tests, more than anybody else.

11.24am BST

He’s out! It was hitting the top of the bails, umpire’s call, and that’s enough for South Africa. Cook was batting very deep in his crease, perhaps because he was bounced out by Morris in the last Test, and that meant the ball didn’t have so far to travel. That’s a huge wicket. It was a good delivery from Morkel, cutting back from around the wicket, and Cook pushed defensively around his pad as he jumped back in his crease.

11.23am BST

“Oh that’s not out,” says Shane Warne as Morne Morkel goes up for LBW. “He’s given him!” Cook reviewed it straight away but this is tight. Height may save him.

11.22am BST

64th over: England 182-4 (Cook 88, Stokes 26) Cook instinctively chases a legcutter from Philander and is happy to miss it by a fair way. He’s beaten again from the final delivery, another that moves sharply off the seam. I hope these two old-fashioned champions will share a beer at the end of the series; I’d imagine there is enormous mutual respect. Philander leaves the field at the end of the over, which will please England.

“Cumberland sausage in Perdoni’s?” sniffs Paddy Blewer. “You clearly never went. Was a great place though. Photos of all the Surrey players that had eaten in there. Especially if you’re a boy with your dad who had gone to Tenisons round the corner and therefore had played at the Oval (they used to get a game a year when it was a Grammar).

11.17am BST

63rd over: England 182-4 (Cook 88, Stokes 26) Morkel floats one up to Cook, who drives confidently for three. If he reaches three figures it’ll be his 31st Test hundred, and one of his best.

“Morning Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Apparently we tend to feel guilt about the past and fear the future, so instead we should live for the moment. And don’t fret about what you can’t control. I get the feeling Alistair Cook is able to do precisely that. Though there have been plenty of England cricketers who couldn’t. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I think.”

11.13am BST

62nd over: England 179-4 (Cook 85, Stokes 26) Oof! Cook nicks a beauty from Philander that lands this far short of du Plessis at second slip, who scooped it up almost on the half-volley. This is already another serious interrogation from Philander, who is making the batsmen play at almost everything. That’s the last thing they want to do at the start of a day’s play. A single takes brings Stokes on strike, and he flicks a high-class boundary through midwicket. That takes him to 2000 Test runs.

“My old man, Neville – who was capped for Surrey, and was a very useful club cricketer, rejecting a professional career – faced S Clarke on several occasions,” says Tim Featherstone-Griffin. “He always described it as ‘the most terrifying experience you can have on a cricket pitch, made worse only if Sylvester had been on the rum…’”

11.08am BST

61st over: England 174-4 (Cook 84, Stokes 22) Stokes was largely excellent yesterday. You could feel his determination to construct a proper Test-match innings, to show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the game, and he starts in similar vein against Morkel this morning. A maiden.

“The England team only prospers with players whose surnames are nouns (Cook, Root, Broad, Alley) or third-person verbs – Stokes,” says Angus King. “Or Anderson.”

11.03am BST

60th over: England 174-4 (Cook 84, Stokes 22) You don’t need me to tell you how important today is, so that’s precisely what I’m going to do. It is, in the parlance of our time, a biggie. Shane Warne and Bumble reckon this could be a better batting day, both in terms of the pitch and the overhead conditions. Vernon Philander will bowl the first of a scheduled 98 overs. He doesn’t do looseners, and is straight into the groove of making the batsmen play. Cook gets a thick outside edge into the off side and then works a couple of runs off the pads.

That Ponting stat is something, isn’t it?” says Luke Dealtry. “Does it really say the man won 108 Test matches? That’s more than New Zealand or Sri Lanka. Australia have won 377 Tests – which means that Punter played in 29% of all Australian victories, or 7% of all Test wins ever. Can that be right? Ye gods.”

10.54am BST

If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for … you

Here’s a link to an interesting article about Gary Palmer’s influence on Alastair Cook’s batting,” says David Hindle. “It is so Alastair Cook that he pays for his non-ECB approved batting coach, out of his own pocket.”

10.53am BST

Do you remember the first time?

“Watching Sylvester Clarke made me a cricket fan for life,” says Paddy Blewer. “I won’t ever forget it. My birthday treat. September 1988. Bus to Morden, tube to the Oval with my old man. Sausage sandwich and mug of tea at Perdoni’s greasy spoon round the corner from the Oval. Used my grandad’s old binoculars so I could see the game properly. Then Sylvester fell on a good Lancashire lineup and destroyed them. It was so fast it was hard to pick up. He got 6/60 in 28 overs and was brutal. Got Fowler/Mendis/Atherton and the tail. I was 9. I was hooked on cricket and I wanted to be a fast bowler.”

10.45am BST

“Hi there,” says Al Ferguson. “Easier way to find TMS overseas for this Tets match. Go to this link. Click on ‘TMS overseas’.”

10.44am BST

“Hello from Cape Town, South Africa,” says Gary. “Why is there no early start to play to make up for the overs lost yesterday.”

I think they add any extra overs onto the end rather than the start, so we could have 98 overs today.

10.34am BST

Other audio services are available, etc.

“If we are plugging TMS via youtube,” says Thomas Whiteley, “maybe mention Guerilla Cricket is also free on tuneIn.”

10.32am BST

Niche stat of the day (and the next few days)

If England win this match, Alastair Cook will become the first Englishman to score 5,000 runs in Test victories. LOOK HOW MANY RICKY PONTING SCORED.

10.23am BST

Bobby did a bad bad thing

I meant to post this yesterday and I forgot. I’m sorry.

10.23am BST

The first email of the day

“Ahoy hoy!” says Jim Crane. “My friend (and Surrey alumnus) Michael Cross is at The Oval today with his son, Sean. Discussing your Oval Memories theme last night, he proffered the following for your delectation:

10.09am BST

Some pre-play reading

Related: Watching Alastair Cook at the crease has reassuring quality of Englishness | Barney Ronay

Related: England’s Tom Westley feels familiar admiration for defiant Alastair Cook

Related: Alastair Cook props up wobbly England amid South Africa’s pace barrage

12.11am BST

Alastair Cook is a batting addict. And, like all addicts, he doesn’t care how unpleasant the circumstances just so long as he gets his fix*. Batting was extremely tough yesterday yet Cook relished every last drain on his concentration. His superb 82 not out, a masterclass in how to respect Test cricket, has kept England in the match and maybe the series.

Cook bought England time by surviving 178 deliveries. Since his debut he has faced 24,035 balls; that’s almost 8,000 more than the next best, Hashim Amla. He is the master of the dying art of batting time. It’s odd that, like Richie Benaud’s commentary silences, everybody praises Cook’s old-fashioned virtues yet nobody can be bothered to copy him. But that’s a gripe for another day.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/28/england-v-south-africa-third-test-day-two-live

Jul 08

England build 216-run lead over South Africa on day three – as it happened

The bowling of Moeen Ali and a gritty, unbeaten Alastair Cook half-century have put England right in charge of the first Test at Lord’s

6.21pm BST

So, as the last lot file out of Lord’s, this feels an appropriate time for me to sign off for the day. Jimmy A, who had a doze as Cook and Ballance battled through the last hour, says England will bat “the best part of two sessions” tomorrow to set up a big ol’ target. Bob Willis thinks they should tee from ball one on Sunday morning. Cavalier, is Bob.

