Category Archive: England Cricket

England Cricket News

Jun 22

Ireland to seek talks over Lord’s Test after being granted full-member status

• Ireland and Afghanistan are granted full-member status of ICC
• Cricket Ireland chief cites ‘25,000 bums on seats at Lord’s in May’

Ireland will hold talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board over a possible Lord’s Test in 2019 after they and Afghanistan were granted full-member status of the International Cricket Council on Thursday.

The two countries, whose applications were voted for unanimously by the ICC’s Full Council as part of an overhaul of its constitution, become the first new Test nations since Bangladesh were awarded top-level status in 2000 and take the number of full members from 10 to 12.

Related: England’s Stuart Broad doubtful for South Africa Test with heel injury

Related: Amnesty International: fans arrested in India for cheering Pakistan win ‘must be freed’

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Jun 22

County Championship roundup: Simon Harmer spins Essex to victory

• Essex 14 points clear after condemning Warwickshire to innings defeat
• Lancashire move into second and Durham beat Glamorgan

Having played half their games, promoted Essex sit 14 points clear atop the County Championship after Simon Harmer, perhaps the signing of the season, spun them to victory against Warwickshire, who were skittled for 94, by an innings and 164 runs. Harmer took seven consecutive wickets to finish the job and end with eight in the innings and 14 for 126 in the match, a career best.

Holding up early in the season, Harmer had been waiting for a wicket such as this. He catches flies at second slip and provides handy late runs, too. On a track turning sharply, his were classic off-spinner’s wickets, lbws and close catches with hoards round the bat. The only other wicket to fall was the first and most important, Ian Bell, done by the angle of Neil Wagner, playing his final game for Essex. Mohammad Amir, who confidently said he could help Essex win the Championship as he was unveiled, will replace him from Monday.

Related: England’s Stuart Broad doubtful for South Africa Test with heel injury

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Jun 22

England’s Stuart Broad doubtful for South Africa Test with heel injury

• Pace bowler withdrew from Nottinghamshire’s win against Leicestershire
• England face South Africa at Taunton for the second Twenty20 on Friday

Stuart Broad is waiting to learn the full extent of a mystery heel injury that has thrown into doubt the fast bowler’s participation in the first Test against South Africa next month.

Related: Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales send England cruising past South Africa

Related: County cricket: Essex thrash Warwickshire, Durham finally win – as it happened

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Jun 22

Mahela Jayawardene pulls out of Lancashire stint for ‘personal reasons’

Former Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene will not play for Lancashire in the T20 Blast because of “personal reasons”.

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Jun 22

Mohammad Amir joined Essex on Wasim Akram’s advice

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir says he moved to Essex to become a more complete bowler.

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Jun 22

Durham v Glamorgan: Hosts ease to nine-wicket win at Chester-Le-Street

Four wickets from Barry McCarthy and an unbeaten 89 from Stephen Cook help Durham to a nine-wicket win over Glamorgan.

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Jun 22

Worcestershire v Kent: Daryl Mitchell & Joe Clarke hit tons as Pears make 401 to win

Daryl Mitchell & Joe Clarke both make centuries as Worcestershire score 401-6 to beat Kent at New Road.

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Jun 22

Lancashire v Hampshire: James Anderson takes 4-20 as Red Rose win by innings

England seamer James Anderson finishes with figures of 4-20 as Lancashire beat Hampshire by an innings and 30 runs.

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Jun 22

Essex v Warwickshire: Simon Harmer takes 14 wickets to secure innings win

South African spinner Simon Harmer takes 8-36 for a match haul of 14 wickets as Essex beat Warwickshire by an innings.

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Jun 22

County cricket: Essex thrash Warwickshire, Durham finally win – as it happened

Essex and Lancashire recorded big wins in Division One, while Worcestershire chased 399 and Durham finally grabbed a win

5.20pm BST

What. A. Round. It’s been a belter. Middlesex got back to winning ways, Essex extended their lead at the top, Lancashire have come to the party, and Worcestershire chased 399 spinning on their wotsits (sort of).

Best of all, Durham have their first win, and are into positive figures. Surely every fan of cricket will be celebrating that. Here are the results – no draws!

5.17pm BST

Scenes! They have done it. All that heartache, all those close shaves, and Durham have a win in Division Two! They are in positive figures! Wonderful stuff. Cook and Burnham get them home by nine wickets, with the South African opener making 89, his highest score for the club. Lovely stuff.

5.10pm BST

Burnham is teeing off and Durham are nearly there!

5.06pm BST

Durham have lost Steel for 51 but are very close to that elusive first win … 24 required.

5.06pm BST

What a win that is for Worcestershire! They get home six down, with Clarke 110 not out, having lost Whiteley and Cox to Yasir, who ended up with five. And…

How appropriate that Barnard should hit the winning runs. #countycricketlive

4.33pm BST

Durham are 82 without loss and just 76 away! Updates might be slightly intermittent as I write over the next few minutes – will try to keep you up to date…

4.33pm BST

There’s Clarke’s ton! You regular BTLers know I’m infatuated so you can bet how pleased I am with that… 46 required.

