South Africa tour of England, 1st ODI: England v South Africa at Cardiff, Aug 24, 2012
24 August 2012 (50-over match)

Morne Morkel will open the bowling...two slips in place

Here come the umpires! South Africa get into a huddle. England's fight to retain the No. 1 spot is able to begin. No immediate change to the order as Alastair Cook and Ian Bell walk out

2.55pm The cover is now completely off. We may just get a start here. And then they'll try and stay on during light rain. Pitch, unsurprisingly, is quite green. But the ball will also get damp.

2.50pm Thanks Alan. And I come with bad news. Spots of rain in the air and the main cover is back on. Well, it changes again. The cover has been moved aside. It's teasing us. The stumps are in the ground.

2.45pm On Sky, they're showing the toss. Don't worry, South Africa still won it and chose to bowl ... Anyway, with the prospect of the some actual play, I'm going to hand the Rain Watch baton back to Gnasher. Cheers

2.40pm Right, back to business, then. AB de Villiers and co are warming up on the outfield, which is a hive of activity. Only the wicket remains covered and while the skies are grey it isn't raining. Get out there and play, lads, while you still can!

2.35pm This, from Jeff in the US, is so bad it's genius: "I guess we'll just have to let Bydgoszcz be Bydgoszcz then."

2.27pm Actual Cricket News from Wales: That latest roll of the dice is a 3pm start, with 24 overs per side. Just don't glance at the rain radar.

2.25pm You wouldn't have predicted it at the start of the day but the word on everyone's lips right now is "Bydgoszcz". Not that any of us can pronounce it ...

"Wojciech's comment of 'light but quite intense rain' has got me perplexed," says Mahinder Vagel. "Was the rain lighly intense or intensly light?!"

And Gav is struggling with the news: "So you're telling me that my hopes for a Polish Premier League are now ruined??" Don't worry, Gav, you can be sure that when they get one up and running, Chris Gayle will be snapped up by the Krakow Fire Dragons within days.

2.15pm "Not quite true about baseball," observes Alan Tipler. "Occasionally a rained-off match can become a double header the next day but if the rained-off game is the last of a series the lost game is played later in the season when both teams are available. They play 6 days out of every 7 and have to travel vast distances between each 3 or 4 game series." Yes, but most of the time, they're just sitting in a dugout, aren't they? What's the longest-ever at bat? Ten minutes? And then there's half-a-dozen pitchers to rotate ... No wonder they have to play 160 games a season to earn their dollars.

2.10pm It's still drizzling down at Cardiff. The crowd looks to have thinned out a bit now - and if the Welsh have given up on a dry afternoon, you know you're in trouble.

2.05pm I've been doing a bit of research and it seems Bydgoszcz doesn't currently have a cricket club. Wojciech, I think the whole of cricinfo's readership is behind me in saying: you need to sort this out.

2pm "I suspect Messrs Yardy, Gale, Trescothick and Adams might have something to say about moving this match to tomorrow..." Chris rightly points out that Cardiff has a kiss-me-quick date with FLt20 finals day arranged for Saturday.

Eamonn, meanwhile, doesn't think losing this one to the weather will be a disaster: "@Antonio: Oh no! Not another washed out ODI, I mean it's not like these things are played almost non-stop all over the world..."

And Gav thinks the ICC may not be the administrative cynosure we all thought: "What authority does the likes of the Cardiff City Council have over the unified and glorious might of the International Cricket Council? Oh hang on..."

1.55pm News from Poland, cricket's new frontier. "In my own city, Bydgoszcz, we had light but quite intense rain from 11am until 2 pm and... it's all over, now is blue sky, sun and fresh air... what is wrong with you England? Rain, stop (15 minutes) rain, stop (15 minutes), rain.. again and again and again..." You've summed it up pretty well there, Wojciech. How are Bydgoszcz CC doing this season, by the way?

1.45pm "The baseballers here in the US play 162 games in the regular season/year, and games simply get pushed to the next day in the event if inclement weather. How many years will it be before cricket can finally figure out how to simply use an extra day, or what about the wild notion of turning it into a day/night game? Is it really that difficult?" I think, Antonio, the amount of rain/reserve days would stack up to such an extent it would become a towering disaster. The calendar is crowded enough as it is. Extending a regular game into a day/nighter is a more sensible option but would probably fall foul of council restrictions on the unplanned use of floodlights, or some similar bureaucratic nonsense. Yeah, I know.

