Australia tour of South Africa, 1st ODI: South Africa v Australia at Centurion, Oct 19, 2011
Australia won by 93 runs (D/L method)
19 October 2011 - day/night match (50-over match)

The players are out in the middle. Indeed it is Ponting who will open with Warner. Steyn with the new ball. Here we go...

2.20pm "Got a very vibey version of the national anthem starting," says Firdose. We are getting close to the start.

"Steve Smith, I think he has had enough chances," says Mike. "There are six players from NSW in this team. I hope they get hammered!"

2.10pm Firdose Moonda, who is at the ground, says the stadium is only about a third full (it's a working day) but at least the sun is out for now although the forecast suggests rain might not be far away. That will have a played a part in South Africa's plans to chase.

2.00pm South Africa have won the toss and will bowl. Will confirm their team shortly.

1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, (capt), 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 JP Duminy, 5 Faf du Plessis, 6 David Miller, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Johan Botha, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Morne Morkel, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

1.55pm Michael Clarke has predicted a big series for Ponting, while Mark Boucher, who is back in the South Africa side, expects plenty of "niggle."

1.50pm Hello and welcome to coverage of the opening one-day between South Africa and Australia from Centurion. The Twenty20 series was shared, and included some excellent cricket, so it bodes well for a hard-fought 50-over contest. Early news from the ground is that Pat Cummins and Mitchell Marsh will make the ODI debuts for Australia. Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh are both out injured so Ricky Ponting might open, or it could be Brad Haddin. Here is their team:

1 David Warner, 2 Ricky Ponting, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Mike Hussey, 5 Steve Smith, 6 Brad Haddin, 7 Mitchell Marsh, 8 Mitchell Johnson, 9 Xavier Doherty, 10 Doug Bollinger, 11 Pat Cummins


Steyn to Warner, no run, starts outside off stump, Warner thinks about having a dip at it but ends up pulling the bat inside the line

Warner bagged a pair during the T20s so he'll be desperate to get off the mark


Steyn to Warner, no run, tucks this off the pads straight to midwicket


Steyn to Warner, no run, plays from the crease at quite a full delivery, takes an inside to square leg...Warner wanted the single but was sent back


Steyn to Warner, no run, good length outside off, hint of shape back into Warner who defends into the covers


Steyn to Warner, 3 runs, turned nicely off middle stump wide of mid-on and that will calm Warner

Dan Brettig has this nugget for us. "Haddin has been told by this year by the team hierarchy to concentrate on his keeping."


Steyn to Ponting, no run, adjusts straight away to the right, outside off stump and Ponting shoulders arms

End of over 1 (3 runs) Australia 3/0 (RR: 3.00)

    • RT Ponting 0 (1b)
    • DA Warner 3 (5b)
    • DW Steyn 1-0-3-0

Lonwabo Tsotsobe will take the other new ball


Tsotsobe to Warner, FOUR, just a hint of width and Warner takes advantage with a strong square drive...the ball flies away at this ground, like in Johannesburg


Tsotsobe to Warner, no run, back of a length, closer to off stump, defended to the off side


Tsotsobe to Warner, no run, touch of extra bounce and Warner takes his bottom hand off the bat as he plays to the leg side

Firdose has this: " CSA are advertising their Twitter handle and Facebook page on the outfield at either end. The ongoing bonus affair has meant that they don't have sponsors for this series as well. The title rights for the T20s were given to the MAD charity."


Tsotsobe to Warner, no run, certainly not pitching full to Warner early on and he again defends off the back foot


Tsotsobe to Warner, no run, short of a length outside off and left alone


Tsotsobe to Warner, 1 run, nips back at Warner who works it behind square leg on the leg side so Ponting still won't have strike

End of over 2 (5 runs) Australia 8/0 (RR: 4.00)

    • DA Warner 8 (11b 1x4)
    • RT Ponting 0 (1b)
    • LL Tsotsobe 1-0-5-0
    • DW Steyn 1-0-3-0

Steyn to Warner, no run, this is fuller from Steyn and Warner leans into a well-timed drive but picks out mid-off

Changes to round the wicket


Steyn to Warner, FOUR, dispatched through the covers, it was a wide half volley and Warner was able to free his arms with a booming drive


Steyn to Warner, no run, drags the length back, punched off the back foot and well fielded at cover


Steyn to Warner, (no ball) FOUR, that's a costly delivery, Steyn oversteps and strays onto the pads where Warner clips him away to fine leg

So this is a free hit. He's back over the wicket


Steyn to Warner, FOUR, sends down a big full toss which is hammered straight down the didn't actually come out of the middle, but didn't matter


Steyn to Warner, OUT, that's a comeback! Steyn strikes. Back on a good length, draws Warner onto the front foot and there's a hint of swing into the left hander which takes the inside edge into leg stump

DA Warner b Steyn 20 (12m 17b 4x4 0x6) SR: 117.64

Steyn v Warner has dominated the start of this innings and it's the bowler who takes the honours despite an expensive beginning