4.31pm BST

Clarke onto 96 at New Road … Twin tons at 21 would be a magnificent achievement …

4.28pm BST

Durham are rattling along at nearly 6 an over!

4.27pm BST

Worcestershire are four down now! Yasir has got Rhodes… still 54 required. Clarke there on 93. I was thinking that Yasir hadn’t quite done his thing: fourth innings etc, should be right up his street.

4.19pm BST

Durham are ticking along, 59 without loss… 98 needed… Dare we dream?

4.19pm BST

Yasir has got Mitchell! He made 142, what an effort. Is there a twist in the tale? 339 for three, 60 required…

4.11pm BST

Down to 64 required for Worcestershire. What a remarkable round of games this has been!

4.08pm BST

Durham are zipping along. They are 43 for none, and need 114 more….

3.58pm BST

A Lions update, by the way: they were bowled out for 386 by South Africa A, with Ben Foakes 127 not out. SAA now 80 without loss.

3.51pm BST

Big day in Division One. Essex are 14 points clear of Lancashire. Both have pulled off remarkable wins in the last two rounds. Both were among those tipped to go down!

Warwickshire, meanwhile, are 40 points clear of Middlesex in sixth. They and Somerset, 36 behind sixth, are looking in very, very deep trouble.

3.49pm BST

Looks at Hoppsy’s headline! Grievous catching on …

3.49pm BST

Durham’s chase is underway. They are 11 without loss, needing 157.

3.48pm BST

So at tea at New Road, Worcestershire, remarkably, are just 73 from victory with eight wickets in hand over Kent.

3.25pm BST

Worcestershire are just 117 away. What a match. Mitchell has a ton and Clarke is 29 away from his second of the match. Great effort from them.

3.24pm BST

Ingram finishes 70 not out, McCarthy gets four, and Durham have a golden opportunity to get into positive figures. There are 43 overs in the match.

3.22pm BST

They go 14 points behind leaders Essex. Bit of resistance from Hampshire, but polished off in the end.

2.24pm BST

Lancashire need one more! McLaren gets Abbott!

I’m off to talk to Tendo etc but will be back shortly…

2.24pm BST

Great field this.

VICTORY FOR @EssexCricket!

They win by an innings & 164 runs and you can tell how much it means to them

2.23pm BST

Glamorgan’s lead is 100…

2.20pm BST

Harmer finishes with 14 as Sunny Singh edges straight to Cook. He took eight wickets in the innings and seven on the spin today. Remarkable. Match figures of 14 for 126, a career best, and eight for 36 are career best innings figures too.

Essex take 22 points and remain very much top. Warwickshire 94 all out and very much bottom.

2.16pm BST

Worcestershire have 199, and need 200 more. They are two down.

2.16pm BST

Durham have a new ball to play with.

2.12pm BST

Wicket! Harmer has 13! Seven in the innings for him. He tries to turn a full toss into the legside, misses it and is plumb. One required…

2.10pm BST

Wicket at Old Trafford! McLaren gets McManus to end a stand of 39 with Berg. He was lbw and Hampshire are 90 down, with Lancs requiring two wickets.

2.08pm BST

And now short leg, leg slip and silly point for Walter to Rankin! Two slips and a gully too.

2.06pm BST

Essex have two silly points for Harmer to Rankin!

1.58pm BST

Here come the players again. Walter is bowling to Ambrose.

No wickets elsewhere yet.

1.20pm BST

Lunch! 15 mins didn’t do the trick, and that’s lunch, with Warks 90 for eight. It’s a matter of time. Enjoy your sarnies.

1.12pm BST

Harmer thinks he’s got Ambrose – who looked like he was walking off, too – caught at leg slip, but the umpire says no.

1.10pm BST

Here goes Mo. Out.

WICKET! Moeen Ali lbw b Yasir Shah 63. Worcs 164-2 at lunch on day 4 chasing 399: @TheRealPCB

1.07pm BST

I think we are going to get a full complement of results today … not sure which way it’ll go at New Road. We will be on for 15 minutes more at Chelmsford.

1.04pm BST

OK, it looks like we are having an extra 15 minutes here…

1.03pm BST

Moeen goes in the final over before lunch! Yasir Shah gets him lbw. They scored 148 in the session. Mo made 63, and Mitchell has 59. Yasir Shah with the wicket. They still need 235…

1.00pm BST

We are going to have one more over before lunch here, bowled by Wagner, to Rankin. If Essex get one more, the extra half-hour could be taken…

12.59pm BST

Tim Ambrose turning down singles here…

12.58pm BST

Glamorgan are seven down! McCarthy has another. 76 ahead, seven down. Ingram the last hope for the Glammys…

12.51pm BST

Wicket! Harmer has 12 … Jeetan Patel goes back to him and is trapped, plumb in front by another that turns back at him. Sunny Singh and Big Boyd the ones left with Ambrose. Boyd first.

12.46pm BST

Moeen into the 50s now too…

12.46pm BST

Hampshire are 69 for seven! It’s a race to see which game finishes first now … Ervine goes to his Kolpak compatriot Jarvis. Strife. Berg time.

