England v South Africa – third ODI as it happened


Preamble It's difficult to avoid cliché on a day like today. It's a new dawn. A new era. English cricket has turned the page. A new chapter is about to begin. It's the first day of the rest of English cricket's life. The eerily calm left-handed opening bat/captain is dead, long live the eerily calm left-handed opening bat/captain.

Andrew Strauss has retired and, while Alastair Cook is not quite the undisputed England captain, he holds the two most significant belts. For richer or poorer, better or back-to-back Ashes defeats, his life will never be the same. He could really do with a win against South Africa today, or there's a danger this second half of the summer could turn into a bit of a nightmare for English cricket.

With the exception of luck and a fast bowler who'll uncomplainingly deliver 10 overs off the reel into the wind, Maurice Mentum is a captain's best friend, and Cook could do with some. There are two more ODIs and two T20 matches after today. England have never before lost series in all three forms of the game to the same side during the same tour but, as a cursory glance at the sartorial statements of Hoxton's finest fashionistas will tell you, there is a first time for everything,

As well as the hot cricket action and the oxygen of BANTER, let's make today an Andrew Strauss farewell OBO. Send in your favourite memories* (with links if possible) and tributes**; even a bit of criticism too if you wish. But no Strauss abuse, or I'll hunt you down like Sam Jackson in Pulp Fiction.

* .

** One of our readers, Phil McBryde, described Strauss as "a quiet hero in an age of noise and constant chatter", which I thought was very nice.

South Africa have won the toss and will bat first on a beautiful day in south London. Alastair Cook says he would have batted as well.

The good news for England is that South Africa have replaced Ryan McLaren with that donkey Dale Steyn. England make two changes: Jade Dernbach and James Tredwell come in for Tim Bresnan and the rested Graeme Swann. Both sides have longish tails as a result of those changes.

England Cook (c), Bell, Trott, Bopara, Morgan, Kieswetter (wk), Patel, Tredwell, Anderson, Finn, Dernbach.

South Africa Smith, Amla, Duminy, Elgar, de Villiers (c/wk), du Plessis, Peterson, Parnell, Steyn, M Morkel, Tsotsobe.

Stuff to do while you wait for play to start

1. .

2. Stop picking nose you scruffy git. No it wasn't a scratch, it was a pick. .

3. .

In the shadows often lurks a deviant, in a rain mac, with urges. But sometimes, sometimes, in the shadows lurks a hero. "When one thinks of great England captains," begins Gary Naylor, "there's usually something that captures their greatness – Illingworth's cussedness in taking his team off the field in Australia; Brearley's degree in people, "Well bowled Harold" – but I'm struggling to think of something that captures Strauss. But maybe that's it. While Fred flung down the stumps to run out Punter at The Oval in 2009 and Swanny led The Sprinkler, Strauss was always there, doing one of the hardest things in sport – leading from the shadows, leaving the limelight to those who revel in it. Thanks for the memories."

Rankings watch If England win today, they jump from No3 to No1. If they don't, as Old Man Bacala said, they don't.

1st over: South Africa 2-0 (Amla 2, Smith 0) Jim E. Anderson will open the bowling to the grim reaper, also known as Hashim Amla. The third ball is far too straight and flicked firmly for a couple. Those are the only runs from a decent over.

"Most of the talk about Strauss recently has been focused around his captaincy," says Brough Cooper. "It is nice to remember at times like this what a great batsman he was at times. After this summer of SA based humiliation cast your mind back to our tour of South Africa in 2004/05. His batting was awesome, hundred after hundred just kept coming. Breathtaking stuff and worth purchasing the Cape Crusaders DVD so you can relive it, on your own in your bedsit crying into your copy of Wisden." This is a great point. I watched that DVD recently with a friend, semi-drunkenly at 2am on a Sunday morning (How To Show A Girl A Good Time by Rob Smyth is available from all good bookstores), and we were both wowed by how swaggering his strokeplay was, particularly square of the wicket. He was taking outstanding bowlers like Pollock and Ntini to the cleaners. There was barely a single dot ball; it was amazing.

2nd over: South Africa 6-0 (Amla 2, Smith 4) Graeme Smith gets down to business in the familar style with a couple of works to leg for two off Steven Finn. Finn knocked over the stumps twice in that over, but the umpires did not call dead ball on either occasion. Smith complains to the umpires, and now Kumar Dharmasena has told Finn he will call dead ball and/or put him over his knee should it happen again.

"Very proud to have had Andrew Strauss as my country's captain; the dignity of the man is so refreshing in this age of Premier League excesses," says Christopher Langmead. My favourite moment probably is his very first match. As someone (like so many on OBO) whose formative years were spent wondering how many Tests it would take the new batsmen in the side to score a fifty, to have someone come into the side and score a ton and then nearly do it again was just wonderful (as was the calm way ). Anyway, not that you're probably reading this Andrew, but thanks for everything - you gave me a moment in winning the Ashes in Australia that earlier in my life I genuinely thought that I might never see." Probably not?!

3rd over: South Africa 12-0 (Amla 2, Smith 8) Amla, beaten by Anderson earlier in the over, punches a glorious boundary down the ground. Anderson has the weary look of a man who has spent the last six weeks trying to punch a hole in a brick wall, and who now just wants to go to sleep for a while. Happy happy sleep.

"My enduring memory of Strauss was when I flew back from a month in Morocco during uni summer holidays of 2005," says William Hardy. "I was getting a lift home from my mother who was at The Oval. I positioned myself at the bar in a pub around the corner and proceeded to get slowly but comprehensively drunk while watching Warne rip through us. Strauss made his 2nd 100 of the series, seemingly the calmest person in the country. Always thought those two hundreds in the series were somewhat overlooked. Plus, he looks like a pair of identical twins I know." The first hundred was in relatively pressure-free circumstances, as England were batting for a declaration, but the second definitely does not get the credit it deserves. It's been overshadowed by the events of the final day, chiefly Kevin Pietersen's astonishing 158. Remember how nervous the whole country was on that first morning – I don't know about you, but I slept about an hour and was in work by 6am – then remember the mid-afternoon collapse to Warne, and think how serenely Strauss went on to score a century of immense importance.

4th over: South Africa 18-0 (Amla 9, Smith 9) Smith works Finn through midwicket for four from well wide of off stump, and then there's a bead ball when Finn hits the stumps during his bowling action. Amla drags an attempted cut back onto his body later in the over. Like, duh, department: England could really do with an early wicket.

"Next Thursday I shall be walking seven miles round the Alnwick Castle estate as part of Emily's Big Walk to raise funds for the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group," says Chris Howell. "I know that this is pretty feeble compared to the usual epic journeys that occasionally appear asking for support on the OBO, but the real journey here is the ongoing one being made by CCLG in changing Childhood Cancer from the death sentence it was forty years ago to curable in most (but still not enough cases) today. Or, if you have a vacancy for an Inspirational Cancer-Survivor story, my own journey from Leukaemia patient to Children's Cancer Doctor and Researcher. I'd be really grateful if you could publicise this."

