England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, The Oval, 3rd day July 21, 2012

Remove Smith, but it's Kallis next

Plays of the Day from day two of the first Test between England and South Africa

Stat of the Day
When Graeme Smith became the seventh batsmen to score a hundred in his 100th Test, that was a remarkable statistic on its own - but there was a more unusual one doing the rounds as well. Veteran journalist Qamar Ahmed has been witness to four of those. Ahmed, who has lived and worked in England for much of his writing career, has seen Javed Miandad, Alec Stewart and Inzamam-ul-Haq reaching their landmarks. He was also in England when Cowdrey achieved the feat, at Edgbaston, but did not make it to the ground in time to see it. Asked which one of the hundreds he thought was the best, Ahmed found it tough to decide but said of Smith's: "It wasn't pretty at all, was it?"

Standing ovation of the Day
Five of the seven hundreds Smith has racked up against England have been in front of English crowds. They are used to him muscling his way to a big score and they don't really like it. You can tell by the noise. As Smith ground out his first fifty, at a strike rate that did not even reach 35, they waited for him to make a mistake with an expectant, hushed silence. As he freed his arms during the second, which came up in only 41 balls, they grew quieter still. Then, when he slashed at a full, wide Tim Bresnan delivery to bring up three figures before lunch, they exploded. Smith received applause from all quarters but got an even more thunderous reception when he inside-edged Bresnan on to his stumps 31 runs later. Every member of the full house was on their feet as massive applause ushered Smith back to the changing room. It said, "We may not like it, but we respect it."

Telling moment of the Day
England have utilised the DRS pretty well in recent times. Though Stuart Broad, in particular, can prove excitable, Andrew Strauss' calm manner and the policy of only reviewing if the captain, bowler and wicketkeeper all agree has led to England enjoying a measure of success with their calls. So it was an indication of their desperation that they called for a review with Smith on 108 and South Africa on 213 for 1. Replays showed that, not only did Tim Bresnan's delivery pitch outside the line of leg stump, but Smith also hit it. As leg before appeals go, it really had very little going for it.

Chilling moment of the Day
England's joy at ending Smith's marathon innings was short-lived. While they were naturally delighted at finally ending the stay of a man with 25 Test centuries, the sight of a fellow with 42 Test centuries walking down the pavilion steps to replace him was enough to pour cold water on their excitement. No bowler can relish Jacques Kallis coming to the crease at the best of times, but with the score on 260 for 2, the sight must have been chilling. There may be some doubts about the South Africa tail, but when the head and the body are as strong as this, it is not the most pressing of concerns.

Celeb spot of the Day
Important people like coming to the cricket. Be it movie stars, professionals of other sports and sometimes politicians. The last of those was in attendance on the third day. Labour party leader Ed Miliband was ushered into the press lounge, where he had lunch. He spent a few overs after the break in the media area outside and chatted to journalists, even posing for a photo or two.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on July 24, 2012, 9:57 GMT

    For some reason Cricinfo is not publishing my rebuttal to JG2704 although it is completely relevant and is by no means any more volatile than the comments posted by 5Wombats, MattyOhhMaty, JG2704 and SirFreddieFlintoff. I really don't know what is cricinfo's policy for accepting comments. Anyways, @karthik_raja: I second what you say. The Poms were not too humble in their wins and are not gracious in their losses. They don't quite know what is meant by "No Excuses". In any case, losing Zak on day 1 of Lord's test was indeed a huge reason and not just an excuse as compared to the flat pitch theory JG2704 was trying to push given that Eng lost 20 wickets on the flat pitch where SA lost only 2. Dear Cricinfo Mods, I beg you to please publish this comment, just to bring a closure to this so called debate.

  • Harmon on July 24, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    @JG2704: It is this attitude of you that really irks me and other posters here. If you do not bother then why bother at all? You are now behaving as if it is beneath your dignity(?) to reply to the comments of Indians. And then Meety was saying you are a nice bloke? I don't have a personal enmity vs you. I just don't like the way you sometime put your ideas here. And did you mean that Eng would do well only in Tests in India and not in ODIs? Lol, but you saw that Eng lost 0-3 in Tests and won 4-0 in ODIs vs Pak so that is a huge misjudgment. Add to it the 0-5 whipping in India and one is likely to conclude that Eng too can do well only in their home conditions or in conditions that suit them. And isn't this what is said for India too? I guess yes, and this is precisely what Ind fans have been saying. ANY TEAM WILL STRUGGLE IN ALIEN CONDITIONS, something Poms were loathe to lend ears to. Finally, SA have a more all-weather attack. Eng are good but only in certain conditions - Ref Oval.