12.43pm BST

50 for Mitchell! Worcestershire are going along very nicely at 140 for one. Mo has 48.

12.41pm BST

Wicket! First ball, Barker has tried to sweep Harmer, got a top edge and he’s gone! Popped up to short leg. He has five for 21, and 11 for 113 in the match, currently a career best.

12.39pm BST

Wicket! Ten for Harmer! He’s got Rikki Clarke lbw, not offering a shot. Looked a bit high, and think Rikki isn’t happy. It’s turned a blooming mile! Essex are four away.

12.35pm BST

Glamorgan are six down, 63 in front! McCarthy gets Lloyd, caught by Pringle.

12.32pm BST

11 seconds of the England Lions.

Red-ball cricket lovers, the England Lions have been in the runs…

Ben Foakes: 100*@mark23stone: 58@JetJennings: 57

12.31pm BST

They are back on at Old Trafford and Hants are 66 for six with Ervine and McManus at the crease.

12.27pm BST

Glamorgan are five down, and only lead by 61! McCarthy gets Donald for 0.

12.22pm BST

Wicket at the Riverside! Rushworth gets the nightwatchman Carey for 49. 168 for four are Glamorgan.

12.21pm BST

The Woosters have brought up their 100, one down, so their in the 200s required. Long way to go. Mitchell has 40, Moeen 18.

12.18pm BST

Both Grievous Bodily Harmer and Ollie Rayner have been bowling in short sleeves this week, which is a bit of a rarity among offies.

12.15pm BST

Westley on at the Hayes Close End.

12.15pm BST

18 overs lost at Old Trafford, where there’ll be a 12.30 restart.

12.07pm BST

Want to know about the women’s world cup? (You should).

Vish Ehantharajah has pulled together a very natty team-by-team guide that you should definitely read.

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

12.05pm BST

Clarke hits Grievous for four through the covers, and Westley is warming up to come on at the other end… There’s plenty of turn.

11.52am BST

As Paul Frame points out, the Essex groundsman is an utter hero. He’s pulled together a lovely little track here, too.

Won’t be needing the covers now. Let’s finish off the Warwickshire wickets @EssexCricket

11.44am BST

Wicket! Hain gone. It’s got big on him from Harmer and it’s popped up to short leg via the glove. Harmer has nine! 54 for three.

11.41am BST

The Woosters are one down! Stevo gets B-Dolly and it’s 54 for one. Moeen in with Mitchell, Clarke next. If they are to chase 399, one of those three needs a big ton.

11.40am BST

| @NeilWagner13 picks up the first of the day as Bell edges to Foster who takes another great catch. #ESSvWAR

11.37am BST

Wicket! Essex are on the move! Umeed gone now, lbw to the first ball he faces from Harmer! He had a big shout against Hain first ball, but that was turned down. Harmer has eight in the match.

Here’s the Bell tolling.

| @NeilWagner13 picks up the first of the day as Bell edges to Foster who takes another great catch. #ESSvWAR

11.36am BST

Lions are off for thunder and lightning at Canterbury. Hope it doesn’t come north.

11.35am BST

Grievous Bodily Harmer has it RAGGING.

11.33am BST

Foakes has his ton for the Lions! Lions 339 for eight. Leach in with him.

11.32am BST

And with Bell gone, Grievous Bodily Harmer is coming on at the River End. Hain train in.

11.31am BST

Wicket! Bell is gone to Wagner! He nicked him short earlier in the over but he’s gone now. Prods forward, snicks off and Foster takes a very fine catch tumbling to his right. 47 for three. The leaders need seven more.

11.29am BST

Wicket at Durham! Matty Potts gets his third, Salter. Glamorgan lead by two and are three down.

It takes an age to come down but McCarthy holds on!

Ingram joins Carey (16*) with Glamorgan’s lead on two #DURvGLA

11.28am BST

There’s a little rain delay up at Old Trafford, I see.

11.27am BST

Steady start for Warwickshire, but Bell has just edged short of Cook at first on 11…

11.08am BST

Wicket at Old Trafford and Anderson has four! The nightwatchman, Salisbury, is gone, and Hampshire are 52 for six.

Here you go:

Looks like @jimmy9‘s already got his eye in

Keep up to date & watch every wicket right here:

11.02am BST

Aaron Beard from the other end. I thought Grievous would be straight into his work.

11.01am BST

Lovely player, Foakes.

Up and running at a sticky Canterbury, where Foakes punches first 2 balls of day through covers to move to 85

11.01am BST

Just wonderful stuff, this. I know Mason a bit, and he’s a great lad – delighted for him. I also know a few people who have won quite a lot of cash on England-based bets they placed when he was a teenager…

Best day ever yesterday! Thanks to all who have played a part in me getting this far!!

10.59am BST

We are starting on time! Walter to bowl to Umeed.