5th over: South Africa 30-0 (Amla 20, Smith 9) This is an ominous start for England. Amla drives Anderson pleasantly through extra cover for four and flips another boundary behind square on the leg side two balls later. His wristwork is sensational. I suppose it's a bit strange, given the age-old conventions of teenage English boys, that we've never produced a batsman with such remarkable wrists.

"The thing that I loved about Andrew Strauss was the fact that no matter what crap was thrown at him, be it from fellow players, the informed media, retired 'legends' or OBO know-it-alls he still came across as a nice chap," says Phil Withall. "Batted with sturdy resolve and, well let's face it, led England to the No1 position which I still don't believe actually happened. Mind you I wish I could have chucked my career away at his age. Oh hang on...."

6th over: South Africa 32-0 (Amla 21, Smith 10) Smith muscles a shortish delivery from Finn towards square leg, where Bell makes a fine goalkeeper-style save high to his left. Two from the over.

"My favourite Strauss memory: Strauss shows Sehwag how it's done, reaching 158 in a big run-chase against India in the group stages of the last World Cup," says Harry Tuttle. " Not that it's the most fluent exhibition of strokeplay you'll ever see – he's dropped several times, misfields are ubiquitous (this being the nadir of India's laxity in the field) – but because it's an innings that sums up the – yes – the character of the man. He just keeps going, a (very posh) monstrous ape climbing a skyscraper made of cricket, awkwardly deflecting a hail of missiles along the way. It's an energetic, youthful innings from a batsman who seemed to get clunkier the longer England stayed at No1. I think it will become gradually harder to distinguish the madcap glory of this innings from memories of England's brief golden age, the time between the Ashes and the India whitewash when anything seemed possible."

Dropped several times? Really? I can only remember the one drop, although mine is addled. There were some cracking straight drives in that knock as well, which, as Mike Selvey has pointed out many times, showed how he'd developed over the years. The only V he bothered with in his early years was an unspoken V to those who thought English batsmen couldn't take to Test cricket like a duck to the wet stuff.

7th over: South Africa 33-0 (Amla 21, Smith 11) I wasn't paying attention during that over. P45 please! "Andrew Strauss always seemed to me to be a leader in the same mould as Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation," says Lorraine Reese. "Calm, intelligent, authoritative without trying to be and someone you respect without even thinking about it. A great captain."

8th over: South Africa 44-0 (Amla 31, Smith 12) What a glorious Friday afternoon it is in London. On Sky, Sir Ian Botham reckons this pitch will turn, which is a bit of a concern as South Africa have about eight spinners. Amla dumps an easy pull over midwicket for four and then savages Finn to the extra-cover boundary. What a player! His patch is seriously purple right now. How do you get him out? I suppose catching the chances he offers would be a good start.

"Strauss was responsible for starting the glorious grind of the last Ashes series," says Jack Pitt-Brooke. "That 110 in Brisbane – with England 221 behind from the first innings – was everything you could possibly want from an England captain. He set the tone, and Cook and Trott did the rest."

WICKET! South Africa 50-1 (Smith b Anderson 18) What an odd stroke from Graeme Smith. Everything had been calm and controlled until then, with he and Amla bringing up an inevitable fifty partnership the ball before, when suddenly he gave Anderson the charge and tried to strong-arm him through the leg side. He missed completely and the ball pinged into the leg bail. That looked hideous, but then a lot of Smith's dismissals do. They usually occur when he has a huge score to his name.

9th over: South Africa 50-1 (Amla 31, Elgar 0) Dean Elgar has been promoted to No3.

"'Strauss' in German means either an ostrich or a bouquet (of flowers)," says Mark Francome. "I only knew about the ostrich bit and was very confused to attend my first wedding and be told 'die Braut trägt einen Strauss' (the bride is carrying an ostrich)." Jealous bridesmaids can be so catty sometimes.

10th over: South Africa 55-1 (Amla 32, Elgar 4) Dernbach is on for Finn. Elgar bottom edges the second ball into the pitch and just over the stumps. The next ball is full, wide and driven square with an open face for four.

"It's another easy call," says Josh Robinson, "but no less impressive for that: . It's not just the athleticism of the fielding, but also the look of sheer
delight on his face afterwards." Strauss did humble joy very well, didn't he, and the warmth of his smile was extremely infectious.

11th over: South Africa 58-1 (Amla 34, Elgar 5) Anderson off, Bopara on. Slowly, inexorably, we move towards the dreaded middle overs. Bopara nips a good one past Elgar to end a quiet over; three from it.

12th over: South Africa 60-1 (Amla 35, Elgar 6) Amla bottom edges Dernbach's slower ball but it lands well short of Kieswetter.
"Don't really want to follow the cricket today," says Mark Knight. "It all seems too soon. I'm still in post-Strauss mourning. As for memories, I was lucky enough to be there in Napier in 2008 to watch his career-saving 177. It wasn't an elegant or attractive innings, but it was a really compelling, gutsy performance. Watching Strauss try to conquer himself as much as the Kiwi attack. All the talk about him being such a decent bloke slightly obscures the fact that, underneath, he is also a really tough cookie and that innings showed it. It's also noteworthy that, with the resignation of Strauss and the possibly permanent exclusion of KP, Ian Bell is now the sole remaining member of the 2005 team – and he was a little bit of a passenger that series. It really does feel like the end of an era and I can't help feeling a little melancholic about it all." Hang on, I thought it was the end of the 2010-11 era, not the 2004-05 era. When does an era end? Does an era have more than one ending? I'm confused now.

13th over: South Africa 62-1 (Amla 36, Elgar 7) Being promoted to No3 will give Elgar a bit of time to build an innings, which he didn't really have at No4 the other day. He's helped by the fact that, at the other end, Amla will score off most deliveries. He has 36 from 40, Elgar seven from 13.

14th over: South Africa 66-1 (Amla 39, Elgar 8) One slow bowler replaces another, with James Tredwell coming on for Jade Dernbach. Amla laps a couple to fine leg and then takes a single, which makes him 350 not out on this ground in the summer of 2012. Elgar survives an optimistic shout for LBW. It hit him outside the line and would have missed off stump anyway.

"Am I allowed two memories of Strauss?" says Richard O'Hagan. "The first is the catch off Gilchrist back in 2005. The first thing to be forgotten about most players is just how good they were in the field and Strauss was an exceptionally fine slip man. The second memory is from the winter of 2007/8. Strauss had been left out of the side to tour Sri Lanka and I came across him on a Bakerloo Line train. He was sat by himself looking exceedingly glum and I left him to wallow in his own misery. The cricket bag I was carrying may not have improved his mood, either."