Anyway, thanks for your company, emails and tweets today. Isn’t lovely to have Test cricket back? Have a lovely Saturday evening: if this is your bag, Vic Marks’s report from Lord’s, plus bits and pieces from Ali Martin and Barney Ronay, will be online before you know it. Thanks again, and speak soon.

Related: South Africa in deep trouble as England spin towards victory in first Test

6.18pm BST

Jimmy Anderson, talking to Michael Atherton, seems very satisfied with England’s position in the game, and the early throes of Joe Root’s captaincy. He’s just curtly corrected Athers on his age… Still got it.

This, by the way, is the number of runs Alastair Cook needs to overtake Sachin Tendulkar in the Test charts. #CatchinSachin

4803 to go.

6.11pm BST

So, England are right on top in this Test. If you were being super-picky, you could have asked for 50 more runs in that evening session, but they will be more than happy. 180 overs remain, it’s not going to rain, and they by 216. I won’t need to spell out what their strategy from here on in will be. For South Africa, the sight of Philander back on the field will bring optimism, but they have plenty more fielding to do.

6.03pm BST

51st over: England 119-1 (Cook 59, Ballance 22) Duminy to bowl the last, then. South Africa want to get out of here sharply. Ballance is watchful, then turns one round the corner and the single is greeted by some ironic cheers from what remains of the crowd. Everyone looks like they have had a really lovely day at Lord’s. Cook blocks the final ball of the day very firmly. England are right in charge, and Cook has ground them into a very fine position.

5.59pm BST

50th over: England 118-1 (Cook 59, Ballance 21) Here we are in the penultimate over of the day, and Maharaj is the man bowling it. We are going to be done just after 6pm, which is rare these days. Cook is watchful until he misses a big drive. Besides that, he’s riding the spin well, still getting right across to the offside.

5.56pm BST

49th over: England 118-1 (Cook 59, Ballance 21) This is the latest in a series of, well, quiet overs. Cook doesn’t look that fussed about getting after Rabada. The last ball is yorker-length and on leg stump, so Cook turns it through square-leg for one.

We were talking about revs per second earlier, and David Wall is wondering if it’s worth the bother. In terms of physics, I am now officially in over my head.

Is that actually much use as an informative statistic for viewers? It seems that the extent to which the ball moves depend perhaps more on the state of the pitch where it lands, and the part of the ball that strikes the ground, than on the speed that the ball is turning. And it’s not similar to the forward speed that bowler is delivering the ball, something that we all have a general grasp of. It sounds like an excuse to have something else to flash on the screen, and for the commentators to discuss during slow periods. And to wheel out some new device to measure it, and so justify a further hike in the subscription for the channel.

5.52pm BST

48th over: England 117-1 (Cook 58, Ballance 21) Maharaj had a brief rest, but he’s back now. Bowling over the wicket (still no leg slip) to Ballance, he is causing some trouble. One balloons off the pad to short leg, another sees a sweep totally missed. Calmly defends the last ball of a maiden. Three overs to go tonight.

5.48pm BST

47th over: England 117-1 (Cook 58, Ballance 21) Three dots begin this over, then Cook turns Rabada to leg for one. Ballance gets inside the line of a short one, then turns a rather surprising highish full toss through behind square for one. The lead is 214.

5.44pm BST

46th over: England 114-1 (Cook 56, Ballance 20) G-Ballz begins Duminy’s over by slicing a full toss behind square on the offside for two, then taking one through square-leg. Cook is defending, until the last ball, which he cuts out to deep point for one. There are five more overs tonight.

5.42pm BST

45th over: England 111-1 (Cook 56, Ballance 17) Ali Martin at Lord’s has emailed saying Philander can bowl straight away because his is an external injury, and therefore the time restrictions do not apply. Rabada serves up a very tidy maiden to Cook, who is just grinding England into a very strong position. No hurry, and David Shepherd would be in strife now.

Damian Clarke is suggesting I get myself one of these to ease my bladder woes, while Eddy Richards raises an interesting point. I reckon Broad won’t have to bat again in this game.

As an occasional number 9 (the occasion being when ether we are only playing with 9 men, or have children making up the numbers) I was pleased to see both Broad and Philander score 50s. I wonder how often this happens?

5.37pm BST

44th over: England 111-1 (Cook 56, Ballance 17) Duminy is replacing Maharaj, who bowled a lovely long spell. Ballance won’t mind that, I don’t reckon, and he trots down to the pitch of the second ball and pumps it over mid-on for four! Shot! England’s lead is 208. The penultimate ball of the over turns BIG, Ballance’s drive misses it, and it ends up in the hands of slip! No one out there is interested. Big turn.

This is 100% correct. The way he turns his wrist and pops round the corner makes him a grand old candidate.

@willis_macp It’s ridiculous not to have a leg slip to Ballance on a pitch that is turning like this. It’s where the anxious leftie hits it.

5.33pm BST

43rd over: England 107-1 (Cook 56, Ballance 13) I am suffering from a real OBOer’s nightmare: I need a pee and they are so obviously staying out there til the close. I’ve needed it since about half an hour after tea and you may have noticed my thinly veiled begs for a drinks break about half an hour ago. Anyway, suck it up Will, you’re an adult.

As I worry about my bladder, Cook clips Rabada hard through midwicket and gets an attractive four. Later in the over, there’s an edge that drops just short of Amla at first slip. Unlucky. Rabada bowling nicely.

Australia, 2009, 5th Test. Strauss, Cook, Bell, Collingwood, Trott. So that is 6 sets of double letters in the top five. Next in was Prior followed by Flintoff, so the average was one double letter for the top 7.

5.29pm BST

42nd over: England 103-1 (Cook 52, Ballance 13) Cook is doing OK to Maharaj without ever looking total comfy. He’s getting miles outside off and gets himself off strike with a fine swept one, possibly off the bottom edge. After this, it takes about four minutes to set the field because they want another helmet or something. Eventually, the final three balls were bowled. Ballance tries to reverse sweep the first! He misses. The next pops up off his pad behind square on the legside. Safe. And the last is swept hard for four! Very well played. Ballance is settling.

John Starbuck has a theory on Vern’s return, and he’s almost definitely right.

Philander has probably come back on the field so as to avoid silly regulations about his length of absence and ensure he can bowl first thing tomorrow. Someone is bound to correct this, but why else would he be keen instead of sensible?

5.24pm BST

41st over: England 98-1 (Cook 51, Ballance 9) Cook is struggling to time Rabada here. There’s a cut that doesn’t make it beyond point, but then a neat steer behind point for four! Well played. He has 48. And there’s his half-century! Rabada overpitches and Cook rocks onto the front foot (he doesn’t really rock, does he?) and he drives through extra cover for three! Vernon Philander, newly back, does well to haul it in. 127 balls, eight fours for Cook. Ballance ends the over by turning to leg for two.

Here, thanks to Thomas Bowtell, is Cook, Strauss, Trott and Bell in a top four together, in the wake of Textgate. James Taylor got run out going for the fourth in that game. A real I Was There moment.

So Jennings has made a negligible score at a run per over, but crucially he’s helped to play Cook in and take the shine off the ball – in other words exactly what Compton did before getting dumped?