10.59am BST

I don’t know if you are followers of the Worcestershire CCC twitter account, but if you’re not, you should be. It is magnificent. Quite often they will just throw out a load of tweets at around midnight, and they send you off on this sort of wild goose chase:

Read full report on Seconds win on Worcs CCC website

10.56am BST

Essex are ready to come out, and the groundos are waiting for the green light to take the covers away from the field. They are not currently covering the pitch, which has a set of stumps at each end as a cricket pitch, well, should.

10.52am BST

The umpires are coming out to have a look because they think it’s a little bit dark. I really don’t want a delayed start. I really don’t want that.

10.50am BST

No word on whether we’ll have a contrivance at the Riverside…

10.49am BST

Looks like we’re getting an on-time start. Good news.

10.42am BST

So, my Wednesday evening:

Kumar Sangakkara on the (delayed) Victoria line with his family. WE ARE NOT WORTHY

10.39am BST

Press box chat suggests that Trotty was a bit unlucky to be given lbw to Grievous last ball yesterday. I’ve just seen it – he padded up, not offering a stroke, a long way outside off and the finger went up. He didn’t look impressed, and it was probably only hitting a fourth stump. Anyway, huge wicket: Essex need eight more.

10.34am BST

Durham for Stuie! Think that’ll be a popular choice. Go on the Durham!

@willis_macp durham

10.33am BST

That really is dull.

It is dull but dry at @EmiratesOT this morning but the floodlights are going on ahead of the start of play #LANvHAM

10.31am BST

Morning Stuie! Notts have won, Yorks have lost, Glosters aren’t playing. Who are you supporting today?

@willis_macp morning will

10.27am BST

Nick Browne is bowling off spin in the Essex warmup! Not seen that before.

10.25am BST

Keith Barker was warming up with the pink ball earlier. It really is a lovely looking thing. I wrote the spin on it t’other day:

Related: If the ball is anything to go by we could be tickled pink by cricket day-nighters | The Spin

10.21am BST

So Essex are having a very relaxed game of football. Tendo just scored a belter. The covers are on and it’s spitting, but nothing that’ll bring a delayed start or anything.

9.14am BST

Hello and welcome to Chelmsford, where I’ve hot-footed it for the day to see if table-topping Essex can finish off bottom side Warwickshire. I’m Will Macpherson and I’l be guiding you through today’s remaining four matches and the England Lions’ clash with South Africa A at Canterbury. It’s still hot, but not as hot, and I’m not aware of any really bad weather about, at least at this stage. Might be the sort of stormy showers we see after a hot spell later on, though.

Yesterday, then. Middlesex thrashed Yorkshire to get off the mark, and they looked a very good side in doing so. Yorkshire disappointing, but they have the cavalry back next week, which will please them. In other news, Middlesex’s request for spicier Lord’s pitches finally paid off!

Related: Middlesex hammer Yorkshire in three days to finally resemble champions

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Jun 22

James Sykes: Leicestershire spinner leaves by mutual consent

Leicestershire spinner James Sykes leaves the club to pursue other playing opportunities in county cricket.

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Jun 21

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales send England cruising past South Africa

• First T20: South Africa 142-3, England 143-1; England win by nine wickets
• England chase down victory target with ease in one-sided match

In the opening game of a three-match Twenty20 series, likely to remain in the memory for at least a week, England thrashed South Africa by nine wickets with 33 balls to spare. England played extremely well, their opponents tepidly (to be polite). It was another disappointingly one-sided contest – we have seen plenty of those in the Champions Trophy – but sadly not much was residing on the outcome of this one.

Both sides were experimental, including interesting debutants with memorable names. Mason Crane of England and Tabraiz Shamsi of South Africa are wrist spinners with the latter propelling the ball with his left arm. One of the unforeseen benefits of T20 cricket has been the increased craving for wrist spinners. Every side should have one.

Related: England beat South Africa by nine wickets in first T20 international – as it happened

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Jun 21

England beat South Africa by nine wickets in first T20 international – as it happened

9.51pm BST

Related: Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales send England cruising past South Africa

9.26pm BST

In the post-match chatting, De Villiers says he found it difficult to create pace with the bat and hit it off the square. “For some reason, I can’t explain why, it was difficult to hit through the line.” For England, Morgan says, “To be honest, I thought we were excellent,” making particular emphasis on praising the spinners Crane and Dawson and eulogising Bairstow’s “hunger to do well”. Bairstow is duly named man of the match.

England were indeed impressively dominant here, coming so soon after a good number of their squad suffered that chastening beating by Pakistan, with encouraging performances here by newbies such as Crane and more experienced hands such as Bairstow, Wood and Hales. South Africa were up against it from the start, and were outclassed more and more as the match went on, and by the end were spilling catches and fumbling all over the place.

9.18pm BST

One more important email from Ian Copestake:

A nice Glastonbury overlap concerns the wonderful efforts of Liz Aubrey, currently covering the music event in her role as a music journo, to set up a charity cricket event in honour of Dan Lucas this summer.