15th over: South Africa 70-1 (Amla 41, Elgar 10) "Most of my favourites have been covered already (was going to say the catch)," says Mark Jelbert, "but what is often overlooked is how good Strauss was in Only Fools & Horses." Emails as brilliantly naff as this always deserve to be published. There's no resemblance at all!

16th over: South Africa 73-1 (Amla 43, Elgar 11) England take the bowling Powerplay, and back comes Steven Finn. Not much happens. Three singles. This is a belting pitch.

"Been reading the respectful and heartwarming tributes to Andrew Strauss and they are bringing back some truly wonderful memories," says Peter Robinson. "But can I just check, he hasn't died has he?" No, but we're all going to one day. Hope this helps!

WICKET! South Africa 73-2 (Amla b Dernbach 43) Hashim Amla has gone. I don't really know what to say. Do appropriate words exist for such an unimaginable occurrence? I just expected him to bat on and on for another hundred. He went for a big drive at a fine inswinger from Dernbach, bowled from wider on the crease, that took the inside edge and splattered the stumps. Dernbach celebrates wildly, but you can understand that in the circumstances. After scoring 354 runs at the Oval this summer, Hashim Amla has finally been dismissed. Is Amla over the hill? Has he jumped the shark?

17th over: South Africa 78-2 (Elgar 11, de Villiers 5) de Villiers, who has also moved up the order, tickles some nonsense to fine leg for four. It was a bit too close to the diving Kieswetter for comfort, mind.

18th over: South Africa 84-2 (Elgar 12, de Villiers 10) Most new batsmen might want to play themselves in for a while, but this is a Powerplay and AB de Villiers is one of the more selfless batsmen in world cricket, so he goes straight after Finn with a glorious cover-driven four.

"I was at Trent Bridge on the day of Strauss's snaffling of Adam Gilchrist, a brilliant one-handed game-changer, and of course the same day as Ponting's run out by Gary Pratt – two indelible images in the mind of cricket lovers," says Graeme Edgar. "I will raise a glass to Andrew Strauss this evening over the faltering England innings!" For all the happiness of the last two years, nothing is ever going to top 2005, is it? If you haven't watched the boxset in a while, do it. You'll feel better than you ever thought you could feel.

19th over: South Africa 87-2 (Elgar 14, de Villiers 11) It's Dernbach bowling, it's Elgar bowling, and, yes, there are variations. Dernbach has an optimistic lone LBW appeal when Elgar is hit on the pad by a fine slower ball. It was missing off stump.

"Beard Liberation Front says beard tampering is suspected after Hashim Amla is out at the Oval," writes Keith Flett.

20th over: South Africa 91-2 (Elgar 16, de Villiers 13) Shaun Pollock has been a really good addition to Sky's commentary team, especially when talking about the mechanics and thought processes of fast bowling. He has just discussed his lack of a slower ball during his career; "whenever I tried it I felt like my shoulder was going to pop out of its joint". Jimmy Anderson returns in place of Finn. It's a fairly quiet spell, with Elgar (16 from 30 balls) trying to establish himself at the crease and in international cricket.

"My own Strauss memory," says Andrew Moore. "I was batting in an indoor net at the Oval in with some friends while Strauss was doing a corporate net session next door. As the corporate net finished one of my friends stopped Strauss on his way out, congratulated him on his Ashes triumph and asked if he would bowl me a delivery. Strauss looked at our fleabitten ball, remarked 'What the eff is this?' and then bowled me an atrocious half-tracker way outside off stump. Still half petrified that he might be a demon pace bowler and half thrilled that the ball wasn't straight and my dignity and stumps were going to be spared, I took a disgusting swipe at fresh air as the ball sailed harmlessly past. was most definitely not the winner. As he left he ordered us to buy new balls, which we promptly did. To this day I wish I had executed a textbook Strauss-esque leave, but maybe this would have been disrespectful. Cheers Straussy for all the good times." It's a good job he's an avid OBO reader, with all these personal well wishes you are sending in.

21st over: South Africa 93-2 (Elgar 17, de Villiers 14) This is a great point from John Starbuck. "How long before we begin describing Jade Dernbach as the mystery fast-medium?" Mystery spin is so noughties. Dernbach is replaced by Bopara, who skids one under de Villiers' attempted cut stroke. England will feel relatively comfortable, with South Africa's twin peaks back in the pavilion, although de Villiers too has a devastating record in this form of the game.

In other news, while we're talking about all things Strauss, look at and .

22nd over: South Africa 99-2 (Elgar 19, de Villiers 18) Cook is rotating his bowlers regularly. Tredwell beats de Villiers, whose response is a neat reverse lap for three. Later in the over he slaps a single not far wide of the diving Morgan at short midwicket.

"I think what marks 2005 out for me is that, for the first (and so far only) time in my life, cricket was actually of interest to normal people," says Andrew Jefford. "Friends that knew I followed the sport actively sought me out at parties to find out what was happening and my opinions on how the series was unfolding. And then, almost immediately after the series ended, they went back to rolling their eyes as soon as I made the merest mention of the game. You can't feel the highs etc etc." Yep, exactly. It was English cricket's London 2012. July 21 2005 will always be the first date in the DeLorean.

23rd over: South Africa 101-2 (Elgar 20, de Villiers 19) Have a look at this: . AB de Villiers has had a reasonable three years.

24th over: South Africa 114-2 (Elgar 26, de Villiers 26) Thirteen from the over. Elgar charges Tredwell's first ball, driving it a touch unconvincingly over mid-on for four. de Villiers gets another boundary off the fourth ball with a high-class chip on the run. He repeats the stroke next ball, and this time Bell runs round to cow corner to save a run.

25th over: South Africa 119-2 (Elgar 29, de Villiers 28) There's a bit of inswing for Bopara, who is milked for five singles.

WICKET! South Africa 120-3 (de Villiers c Bell b Tredwell 28) Having lived by the chip, de Villiers dies by the chip. Not in the clogged-arteries sense; he's just chipped Tredwell straight to Bell, running round the boundary at cow corner. That is a vital wicket for England, who now have all three of South Africa's peaks back in the pavilion. It's good captaincy from Cook as well; some might have bottled it and taken Tredwell off after he went for 13 in the previous over.

26th over: South Africa 122-3 (Elgar 31, du Plessis 1) "My favourite Strauss memory is a square cut," says George Young. "No, I tell a lie, every square cut." ?

WICKET! South Africa 122-4 (du Plessis b Bopara 1 Faf du Plessis is bowled round his legs. He walked a long way across to a straight delivery from Bopara that swung just enough to beat the bat and peg back the leg stump. Bopara, not for the first time this year, is bowling an extremely important ODI spell.

