South Africa v England, 4th Test, Johannesburg, 4th day

The servers crash, and so do England

Andrew McGlashan in Johannesburg

January 17, 2010

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Ian Bell made only 5 before being dismissed by Morne Morkel, 4th Test, South Africa v England, Johannesburg, 17 January, 2010
Ian Bell couldn't save the day, but he wasn't to blame this time © PA Photos
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Servers down

The queues were snaking around the Wanderers in the morning but there were few people inside. It soon became clear why. The servers which dealt with the ticket machines, and over which the ground had no control, crashed which meant that the punters couldn't be processed. Thankfully, in a superb piece of pro-active thinking, the ground authorities threw open the gates and allowed the fans in for free. It was a fine gesture and allowed the home supporters to witness their team's crushing victory.

Catching practice

Each day before play, the slip fielders go through a routine when someone, normally the coach, feeds them catches off the face of the bat to simulate match conditions. Jacques Kallis may have felt he was still in that mode when Ian Bell virtually guided the ball to him at second slip and Kallis was never going to grass such a simple chance. It was something of an old-style Bell dismissal but, on this occasion, he shouldn't be lambasted for a limp shot. He has done more than most England batsman to make this series into a contest.

Hello, goodbye

With England five-down and tottering, Matt Prior was only going to play one way - and it wasn't going to be a Paul Collingwood-style rearguard. He could have gone first-ball when he clipped Morne Morkel off his pads, but Hashim Amla couldn't pull off his second stunning catch of the match. Next ball, though, there was no reprieve as he went for an expansive pull and the top-edge flew backwards over the keeper and slips. Both Graeme Smith and Mark Boucher began to back-pedal and it was the South Africa captain who gleefully accepted the chance.

Daryl gets it right

It was hold-your-breath time when Smith called for a review after Stuart Broad was given not out for a catch down the leg side. Guess who was back under the spotlight? Thankfully, for Daryl Harper, the volume didn't become the deciding factor as replays showed a clear deflection off Broad's glove, but he took his time to rock-and-roll the pictures just to make doubly sure. This one was definitely out and as Harper relayed the news to Tony Hill, Broad couldn't help but have a wry smile on his face, as he gestured to his armguard. He probably knew he'd gloved it, but given the match this match has gone, he might have thought he'd get away with it.

Late spin

South Africa didn't pick a frontline spinner for this match and, with England subsiding in the second innings, it didn't look like they were in need of any slow stuff. Then, however, JP Duminy was thrown the ball and he enhanced his reputation as a bit of a golden arm when, with his first delivery, Paul Collingwood picked out deep square-leg. Duminy looked a little embarrassed, Mickey Arthur wore a broad grin on the dressing room balcony and all Collingwood could do was look forlornly at the crease. After a quick change of ends Duminy wrapped up victory by bowling Ryan Sidebottom. Perhaps he should have bowled sooner.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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