9.11pm BST

14.3 overs: England 143-1 (Hales 47, Bairstow 60), target 143. Cheeky brilliance from Bairstow – Phehlukwayo sends a short sharp one in at him, but Bairstow just leans back and lets it fall onto his uppercut, which flies above the keeper and goes for four to bring the scores level, and a quick single follows to win it with ease. The rout is done and dusted. England have utterly outclassed South Africa here.

9.07pm BST

14th over: England 138-1 (Hales 47, Bairstow 55), target 143. Excellent running between the wickets, even with the game won, sums up England’s fine display today. Bairstow scampers two more this way off Shamsi’s first ball and then brings up his half-century, off 29 deliveries, with an effortless back-foot drive for four. Shamsi comes back at him well, to be fair, pushing one through his defences and Bairstow misses. A neat chip brings two more and a single takes England to within five of victory.

“If Taunton want to recreate that festival atmosphere they should get Hendricks on stage,” writes Phil Sawyer. “He can perform the Star Spangled Banner then set fire to his guitar. I’m here all week, try the lobster.”

142/3 just about the most unforgivable score imaginable in T20. Massive miscalculation of the relative value of the resources available.

9.01pm BST

13th over: England 129-1 (Hales 47, Bairstow 46), target 143. When it’s not running for you, it’s not running for you. Bairstow’s fine square cut is well cut off initially by the boundary, but only parried over the ropes for four. It gets worse, when Hales’s straight slog is dropped by Berhardien and then nudged over for four. Hales then rubs the saltiest of salt into the gaping wound with a belting six over long-on.

8.57pm BST

12th over: England 112-1 (Hales 36, Bairstow 40), target 143. Hales belts Pretorius away on the legside in front of square for two, and then cuts for one more before Bairstow steps to his side and ramps a short ball over his head for four. The pattern of this international white-ball English summer is continuing – fine cricket, but easy wins. We need a close match somewhere soon.

8.54pm BST

11th over: England 104-1 (Hales 33, Bairstow 35), target 143. A spin for spin replacement, as Smuts returns. He’s done a bit more than most and is accurate and tidy here, unlike Phehlukwayo on the deep extra-cover boundary who fumbles Bairstow’s firm reverse-sweep over the ropes for four. Which means Bairstow and Hales can just languidly take their singles where they please for the rest of the over. Seven from it.

8.50pm BST

10th over: England 97-1 (Hales 32, Bairstow 30), target 143. The right-arm quick Pretorius is into the attack and is nudged off his pads for three by Hales straight away. He then concedes a wide, which could have been four of them but for a fine sprawling dive by Mosehle. A nudged Hales single and a quick, soft-handed Bairstow one ensue before Hales slashes over the in-field behind square on the offside to get four more. This is a stroll.

8.46pm BST

9th over: England 85-1 (Hales 23, Bairstow 28), target 143. The keeper Mosehle yells excitedly as Shamsi sends his first two balls into Hales’s pads but each are pitched outside leg stump. Hales adds a single to tee up Bairstow to step back and lift another glorious straight driven SIX into the crowd. A bit of strike rotation completes the over, which is all England need to do really now. They’re talking about meat raffles in the commentary box and people in the crowd are dad-dancing to One Step Beyond. Could there be a more English scene?

8.42pm BST

8th over: England 76-1 (Hales 21, Bairstow 21), target 143. Bairstow advances to sweep a low full toss from Tahir to deep square leg for two, which is a mere appetiser for a confident swept SIX in front of square on the legside. It’s confident stuff from the Yorkshireman, who’s clearly relishing the opportunity and has zipped along to 21 from 13 balls.

8.39pm BST

7th over: England 64-1 (Hales 20, Bairstow 10), target 143. The quickish left-arm spinner Shamsi comes on. It’s getting darker and duskier out there, with the floodlights now on, which could make him a tricky customer but Shamsi’s a little too short at times here. Bairstow picks up three, and a couple more singles ensue, but it’s tight enough.

8.36pm BST

6th over: England 59-1 (Hales 19, Bairstow 6), target 143. South Africa call on Tahir, and perhaps they need to, but not if Hales can get on top of him as he does second ball here, mowing it low over midwicket and into the crowd for SIX. A couple more singles follow. Tahir didn’t find as much turn there as England’s spinners did, but you don’t necessarily expect him to. And that’s the end of the powerplay.

@tomdaviesE17 If it’s on at the same time as Glastonbury, it’s bound to be rained off with a waterlogged pitch

8.31pm BST

5th over: England 51-1 (Hales 12, Bairstow 5), target 143. Another bowler strikes with his first ball of the match, Phehlukwayo this time snaring Roy, who undoes his brilliance of the previous over with an ill-advised reverse swipe. Bairstow is off the mark with a nice square cut for four. But ten an over so far will do for England.

Fun fact: Roy had score more runs in that previous over than he did in the entire Champions Trophy.

8.28pm BST

Oh Jason, what have you done? After all that, Roy goes, missing an attempted reverse-sweep off the new bowler’s first delivery, and being hit low and plum in front. No need for that at all.