27th over: South Africa 127-4 (Elgar 32, Duminy 4) Duminy times his first ball nicely through midwicket for three. "I'm not as surprised at AB's average as I am at He Who Shall Not Be Named being half-way down the second page of that list, behind the likes of Rav Bop and Samit..." says Jos Roberts. Pietersen had a really lean period in ODIs for about four years until he got those two hundreds in Pakistan earlier this year; he averaged 19 in ODIs in 2009, 18 in 2010 and 32 in 2011.

28th over: South Africa 129-4 (Elgar 33, Duminy 5) South Africa have a longish tail, with Robin Petersen and Wayne Parnell next, so one more wicket would put England right on top. Kieswetter and Tredwell think they have it when Duminy pushes defensively down the wrong line, but it turned too much and would have missed off stump. That turned a long way off middle stump. Tredwell, an underrated cricketer, is doing a good job here.

"Please enlighten me as to where in the field is cow corner…" says Lewis Draper. .

29th over: South Africa 132-4 (Elgar 36, Duminy 5) Blah blah blah. Bopara now has figures of 8-0-26-1. This is all going pretty well for England.

30th over: South Africa 140-4 (Elgar 42, Duminy 7) Elgar swipes Tredwell just short of Anderson at long on. Eight from the over, all in ones and twos.

"Having my email described as brilliantly naff (15th over) is and will remain the height of my OBO career, and possibly life," lies Mark Jelbert. "The picture research could have been better but I maintain in the right light (i.e. dim) there is a distinct likeness." Quit while you're behind, Jelbert.

WICKET! South Africa 141-5 (Elgar b Dernbach 42) It'd be nice to see England give Finn a couple of overs here, as one more wicket would put them in a fantastic position. It's how Australia used Brett Lee so well over the years. There is a bowling change, but it's Dernbach rather than Finn to replace Bopara. And he gets the wicket with a beautiful slower ball! Elgar groped nervously at a legspinner that turned through the gate to hit the off stump. Bowled neck and crop.

31st over: South Africa 141-5 (Duminy 9, Parnell 0) Dernbach has plenty of flaws, but when he looks good he is bloody seductive. That was brilliant.

32nd over: South Africa 143-5 (Duminy 9, Parnell 1) The new batsman Wayne Parnell is one of the few men who have batted both as an opener and No10 in ODIs. He can smack the ball but will probably take a few overs to play himself in. That means Tredwell can hurry through an over for just a couple.

WICKET! South Africa 155-6 (Parnell c Kieswetter b Dernbach 13) A third wicket for Jade Dernbach, with Parnell caught behind. It ended an eventful over. First Parnell flicked a boundary through midwicket with a lazy class that was almost Goweresque. That prompted Cook to take out the slip and, with Botham-baiting inevitability, the next two balls were edged through the slips at catchable height for four. But Dernbach kept bothering the outside edge and his next ball, a good one that moved away, was thin-edged to Kieswetter.

33rd over: South Africa 155-6 (Duminy 9, Peterson 0)

34th over: South Africa 160-6 (Duminy 14, Peterson 0) Five from Tredwell's over. "I'll back Mr Jelbert up if I may," says Nick Lewis. "Marked similarities, particularly in chin structure. A hint of the Hapsburgs."

35th over: South Africa 165-6 (Duminy 16, Peterson 3) Peterson is hopelessly late on a yorker from Dernbach that just misses the off stump and then inside edges a slower ball this close to leg stump. This has been an outstanding performance from Dernbach.
"I'm coming to London and have a ticket for the 4th ODI at Lord's – do they have Wifi?" asks Cheri Powers. "Will I be able to follow the OBO on my iPhone? Or will I have to content myself with actually seeing the match in person." I am less clue. Anyone know?

36th over: South Africa 172-6 (Duminy 21, Peterson 4) South Africa have to take their batting Powerplay at this stage. The camera cuts to Peter Reid in the crowd. "Look out London, we're meeting up tonight," says Sir Ian Botham. Volvic chasers and Evian toddies all round. Finn, brought back for the Powerplay, errs onto the pads and is worked to the fine-leg boundary by Duminy.

37th over: South Africa 177-6 (Duminy 24, Peterson 6) England are on top at the moment, but if South Africa will feel that anything around 240 is competitive. Much rests on Duminy, who is keeping his powder dry for now, even though we are in the Powerplay. His plan will be to get a single off almost every ball and then tee off at the death. Dernbach's eighth over is milked for five singles. In an unrelated development, .

38th over: South Africa 179-6 (Duminy 25, Peterson 7) A good over from the returning Anderson costs just a couple.

39th over: South Africa 183-6 (Duminy 27, Peterson 9) Duminy, whipping to leg, leading edges Finn through the covers for a single, one of four from the over. "Lord's does indeed have free wi-fi via The Cloudl," says Keith Flett. "Unfortunately the bandwidth [capacity] is really only useful for pigeons to use & a full capacity crowd will mean using GPRS [which works fine in St John's Wood]."

40th over: South Africa 187-6 (Duminy 29, Peterson 11) South Africa are dealing exclusively in low-risk singles, even though we are still in the Powerplay. That's inevitable with six wickets down, and they are doing it pretty well. Anderson's eighth over costs four.

41st over: South Africa 192-6 (Duminy 33, Peterson 12) The new bowler Bopara has a couple of ludicrous LBW shouts against Duminy turned down. After just one run from the first five balls, Duminy crashes an excellent back cut for four. South Africa are inching stealthily towards a decent total.

WICKET! South Africa 195-7 (Duminy c Bell b Tredwell 33) Tredwell returns to the attack, and Duminy's peepers alight fatally. He charges Tredwell and slices a miserable drive straight to Ian Bell, who takes the catch running in from long-off. Or was it back from mid-off? Whatever, he's out.

42nd over: South Africa 196-7 (Peterson 16, Steyn 0) "So, Ravi's proving his worth to this side by bowling what looks like it's going to be a full stint of 10 overs before coming in at first drop," says Josh Robinson. "Meanwhile, it looks like Samit's going to be a specialist No8: is he really better at that role than Luke Wright?" Specialist No7. And second drop. But apart from that you're golden!

43th over: South Africa 196-7 (Peterson 16, Steyn 0) , Ravi Bopara completes his stint of 10 overs – and he does so with a maiden to Peterson. Outstanding stuff. Bopara ends with figures of 10-1-31-1. If he gets some runs he could almost be an allrounder, etc and so honk.

"Tidying my office whilst following the OBO, I came across the receipt for the cheese grater that I bought my wife as an anniversary present a couple of years ago," says Richard O'Hagan. "You might want to include that tip in your next dating book." Who needs mixtapes? Mind you, in this post-Bobbitt age, isn't buying your wife a cheese grater a bit dangerous?