5.18pm BST

40th over: England 89-1 (Cook 44, Ballance 7) My suspicion was correct. Cook hadn’t scored a run for 28 balls before that clothed pull. Anyway, it’s Ballance on strike now, and Maharaj is troubling him, on front and back foot, but Ballance is battling hard. A second successive maiden for the left-arm spinner.

5.16pm BST

39th over: England 89-1 (Cook 44, Ballance 7) Nice. Rabada is having a bowl from the Pavilion End, taking over from Morkel’s very fine spell which accounted for Jennings. He’s bowling over the wicket at Cook, who has been pretty slow since tea. He’s scored 11 in 70 minutes. He has a sort of wafty prod outside off, but misses. The over ends with a shortie from Rabada, and Cook pulls! He doesn’t even get half of it but the crowd go bananas (well, as bananas a Lord’s crowd goes) and they run two.

While I’ve got you, you should really read this. Vish, our man on the ground for the women’s world cup, on a huge game tomorrow.

Related: Heather Knight hopeful England can hit big to outsmart Australia in World Cup

5.11pm BST

38th over: England 87-1 (Cook 42, Ballance 7) SA have brought an extra catcher in for Maharakj to Ballance. Leg slip. After tracking and looking a bit ungainly for a dot, he sweeps hard and hits the poor bloke at short leg. He’s defending a long way forward again, and it’s a maiden.

Also after no hours of research, I reckon the double letter thing is more common than expected. Strauss, Cook, Trott and Bell must have been a top 4 for England at one point?

5.07pm BST

37th over: England 87-1 (Cook 42, Ballance 7) Cricket’s a great game, because England are well on top in the match but South Africa are dominating this little period. After a couple of probing balls, Ballance camps back and drives nicely through point for four, getting him off the mark. That’s the way he’s been batting all summer for Yorkshire. After a sturdy defensive stroke, Morkel comes round the wicket, and is driven through extra cover! They scamper three. Back over the wicket for Cook, and it’s angled across him and stays a bit low outside off. No sign of the drinks break I predicted. Lead is 184, and there are 14 overs left today.

Well, well, well. This’ll be good. Zafar is due to be coming on mine and Vish Ehantharajah’s podcast soon too. Great fella.

Hi @willis_macp There’s an int with Zafar Ansari @TPpodcast_ on focus, commitment, quitting, India. Worth a mention? https://t.co/AGMlKhkKRT

5.02pm BST

36th over: England 80-1 (Cook 42, Ballance 0) With the ball turning, Maharaj is bowling well, drawing Cook forward and pushing him back. He tries to sweep and doesn’t connect again, he’s struck on the pad outside the line and the ball nearly rolls back onto the stumps. It doesn’t, don’t worry. That’s the most exciting moment of a tidy maiden. I think they are going to bowl one more and then have a wee drinky.

Trivia time with Thomas Bowtell! I like this lots.

After no hours of exhaustive research I’m glad to confirm that this is the first time England’s top four have all had a double letter in their name. (COOk, JeNNings, BaLLance and ROOt).

4.59pm BST

35th over: England 80-1 (Cook 42, Ballance 0) Just one ball remains of Morkel’s fine over and it’s Gary Ballance is the man facing it. He leaves it. For his dismissal Jennings’s bat was angled and his concentration gone. Sloppy way to end a decent innings.

4.57pm BST

Morkel is going over the wicket and angling it across Jennings. He looks unconvincing throughout the over (just defending and leaving), and then has a peculiar wafty nibble at the penultimate ball and feathers through to the keeper. They don’t drop them. Really good spell from Morkel with the ageing ball, this. Gone for 33, and the lead is 177.

4.52pm BST

34th over: England 80-0 (Cook 42, Jennings 33) Cook tries to sweep Maharaj, but it goes through everyone having taken the pad, and runs away for three legbyes. They ask whether Jennings has been caught off bat and pad, but he definitely hasn’t. There’s a legside single to get Cook back on strike, and he really doesn’t look that comfy. I’d be crowding the bat, but Elgar is happy with slip, short leg and a catching midwicket.

4.49pm BST

33rd over: England 76-0 (Cook 42, Jennings 32) England lead is becoming substantial, but it’s not growing that rapidly, which is fine. 173 at the moment. Morkel is bowling to Jennings with three slips and a gully, and Jennings is just defending. One takes the outside half of the bat and goes into the offside, but with no cause for alarm. He leaves the last well alone and it’s a maiden.

An optimistic email from Sachin Paul!

So if Jennings settles, we’d have England’s long sequence of settled lefty opening pairs continue – Butcher-Tres, Tres-Strauss, Strauss-Cook, Cook-Jennings. It’s beautiful how the junior left hander ages in front of our eyes and takes over the mantle of the senior for the incoming guy.

4.45pm BST

32nd over: England 76-0 (Cook 42, Jennings 32) Maharaj is bowling nicely to Cook, and the keeper and slip are umming and ahhing. The ball is turning and the bat is missing. The over ends with a sweep that he, err, misses. A maiden. Maharaj and Morkel could be a fun combo over the next few overs.

4.42pm BST

31st over: England 76-0 (Cook 42, Jennings 32) Morne is back! He started well earlier, but Elgar really has to vary his attack with Vern not bowling today. After a couple of decent balls, he gets one to take a thick edge off Jennings and it goes directly, at catchable height, between second and fourth slip, then runs away for four. Another man comes in to fill the gap. After a leave, Jennings has a defensive grope and it’s something of a play and miss. Perhaps we are seeing a bit of reverse swing? Be fun if so.

Graeme Carter has a question, and I have an answer:

Not relevant to Guardian … but what is the ‘RPS’ number that appears in the analysis line of the Sky Sports screen when I watch live Test matches? The only answer I can find is Rising Pune Supergiant from the IPL. Puzzling.

4.38pm BST

30th over: England 72-0 (Cook 42, Jennings 28) Jennings sweeps Maharaj. They run one. Cook’s sweeping too, and with more ambition. He top edges, and there’s a cry of catch it, but it gets nowhere near the fella on the fence. They run another one. Jennings mucks up his reverse sweep and they take a leg bye. The over ends with a dot, as Cook turns into the legside, but straight to the man at midwicket.

4.35pm BST

29th over: England 69-0 (Cook 41, Jennings 27) Oh, JP! Bit more flight and rag and Duminy rips on past Cook’s outside edge as he props forward! Tasty! The next one has him in a little trouble on the back foot, too. The rest of the over is calmer, but there’s no runs.

4.32pm BST

28th over: England 69-0 (Cook 41, Jennings 27) Jennings sweeps Maharaj very hard and rather uppishly (top edge?) and it flies past the man at backward square for one. Not sure the percentages are that high on that stroke. Cook wants to sweep too, and does so without really looking at the ball, but manages to make contact, but straight to the man. He then ends the over by popping the ball over the legside for one. Again, percentages, man. He survives.

4.29pm BST

27th over: England 67-0 (Cook 40, Jennings 26) Duminy is firing them in pretty swiftly. Not quite darts, but sharp and flat. Anyway, it’s another maiden but Cook isn’t really troubled. England’s lead is 164.

4.27pm BST

26th over: England 67-0 (Cook 40, Jennings 26) Good over from Maharaj to Jennings, who isn’t quite sure whether to be forward or back, and fluffs another reverse sweep. He doesn’t take a run from the over.