8.26pm BST

4th over: England 45-0 (Roy 28, Hales 11), target 143. Jason Roy is back, back, back, as England run amok. Parnell begins an over with a wayward ball again, this one wide down the legside, which is nudged off Roy’s thigh guard past the keeper for four leg-byes. Roy is swiftly onto the next ball though, taking one step and belting it high over the bowler’s head, not for a “maximum” but for a SIX. A top-edge for four follows and Parnell’s losing his head a bit here, but credit to Roy, who treats the next two ball – much better ones – with disdain, a beautifully timed and placed clip through the legside for four preceding a square punch on the offside for four more. Terrific batting.

8.21pm BST

3rd over: England 22-0 (Roy 9, Hales 11), target 143. Smuts continues, around the wicket to Roy, who swipes a clean and agreeable SIX over backward square leg, which is well caught in the crowd. Another single puts Hales on strike, and he thumps the final ball of the over through the offside for two.

8.18pm BST

2nd over: England 12-0 (Roy 2, Hales 8), target 143. South Africa start with pace at the other end, Parnell banging his first ball down short, wide and not very handsome to concede the first extra. The next one’s short too, and Hales is onto it quickly, clobbering it high over midwicket for four. Parnell comes back well, anticipating Hales’s movement at the crease but the batsman is able to carve out two more with a square drive. A leg-bye completes a satisfying over for England.

Looking ahead in this series, I’m not sure what the cricket/Glastonbury crossover demographic is, but this seems a decent point:

Who on earth scheduled a T20 International at Taunton on the Friday of Glastonbury?

8.13pm BST

1st over: England 4-0 (Roy 2, Hales 2), target 143. South Africa open with spin. The left-armer JJ Smuts, having faced the first ball of South Africa’s innings, bowls the first one of England’s, to rather better effect – his first ball sliding into Roy’s pads, but it’s going down leg. A clipped single gets Roy away next ball, and Hales is off the mark straight away with one too. It’s a tidy first over, with a pair of singles to each batsman.

8.09pm BST

Welcome back and shut up. For out come the England batsmen.

7.54pm BST

So, England will fancy themselves to chase down a modest looking target, having bowled with considerable nous and control for most of that innings, though Imran Tahir might fancy his chances of making serious inroads for South Africa too – the home side’s spinners certainly caused some problems. I’m making no predictions. Instead, I’m having a quick break before England’s reply. See you in a bit.

7.52pm BST

20th over: South Africa 142-3 (De Villiers 65, Behardien 64). Jordan’s last over begins with a low full toss, pushed through the off for a single by Behardien. It brings De Villiers to the strike, and he treats us to what he’s best at – hitting a six that never looks on, effortlessly swinging across the line at a low full toss and somehow sending it high over the square leg boundary for SIX. Jordan comes back well with an attempted yorker. De Villier adds a two and a one, which means Behardien faces the final ball of the innings, which he can only carve out to deep extra cover for one.

7.46pm BST

19th over: South Africa 131-3 (De Villiers 56, Behardien 62). Belatedly, South Africa cut loose – their best over of the innings. An excellent dive on the deep backward point boundary from Billings prevents Wood’s final over from starting with a four but his subsequent one does go to the boundary, Behardien reaching his half-century with a club through the onside. It gets better for South Africa next up, a textbook lofted straight drive for SIX. A miscued hook still brings Behardien two more. These two have now added 99.

7.43pm BST

18th over: South Africa 116-3 (De Villiers 56, Behardien 47). Jordan is brought back into the attack, and starts expertly by spotting De Villiers stepping back to leg and just sending a wide straight one beyond his grasp on the offside. Two fine yorkers then yield two singles and a couple more singles – Roy diving well at mid-off to prevent one of them being a four – is all that South Africa can eke out from an excellent over. Top notch death bowling.

7.37pm BST

17th over: South Africa 112-3 (De Villiers 54, Behardien 45). De Villiers tries to have a go at Willey, advancing down the pitch and smiting it one-handed to long-on but it only gets a single. Behardien tries to advance too but is felled by a ball that cannons into his midriff off his inside edge. Ouch. Another quarter-chance is offered with a slog square on the legside that bounces just short of the advancing Crane, before De Villiers finally does clear the boundary, stepping back, going down on one knee and hammering it square on the legside for SIX to bring up his 50. He has 54 from 50 balls.

7.33pm BST

16th over: South Africa 102-3 (De Villiers 46, Behardien 43). Wood is back in the attack, and he at least is getting a bit of pace and bounce off this pitch, and it’s fascinating to watch batsman and bowler trying to anticipate one another’s intentions and outwit each other. Behardien pulls him for one and De Villiers bunts another before Behardien manages to get hold of a short, wide delivery, swivelling and hoiking it into the crowd behind deep square leg for SIX, only the second of the innings.