1.35pm Perhaps the only solution is to pretend they're not even interested in playing, don't announce a start time, and just run out as soon as the clouds pass through for a five-over thrash. D'you think that would trick the rain gods? The cut-off time, just to remind you, is 3.32pm.

"England should play their home matches in UAE and not Pakistan," suggests Salman Bhatt. Knowing England cricket, games there would probably be abandoned due to an overly dazzling sun ...

1.30pm The sun has come out over the Costa del Cardiff and the locals are now prancing around in ill-fitting beachwear heavens have opened again. Heaviest rainfall of the day so far, apparently.

1.25pm Looking at that rain map, there appeared to be a clear band sweeping over ... and so it is: we're now looking at a 1.45pm start. Will bring you news of any further reduction in overs as and when we get it.

1.20pm "What happens to the rankings if the match is a draw?" wonders pb. "Will the winner of the 2nd ODI then become No. 1?" Yes, if this becomes a no-result it should just roll over. And when that game is rained off, it will fall to the third, and so on ...

Here's James: "Breath now fully released. Just looked at BBC weather for Cardiff. Rain disappears about 8pm. Not good." As you can see from the rain radar, it's pretty filthy looking down in the south west.

1pm I told you not to hold your breath - look, now, you've gone all blue in the face. The overhead sprinkler system is back on at the Swalec and that 1.15pm start time has been scrapped.

12.50pm Hello... The rain has stopped again and the covers have been peeled off the square. Or are they being rolled out again? It's all a touch Hokey Cokey out in the middle. Anyway, a new start time of 1.15pm has been mooted. Don't hold your breath.

12.45pm I'd love to tell you we were about to start playing a 38-over match. Love to say that. But the rain has returned and those brave Welsh souls in the stands are glistening like wet otters, as Boris Johnson would likely have it. There is, however, some cricket successfully taking place in the shires - Division One leaders Warwickshire have lost a couple of early wickets in pursuit of 367 to beat Middlesex, while surprise challengers Sussex are four down halfway to their target of 160-odd. You can follow the action on our county blog.

12.35pm Arrrghh. The rain has returned so that start time looks unlikely. On that frustrating note I'll hand over to Alan Gardner.

12.30pm Just a hint of rain in the air again. The covers are poised but the players are still warming up. The Powerplays are eight overs, four bowling and three batting if we get 38 overs per side. Wonder if either side would have selected a different team if the rain had come before the toss?

12.15pm If there is no more rain we will get a 38-over per side match.

12.05pm Good news, folks. Play will start at 12.45pm as the rain clears. It might not stay away, though. Will bring you details of overs etc when we get them.

12.00pm For those of you who like to keep track of such things, as the toss has taken place this match will now count in the records even if there is no play.

"England beat WI for 5th place in the under-19 WC," says John Muir. "Reece Topley looks a great prospect- 19 wickets in 6 games at an average of 9.10 and economy rate of 3.17 and he's only 18. He's a left-armer, too. One to watch." Indeed he is, very exciting. Essex have another, too, in Tymal Mills.

11.50am Maybe some more positive news from the ground...the rain appears to be stopping and the umpires are having a look.

Oh, well, that was brief. Drizzle is back. The umpires have left. As you were.

In the UK we are getting highlights of the World Cup match between these two teams from Chennai. It was a thriller. Stuart Broad has just tweeted: "I know the result but I'm nervous watching it!!"

11.45am Paul Flounders has asked about the most consecutive ODI wins by a team. England are currently on ten, but have a long way to go. Here's the record

"As many as 7 sothpaw's in proteas squad." says Sharad. "Hmm i can see Swanny smiling."

PDTM asks: "If there was only enough time for a 20 over game, would it be a T20, or just a short ODI? Could have some ranking implications..." Just a short ODI, not classed as a T20.

11.35am It's funny who you meet doing BBB. A mate from university, Richard, has got in touch. "Alright Andy how you doin? What do you guys think about Tim Bresnan looking like he is not going to be allowed to bowl 4 or maybe 8 overs at the t20 finals day tomorrow? Or if it's washed out today will he be released?"