44th over: South Africa 198-7 (Peterson 17, Steyn 1) Bopara is becoming a really useful sixth bowler in ODIs. Nobody who has played in five matches this year has a better economy rate, not even the remarkable Sunil Narine, . England's offspinner, James Tredwell, is going to bowl his last over. A reverse slog-sweep from Peterson only yields a single, one of just two from the over. Good stuff from Tredwell, who ends with decent figures of 10-0-49-2.

WICKET! South Africa 203-8 (Steyn b Anderson 1) Jimmy Anderson gets medieval on Dale Steyn's off stump with a superb delivery. It angled in towards off stump and then held its line to send that off stump flying. I think Steyn was beaten for pace as much as movement. Either way, it was a belter.

45th over: South Africa 204-8 (Peterson 22, M Morkel 1) "The Incredible Pedant wakes to say that that's twice you've had batsmen hitting 'straight to' a fielder who was 'running in (or out)' or, worse, 'running round the boundary' (over 26)," says Luke Williams. "And cow corner/long off aren't really straight in cricket terms, so that's no excuse. Always alert, the Pedant sleeps with one eye open…." Not if I take that eye out, Williams, not if I take that eye out.

46th over: South Africa 211-8 (Peterson 23, M Morkel 7) Crikey. Morne Morkel flicks Jade Dernbach's first ball confidently over midwicket for four. Three additional singles make it a decent over for South Africa.

"Another memory of Strauss is him taking over the Middlesex captaincy after Gus Fraser decided in early season he would rather share a draughty press box and the pub with wizened hacks than trudge up and down the Lord's slope to see his best slower ball rocket past his head to awaken a dozing member," says Phil McBryde. "Although Strauss was next in line for the captaincy, the timing was unexpected. As it turns out, Strauss's calmness, authority and integrity were not unexpected. We survived, Strauss prospered and English cricket greeted a new hero in 2004."

WICKET! South Africa 211-9 (M Morkel b Anderson 7) Anderson knocks over another sucker. Morne Morkel is the sixth batsman who has been bowled in this innings. He was just beaten for pace by a quick, straight delivery bowled from around the wicket.

WICKET! South Africa 211 all out (Tsotsobe LBW b Anderson 0) Jimmy Anderson pins the No11 Tsotsobe in front for a golden duck. Tsotsobe is going to review it – as the last man, he might as well – but this looks good. Yep, he's out. It was hitting the top of middle and leg, so that's the end of the innings. Anderson ends with four for 44, while Jade Dernbach (three for 44) and Ravi Bopara (one for 31) were also excellent. Hashim Amla was top scorer yet again, though thankfully he made a mere 43 this time. That's a very good effort in the field from England, who need 212 to square the series. They should manage that. Should. See you in half an hour for England 188 all out (47.2 overs).


1st over: England 1-0 (target 212; Cook 0, Bell 0) Dale Steyn is going to open the bowling, a slight surprise given what Lonwabo Tsotsobe did to Alastair Cook's off stump in the first over on Tuesday. Steyn's second ball is a leg-side wide; everything else is a non-event.

"Strauss won," says David Slider. "This may be a peculiarly American perspective, but that is the basis for judging his captaincy. Much has been said of his character, and rightly so. But would you consider him differently if his results been more modest?" I don't think so, no. In fact you could argue the opposite – that being so successful made his innate decency even more impressive. Many serial winners are swine.

2nd over: England 13-0 (target 212; Cook 0, Bell 12) Tsotsobe starts from the other end. His first ball is a touch short and timed supremely through the covers for four by Bell. Bell gets a second boundary from his third ball with a thick-edged steer wide of slip – and a third from his fifth delivery, clouting a contemptuous pull over midwicket. You never know how things will pan out with Ian Bell, but since his return to the side in June he has looked a seriously good one-day opener: .

"I am joining you and Selvey for a on 15th Sept – any chance of some sneak homework up front so I can make a good impression on Selvey and the other Masterclassmates?" says Howard Walwyn. "Does he like an apple?" For a nominal fee, just £4712.94, I'll post you the whole thing beforehand. Actually I think we'll be sending you a plan anyway. As for Selve, just don't mention the Gordon Greenidge LBW that wasn't at Old Trafford in 1976. He goes the full Hulk if you tell him it was clearly missing leg.

WICKET! England 14-1 (Bell LBW b Steyn 12) I'm sorry. Ian Bell has been jinxed by some moron. He was plumb LBW to Dale Steyn, whipping across the line as the ball homed in on his front pad. Even though Bell walked down the pitch a touch, it was hitting leg stump three quarters of the way up. Bell made 12 from seven balls.

3rd over: England 15-1 (target 212; Cook 0, Trott 1) In fascinating news, that's only the second time an England batsman has made 12 from seven balls in an ODI. Obviously you'll all know that the first came from .

4th over: England 16-1 (target 212; Cook 0, Trott 2) Tsotsobe shrieks like a defiled cat when Cook inside edges a delivery through the vacant short leg area. Cook is yet to get off the mark, having faced 11 deliveries.

"Straussy moment?" says Steve Anthony. "The way he celebrates a ton, as if clubbing an invisible errant urchin over the head... actually always worried he might one day brain someone. Otherwise, yes a quiet hero: classy batsman and classy captain. Classy bloke all round. Strauss for ICC president!"

5th over: England 17-1 (target 212; Cook 0, Trott 3) Faf du Plessis made 1 with the bat today, but he is always worth a few in the field and has just saved at least one with a Jonty leap at backward point. Cook is beaten later in the over, chopping over the top of a slower ball that grubs and bounces twice before reaching de Villiers. He has 0 from 15 balls and will do well to keep his job for the next game on Sunday.

6th over: England 24-1 (target 212; Cook 4, Trott 6) Trott bread-and-butters Tsotsobe off the thigh through midwicket for three. Then Cook gets off the mark from his 18th delivery, working Tsotsobe off the hip for four. Tsotsobe has bowled a heap of pucky thus far.

7th over: England 35-1 (target 212; Cook 10, Trott 11) Steyn almost picks up Trott yet again, with an inside edge flashing past the stumps and down to the fine-leg boundary. There's an authentic boundary off the final ball, however, with Cook flashing a superb square drive.

"I realise that generally the captaincy is given to a batsman, and quite often the vice-captaincy too, but as part of the new 'era' I've heard Stuart Broad's name banded around as a vice, along with Swann and Prior," says Jonathan Hawke. "Am I being ridiculous in finding it odd that Jimmy A's name isn't in that mix? Is it just the fact that he's a bit older that he's not being considered and Broad is – but surely by that logic that would do for Swann too?" Yes, good point. He clearly has a very good cricket brain. Maybe there is a perception that he is too quiet off the field, bromantic tour video diaries notwithstanding.