Lots of chatter about Simon McMahon’s cocktail party. First, Phil Sawyer:

I’ll be happy to go to Simon McMahon’s Cocktails and Cricket Bats Shed Party, especially if he’s mixing the MBMs (his recipe, not mine), Actually, what does he mix in an OBO?

Please thank Simon McMahon for the very kind invitation(s). My brother is currently driving back to the West Midlands after an open day at Southampton Uni (the joys of parenthood) but I am sure he would be delighted to bring a bottle (and possibly even a bat). The garden shack is actually genuinely impressive in a mid-life male crisis sort of way.

4.24pm BST

25th over: England 67-0 (Cook 40, Jennings 26) Duminy into his fourth over. Cook gets himself off strike midway through the over, with a powerful cut that point saves and they take the single. Saved three, cost one, I suppose. Jennings turns a cute sweep round the corner and they run two, then everyone acts like the over has ended, but it hasn’t. Back they come, and Jennings plays a similar stroke. They take just one this time.

Matt Emerson has been in my inbox, with chat about cricket, drink and drugs! What a combo.

Sitting watching the cricket and reading the OBO. I have a bad back so have taken a Tramadol, but that’s an entirely different thread of conversation…

On my stag weekend I was given a Baileys and Ginger Wine, which both looks and tastes disgusting on account of it curdling in the glass. It’s a more alcoholic version of a Cement Mixer – a combination of Baileys and lime juice. You may be surprised to learn that I wasn’t very well that night.

4.21pm BST

24th over: England 63-0 (Cook 39, Jennings 23) More Maharaj, more Cook defending. He tries a big sweep at the fifth ball of the over but it gets big on him and hits his body. Nice easy single ends the over. Cook keeps pinching the strike!

4.19pm BST

23rd over: England 62-0 (Cook 38, Jennings 23) Duminy continues. He’s started very tidily and five dots start the over. Cook happy to defend off front and back foot, but he’s getting over to the offside. Ends with a bad ball, though, and the full toss is flicked wide of mid-on, from where Morkel chases it down, for three. England are very well placed here, with the lead worth 159.

4.16pm BST

22nd over: England 59-0 (Cook 35, Jennings 23) Jennings is almost bowled behind his backside first ball of this over, but there’s a very emphatic reverse sweep next up. Through point, perfectly struck, and four! Point goes back to the fence in response. Bit defensive from Deano, I reckon. He’s defending for the rest of the over and there are no runs, or cause for desperate alarm. The ball is turning…

4.13pm BST

21st over: England 55-0 (Cook 35, Jennings 19) The spinners are doing ok here, and Duminy is causing Cook a bit of trouble early in the over. But the pressure is released by a beautiful cover drive, played very late out of the rough. That gets him four. He then tries to cut a short ball, but the contact isn’t great and the over ends with the firmest and forwardest of defences.

4.11pm BST

20th over: England 51-0 (Cook 31, Jennings 19) Interesting over, this. Jennings gets himself in a bit of a tangle a couple of times as the ball turns plenty. There’s also a reverse sweep, like before tea, and he gets decent contact in front of square and they run two. To confirm he wasn’t watching before tea, Shane Warne gets very, very excited by this reverse-sweep. The reaction was approximately akin to when he learns that the dirty rotten pizza is on the menu.

Speaking of the cocktail party, Simon McMahon’s been in touch again!

Somewhat remiss of me not to invite Brian too, and your good self. In fact, everyone’s welcome. Cocktails on me!

4.07pm BST

19th over: England 49-0 (Cook 31, Jennings 17) Spin from both ends! Duminy’s having his first bowl of the series, and he starts well, as Jennings leaves outside off to the umms and ahhs of the keeper, de Kock. He drives out to the offside sweeper, and they amble through for one. Ooph, is that a missed chance? It’s looped up round Cook’s pads and the batsman is on the move, thinking there are byes to be had, but there aren’t. De Kock doesn’t take it cleanly; if he had a stumping could have been on the cards. Alas.

4.04pm BST

18th over: England 48-0 (Cook 31, Jennings 16) Maharaj, who is going to be a busy boy this afternoon, I reckon, gets us going. Cook is watchful, defending into the legside and back to the bowler, and it’s a maiden. Cook’s spent rather a lot of time working with another South African spinner, Simon Harmer, this summer. Looks very comfortable.

Simon McMahon with a question that all of us are asking. Brian’s brother sounds like the perfect guest, doesn’t he?

Afternoon Will. Can Brian Withington’s brother come round to my house? I’m getting a new shed a week on Monday, actually it’s my first ever shed, and the thought of gin, cricket bats and the OBO is making me rather giddy.

4.01pm BST

Robert Wolf Peterson has been in touch!

Please wait until South Africa bat again before flexing your undoubtedly mighty jinxing muscles. Thanks for the Sussex update. Jofra Archer, eh? What a hero. Match figures of 7-81, and he still found time to monster 42 off 14 deliveries when Sussex were chasing quick runs. I want to be him.

3.58pm BST

About five minutes until they get going again at HQ, then. I appreciate it’s not for everyone, but there is something really lovely about watching Alastair Cook bat. I’ve had the good fortune to see him doing it a fair bit for Essex early this summer and he’s been in great order: unhurried, inelegant, methodical, and just generally very comforting. He has 31 and, after a shaky start, looked right in the groove before tea.

3.55pm BST

Brian Withington’s been in touch again, and now he’s operating right in my wheelhouse.

All these drinking references suggest there might be some interest in my brother’s excellent yet undiscovered back garden cocktail shack themed blog. He also likes cricket bats almost as much as his artisanal gins.

3.48pm BST

Emails!

This one, from Martin Peters, poses a decent question. I think the golf one is closest: two up at the turn, maybe? In charge, but still time for plenty to go wrong…

Would it be fair to say that a 100 or so runs first innings lead is broadly equivalent to a 3-0 half time lead in football, or, say, a 12-3 advantage in rugby, or maybe being 2 up with 8 to play in matchplay golf?

Decided that it was better to keep it clean with the classical reference rather than ponder when Rabada might be tempted to treat the stump mic to another Rhapsody in Blue?

3.44pm BST

17th over: England 48-0 (Cook 31, Jennings 16) That’s better, Keaton Jennings. Rabada overpitches and he drives elegantly through straight mid-on for a couple, and a couple of balls later there’s a lovely flick through midwicket for four. The rest are defended, and that’s a very fine hour’s work for England’s openers. The lead is healthy, there have been few alarms, and South Africa are a man shy and have frittered away both their reviews…. Time for some tea.

A Vernon Philander update: He is unlikely to bowl again today, but his hand is just bruised, not broken. Might well bowl again in the game, by the sounds of things.

3.38pm BST

16th over: England 42-0 (Cook 31, Jennings 10) Cook begins Maharaj’s over with a delightful turn through midwicket, and they run three. jennings, perhaps relieved to not be facing Rabada, goes for another big reverse-sweep and scuffs it, but they take one. Cook is careful for the remaining four balls.

3.36pm BST

15th over: England 38-0 (Cook 28, Jennings 9) Jennings is struggling to get Rabada away. There’s a drive which is well fielded at cover and a couple of leaves, as well as some forthright defence. Another maiden, the fourth from his six overs. Two overs ‘til tea, I reckon.

Phil Sawyer gets us back on the booze, with an email simply title “Drinking”. Sounds like he is having a very fine day indeed.