7.29pm BST

15th over: South Africa 93-3 (De Villiers 45, Behardien 35). Willey returns, and Behardien picks up two straight away with a legside nudge, before something of a chance goes begging as Behardien hooks high towards the square leg boundary and Crane can’t quite reach it cleanly as it drops down behind him and goes to the ropes for four. Another two singles follow, and South Africa are still struggling for the clean hits. Perhaps this pitch isn’t such a batsman’s paradise – De Villiers’ innings has certainly been unusually orthodox. But he’s still there…

7.24pm BST

14th over: South Africa 84-3 (De Villiers 44, Behardien 27). What a let off for De Villiers, who is bamboozled by a bit of extra pace and bounce as well as spin from Crane, and top-edges high towards mid-off but it lands before anyone can grab it. After two singles and a brilliant attempted yorker, Crane’s excellent spell ends with a low full toss that De Villiers is finally able to club away to the long-on boundary for four. But Crane ends with decent figures of 0-24 from his four. Promising stuff.

7.21pm BST

13th over: South Africa 78-3 (De Villiers 39, Behardien 26). Dawson is going to bowl through, and his final over begins with a cut for two from AB, who’s looking a tad frustrated, as is demonstrated by a grubbed inside-edge hack square on the legside for two – Dawson not allowing him any room again – and the spinner ends with a dot to conclude a very useful spell of 0-17 from four overs. So when will De Villiers unleash carnage?

Dawson bowled every ball to right-handers today – his economy v RHB is 6.74, compared to 8.12 v LHB #ENGvSA

7.18pm BST

12th over: South Africa 73-3 (De Villiers 35, Behardien 25). Crane’s variations have been good, and all underpinned with accuracy and a general absence of loose freebies, though De Villiers steps back to chip one of his googlies artfully through the legside for two. But he’s kept control nicely, and Crane has gone for only 18 from his three overs. Does Morgan keep him on now or save him for later, to keep a bit of variety back for later?

7.15pm BST

11th over: South Africa 68-3 (De Villiers 31, Behardien 24). This is all a bit of an old-fashioned middle-overs meander from South Africa – runs but no boundaries. Behardien takes a chancey single off Dawson that almost gets De Villiers run out but he scrambles home. The South Africa captain tries to hit out on the offside but still can only manage two and England aren’t offering them much at all.

7.12pm BST

10th over: South Africa 62-3 (De Villiers 27, Behardien 22). The Hampshire spin-tandem continues to good effect, and South Africa still can’t clear the in-field, dealing in ones and the odd two off Crane. De Villiers has only three fours to show for his 27 but, crucially, he’s still out there. England will be happy with this at the halfway stage though.

7.09pm BST

9th over: South Africa 55-3 (De Villiers 25, Behardien 17). Dawson continues, and the strike is rotated for a couple of singles before De Villiers offers up two half-chances, a drive to short mid-off that bounces agonisingly short of Roy and a return to the bowler that bounces just in front of him. But it’s an impressively tight over.

7.07pm BST

8th over: South Africa 53-3 (De Villiers 24, Behardien 16). Cheers go up as Mason Crane is given his debut over in international cricket. And his first ball for England is a good’un, a sharp leg break that Behardien can only punt away nervily and defensively. A wrong’un then gives him a second dot, but a slash-edged four to third man breaks the spell. A couple of singles are all that the rest of the over yields, and that’s a nervelessly impressive start from the leg-spinner.

7.04pm BST

7th over: South Africa 47-3 (De Villiers 23, Behardien 11). The first over after the powerplay sees a change of pace, with the left-arm spinner Dawson on. He’s nice and tight, spearing it into the right-handers and conceding little width. AB makes space to cut for a single square on the offside, but South Africa can only deal in ones, four of them to be precise. This is good stuff from England, though De Villiers’ presence is a concern.

7.01pm BST

6th over: South Africa 43-3 (De Villiers 21, Behardien 9). Jordan ups the pace, but Behardien steers a short ball deftly to the third man boundary for four. He’s settled quickly. Two singles and a well-run two follow before a wild throw almost concedes four overthrows but it’s well stopped and is only one. Ten from the over.

“I bet Adil Rashid enjoyed reading Morgan’s comments that he sees Mason Crane as his successor,” writes Tom Van De Gucht. “That’s a bit like picking up the job section of the newspaper and seeing your job being advertised! Or logging into Facebook to see your special lady friend has been posting about a romantic night out with another chap. Not that that’s ever happened to me…”

6.56pm BST

5th over: South Africa 33-3 (De Villiers 19, Behardien 1). What a great bowler to watch Mark Wood is – speed, with drive and charisma. He changes ends to great effect, dismissing Miller straight away as the left-hander inside edges to the keeper. Pace makes its mark, even on a batsman’s pitch like this, and to prove it Wood greets Behardien with some chin music, thwacking him on the helmet first ball. The new man is off the mark with a pull to deep square leg for one but it’s the only run of the over.

6.52pm BST

Wood takes a wicket with the first ball of his second over as well! The change of ends works, Miller cut in half by a zippy pacey delivery that takes his inside edge on the way through to Buttler.

6.51pm BST

4th over: South Africa 32-2 (De Villiers 19, Miller 9). Chris Jordan is the new bowler, and De Villiers and Miller swap ends briskly with consecutive dabbed singles before some good variations secure three consecutive dot balls, from two slow slower balls and a short angled-in-quicker one. But his slower ball is finally picked from the last ball of the over, which De Villiers cracks high to the long-off boundary for four. Good cricket all round.