  • karthik on July 24, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @JG2704. "I said to accept defeat graciously and I have done" - No u hv not.. accept defeat graciously means widout excuses(ofcourse, by ur dictionary). Widout excuses means - nothing shud be mentioned except "SA is better team and they won". If u go for reasoning behind the loss like conditions/team combinations/toss etc etc, everything will b considered as excuses - a "culture" started by u poms. When Zaheer's injury in the first session of the Test match (and v played wid one bowler short in whole Test) was cited as reason for first Test loss, it was termed as excuse. Thn, hw do u expect us to accept ur "over head conditions" remark..??? So, to accept defeat graciously u shud say none other than "SA is better team and they won deservedly". Its all started by u mate.. Wt goes around comes back always.

  • John on July 24, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @Meety on (July 23 2012, 11:05 AM GMT) Some postees on here you can have constructive debates with while some you can't. A guy called Satish comes on our threads alot and sometimes praises our efforts and sometimes criticises us. A bit like yourself. I don't always agree with his/your views and will try and respond constructively why. Anyway thanks for the decent comms , it's much appreciated. Please publish this time

  • John on July 24, 2012, 7:56 GMT

    @karthik_raja on (July 23 2012, 09:25 AM GMT) That was actually a mistype and I meant to say that SA had more helpful conditions on day 2 but they also bowled much better than they dis on day 1. I have said that our batting by and large has been poor and that SA made the most of the helpful batting conditions and England did not which surely says it all. Must admit your "And PLEASEEEE, respect other nations" made me chuckle

  • John on July 24, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    @karthik_raja on (July 24 2012, 02:33 AM GMT) I said to accept defeat graciously and I have done , both in this test and our UAE debacle. I mentioned that SA had the better of the bowling conditions on day 2 but balanced it out by saying that we had the better batting conditions on day 1 and that SA bowled better on day 2 than they did on day 1 and SA batsmen excelled when batting conditions were good where as our batsmen did not.I actually posted another post to you which I will try again. I did once say Eng bowlers CAN (not WILL) win matches on any conditions and I stand by that because this is just one test and against a vastly improved batting line up from our recent touring sides

  • karthik on July 24, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    @Meety. Simple words. Whn Ind toured Eng, Poms including @JG advised us to accept defeat graciously - means, "without excuses". Now, its really fun to see Poms coming up wid same excuses.. lol.. Bt, the point is @JG is trying to twist his own words to make it seem like a non-excuse.. Regardless hw he puts it, Eng attack will suffer in unfavorable conditions.. He once told, Eng bowling will win matches on any conditions.. Jus want to hear frm him if he stands by that even now..

  • John on July 23, 2012, 23:18 GMT

    @Harmony111 Not sure why I'm bothering but here goes. In 2011 I said I thought we could do well in tests in India and fully meant what I said. Obviously since that time we had the disaster in UAE but then India have not been doing too great either. Have we seen India at home since the Australia and Eng results? Who knows. Obviously my faith is dwindling but regardless the 5-0 ODI whitewash has no bearing on what happens in tests. Last time we won the Ashes in Oz they convincingly beat us in the ODIs and when we lost the tests 3-0 in UAE we won the ODI series 4-0. I still believe that us and SA have the best bowling attacks with Aus up and coming. And no , I've not boasted about Eng , I've just tried to put a few home truths across in an effort to quieten some but with as little success as our team

  • Harmon on July 23, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @Meety: Nice time to show some brotherly love ha, England need it. I don't need you to testify in favour or against anyone here. I have had a few run-ins with JG2704 and have found him to use the straw man argument a lot. He has usually taken my points out of context to suit his opinion and you are telling me he is a nice bloke? He may be a nice bloke and a passionate Pom but I guess I am not Lucifer's pupil either. In 2011 JG2704 had said Eng would do well in India even on those flat beds and lol they got whipped 0-5 so its easy to see who got +1 there. And do you think me and some other Indians are here on Cricinfo just for wordy bouts? I love this game and could watch it all the time if I had it. I certainly have the passion for it no less than anyone else here. I comment here as and when I have an opinion. You think Indians should not comment on SA-Eng Tests? I thought we lived in a global village. I had merely asked JG2704 to repeat his idea of why Eng bowlers failed ( & Batsmen).

  • Andrew on July 23, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    @Harmony111 - mate you're chipping the wrong bloke mate. IMO - JG2704, is one of a handful of quality posters on this site. He doesn't troll, doesn't sledge & gives credit where credit is due. I haven't heard him ever use the term "flat track bully" - so I dunno what your point is? The fact is we are observing a match where Sth Africa have outplayed England, the series is not over, the match is not even lost yet, so this really has no Indian aspect. For what it's worth, most non-bias people will believe that England will do better in India than India did in England - for sure! @karthik_raja - as with my other reply, I think you are barking up the wrong tree buddy!

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