Apologies, Will, I think it may have been me that started this drinking thread, Having over indulged last night keeping up with the Blast, I’m having a day of abstinence today. However, I’ve just been out in this scorching sun and now have a large supply of strawberry splits to recover with. By my standards, this is winning.

3.33pm BST

14th over: England 38-0 (Cook 28, Jennings 9) 10 minutes until teatime. Cook tries to sweep Maharaj a couple of times but the legside field is busy and he finds the man. But the last ball is too full, and with only nine fielders available to Elgar, there’s no man at cover. Cook sends it through there for four. Easy game, this.

I’m an hour into my stint and we have had a reference to Elgar’s musical surname! Classic! It’s from Brian Withington, with whom I agree: the composition of Elgar’s attack isn’t quite right…

Elgar’s bowling options are looking a mite limited. Who else is wondering if he can possibly compose some [groan] enigmatic variations in his field settings?

3.30pm BST

13th over: England 34-0 (Cook 24, Jennings 9) Here’s Rabada replacing Morkel, then. He’s bowling to Jennings, who looks increasingly keen to score (couple of drives straight to fielders). He doesn’t score, though: it’s a very tidy maiden. There’s a man in the stands wearing a cycling helmet, seemingly to protect himself from the sun. Odd.

Agree with this; reckon Edgbaston is going to be utterly glorious if the weather is nice for the day-night Test next month. Finals Day is always great fun.

@willis_macp About the drunken singing I know that Lords is mecca of cricket but I love that raucousness that you get at Edgbaston..

3.26pm BST

12th over: England 34-0 (Cook 24, Jennings 9) Maharaj to Jennings, then. He’s defending, but reverse-sweeps the third (that’s one of his shots, as you’ll remember from Mumbai), but he hits it straight to backward point. Then he edges wide of slip and they run one. Cook is getting miles across outside off (as that review last over showed) and he’s defending very carefully under his nose.

3.23pm BST

11th over: England 33-0 (Cook 24, Jennings 8) Keats leans into a cover drive off Morkel and it runs away down the slope only to be hauled in at the very last moment by Kuhn, who looks a very fine fielder to me. They sprint three, then Cook squirts to third man with an open face for four more! And then he does exactly the same again, just prodding forward, rolling his hands, and using the pace. Four! Time to put a third man in? That has gone directly between second slip and gully, so the latter moves to third slip. There’s a pantomime cheer when an attempt at a third dab merely finds backward point. And there’s 11 from the over – the lead is 130.

3.18pm BST

10th over: England 22-0 (Cook 16, Jennings 5) Time for some spin! South Africa are short on options, and Maharaj replaces Rabada, who may well be swapping ends. From over the wicket with a slip and short leg, Cook gets in a bit of a tangle outside off but no real cause for alarm. The next is a full toss that he sweeps hard, and it beats the man in the deep to the boundary for four!

Eesh, Cook might be in trouble here. This one has absolutely ragged back, he’s tried to cut and it’s hit him on the pad. Umpire says no, but after what feels like an eternity, Elgar reviews! That’s their second, and they have run out for the next 70 overs! It’s turned a mile but has hit him outside off stump, so not out. he responds by driving a half-volley through the covers for four! Eventful over.

My 5.30 start being richly rewarded with a great day’s play. And this bit is wonderful – old style Test cricket with cautious openers, accurate aggressive bowling and the Lord’s hum, no drunken ‘singing’.

3.13pm BST

9th over: England 14-0 (Cook 8, Jennings 5) Morkel seems to have decided to bounce out Jennings from round the wicket. Ramiz Raja always says round the stumps and, for no real reason, that really gets my goat for no real reason. Anyway, the two bouncers he begins with are very benign and Jennings barely needs to duck. He’s fuller thereafter, and Jennings shows no desperation to score, and therefore doesn’t score. He’s a nice loud caller, Jennings. No run!

For batting distractions, KP and Broad remain in a class of their own.

KP would have been distracted by Spidercam if it were at The Oval and he was batting at Lord’s @willis_macp

3.08pm BST

8th over: England 14-0 (Cook 8, Jennings 5) Runs! In consecutive balls! Cook squirts Rabada down to third man along the ground off the open face for four, then flicks through midwicket for a couple. He’s in the groove! Oh wait, he’s beaten outside off from round the wicket next ball. The rest are respected, and that’s a very fine end to the over probing on fourth stump.

The world knows of my ability to jinx, and I care not how many Test runs the victim has. No one is immune.

waiting patiently for you to jinx Cook buddy

3.05pm BST

7th over: England 8-0 (Cook 2, Jennings 5) Morkel’s round the wicket and Jennings is driving him to mid-off. After that it’s a very steady maiden, the fourth of the innings. England’s batting order is very mullet, isn’t it? Sensible up front, party at the back.

Spidercam has been up to no good, delaying us and all, and m’colleague Tom Bryant has been in touch from Lord’s moaning. He’s not even a moany sort of guy, Tom, so it must be really annoying.

Can report from Lord’s that spider cam is a menace. Constantly distracting and frequently parked right in blooming front of me. Certain people at top of grandstand trying to fire champagne corks at it.

3.01pm BST

6th over: England 8-0 (Cook 2, Jennings 5) Rabada gets his first look at Cook this series. There’s an ugly cut outside off that he misses, then a wafty drive that he misses too. Steady, Chef. The drive one was a lovely ball actually, just nipping away a touch, and perfect for Cook: nice and full. The last is left, which is sensible.

Ian Copestake’s on about drink, and I’m feeling a touch queasy.

As you know, Will, cricket is almost as big in Russia as drinking. However, the Russian OBO toxic drinking thread never goes beyond one email that simply says “Vodka”.

2.56pm BST

5th over: England 8-0 (Cook 2, Jennings 5) This over is delayed by a bit more confusion with the sightscreen, because Morkel is swapping to over the wicket to Cook. When we get going, there’s a big appeal for lbw! Cook’s been pushed back and squared up a bit, but Paul Reiffell isn’t interested. South Africa review! Looks like it pitched outside and, sure enough, it did. It passed the no bat test, but failed the pitching in line one. Fallen at the second hurdle. Amid the leaves and the defending that follow, there’s one run from the over, an extremely Cook squirt down to fine leg. That’s his 1,000th run against South Africa! Taken him 16 Tests and he actually only averages 34 against them.

On the county blog I have developed quite a reputation for a peerless ability to jinx, and Lee Smith is in my inbox reminding me of this. He writes:

I’ve seen the damage you can cause during a round of county matches and as this is the 1st test of the summer it wouldn’t do to reduce the England 2nd innings to ribbons.

2.50pm BST

4th over: England 7-0 (Cook 1, Jennings 5) South Africa, you sense, are going to be really stretched here, without Vern, who is having an x-ray on a hand that got hit earlier. Maharaj is going to have to do a lot of bowling, and some of the part-timers – Duminy, Elgar, Bavuma – too.

Anyway, for now it’s KG Rabada and Jennings can’t get him away, until he strays onto the pads and is flicked away for four. That is about as elegant as Jennings gets. Ah, KG, don’t do that: next ball he oversteps and has to do it again. The end of the over is much tidier: Jennings leaves, then defends sternly.

2.45pm BST

3rd over: England 2-0 (Cook 1, Jennings 1) Morkel stays round the wicket to Cook, and the first isn’t that pretty. Down legside. He’s better afterwards, and challenging the batsman, but it’s another maiden. Neither batsman nor bowler will mind that.