6.46pm BST

3rd over: South Africa 26-2 (De Villiers 14, Miller 8). More classical stroke-making through the offside from South Africa, this time Miller with an impeccable pose-holding lofted off-drive for SIX off the first ball of Willey’s over. A couple of easy singles follow – England will need to break this pairing before too long and not relinquish the pressure.

6.42pm BST

2nd over: South Africa 18-2 (De Villiers 13, Miller 1). England go old-school and open with quicks at both ends, Wood starting from the Pavilion End. And he strikes straight away too, Hendricks pulling straight to midwicket. In comes the dangerous Miller, as well as three (count ‘em!) slips from the England captain. Miller dabs a single to get off the mark, and De Villiers follows up with a sumptuous back-foot cut through the offside for four. Proper cricket shot. It’s one of two lovely boundaries through the offside from AB this over.

“I see Smuts is an all-rounder,” quips Scott Thomas, threatening very much to be here all week. “I presume he bowls some filth?”

6.38pm BST

Wood strikes with his first ball as well! Hendricks pulls a shortish one fiercely to midwicket where Willey plucks it sharply out of the air. Both openers gone already.

6.35pm BST

1st over: South Africa 7-1 (Hendricks 3, De Villiers 3). Following a needlessly deafening PA blast of some bombastic landfill indie or other, David Willey, who could do with a big performance here, is tossed the ball first. And you can’t start much better than with a seam-up inswinger first ball that takes the batsmen’s inside edge and clatters into the stumps, making Smuts the first man to be dismissed in the first ball of a South Africa T20 innings. Extraordinary start. The next one swings too, but it strays too far down legside and is called wide. De Villiers gets off the mark with a nudge off his pads. Hendricks is away with a nice back-foot punch through the offside for three. De Villiers then collects a clipped two, but it’s a very good over from Willey, finding some movement and a decent length.

6.31pm BST

England strike first ball! The right-hander inside-edges an inswinger from the left-arm Willey onto his stumps.

6.28pm BST

Out come the players. These South African openers, Smuts and Hendricks, are relatively callow, with only three and six T20 international appearances behind them respectively, but Smuts in particular can strike the ball hard and true. Let’s see how they go.

6.07pm BST

England: Hales, Roy, Bairstow, Morgan, Buttler, Billings, Dawson, Jordan, Willey, Crane, Wood.

South Africa: Hendricks, Smuts, De Villiers, Miller, Behardien, Mosehle, Pretorius, Parnell, Phehlukwayo, Shamsi, Tahir

6.03pm BST

AB De Villiers says the pitch “looks alright”. Say what you see. Eoin Morgan is more effusive, describing it as a “great wicket”.

5.59pm BST

“Hi Tom.” Hi Peter Salmon. “I note that Samit Patel has scored his second County double hundred in 10 days, with 122 not out in the One Day Cup Semi-Final in between. I’m calling for his England recall, not because I think he should be brought back, but because we’ve been looking for a new Mark Ramprakash for too long. It gave structure to the summer, wondering if Ramprakash had done enough. Let the debate begin!”

There’s been a few contenders for that role this summer, the discarded England man racking up the runs – see also Sam Robson and Garry Ballance – so if we can just get the spirit of that debate up and running again, we could have an embarrassment of riches. But it also requires selectoral chaos at the top for these arguments to attract interest, and England are a bit too much of an efficient machine in that regard. Funny to think, mind, that Patel played a Test for England as recently as 19 months ago – times move quickly.

5.45pm BST

While we’re waiting for the toss, some other cricket bits and pieces, such as the County Champions, Middlesex, finally winning a game, Yorkshire coming a cropper at Lord’s once again. Will Macpherson can tell you all about their victory by an innings and 64 runs here:

Related: Middlesex hammer Yorkshire in three days to finally resemble champions

11.16am BST

The bilateral Twenty20 international series is a curious beast. While T20 has transformed the game’s economics, its schedules and its techniques over the past decade, your common or garden international version of the format still has the feel of a tagged-on afterthought. While the IPL may sweep all before it and the World T20 can dazzle, a three-match series crowbarred into the timetable is never really a showpiece event. Stop anyone in the street and ask them to name either of England and South Africa’s most recent T20 results and they’ll stare at you blankly. Mind you, stop anyone in the street and ask them to name anything that’s happened in cricket in the past decade and you might get the same blank gaze, if the bleakest narratives are anything to go by.

Anyway, it’s 21 June, high summer, gloriously/insufferably hot and two talented teams await us. South Africa performed poorly in the Champions Trophy, England did not – until their most important game, in which they were steamrollered by the sport’s most gloriously unpredictable life force. Both these sides also lost their most recent T20 series, South Africa 1-2 at home to Sri Lanka and England by the same score away to India, where they at least performed more creditably than they had in the 50-over and five-day formats during that tour. So, there’ll be some T20 rust to be shaken off today.

Lovely to see Pakistan news channel pick up on Rob Smyth’s OBO coverage. Even lovelier they used pic of Tommy Smyth

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