Hey Rich...I suspect he'll be released for Yorkshire if there's no play and there's a decent chance of it even if there is a shorter game. Good luck to your boys tomorrow.

Meanwhile, PDTM as this: "@Andy: It wouldn't be inconceivable to play Bairstow, Kieswetter and Prior in the one day team (if there were enough spots going). None of them have done much wrong with the bat."

11.30am Full covers still in place. Pretty dank scene at the moment. The match has to start by 3.32pm for us to get a 20-over contest.

Boogoo isn't happy: "August Bank Holiday and they put ODI's on the Friday and Tuesday? No disrespects to cricinfo but what about the poor office worker who wants to actually watch the cricket?"

"Why would you need both Kieswetter and Bairstow in your side?" says Andy. "Bairstow's keeping is more than competent, so he could bat at six and allow you to play five bowlers/allrounders."

11.15am Here's Chris: "England are in a very rare situation of having too many bastman to fit into the team. I'd like Cook, Bell, Trott, Bopara, Morgan, Bairstow, Keiswetter but if you have Patel as well you're left with 20 overs from Patel/Bopara/Trott which puts a lot of pressure on the 3 front line bowlers."

11.00am It's still raining. "100% agree with Sumith," says Thomas. "Peter Trego has been in the last 3 T20 final days but yet ECB Selectors dont bat an eyelid."

Quite a few questions about Albie Morkel. He suffered a recurrence of his ankle injury against Gloucestershire so suspect South Africa didn't want to risk him.

10.45am Although we are in 50-over mode today (or should be, at least) thoughts are turning towards the World Twenty20. Here is ESPNcricinfo's latest selection of players to keep an eye on.

Here's sumith: "Query : Are Peter Trego and Ryan ten Doeschate eligible to represent England internationally ? If yes then they should be included asap. Two brilliant players underused in world cricket." Trego yes, ten Doeschate no.

10.35am While wait for a break in the weather here, there's a Test match going on in Hyderabad and you can follow it here.

"Correction Gnasher," starts Graeme from South Africa. "SA are now using Robbie P as their main SLOW bowler. Spin is only incidental, and, one must sometimes assume, accidental, to his bowling." Haha. Similar things were said about Paul Harris.

Another Saffa (well done with that) says: "I can't believe Matt Prior is not in the one-day side! His keeping has improved massively in the last couple of years, and with Pietersen's future uncertain, I think he is easily the most dangerous batsman in the test side."

"Why do England persist with Eoin Morgan?" asks Neil Dyer. "Surely Jonny Bairstow deserves the nod ahead of him?" Did you not see his innings against Australia at Lord's? A one-day matchwinner.

10.30am "I must say i'm particularly disppointed that Bairstow didnt get the nod ahaed of Bopara," says Peter. "I dont understand why the England set-up choose to go with someone that has been tried and tested and pretty much been failing every such test lately. Jonny deserves a go. As a South African i would much rather see Bopara in the side! Lets hope he doesnt prove me wrong ..." To be fair to Ravi he had a very good series against Australia earlier in the summer.

"Come on Peter!" says Nix. "You should have watched Bopara bat against Australia. It was due to him and Bell that the Aussies weren't even able to dismiss the top 4. I have not been a fan of Bopara but his recent performances have been excellent."

10.20am A few of you asking where Johan Botha is for South Africa. It's an interesting story. We'll see him in the Twenty20s, but after the World Twenty20 he will be released from CSA contract to captain South Australia. So, in ODIs, they are now using Robin Peterson as their main spinner.

10.15am We should be starting now but we aren't. The full covers are going on. Start delayed by rain. Could be a long day, folks.

"My opinion is that this Proteas bowling attach has been led by Morkel for a few years now, ably supported by Tsotsobe of late," says Saffa from, yep, South Africa. "Steyn's absence will not hurt us, but it would have been nice if Albie was in, instead of Parnell."

10.10am Sadly the covers have been brought on moments we were due to start. It's not heavy rain yet but the radar images suggest that is on the way. Meanwhile, plenty of debate about Ravi Bopara keeping his place ahead of Jonny Bairstow despite his recent personal problems leading to a lack of cricket and Bairstow's excellent Test at Lord's.

