Sunday, 27 December 2009

Barmy Army fury as 'Jimmy Saville' takes a hit... England remove stubborn Steyn and get off to a good start

BELOW is a picture of Jimmy Saville's right arm. Bruised and swollen from yesterday's unprovoked attack at the hands of a drunken South African "cricket fan" during yesterday's Boxing Day action at Kingsmead during the second Test.
Barmy Army general Jimmy, real name Vic Flowers, insists: "Today I will show you bouncebackability. I don't want to make too much of yesterday's incident. But I was pretty shocked when the lad attacked me. I don't really know what happened. All I know is one minute I was singing, the next I was on the floor. Then another one of them was hitting me with a flag or something.
"The old arm's a bit bruised (see picture) today but I'll be okay. I got straight back up and sang a song when it happened just after tea. And then we took three quick wickets!
"I'll be up and singing again today when the wickets start to fall."
While Jimmy (pictured above, with me, there's nothing of him, he estimates his age at 59) was fairly sanguine about the incident, which is the talk of the Durban hotels this morning, the platoons of Barmy Army fans around their cheerleader-in-chief are far from happy.
A blonde female supporter behind us said: "They were two very drunk fans. The one who knocked Jimmy over was about 25, not that big. The second one, who was hitting him with the flag, was a big lad, about thirty.
"Security should have reacted more quickly. At first they did nothing. Then the other South African fans got hold of them and persuaded security to throw them out. It was a nasty incident. It started a huge argument between drunk South African fans and sober ones."
Another fan behind us pointed out: "If this had been at The Oval, 12 very large men would have dealt with it and those idiots would have spent the night in a police cell.
"I hate to think what will happen if South Africans behave like this when our football fans are over for the World Cup next year. But these weren't cricket fans, they were just here for the beer. And it's not very good beer."
Security admit they apprehended a man and ejected him but are unsure whether he has entered the ground again today.
Thoroughly subdued by the incident, the 300-strong Barmy Army - and a sparse sprinkling of around 3,000 local fans - hardly reacted to the wicket of Mark Boucher in the middle.
England's first victim of the controversial umpire review system fell lbw to Graeme Swann for 39, leaving South Africa 238-6 after a partnership of 69 with AB De Villiers.
They began to recover their voices when De Villiers, having just reached his 50, got an edge to Stuart Broad and Matt Prior took the catch. Spinner Paul Harris didn't trouble the scorers for long, he went for two, also lbw off Swann.
South Africa went to lunch at 284-8 off 95 largely hum-drum overs. They appear to be using their desperately pedestrian run-rate as a way of avoiding crowd trouble. Who'd turn up to watch this and be knocked about by drunken louts?
Swann took his tally to four wickets in the innings when he caught Morne Morkel in front for 23 but then Dale Steyn, the world's No1 Test bowler, showed his batsmen how to take the attack to England. With Makhaya Ntini (6 off 30 balls) holding up he other end, Steyn took the score from 285-9 to 343 all out with a remarkable knock of 47 off 58 balls featuring three sixes before he was caught behind by Prior off Anderson.
Andrew Strauss then took the battle to the South Africans, scoring a quickfire 50 off 49 balls to guide England to 59-0 at tea while Alastair Cook had scored just eight. Strauss survived being given out lbw by umpire Aleem Dar when he opted for a review, but with England on 71 after a short shower at tea, he got an inside edge to a straight one and was bowled for 54 off 67 balls by Morne Morkel.
That brought Jonathan Trott to the crease. And after his usual protracted preparation, with the crowd shake out of their lethargy, he survived his first ball. England had moved to 103-1 by the time the umpires took the players off for bad light at around 4.34pm local time. The floodlights, on since the early hours this morning, were apparently not good enough. With Trott on 17 off 26 and Cook a cautious 31 off 66, there was nearly time to get back to watch the second half of the Arsenal game.
Looking at the Australians in Melbourne on Boxing Day (Pakistan are 109-4 in reply to their 454-5 declared), this is a damp squib... though not as bad as India versus Sri Lanka in Kotla, which was called off after 23.3 overs because of a "dangerous pitch"!

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