On toxic beverages, there’s this number I’ve seen consumed called a Woody-Bowyer, for reasons that we needn’t go into, but involve a pair of former Leeds and Newcastle footballers. It’s basically loads of mixed alcopops and some extra vodka served in a pint glass. Very sugary, very unpleasant.

2.42pm BST

2nd over: England 2-0 (Cook 1, Jennings 1) It is indeed Rabada from the Nursery End. He starts very nicely at Jennings, who tries to squirt him away but only finds gully. He returns to defending and leaving thereafter, and the over is a maiden. Good start from SA.

An email! From Robert Scott!

Back in the late 80s as a Goth/metalhead/punk hybrid, I used to frequent the Studio on Plymouth’s Union Street as a Student. They were having a clear out of the beer cellar and had three crates (of very out of date) Cherry B, Snowball and Pony respectively. I would get one of each (30p each) and have them in a pint glass, topped up with Lemonade. Great to drink and looked horrific under UV. No one pinched it ever.

2.38pm BST

1st over: England 2-0 (Cook 1, Jennings 1) So, Morne. What you got? Cook’s defending the first two, both full probing and straight. For the third, Morkel goes round the wicket and that predictable Lord’s delay to sort out the sliding sightscreen follows. He pokes into the offside for one. He remains round the wicket for Jennings, and that’s a decent nut that the bat is just drawn inside the line of. Eesh – that’s a risky single! Pushes into the offside and sets off but Kuhn is all over it at cover and his shy misses by a whisker. Would have been miles out with a direct hit. The last is calmer: left along by Cook.

Afternoon Stuie! Stuie is a stalwart of the county blog that I often look after. The lead is 99…

@willis_macp afternoon will! Build on that lead

2.33pm BST

Big news: Vernon Philander, last man out for a very handy 52, is off for an x-ray on his hand at that hospital on Wellington Road.

Morne Morkel to get us going from the Pavilion End. Rabada from t’other. How angry is he going to be today?

2.31pm BST

Hello! Will Macpherson here, taking over from Smyth on this fine Saturday afternoon. 53 overs in the day, and England’s second innings – their lead is 97 – not far from kicking off. In fact, it’s so imminent that the umps are on their way out.

2.27pm BST

That’s it from me. Please be upstanding for Will Macpherson, who will tell you whether England get the third-innings blues. Thanks for your company, bye!

2.26pm BST

Five South African players were dismissed between 48 and 59, which will frustrate them. Moeen was comfortably the pick of the England attack: 20-7-59-4.

2.23pm BST

Moeen Ali returns to the attack and ends the innings quicksmart. Philander, on the charge, was bowled via inside-edge and pad to end a fine innings of 52. Moeen finishes with four for 59 and England lead by 97.

2.20pm BST

104th over: South Africa 361-9 (Philander 52, Morkel 2) Morkel gets away with a feckless heave off Dawson, with the ball dropping short of deep midwicket. A thick edge for three takes Philander to a very good fifty, his seventh in Tests and his second at Lord’s. “And the best news about this fifty,” says Shaun Pollock on Sky, “is that Nasser Hussain owes me five pounds!”

2.16pm BST

103rd over: South Africa 355-9 (Philander 48, Morkel 0) Philander moves closer to his second Test half-century at Lord’s with two thumping extra-cover drives off Wood.

2.11pm BST

102nd over: South Africa 347-9 (Philander 40, Morkel 0) Dawson could end with three fairly cheap wickets, despite a modest bowling performance. He beats Morkel with a ball that goes straight on.

“Your correspondents who were gifted the benefit of a university education went about their cheap drinking in completely the wrong way,” sniffs Andrew Battershill. ”My housemates and I spent many weeks working out the ‘pissed for pence’ value of our local supermarket offerings, and ended up with many nights of drinking Tesco own brand extra sweet sherry – about 18% and under a pound a bottle in the late 80s. Oh the joys of making it to college in the morning only to rush out of lectures to be sick in the toilet. We also worked out the cheapest Bloody Mary was to be made by wringing the contents of a can of chopped tomatoes through a handy teatowel…”

2.08pm BST

101st over: South Africa 346-9 (Philander 39, Morkel 0) Philander plays another cracking stroke, forcing Wood behind square on the off side for four, and then top-edges a hook over Bairstow for another boundary. These are useful runs, which take South Africa to within 112 of England.

“Hi Rob,” says Geoff. “Surely there must be a role somewhere with the Mac Millings XI for Garfield Sobers? Designated driver (puller and cutter) perhaps?”

2.02pm BST

100th over: South Africa 337-9 (Philander 30, Morkel 0) “I’m at Lord’s with my wife celebrating our eighth anniversary, in the cheap seats quaffing prosecco,” says Will West with justfied pride. “However, last week, at a dinner party, I discovered the winning combination of Gin and Um Bongo. Still no word on whether this particular cocktail is popular in the Congo.”

2.01pm BST

Maharaj survives an LBW shout from Dawson by virtue of being a long way down the pitch. England review, as much as anything because they have two left – and Hawkeye shows it was hitting off and middle. Maharaj was miles down the pitch, and there are some who will not particularly care for that decision.

1.56pm BST

WATCH: @BazMcCullum delivers a batting and captaincy masterclass in The Zone: https://t.co/KUnzMv2FLG @ShaneWarne @WardyShorts #ENGvSA pic.twitter.com/Haij14U534

1.55pm BST

99th over: South Africa 334-8 (Philander 28, Maharaj 9) Wood’s pace is in the low 80s, which is surprising/disappointing/worrying/the end of civilisation as we know it. He’s still fast enough to beat Maharaj’s leaden-footed cut stroke.

“The twilight of Jimmy’s career is a bit like that of Teddy Sheringham,” says Dave Adams. “Never relied on pace anyway, and so guile, nous, and technique are keeping him at the top. Jimmy’s seam position through the air remains a thing of beauty.”

1.52pm BST

98th over: South Africa 334-8 (Philander 28, Maharaj 9) Dawson gets one to burst at poor old Vern, whose right hand has taken some punishment in this innings. Beautifully bowled.

“Just seen Mac Millings’ XI,” says Shaun Clapperton. “There’s actually a Wetherspoons in Ashington called the Rohan Kanhai.”

1.49pm BST

97th over: South Africa 334-8 (Philander 28, Maharaj 9) Philander is struggling with his right hand, having been struck by Anderson before lunch, though you wouldn’t know it from that handsome pull over midwicket for four off Mark Wood.

“During my book club in Frankfurt yesterday the talk turned to cricket,” says Ian Copestake, “and I was asked if any particular food is associated with it, just as in German sausages are so strongly linked to football as to make ‘stadionwurst’ (stadium sausage) a thing.”

1.44pm BST

96th over: South Africa 327-8 (Philander 21, Maharaj 9) Liam Dawson starts after lunch. His first bal- hang on, Liam Dawson starts after lunch? His first ball is short, wide and cut for four by Maharaj. Shane Warne has a persuasive theory, which is that Joe Root is trying to give Dawson one or two tail-end wickets to get his confidence up for the fourth innings, when spin is likely to play a big part.