8th over: England 40-1 (target 212; Cook 10, Trott 16) Morne Morkel is greeted with a beautiful cover drive for four from Trott, who – as he often does in both forms of the game – has started very quickly. He has 16 from 14 balls. Cook, walking across his stumps, is this close to being bowled round his legs. England have had a few moments of fortune but are going well. They need 172 from 42 overs.

9th over: England 41-1 (target 212; Cook 10, Trott 17) The left-armer Wayne Parnell comes on for Dale Steyn (4-0-14-1). He beats Trott with consecutive deliveries, the first a beauty that lifts and seams. Then another delivery keeps a bit low; England need to watch that.

10th over: England 45-1 (target 212; Cook 10, Trott 21) Trott hustles Morkel off the hip for two, and then clips off the pad for two more. Truth be told, I'm sidetracked by the exploits of Laura Robson at the US Open. She is one set up on the No9 seed Li Na, and the second set is about to go to a tiebreak.

11th over: England 48-1 (target 212; Cook 12, Trott 22) Parnell beats Cook with a lovely delivery in Geoffrey Boycott Corridor. But, as we know, what's past is prologue for Cook and Trott; they won't let these false strokes perturb them, especially as runs are coming at a decent rate. Three from Parnell's over.

12th over: England 52-1 (target 212; Cook 16, Trott 22) You're all in the pub/watching the Paralympics/watching Laura Robson/watching Sky Sports News aren't you? Faf du Plessis makes another decent save at backward point when Cook launches into a cut stroke at Morne Morkel. After five dot balls, Cook dumps a pull through midwicket for four from well wide of off stump.

13th over: England 53-1 (target 212; Cook 16, Trott 23) "I'm still here," says Richard O'Hagan. "I thought my wife was going to be picking me up about an hour ago, but there's no sign of her. I probably should not have reminded her about the cheese grater."

14th over: England 53-1 (target 212; Cook 16, Trott 23) Trott edges Morkel just short of Smith, lurking in a wide slip position. Although England are in a superb position, batting hasn't been particularly comfortable. A maiden from Morkel, and the pressure is starting to build. England have scored just 13 from the last six overs.

"Looky-likeys," says Paul Howarth. "?" OH THAT'S RIGHT, ALL BALD PEOPLE LOOK THE SAME.

15th over: England 57-1 (target 212; Cook 18, Trott 25) England give the scoreboard the kiss of life with three quick singles off Parnell.
"Nah, I'm still here listening and reading," says Chris Drew. "What is your take on a new opener for England? Old blood or new blood?"

I don't really know that much about county cricket to be honest. Root clearly has something about him and, even though it might be a year early, if it was an easier series than India away I'd be tempted to throw him in. Not India away, though. Zaheer Khan could scar him, not to mention the spinners. I don't like the idea of Trott opening – there's enough upheaval as it is – and I reckon they might take the relatively safe option of Carberry. But I don't really know. Who are the other contenders? Send your sales pitches to [email protected]

16th over: England 59-1 (target 212; Cook 19, Trott 26) South Africa take their bowling Powerplay. Nothing happens. "Actually, Rob, I've had the gasman round checking my boiler, hence the lack of emails from me," says Phil Sawyer. "I may watch Celebrity Masterchef in a bit. The party never starts stops at Sawyer Towers. I can't help feeling my Friday evenings used to be much more interesting. I'm not so much going out with a bang as with a slow, melancholy drizzle."

WICKET! England 61-2 (Cook c Elgar b Peterson 20) End times for Alastair Cook. He pulled a terrible short delivery from the new bowler Robin Peterson straight to deep midwicket, where Dean Elgar took a simple catch as he fell backwards. Cook never really got going during an innings of 20 from 47 balls. It's the pressure of captaincy!

17th over: England 61-2 (target 212; Trott 27, Bopara 0) The new batsman is the man Nasser Hussain calls Bow-para. "I'm here Rob!" whispers Rose Williams. "Getting off my face on gin in my dressing gown at a steady pace following some major dental work. You're keeping me occupied whilst I wait for my boyfriend to return and remind me what the Sky password is so I can watch our glorious victory. Friday night woooo!"

WICKET! England 64-3 (Bopara c de Villiers b Morkel 0) What's happened here? Ravi Bopara is given out caught behind off Morkel but reviews the decision instantly. There was a big noise but it was a dullish noise, so I reckon he's hit the pad with his bat. This is really interesting. Hotspot shows nothing but I think you can see an edge on one of the close-up replays, if not the others. Or can you? Lord knows. I've no idea what the third umpire Simon Taufel should do here. My instinct is that Bopara isn't out, but that he must be given out because there isn't enough evidence to overturn the on-field decision. Here comes the decision: he's out! There are boos from the crowd; that's out of order. Bopara is very unhappy, and has a word with Kumar Dharmasena on the way off. It's a bad time for him to get such a controversial decision, because he really needs some runs.

18th over: England 64-3 (target 212; Trott 30, Morgan 0) We'll hear more about that dismissal if England lose, but I'm not sure what else the umpires could have done in the circumstances. Hotspot's verdict is not absolute.

19th over: England 66-3 (target 212; Trott 31, Morgan 1) The thot plickens: Snicko suggests there was an edge. England had a famous grievance with the third umpire Simon Taufel at Sydney in 1999 but I don't think they should have one with him here. Even if Snicko had shown nothing, he was following the correct procedure by giving Bopara out.

20th over: England 69-3 (target 212; Trott 31, Morgan 4) Excellent captaincy from AB de Villiers, who has brought back Dale Steyn for a crack at Eoin Morgan. If South Africa get Morgan early they will be strong favourites. No dice in that over, which costs three.

"I was listening to TMS and no-one seemed to mention Alex Hales," says Adam Roberts. "Is he in contention? Living abroad, I don't follow county cricket as often as I did, but with 99 in a T20 international and a big century against the league leaders, is he worth a shout?" He could be, although he hasn't had a great season.

21st over: England 76-3 (target 212; Trott 32, Morgan 10) A lovely stroke from Morgan, who charges Peterson and swipes him over mid off for four. He just plays, doesn't he? Balls to how tense the situation might be; he just plays. If only he had been able to do that in Test cricket. Later in the over he pulls out the reverse sweep for a single. England need 136 from 29 overs.

"We've had Snickometer for a long time now, and it's generally reckoned to be the most accurate indicator of ball hitting bat or pad/sleeve/glove because the sounds are so different," says John Starbuck. "But when Hotspot came along it became the most-favoured, presumably on speed grounds. Why? Is there no way to progress Snicko so it can be used faster? Or is Big Finance involved somewhere?" As far as I'm aware, it's a simple speed issue, but I don't really know.

