Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Day four: Tea: England soaring, Swanny spinning, Hoggy singing,

MATTHEW HOGGARD did the trick for England today. With a little help from the Barmy Army.
Yes Hoggy, the Ashes-winning Yorkshire paceman, played his part today as England took a stranglehold on the second Test in muggy Durban.
Did is say muggy? England have mugged the mugs on day four, rattling up a mammoth 575-9 declared to take a 231 lead over the hosts, then taking early wickets to leave the South Africans teetering on 45-5. Incredible scenes, amazing stuff.
Five wickets for 17 runs in nine overs of county team-mates Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann tying 'em up in Notts
Hoggy, in his pink South African Broadcasting Corporation top, chose the perfect moment to join the Barmy Army, massed in the south corner of the East Stand. South Africa were 27-0 after nine overs and apparently cruising.
While Hoggy stood beneath Vic "Jimmy Saville" Flower's waving Union Jack (see picture above) the volume rose and rose. First "Jerusalem", then "There's Only One Matthew Hoggard". Then, as England turned to Graeme Swann, they began a chorus of "Never Trust A Spinner", with Hoggy, the subject of a thousand flashing cameras, in full voice.
And lo, it came to pass on Swann's second ball of the day. Ashwell Prince failed to deal with the turn, getting an inside edge on to his pad which was brilliantly picked up by Ian Bell, back in his favourite position at short leg. Bell, who scored a magnificent 141 to give England the impetus today, went potty. Some catch. Some bloke.
Suddenly South Africa, who had been cruising, were vulnerable. Hoggy had worked the magic.
And it only got better. Hashim Amla, the local hero who refuses to profit from his side's brewery sponsors because of his Muslim roots, went just before tea, bowled by the magnificent Swann for 6. Two failures on his home ground. Unthinkable for Amla, whose century turned the drawn first Test South Africa's way in Centurion.
With Jacques Kallis joining captain Graeme Smith, South Africa were firmly up against the wall. But these were there two go-to guys, the old warhorses. Stubborn, reliable. And then came the ball of the day. Stuart Broad, in from the Umgeni end, got the ball to nip back a veritable mile off the seam and Kallis's off-stump flew out of the ground. The poor bloke didn't even get to play a shot.
What a moment. The Barmy Army lapped it up. South Africa were 40-3 and the calm resolution was disappearing fast.
AB De Villiers was next, he got out twice. First he survived on review after touching Swann to Prior - the replay showed deviation but apparently not conclusively - but an over later he was gone for good after a second review, LBW to Broad.
That left South Africa 44-4. Broad had his tail up. Kaboom! The once prolific JP Duminy came, saw and was conquered in a single ball, clean bowled for a golden duck. Another one to go without playing a shot. These South Africans are quacking up!


  1. With Smith back in the pavillion and the africans tottering at 55/6, england should finish it off today itself.

  2. Getting dark here, floodlights came on 3.15pm local time, 1.15pm English time... can't see play ending at the hoped-for 5.30pm here (3.30pm your time)... but the atmosphere here is incredible. Disbelief, expectation, exultation... you name it, we got it!