10.00am Dean Elgar is making is ODI debut today and has big shoes to fill as he replaces the rested Jacques Kallis. I remember watching him at an Under-19 World Cup and he looked a good player. Bowls some left-arm spin as well.

"South Africa seem to lack a bit of power hitting," suggests Dan. "And with Duminy, du Plessis and Elgar all capable of bowling spin, dont quite see why we have picked so many bowlers."

9.55am I do have to say that the forecast for today is not good with a band of heavy rain moving across the country. It's dry and the moment, but we'll do well to get a full day's play. Fingers crossed, though. Plenty to play for.

9.45am Hello everyone and welcome to the start of the one-day series between England and South Africa. It's another battle for No. 1. Alastair Cook has been presented with the ICC one-day shield, but his team will lose it if they slip up today in Cardiff. I'm Andrew McGlashan and along with Alan Gardner will bring you all the action.

The first news of the day is that South Africa have won the toss and will bowl. No Dale Steyn for them today which is a shame. England, meanwhile, have replaced Stuart Broad with Chris Woakes.

England 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Ian Bell, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Ravi Bopara, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 7 Tim Bresnan, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Graeme Swann, 10 James Anderson, 11 Steven Finn

South Africa 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Dean Elgar, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Ryan McLaren, 8 Wayne Parnell, 9 Robin Peterson, 10 Morne Morkel, 11Lonwabo Tsotsobe


Morkel to Cook, 1 wide, down the leg side and England are off the mark with a wide

Out come the players. Haven't we just done this bit?

The game will restart at 3.10pm and it will be 23 overs per side. We'll try again.

3.05pm I know it's hard for umpires, but really think they should be playing. Ah, the cover is coming off to loud cheers.

Our man at Edgbaston, Jon Culley, has tweeted: "Off for rain at Edgbaston. 86-5. No slow handclap here."

"Who says England can't afford to open with Cook in the shorter formats?" says Dave. "At this late stage in the day he is still unbeaten and England are scoring at an infinite run rate."

Oh dear! After one ball, not a legal delivery at that, the rain is back and players are walking off. There is only another half an hour of time to play with. It doesn't really look that hard. No major rush with the covers except over the 22 yards. Now some slow hand-claps going around the ground. Very few umbrellas up at the moment.

"Why not open with Kieswetter - it's basically a 20/20 game now!" says Jake. It's a valid point.


Morkel to Cook, no run, back of a length on leg stump, tucked out to midwicket...this game now has a legal delivery


Morkel to Cook, no run, outside off stump, angled across Cook who leaves it alone


Morkel to Cook, no run, short of a length outside off, Cook happy to let another one go past off great pace in the surface


Morkel to Cook, no run, beaten this time, closer to off stump but it's this ball that Cook shapes to cut and is cramped for room


Morkel to Cook, no run, fuller on off stump, pushed firmly into the off side


Morkel to Cook, no run, full outside off, Cook leaves alone again

End of over 1 (1 run) England 1/0 (RR: 1.00)

    • AN Cook 0 (6b)
    • IR Bell 0 (0b)
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0

Lonwabo Tsotsobe, the No. 1 ODI bowler, shares the new ball


Tsotsobe to Bell, no run, on off stump, Bell stays back and defends towards mid-off


Tsotsobe to Bell, no run, pulls the length back shorter, Bell advances towards the bowler and opens the face to play to backward point


Tsotsobe to Bell, no run, fuller and wider outside off, Bell chases but doesn't make contact and thinks it should be a wide...just okay


Tsotsobe to Bell, 1 run, first run off the back, short of a length on off stump, Bell opens the face down to third man


Tsotsobe to Cook, no run, adjusts well to the left hander, full on off stump, Cook comes forward and pushes to the off side


Tsotsobe to Cook, no run, beaten outside off, some late away movement from Cook who pushes away from his body without any footwork

Tight start from South Africa

End of over 2 (1 run) England 2/0 (RR: 1.00)

    • AN Cook 0 (8b)
    • IR Bell 1 (4b)
    • LL Tsotsobe 1-0-1-0
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0

Morkel to Bell, no run, back of a length on off stump, Bell defends square into the off side


Morkel to Bell, no run, tries something more aggressive, just gives himself a touch of room to drive but can only clump the delivery back to Morkel


Morkel to Bell, 1 run, angled into Bell who works it into the leg side short of mid-on and scampers the run


