South Africa v England, 4th Test, Johannesburg January 14, 2010

South Africa drown England out

Onions goes off
He's saved two Tests for England, but it wasn't enough to keep Graham Onions in the line-up with Ryan Sidebottom recalled for his first Test since Barbados last March. Onions had taken just eight wickets in the series, but had often bowled without luck and done the hard yards. Andrew Strauss said the attack needed some 'fresh legs' which suggested Onions perhaps hadn't pulled up 100% fit after Cape Town, but whatever the reason Graeme Smith won't have shed any tears at his omission.

Drowning out
As the players walked out to begin play the Barmy Army began a stirring rendition of Jerusalem. The Wanderers PA clearly thought that was far too English so turned up the volume on his collection of pop songs to drown out the patriotic singing. With perfect timing the English contingent rounded off their tune just as Dale Steyn prepared for his ball…sadly, for England, it didn't have the desired effect. Andrew Strauss flicked the first delivery of the Test off his hip and Hashim Amla took a stunning catch at backward short leg. Could you say Strauss had been drowned out?

Did I catch that?
Wayne Parnell was one of two debutants for South Africa as they picked a horses-for-courses attack for a must-win match. His first piece of action, though, wasn't with the ball but stood at mid-on where he held a catch to remove Kevin Pietersen. The short ball from Morne Morkel had been struck at some speed and Parnell appeared to catch it before realising quite what he was doing. In an instant reaction he then hurled it at the non-striker's stumps before joining his team-mates in celebration.

Harper's thin line
We should have known the review system would be in for an interesting time with Daryl Harper in the seat. It's fair to say he had a few 'issues' when he was in control during England's series in West Indies last year. His first involvement in this match came when Alastair Cook was pinned lbw by Morne Morkel and asked for the review. The replay showed it to be perilously close to a no-ball and the England dressing room was convinced he'd overstepped. Harper was satisfied with the legality of the ball, however, and further replays showed Cook was stone dead. Andrew Strauss was unimpressed, but closer viewing of the TV pictures showed Harper was right…just.

Much more than a blocker
There was no point in Paul Collingwood blocking this time. He was at the crease less than an hour into the Test. So instead he showed the other side of his game and took the attack to South Africa. He pulled a nervous Parnell over deep square-leg for six and quickly showed conditions were not so treacherous for batting. Then, facing the last ball before lunch, he swivelled on a short ball from Jacques Kallis and cleared the ropes again. That's the way to play for the interval.

Grassed it
Morkel was proving lethal with his extra bounce from a good length on a lively surface and regularly had deliveries flying past the edge and the head. One particularly brutish ball was almost too much for Ian Bell as it took the shoulder of the bat and flew towards gully. Ashwell Prince made excellent ground and grabbed the ball in his right hand, but the jarring of his heavy landing knocked it free. Prince admitted he wasn't sure and the umpires went upstairs, and it soon became clear the ball had bobbled out of his hand. Bell survived, but not for long.

The new boo-boy
Kevin Pietersen wasn't quite greeted with a standing ovation when he walked out, but it certainly wasn't a patch on the welcome he received in 2005. In fact, the loudest boos were saved for Stuart Broad's arrival in the middle and he clearly hasn't endeared himself to the locals on this tour. The memories of events at Newlands were still fresh and Broad took a few extra minutes to prepare himself to face his first ball.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo