Sunday, 27 December 2009

Barmy Army on the warpath... and England on top in cloudy Durban

AND today's big question is... who knocked over the Barmy Army general Jimmy Saville at Kingsmead yesterday?
The fall of England's talismanic cheerleader (right) is the talk of the hotels in Durban this morning. Disgraceful behaviour! There were plenty of drunken South Africans around after a long, hot day yesterday... but to dethrone King Jimmy - real name Vic Flowers - just isn't on.
Apparently the incident happened at the junction of the East and South Stands, where the England fans were in fine voice yesterday. The offending weapon? A drunken lunge or rugby tackle according to witnesses.
The Barmy site reports: "It was stupidity of the highest order and while the perpetrator was ushered from the ground, someone else decided that while he did sing his song it was acceptable behaviour to whip him with the plastic end of a flag. Idiots are alive and well and living in South Africa. How they'll get on with England's football fans remains to be seen."
Whether than incident caused the huge punch-up at Castle Corner after play was called off, I'm not sure. But the Barmy faithful are seething. Jimmy took quite a while to recover.
Woke up this morning, looked out of the window at 8am... and the floodlights were already on at Kingsmead. Unlike day one, day two will start under overcast with England dominant at 175-5.
Graeme Smith, who won the toss and elected to bat, is none too happy with that after his men came off for bad light - also under the floodlights - far too early as the umpires fiddled with their light meters.
Smith and Jacques Kallis - who both scored solid 75s - saw South Africa from a wobbly 10-2 to 160-2turned a shaky 10/2 into a far more comfortable 160/3 but then, as the clouds rolled in, England snatched three wickets for 15 before the light meters ended the day.
Kallis said: “It was frustrating to lose those quick wickets after we had batted ourselves into a strong position. We will have to see what we can do now to get close to 350.”
They'll be lucky. This looks like a perfect day for English swing bowlers at the moment - though the locals and the old England bowler JK Lever, who I chatted to at breakfast in the Hilton Hotel this morning, believe the tides here also have an impact.
On top of the Smith is struggling with a swollen finger while Kallis admits he can only bowl at “about 80 percent” as he continued to return from a rib injury.

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