95th over: England 307-4 (Sibley 104, Stokes 70) Memories flooding back of Stokes’s double hundred he gathered four years ago as he clobbers Maharaj with a wide-legged reverse sweep, a smash through mid-wicket and a stick-that-up-your-jumper casual six. Brutal.
94th over: England 294-4 (Sibley 104, Stokes 55) Three off Rabada, and that’s drinks and the morning has gone better than England could have dreamt. South Africa, ye gods, have not had such a good morning. A special mention here to all those county cricket readers who have been championing Sibley for two or three years, and to him for churning out those hundreds for Warwickshire – it is his Championship performances that got him picked for England, no hunch, no admiration of his Vince-like flair.
A maiden century for Dom Sibley!
91st over: England 289-4 (Sibley 103, Stokes 54) Yes! Sibley sweeps Maharaj for four – such panache! He pumps the air, pulls off his helmet to reveal the broadest of smiles, gets a big hug from Ben Stokes, kisses the badge, and on the balcony everyone is standing and smiling, Sam Curran leaps in the air. What a cracking innings, playing to his strengths, doing it for the team. From Surrey to Warwickshire to England – here’s to many , many more. The first century of the series too.
90th over: England 282-4 (Sibley 99, Stokes 50) And that’s the Ben Stokes 50 with a touch behind square and the Dom Sibley 99 as he edges Rabada, not completely convincingly, down to the boundary and on the England balcony everyone is smiling. Come on Dom!
A lovely email from David Murray. What a morning! An England win in prospect and suddenly 3 or 4 choices for the-future-of-England cricket (Sibley, Pope, Crawley, Burns).
Newlands is in the perfect timezone for following OBO back in the UK – none of this awful waiting around until 11.00am or staying up all night. Something to look forward to as soon as you switch on your computer.
It’s a perfect timezone for OBO-ing too!
89th over: England 277-4 (Sibley 95, Stokes 49) Stokes is seeing the new ball like a new year’s resolution he needs to finish off, he reverse-sweeps Maharaj with such quick, loose hands. It is Jack Spratt and his Mrs Spratt out there in the middle for England but, oh, such a perfect combination. Especially with all the Christmas leftovers to finish off.
88th over: England 272-4 (Sibley 94, Stokes 45) Oh dear, nothing going for South Africa this morning. Stokes pulls Rabada high and a sprinting de Koch calls for it, he must cover 50 yards sprinting down towards fine leg, but then muffs the (difficult) chance. Stokes rubs salt into the wound by rocking back onto his heels, rolling his wrists and slamming a juicy full toss back over the boundary next ball. And that’s the fifty partnership of which Stokes has scored 45! And now Sibley gets in on the act with a nicely played boundary through the covers.
Charles Shedrick writes:
Still in the bunker….
Following OBO for a little second-hand sunlight…
What are the odds on Stokes getting to a ton before Sibley….
It’s certainly possible… especially if South Africa keep sending down these fat, juicy, easy pickings.
87th over: England 261-4 (Sibley 90, Stokes 38 ) Sibley enters the 90s with a prosaic two off Maharaj into the leg side. It takes some mental strength to just plod away while a cartoon hero throws the bat at the other end.
Michael Anderson, you’re my hero
Re John Starbuck’s question 80th over, I took it upon myself to have a look through Root’s declaration history as England captain. In 36 matches before this one he has declared nine times, winning six, drawing two, and losing that one against Shai Hope at Headingley in 2017. Don’t know how this compares to other captains, but if it helps, of the six wins, the margins have been 211, 232, 239, innings and 119, innings and 159, innings and 209, so all quite safe.
Whilst looking through, I noticed that our second innings total is often larger than our first. The total aggregate of runs doesn’t help much because we don’t always bat twice, but looking at our average runs per wicket since Root became captain: in first innings is 29.14, and in second innings 29.72. Ok pretty much identical. But surely there can’t be many teams who average more in second innings that first?
87th over: England 259-4 (Sibley 88, Stokes 38 ) Philander trundels in and for no apparent reason turns carthorse as Stokes climbs into his farmyard galoshes and throws the bat for fours through backward point and square leg and runs any old place his can slam them. The England lead passes 300.
86th over: England 247-4 (Sibley 87, Stokes 27) Maharaj is kept on with the new ball. Sibley almost in trouble from one round the wicket that spins past the outside of his prodding bat. He looks a little leaden footed, but survives. It’s dusty out there.
@tjaldred MTMA. When do you think England should think about declaring this morning? Before tea, or do they wait for Sibley to get his hundred?
January 6, 2020
Oh Andy, that’s harsh.
85th over: England 246-4 (Sibley 87, Stokes 26) And we have the new ball at last, after that expensive experiment, in the rightful mitts of Vernon Philander bowling from the Wynberg end to restore some order. Sibley with that dot-to-dot stubble perfection prods the pitch to see out a maiden. Norje, incidentally, is back on the pitch.
Tom! Tom! I hope you’re still reading… a message to cheer up your Monday:
Morning, Michael Robinson.First Monday back today and it’s already a struggle. Cheers for providing some OBO respite.Can I just say that the 222/22.22 stat you posted earlier is hands down the best email input I’ve ever seen to OBO. Excellent stuff.
84th over: England 246-4 (Sibley 87, Stokes 26) Just a massive Stokes six, down on one knee, thanks very much, straight bat, straight legs, gorgeous. Maharaj get the better of him later in the over when a ball spins out of a huge puff of dust – more good news for England.
at 3.54am EST
83rd over: England 236-4 (Sibley 87, Stokes 16) That could be the end of the no ball. Ben Stokes decides to get his eye in by destroying Pretorius’s morning confidence with a six farted straight back whence it came, followed by a reverse switch for four. He’s got the bit between his teeth this morning, don’t go anywhere.