22nd over: England 82-3 (target 212; Trott 34, Morgan 14) Morgan smashes a short ball from Parnell through the covers. The brilliant du Plessis chases it all the way and dives forward to save a single approximately 0.0004 seconds before the ball hits the boundary rope. "Just been catching up on all the Strauss tributes and memories on this OBO," says Phil Sawyer. "Could I add his century at Lord's earlier this year? His sheer delight at reaching it was touching for a man so usually reserved, and the prolonged ovation the crowd gave him was a mark of just how much appreciation and affection there is for the man who led the England team to heights I'd never dreamed they could reach. A really lovely memory."

23rd over: England 88-3 (target 212; Trott 37, Morgan 17) Morgan wasn't fluent the other night but he is playing with his usual intimidating authority here. Six from Peterson's over, and Morgan has 17 from as many balls. Damn he's good. That's right: damn.

"It's Friday and I'm Finnish, so cricket or no cricket, I was in the sauna," says Sara Torvalds. "But now I'm done, all mellow and fresh, so let's have some genius big hitting from Ireland's little big man!" Preach on sistah.

24th over: England 96-3 (target 212; Trott 37, Morgan 25) Tsotsobe's first ball back is blazed over mid off for four by Morgan. He wasn't quite aiming there, and it went very high, but there was enough power behind it to get it safely over the infield. Three balls later he savages a cut stroke past backward point for four. Outstanding batting. No matter how long it takes, England simply have to find a way to make a Test player out of this bloke, because he could be devastating enforcer/initiative-seizer at No5 or No6. He is a genius.

25th over: England 99-3 (target 212; Trott 40, Morgan 25)
"Good to hear that other people's Friday nights aren't the heady mix of hedonism and romance that we expect from OBO followers," says Luke Williams. "Personally, I'm off the pop owing to a course of superstrength antibiotics for a nasty rash – specifically Lyme disease, from an infected tick bite. My girlfriend isn't coming out and sounds totally frazzled as she's making a wedding cake (not ours) and it's not going so well, and I'm heading for the pub to play guitar and drink coffee while the Whole Rest Of The World is getting totally off its face. Bah!"

That sounds like a truly miserable existence. In fact, the only possible thing worse than that would be to be at work receiving an email detailing such an existence. Bah squared.

26th over: England 110-3 (target 212; Trott 43, Morgan 31) Trott drives Tsotsobe through the diving Steyn at mid off for a couple to bring up the hundred, and a misfield from Morne Morkel at fine leg gives Morgan a second later in the over. There are two wides from Tsotsobe, and then Morgan threads a gorgeous cover drive between extra cover and mid off for four. His placement is outstanding. He only has 31, but this has been a masterclass in taking control of a precariously poised contest.

27th over: England 112-3 (target 212; Trott 44, Morgan 32) Two from Peterson's over. "What a mouthwatering middle order we could have of Bell, Bairstow and Morgan," says Russell Hope. "Surely the best all-ginger 4, 5 & 6 ever!" And possibly the only one. Did anyone play alongside Bell and Collingwood?

28th over: England 116-3 (target 212; Trott 44, Morgan 35) Here comes the left-arm spinner Dean Elgar, who turned the ball sharply at times on Tuesday. He goes around the wicket to Morgan, who can't get the first four deliveries away but then places a nice extra-cover drive for three. That brings up a fine fifty partnership from only 59 balls.

29th over: England 118-3 (target 212; Trott 45, Morgan 36) Parnell replaces Peterson (6-0-22-1) and so nearly gets the vital wicket of Morgan, who spoons a slower ball this far short of Morkel, running in from mid off and diving forward. His right buttock landed on the ball as he attempted to take the catch, and he's in a fair bit of pain. After a bit of treatment he'll be okay. Graeme Smith is laughing his head off, and even Morkel, one of the more amiable souls in cricket, has a half smile/half grimace on his coupon.

30th over: England 120-3 (target 212; Trott 46, Morgan 37) Having seized the initiative, England can play it fairly safe now and there are just two from Elgar's over. Trott, who scored 16 from his first 14 deliveries, has made 30 from 67 since then.

31st over: England 120-3 (target 212; Trott 46, Morgan 37) South Africa need Morgan. If they get him soon they still have a chance, because England have a longish tail with either Finn or Anderson at No9. Morgan misses a cut and mistimes a pull during a maiden over from Parnell; he has struggled to time it in the last few overs.

32nd over: England 129-3 (target 212; Trott 48, Morgan 44) Morgan releases the burgeoning pressure with a sweet six off Elgar. He came down the track to get the ball on the full and pinged it handsomely over midwicket. That's the first six of the match. A leading edge from Trott later in the over lands safely on the off side. England need 83 from 108 balls.

33rd over: England 136-3 (target 212; Trott 50, Morgan 49) If you need a wicket, and nobody else can help, then you'd better bring on Dale Steyn. He returns to replace Parnell, and Morgan walks across the stumps to flick him fine for four. That is lovely batting again. A single from Trott brings him to a crucial, unobtrusive half-century from 84 balls. Trott has played 50 ODI innings, and this is the 21st time he has reached fifty. That's an outrageous statistic.

"Have any of your readers noticed the resemblance between ?" says Peter Hill. "Are they by any chance related?"

34th over: England 142-3 (target 212; Trott 54, Morgan 51) Tsotsobe is back for Elgar. He hasn't bowled well today, and his third ball, on the pads, is flicked crisply for three by Jonathan Trott. That brings Morgan on strike, and he flicks a single to reach a high-class fifty from only 54 balls, a fantastic rate of scoring on a slowish pitch. As ever, the pleasure has been all ours. . That's quite the return to form after his hideous winter. At times he makes it look offensively easy.

"For all the stick Trott gets is there a better batsman in pursuit of a low total than him in ODIs?" says Peter Robertson. "In these sort of situations when our bowling attack shows up its very soothing to have him plodding along with the minimum of fuss at No3." Yep. In 15 years' time, as we reflect on this golden age of English cricket, we may well find the constant discussion of Trott's place completely absurd.

35th over: England 150-3 (target 212; Trott 55, Morgan 57) Steyn's first ball is full, in the slot and driven majestically over extra cover for a one-bounce four by Morgan. He is a joy to watch when he bats like this. "I've just seen Sergio Ramos eating a bag of Cheesy Wotsits on the Seven Sisters Road," says Niall Mullen. "Sorry wrong blog. Ooh look there's cricket on." How can you be worried about that filth when Eoin Morgan is batting? You sicken me.

36th over: England 160-3 (target 212; Trott 56, Morgan 66) England have to take their batting Powerplay. Will Morgan go for it or just nurdle a few singles? That's what sets him apart; he's both a punisher and a nurdler. He flicks a low full toss from Tsotsobe behind square, with Amla doing brilliantly to save two runs – and the next ball is launched over mid off for six! Sensational stuff from Morgan. He charged Tsotsobe and blootered him over the ropes like it was the most obvious thing in the world. You can keep your exhilaratingly depraved coke orgies: this is how to spend a Friday night. If there's anything better in this world than watching Eoin Morgan bat like this, it certainly won't legal.