“A pint of the snakebite at the Coven nightclub in Oxford was mysteriously cheaper than either a pint of cider or a pint of lager,” says Miranda Jollie. “Still not a great excuse for drinking the stuff.”

1.03pm BST

95th over: South Africa 323-8 (Philander 21, Maharaj 5) The last over before lunch, bowled by Anderson, passes without incident. The wicket of de Kock in his previous over makes it a decent session for England, who lead by 135 in this interesting Test match. See you in half an hour for the afternoon session.

12.58pm BST

94th over: South Africa 318-8 (Philander 20, Maharaj 1) “Bob,” says Mac Millings. “With all this talk of boozy reminiscences, please allow me to present my All-Time Booze XI:

Wally Hammered

Graham Hooch

12.56pm BST

93rd over: South Africa 314-8 (Philander 17, Maharaj 0) Jimmy Anderson turns 35 this month. It’s no age for a fast bowler, yet he is still producing figures like these: 18-6-39-2. He’s the wise old don of world cricket.

12.52pm BST

Anderson makes a huge breakthrough. de Kock slices a drive towards square cover, where Stokes swoops to take an extremely good low catch. That was also good captaincy from Root, his first effective bit of funky field-setting.

12.50pm BST

92nd over: South Africa 313-7 (de Kock 47, Philander 17) Moeen replaces Broad, whose four overs with the new ball went for 35. It’s just a different setting on the bowling machine to the relentlessly attacking de Kock, who swaggers down the track to lift Moeen high over midwicket for four – and repeats the stroke later in the over to reach a Gilchristian half-century from just 36 balls.

12.45pm BST

91st over: South Africa 305-7 (de Kock 43, Philander 17) A maiden from Anderson for Philander, who is still wringing his hand in pain from time to time. South Africa have batted quite brilliantly against the second new ball; de Kock on the attack and Philander in defence.

“Hi,” says Paul Ward. “Reidy’s cocktails have passed into legend, especially in Football 365’s ‘Football people on TV’ series.

12.41pm BST

90th over: South Africa 305-7 (de Kock 43, Philander 17) Stokes, Broad and Root have a pow-wow betwen overs. They probably didn’t agree that Broad would bowl his first ball on the pads so that de Kock could skim it behind square for four; that’s what he has just done. A wider delivery is rifled through mid-off for another boundary, which brings up the fifty partnership and the 300. De Kock is playing beautifully, and another boundary through midwicket takes him to 43 from 30 balls. He has deposited Broad all round Lord’s.

“Rum and barley wine was my 1970s favourite, mainly because of the name: Dragon’s Blood,” says John Starbuck. “Nowadays it’s either various single malts or a Gimlet (Gin and Lime Juice) showing that tastes do indeed change, if not always mature.”

12.36pm BST

89th over: South Africa 293-7 (de Kock 31, Philander 17) Three from Anderson’s over. As usual he’s been very economical: 16-4-39-1.

12.32pm BST

88th over: South Africa 290-7 (de Kock 30, Philander 15) Batting looks pretty comfortable, even against a new ball and, in Philander’s case, with a sore bottom hand. This pair have added 42 in eight overs, and South Africa trail by 168. If they can shave another hundred off that we could have a very interesting match.

“Afternoon Rob,” says Dave Adams. “Not sure whether the tendency to drink more moderately as we age is down to growing up, having more cash, or the physical decline that means it takes days rather than hours to recover. My own shameful favourite was to drink a bottle of gin mixed with Lucozade when travelling for football. In hindsight, not one of my better life choices.”

12.27pm BST

87th over: South Africa 287-7 (de Kock 28, Philander 14) Anderson gets another one to rear at Philander, who pulls his right hand off the bat in a hurry. This pitch might not be much fun to bat on by Monday.

“Maybe you’re not a Chippendale, Rob,” says Mac Millings. ”But drop a letter from your name here or there, and I’d definitely be tempted to bring a stack of dollar bills to a performance by Bobbi Myth, Exotic Dancer.”

12.21pm BST

86th over: South Africa 283-7 (de Kock 26, Philander 12) Philander back cuts Broad confidently for four. He’s a decent lower-order batsman, with a batting average in the mid-20s, and actually his runs were a big part of South Africa’s victory in that seismic Test on this ground in 2012.

“Rob,” says Michael CM. “I’m trying to work out the best music compliment to listening to TMS/following the OBO. I’m thinking some sort of Brian Eno ambient stuff or some “post-rock” like Godspeed You Black Emperor. Thoughts? I’m aware this has probably been discussed before.”

12.17pm BST

85th over: South Africa 276-7 (de Kock 26, Philander 5) Philander is being worked over by Anderson. An outswinger goes past the edge; an inswinger climbs to rap Philander nastily on the glove. He wolfs down a couple of painkillers before resuming his innings, and gets off the mark with a touch to the fine-leg boundary. He’s not entirely comfortable, and as the blow was on his right hand it may have an effect on the rest of the match – and maybe the second Test as well.

“Quinton de Kock has to do a Sangakkara doesn’t he and give up the gloves?” says Gary Naylor. “He is a No4 a team that really needs one now AB de Villiers is not available. It’s a no-brainer isn’t it?”

12.10pm BST

84th over: South Africa 271-7 (de Kock 26, Philander 0) Broad beats de Kock with two of his three deliveries; de Kock hits the next three balls for four! Excellent stuff. The dead-eyed counter-attacking of de Kock is so reminiscent of Adam Gilchrst. He has 26 from 17 balls.

12.01pm BST

83rd over: South Africa 259-7 (de Kock 13, Philander 0) England take the second new ball. Anderson’s second delivery is an unplayable seaming grubber to Philander, who would have had no chance had it been straight. He is beaten in more traditional fashion by two gorgeous outswingers later in the over.

“Currently singing ‘Bavuma Rabada’ to the tune of Hakuna Matata,” says Sam in Kent.

11.57am BST

82nd over: South Africa 258-7 (de Kock 13, Philander 0) Quinton de Kock would counter-attack if the score was nought for seven, never mind 253 for seven. He moves to 12 from his first seven deliveries with a classy back-foot drive for four off Moeen.

“I was pleased to see Liam Dawson selected ahead of Adil Rashid,” says Gary Naylor. “The Yorkie has nine wickets this season at 50 and is ‘enjoying’ an economy rate of over 4.5 – hardly a compelling case. Dawson, being left arm, complements Moeen’s right arm, working any rough that might appear and this pitch is spinning and will only spin more – last Saturday, dear old Samit was turning it square two pitches up the slope.”

11.54am BST

81st over: South Africa 253-7 (de Kock 8, Philander 0) A bit of rubbish from Dawson is pulled for four by de Kock. Moeen will have at least one more over, you would expect.

11.51am BST

80th over: South Africa 248-7 (de Kock 3, Philander 0) That was the last ball of the over. The second new ball is available but England will continue with spin for now.

11.50am BST

Terrific bowling from Moeen. Bavuma was on the back foot playing for turn, understandably so after recent events, and the ball skidded on to take the edge. It hit Bairstow and flew to slip, where Stokes took a smart catch. Moeen has his third wicket and Bavuma has gone for a very good 59.

11.46am BST

79th over: South Africa 248-6 (Bavuma 59, de Kock 3) The new batsman is the brilliant, dangerous Quinton de Kock, who has a Test average of 51. It’ll be interesting to see whether Root gives Dawson another over or takes the new ball straight away. Nasser and Bumble think he should continue with the spinners against de Kock for a few overs.