83rd over: England 225-4 (Sibley 87, Stokes 5)
82nd over: England 223-4 (Sibley 85, Stokes 5) A disdainful swat from Ben Stokes dispatches Pretorius for the first boundary of the day. Still with the old ball here, apparently Anrich Nortje is not on the field, sick.
An email pops up from Tom Bowtell entitled “exciting Philander Stat.”
Morning Tanya! It’s going to be a hugely tense day for stats lovers. A glance at Philander’s current career stats shows he has 222 wickets at 22.05. However, if he concedes another 32 runs without taking a wicket, he’ll momentarily have the holy grail career figures of 222 wickets at 22.22. There is so much that can go wrong: a wicket with the new ball, a selfish slog from a batter which skips the average from 22.21 to 22.23, there are even rumours he isn’t fit, so he might not even bowl enough overs to concede the runs.
All we can do is watch and hope.
at 3.46am EST
81st over: England 219-4 (Sibley 85, Stokes 1) Ok, so that wasn’t the last over with the old ball. du Plessis gives Maharaj a go from the other end. It was nearly a seven ball over actually as the umpire lost count of how many balls Maharaj had bowled. Not sure if they still transfer pebbles from hand to hand to count the over out. Just a single to Stokes with a sweep behind square
at 3.40am EST
80th over: England 218-4 (Sibley 85, Stokes 0) Dwaine Pretorius bowls a last over with the old ball, Dom Sibley is watchful. A maiden. A few hazy clouds float above Table Mountain but the sky is blue and the temperature a blissful 22 degrees.
John Starbuck has been musing in Yorkshire:
Good morning, Tanya, from windswept Yorkshire. As a matter of curiosity, are there any stats on Root’s declaration/win history? And how do they compare with other England captains?
Who do you think I am, Rob Smyth? If Rob happens to be reading he’s probably got those stats in his morning milk jug. If not, I promise to try and research at drinks.
The players are on their way out, Dom Sibley has a new batting partner in Ben Stokes.
A pre-start email! Hi Danny Outram.
Whilst it was refreshing to see Dom Sibley’s long drawn out openers innings, I hear time and time again that it is the duty of the openers to take the ‘bite’ out of the new ball and allow the lower order batsman to get their eye in with a scuffed cherry that has less zip to it. Therefore would it have not been better had Sibley given away his wicket 10 overs ago?
Unless an opener carries his bat, what is the ideal time they should spend at the crease?
I’m not sure if there is an ideal time, it would all depend on game circumstances, pitch, weather etc etc. But I think in this England line-up which has such a propensity for collapsing, but such an abundance of stroke-players, actually staying in at one end and scoring, however slowly, gives the others the freedom to play their own game.
Interesting interview with Graham Thorpe, England’s batting coach . He talks about the simplicity of Dom Sibley’s technique. Says he said to him, there’s time to talk about the areas of where to develop your game but when you’re in the heat of the battle keep doing what you do. Important to work on his technique outside off stump but without getting into his head too much.
Vic Marks was on the radio this morning and saying that this is the first time England have ever played four players under 23 in the same match. I’m not doubting Vic’s stats, but can this really be true?
Anyway, it looks a beautiful day at Newlands. Shaun Pollock is in a suit and Mike Atherton and Ian Ward are in shirt sleeves. Ward’s hand is in his pocket, of course. The only other person I’ve noticed with such a pocket obsession is Aussie PM Scott Morrison. Apparently whereas in England you need overcast conditions to move the ball about, in South Africa the heat bakes the pitch a bit and the edges come up and it jags around. That’s the science bit. South Africa have this morning to try and keep in the game with the new ball.
at 3.14am EST
And Sachin Tendulkar follows where Virat Kohli dared to tread:
“Spinners look forward to bowling with the scruffed ball, taking advantage on day five of the roughs created on the wickets.”
“All that is part of Test cricket. Is it fair to take that advantage away from spinners? There is T20, there is one-dayers and then there are T10 and 100-ball cricket. Test is the purest form of cricket. It SHOULD NOT BE TINKERED WITH.”
at 3.14am EST
It’s all over at the SCG. Another century for David Warner, five wickets for Nathan Lyon and, as crackle follows snap, Australia claimed all five Tests of the summer inside four days for the first time.
Good morning! It’s all a bit back-to-work-Monday here in the UK, but over in Cape Town England have been busy putting in the hard yards all weekend thanks very much. Dom Sibley, England’s answer to Desperate Dan, has, in between lunging awkwardly and munching cow pie, done what England’s team of cavaliers has been desperate for someone to do: score slow (his first 50 runs took 50 overs), boring, unremarkable and steady runs.
In the words of James Anderson “That’s what we’ve been missing for a couple of years. Hopefully he’s going to cement his place and will get confidence from this knock and go on tomorrow. More importantly, hopefully he can go on in his career in the next few years.”
Sibley will start tomorrow just 15 short of a century, with the middle-order guns for company. By mid-morning drinks he should be nearly there – the perfect morale booster for the rest of the tour and just what England need with his opening partner Rory Burns now likely to be nursing his ankle and off cricket for the rest of the winter.
Of course there’s always the possibility that England will pull out of their classic collapses – South Africa lost their last 7 wickets for 66 after all. But with a lead of 264 already, and a change in the wind direction to help the fast bowlers, another 50-100 runs and they’ll be safe. Safeish. Pretty safe. Let’s settle on safe enough.
at 7.53pm EST