"Well, I've just finished my evening meal of duck sausages, chips and baked beans, followed by Stilton and a plum sponge pudding, all washed down with a decent Rioja (my wife is away on a cookery course this weekend) and I'm looking forward to rounding off the evening with the OBO, TMS and what we should now be calling a 'developing' England team," says John Starbuck. "It's not always bad, though the rain is falling so heavily I doubt I'll be trimming the hedge tomorrow. What's not to like?" You had me at duck sausages.

37th over: England 167-3 (target 212; Trott 59, Morgan 70) Morkel is back into the attack. It's now or never for South Africa, and other cliches. Morgan blasts him wide of mid off for yet another boundary to bring up a hundred partnership that has been dominated almost entirely by the sparkling Morgan. He has 70 from 64 balls; England need 45 from 78 balls.

"Morgan is one of those players who are good to listen to even on the radio," says Phil Sawyer. "Never mind the eulogising by the commentators, he's middled some shots tonight so well that the loud crack of bat on ball over the airwaves is a pleasure to the old lugholes." His power is ridiculous for a small chap. His forearms make Popeye look like Mr Puniverse.

WICKET! England 172-4 (Morgan ct and b Peterson 72) This is a decent move from AB de Villiers, who has gone back to Robin Peterson. Their only hope is to get Morgan, and bringing back the spinner during a Powerplay just might tempt him into a mistake. And he has! Morgan toe-ended a slog-sweep straight up in the air, allowing Peterson to take a simple return catch. The ball slipped out of his hand as he went to throw it up in celebration, and the umpires conferred before rightly deciding he had the ball under control. Morgan waves his bat to the crowd after another storming innings: 73 from 67 balls with seven fours and two sixes.

38th over: England 172-4 (target 212; Trott 61, Kieswetter 0) England need 40 from 72 balls with six wickets remaining. They have lost from better positions in the past, but it would take a real shocker for them to blow this.

39th over: England 174-4 (target 212; Trott 62, Kieswetter 1) Just a couple from Morkel's over. "I'm struggling to work out who jinxed Morgan there," says Phil Sawyer. "Is it me or you taking the rap for that one?" I blame KP.

REVIEW! England 176-4 (Kieswetter not out 3) Kieswetter pushes around his front pad at Peterson and survives a big LBW shout. South Africa have to review this because of the match situation as much as anything. I think Kieswetter will be okay. Yep, it was sliding down the leg side.

40th over: England 182-4 (target 212; Trott 62, Kieswetter 9) Kieswetter's response to the review is to drag the next ball high over mid-on for six. Lovely shot. For all Kieswetter's imperfections, the boy hits sixes. , and all those above him have played a lot more games.

"Duck sausages?" sniffs Matt Dony. "Stilton? Specifying a particular wine? I don't want to make generalisation, but John Starbuck sounds like he might be the ideal Guardian reader. He middles class as well as Morgan middles shots. It was a joy, that innings." It sure was. Some people are even saying it was almost as good as a plate of duck sausages.

41st over: England 188-4 (target 212; Trott 64, Kieswetter 13) Elgar returns to the attack. Trott takes a dodgy single to backward point and would have been out with a direct hit. Six from the over.

WICKET! England 189-5 (Kieswetter run out 14) Kieswetter hammers a full toss straight back at the bowler Peterson, who puts down a routine chance. He struggled to pick the ball up and it hit him on the arm. He's actually lucky it wasn't heading for his coupon or that could have been nasty. Not that it matters because Kieswetter is run out three balls later. Trott took a tight single to the mid-on Parnell, whose excellent throw was taken in front of the stumps by the keeper de Villiers. He demolished the stumps with Kieswetter fractionally short of his ground. I think that was Kieswetter's fault; he was ballwatching for just a second and that was decisive.

42nd over: England 189-5 (target 212; Trott 64, Patel 0) Twenty three runs, five wickets, 48 balls. Pulitzer please!

43rd over: England 191-5 (target 212; Trott 66, Patel 0) Just two from Parnell's over, worked into the leg side by Trott. England need 21 from 42 balls.

"@hobokencc, www.hobokencc.com urgently need one or two gentlemen players, or gentlemen or players (we cater to ladies too) for a match in Greenwich, CT on Sunday against that bastion of Englishness, Maddogs CC.," says Simon. "Get in touch on twitter or the website."

44th over: England 194-5 (target 212; Trott 67, Patel 2) Peterson finishes with figures of 10-0-39-2. With 18 needed, it's surely time for one last burst from Dale Steyn.

"Thank you Eoin Morgan," says Simon McMahon. "England back to No1 in the world in ODIs. What a start to Friday night. I'm off to build The Sovereign of the Seas now. Then an exhilaratingly depraved coke orgy later. Maybe even some crisps too. Duck-flavoured ones, of course."

45th over: England 197-5 (target 212; Trott 68, Patel 3) A huge front-foot no-ball from Parnell – even bigger than Mohammad Amir's two years ago – gives Patel a free hit. Patel is almost run out off that free hit. He timed it to Elgar in the covers, who could have thrown the ball at either end with the batsmen stuck in the middle of the pitch. He went for the bowler's end, but the throw missed and Patel survived. That was very strange. The Sky commentators reckon Patel forgot it was a free hit. Bless him. He's so very talented but he'll never escape that Frank Spencer gene.

46th over: England 206-5 (target 212; Trott 71, Patel 8) In 1991, on her epic meditation on ends and means, Oleta Adams famously implored: "I don't care how you get here, get here if you can." England aren't exactly hurtling over the finish line – there hasn't been a four since the 37th over – but they are getting there, drip by drip. After a few more singles, Patel gets things moving by drilling Morkel sweetly over mid-on for four. That's a fine shot, not least because it increases my chances of making the 2055 from St Pancras. Give it some humpty you pair of eejits!

WICKET! England 207-6 (Trott c de Villiers b Parnell 71) There goes Jonathan Trott, and th go my chances of making the 2055. He edged Parnell straight through to AB de Villiers and departs for an excellent 71, made from 125 balls with just two fours. As usual, Trott played precisely the innings the match situation demanded.

47th over: England 207-6 (target 212; Patel 8, Tredwell 0) England need five from three overs. Parnell ends with fine figures of 10-1-23-1.

48 overs: England 215-6 (Patel 16, Tredwell 1). ENGLAND WIN BY FOUR WICKETS Samit Patel finishes the job off Morne Morkel, and England have squared the series with a good victory. They also return to No1 in the ODI rankings, until Sunday at least. Love to stop and chat but I've a train to catch. Bye!