Morkel to Cook, 1 run, run out chance! Full delivery pushed towards mid-off and Cook would have been miles short if Parnell had hit but he missed the stumps by a huge distance


Morkel to Bell, no run, play and a miss...back of a length, Bell tries to go through the off side and moves slightly to leg and the ball ends up missing leg stump


Morkel to Bell, no run, an ugly heave into the leg side but he can only pick out mid-on

End of over 3 (2 runs) England 4/0 (RR: 1.33)

    • IR Bell 2 (9b)
    • AN Cook 1 (9b)
    • M Morkel 2-0-3-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 1-0-1-0

Tsotsobe to Cook, FOUR, good shot, full outside off, Cook leans into a powerful cover drive and even across the slow outfield the ball beats the fielder


Tsotsobe to Cook, no run, short of a length outside off, Cook shapes to cut and is beaten on the top edge


Tsotsobe to Cook, 3 runs, takes a stride down the pitch and lofts this over cover, not timed as well as earlier in the over and it pulls up short of the rope


Tsotsobe to Bell, FOUR, cracking shot, down the pitch to a fullish ball on off stump and handsomely driven up and over bounce over the boundary


Tsotsobe to Bell, 1 run, coming at the bowler again, doesn't connect cleanly with this drive and it runs along the ground to mid-on who is on the edge of the circle


Tsotsobe to Cook, no run, outside off, driven without much timing into the covers

End of over 4 (12 runs) England 16/0 (RR: 4.00)

    • AN Cook 8 (13b 1x4)
    • IR Bell 7 (11b 1x4)
    • LL Tsotsobe 2-0-13-0
    • M Morkel 2-0-3-0

Morkel to Bell, SIX, huge blow! Clean strike from Bell. Uses his feet to Morkel - which is no mean feat - then picks up over the leg side and the ball comfortably clears the boundary


Morkel to Bell, 3 runs, now he goes inside out through the off side, gave himself a touch of room and drove this from around middle and leg stump through the covers


Morkel to Cook, 1 run, full on off stump, opens the face and sends it fine of backward point down to third man


Morkel to Bell, SIX, shot! Bell's flying. Opens his stance to free up the off side then drives him with a straight bat high over mid-off...he isn't in the Twenty20 squad


Morkel to Bell, no run, tries to glide this through the off side and is beat by ball that is a touch shorter


Morkel to Bell, no run, full on off stump, opens the face to try and place into a gap at cover but picks out a fielder

End of over 5 (16 runs) England 32/0 (RR: 6.40)

    • IR Bell 22 (16b 1x4 2x6)
    • AN Cook 9 (14b 1x4)
    • M Morkel 3-0-19-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 2-0-13-0

Tsotsobe to Cook, 1 run, dragged down short outside off stump and pulled to deep square-leg

One wide slip in place


Tsotsobe to Bell, FOUR, lovely placement from Bell, he walks across the crease then flicks a back-of-a-length delivery over short fine-leg

"Oh boy! I am ready to pay double to see those 2 sixes of Bell again!" says Altaf


Tsotsobe to Bell, no run, well-timed again, on off stump and driven but straight to the man at cover

3.45pm The match has been abandoned. The heavy burst of rain that has come across the ground has put paid to everyone's best efforts. It has always looked it would end this way today.

So after this false the start the series moves to Southampton on Tuesday. At this stage the forecast is a little more promising. Before then, however, is Friends Life t20 Finals Day tomorrow. Yorkshire, Sussex, Hampshire and Somerset are all chasing the title. We'll have ball-by-ball commentary for you from both semis and the final starting from 11am on Saturday. If you can, please join us. Until then, From Andrew McGlashan and Alan Gardner, it's goodbye.

3.35pm Not exactly sure how much time is left to work with, but it's probably about 25 minutes or so.

"What are the England selectors on!" starts MayurRao "Not having Prior and Bell in the T20 squad? They are proper stroke makers, clean hitters! No sloggers!" Point is, without those two the Twenty20 team has done pretty well.

Gah! The rain is back. Off the players troop. What a miserable day, and just when Ian Bell was starting to motor.

"Morkel without the self-confident Steyn goes into a Harmison/Mitch Johnson pie-throwing routine," suggest David. "The difference between the two sides is on the bench."






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