11.42am BST

Liam Dawson (8-1-45-0) will have one over before the second new ball. So far it’s been a very bad game for Joe Root the selector. Dawson has plenty going for him as a limited-overs cricketer but it was hugely disappointing to see him selected ahead of Adil Rashid.

Erm, as I was saying! Dawson has taken his first wicket, with Rabada caught behind. He went back when he should have been forward and got a thick edge that was beautifully taken by Bairstow. That’s an extremely good bit of wicketkeeping.

11.40am BST

78th over: South Africa 244-5 (Bavuma 58, Rabada 26) Moeen almost skids one through Rabada, who decides that attack is the best form of defence and mows the next ball over midwicket for four. That wasn’t quite where he intended, but whatever.

“Love the detention concept,” says Brian Withington. “Could be very effective means of combatting slow over rates if everyone was kept behind for an hour after close. Maybe Geoffrey Boycott could supervise with a helpful lecture on how things were better in his day?”

11.38am BST

77th over: South Africa 238-5 (Bavuma 57, Rabada 22) Rabada is doing a fine job here, taking time out of the game. And occasionally swishing and missing, as he did just then at Wood. This is quiet period in the game, as is often the case before the second new ball.

“Morning Rob,” says Phil Sawyer. “Things I don’t miss about being young: drinking Copperhead cider from LiquorSave (4 cans for £2!) with the aforementioned side order of self-loathing. Now I drink high class swanky time artisan cider. Oddly, the self-loathing seems to remain about the same.”

A reminder from @AWSStats that Ben Stokes is on 3 disciplinary points (as was Rabada before this game) so one misdemeanour away from a ban.

11.33am BST

76th over: South Africa 237-5 (Bavuma 56, Rabada 22) Moeen comes into the attack, replacing Stokes. His first ball spits viciously at Bavuma, who gloves it just wide of Ballance at short leg. After three years of oddjobbery, England have found the perfect role for Moeen as No7 and attacking second spinner.

11.29am BST

75th over: South Africa 236-5 (Bavuma 54, Rabada 22) A mixed over from Wood. He beats Rabada with a jaffa but then lets slip a full toss that is carved for four.

“The Rabada thing,” begins John Starbuck. “’Demerit points’ sounds very public school. Can you get ‘Housepoints’ for applauding an opponent’s fifty?”

11.26am BST

74th over: South Africa 232-5 (Bavuma 54, Rabada 18) Bavuma square-drives Stokes for four to reach a classy half-century. As Mike Atherton says on Sky, he looks a much better player than his average (33.25) would suggest.

“Slightly surprised that Moeen isn’t tossing a few up to Rabada while Ben Stokes invites him to mind the windows,” says Gary Naylor.

11.20am BST

73rd over: South Africa 224-5 (Bavuma 49, Rabada 17) Two from Wood’s over, again with a hint of reverse inswing to the hitherto strokeless Bavuma.

11.16am BST

72nd over: South Africa 222-5 (Bavuma 48, Rabada 16) Rabada is quite stylish for a lower-order batsman, with a hint of Stuart Broad in his Garry Sobers days (see the last paragraph here). Stokes hits him on the collarbone with a terrific bouncer from around the wicket; Rabada times the next ball beautifully through mid-on for four. This is an excellent duel between two players who don’t like each other. I don’t think there have been any words between them yet.

11.12am BST

71st over: South Africa 217-5 (Bavuma 48, Rabada 12) A wide grubber from Wood to Bavuma hits Bairstow on the shin, forcing him to hop around in pain. Joe Root shows that captaincy won’t change him that much by failing to stop a fit of the giggles. That was a lovely moment of infectious, affectionate schadenfreude. There is a hint of reverse swing for Wood, with Bavuma digging out an inswinging yorker. Another maiden continues a good start from England.

11.07am BST

70th over: South Africa 217-5 (Bavuma 48, Rabada 12) The timing of the rugby – and the availability of gin at Lord’s from the early hours – means there will be some lively hangovers tonight, never mind tomorrow morning. I must say, one of the things I definitely don’t miss about being young is having a beer headache at teatime, especially when it comes with a side order of self-loathing.

Ben Stokes starts at the other end, and almost slips a classy yorker through Rabada. A maiden. It’ll be interesting to hear what Stokes says if he dismisses Rabada; presumably something like “Off you go Kagiso, it’s an early ice bath for you!”

11.02am BST

69th over: South Africa 217-5 (Bavuma 48, Rabada 12) The Saturday of the Lord’s Test is one of the great occasions of the summer, yet there is a slight after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-Show feeling because of that epic rugby. Anyway, Mark Wood opens the bowling to old dirty mouth, who drives pleasantly through extra cover for two. Presumably Wood, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali will bowl until the new ball is available in 11 overs’ time.

10.59am BST

Did anyone see the T20 last night? Tom Curran bowled a sensational last over to win Surrey’s match against Essex. He looks a serious prospect, particularly in limited-overs cricket.

10.49am BST

Talking of Nasser, on Monday he met Kagiso Rabada for this terrific interview. On Friday, Rabada was banned for flinging the F-word around at the Home of Cricket. Interesting.

10.42am BST

Arf!

Rob I’m struggling against a 65 mph medium dobber who bowls a bit like Damien Martyn do you have any advice ??Thanks Nasser from Chelmsford

10.30am BST

Rugby? Bloody hell.

10.15am BST

Some more pre-play reading

Related: Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad put South Africa’s Lord’s record under threat

Related: Liam Dawson takes tentative steps from England’s spin conveyor belt | Barney Ronay

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

9.08am BST

I won’t tell you the Lions score, in case you plan to watch it on delay. But if you want to get the latest news, you can so do by clicking here.

12.51am BST

The real Lion comes out when the last tackle is needed, when someone is needed to make the last pass to make something happen. When it’s like that, when you think you have nothing left, you become a Lion.

Sir Ian McGeechan’s famous speech on the 1997 Lions tour came to mind at Lord’s yesterday evening. When the ball is old, the partnership is established and the legs are heavy; that’s when you become a champion bowler. Jimmy Anderson’s late dismissal of Theunis de Bruy n was worth more than one wicket, as it has significantly changed the mood of the match. At 214 for four, South Africa were right in the game; at 214 for five, with the second new ball due in 12 overs, England have a chance of dismissing them for under 300.

Related: South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada suspended for second Test against England

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jul/08/england-v-south-africa-first-test-day-three-live

Jul 04

‘The nastiest match I ever played in’: England v South Africa, Headingley 1998 | Rob Smyth

That was captain Mike Atherton’s verdict on the decider to a Test series that caught the national imagination and culminated in a battle for the ages in Leeds

When England last won a Test series at home to South Africa, the Spin wasn’t even a glint in the Guardian’s eye. Life was pretty different in 1998: cricket was on the BBC, there was no DRS and elite sport was still a place where male hormones could run riot. England’s 2-1 win over South Africa was less a Test series, more a testosterone series; an unyielding arm-wrestle between two tough yet fragile sides with more in common than they would ever admit at the time.

Related: When one-day cup’s September spot provided all the narratives needed | The Spin

Related: Misbah and Younis did more than serve Pakistan – they served cricket

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/04/england-south-africa-1998-the-spin

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