Michael Clarke, the captain, is in at No. 3


Steyn to Clarke, no run, short one to start with and Clarke defends on the back foot

End of over 3 (13 runs) Australia 21/1 (RR: 7.00)

    • MJ Clarke 0 (1b)
    • RT Ponting 0 (1b)
    • DW Steyn 2-0-16-1
    • LL Tsotsobe 1-0-5-0

Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, pushed across outside off, Ponting makes a big strike forward and defends to the covers


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, short of a length outside off, Ponting hops back but doesn't time his shot into the covers


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, movement for Tsotsobe, this nips back into Ponting who leaves it alone and is taken in the stomach


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, good stuff from Tsotsobe, this one is fuller and draws Ponting forward finding an inside edge as he defends. Worth a short leg?


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, goes across the crease outside off and defends back to the bowler


Tsotsobe to Ponting, FOUR, undoes a good over by releasing the pressure, full on middle stump and Ponting flicks it away through midwicket

End of over 4 (4 runs) Australia 25/1 (RR: 6.25)

    • RT Ponting 4 (7b 1x4)
    • MJ Clarke 0 (1b)
    • LL Tsotsobe 2-0-9-0
    • DW Steyn 2-0-16-1

"The sun has disappeared and it has got a quite a bit darker," says Firdose


Steyn to Clarke, no run, full on off stump, Clarke defends on the walk


Steyn to Clarke, no run, nicely driven square of the wicket and a sharp piece of fielding at point

Interesting discussion taking place. Should Steyn have been allowed to go back over the wicket for that free hit to Warner? The field isn't allowed to change


Steyn to Clarke, FOUR, too straight and clipped away through midwicket


Steyn to Clarke, FOUR, width outside off this time, and too short, allows Clarke to punch it off the back foot through the covers...pretty wayward start from Steyn


Steyn to Clarke, FOUR, on leg stump again, easy for Clarke as he whips it through square leg...the scoreboard is rattling along


Steyn to Clarke, no run, swinging away outside off, Clarke isn't interested and leaves alone...12 off the over is plenty

End of over 5 (12 runs) Australia 37/1 (RR: 7.40)

    • MJ Clarke 12 (7b 3x4)
    • RT Ponting 4 (7b 1x4)
    • DW Steyn 3-0-28-1
    • LL Tsotsobe 2-0-9-0

Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, full outside off, Ponting comes forward and plays to cover


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, driven into the off side from the front foot...he's very keen to play forward


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, touch of extra bounce this time and it's a little awkward for Ponting because he's coming so far forwrd


Tsotsobe to Ponting, 1 run, finds the edge, but it flies through about fifth slip. It climbed a touch off a length and Ponting was still playing forward


Tsotsobe to Clarke, no run, defended square into the off side...Clarke, meanwhile, is playing from the crease


Tsotsobe to Clarke, no run, onto the front foot this time, defended solidly towards mid-off

End of over 6 (1 run) Australia 38/1 (RR: 6.33)

    • MJ Clarke 12 (9b 3x4)
    • RT Ponting 5 (11b 1x4)
    • LL Tsotsobe 3-0-10-0
    • DW Steyn 3-0-28-1

Change of bowling and it's Jacques Kallis


Kallis to Ponting, FOUR, starts off with a short ball which is pulled away through square leg with ease


Kallis to Ponting, no run, back of a length outside off, punched firmly into the covers where Steyn parries it but it doesn't cost anything


Kallis to Ponting, FOUR, close! Finds the inside edge and it flies past the out-stretched left hand of Mark Boucher...he got a fingertip on it, mighty tough as he had to change direction


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, driven off a thick outside edge down to third man


Kallis to Clarke, no run, he's almost caught on the crease, was quite a full delivery and Ponting would have been well forward to that


Kallis to Clarke, no run, left alone outside off

We were about to have a seven-ball over before the umpire realised

End of over 7 (9 runs) Australia 47/1 (RR: 6.71)

    • MJ Clarke 12 (11b 3x4)
    • RT Ponting 14 (15b 3x4)
    • JH Kallis 1-0-9-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 3-0-10-0

Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, onto the front foot as he defends to the off side


Tsotsobe to Ponting, 1 run, on leg stump, tucked off the hip into the gap at square leg


Tsotsobe to Clarke, no run, hits him! Clarke is taken on the helmet by a short ball, he went for pull but was beaten for pace and appeared to get a little top edge on it, too

A delay here as Clarke gets a drink and maybe a new helmet...for those asking why South Africa bowling first, the threat of rain will have played a part in case D/L comes into play


Tsotsobe to Clarke, no run, follows up with a delivery full on middle, Clarke responds with a confident defensive shot back to the bowler


Tsotsobe to Clarke, 1 run, takes the inside edge into the leg side


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, back of a length, Ponting jumps into his defensive shot and plays to the off side

End of over 8 (2 runs) Australia 49/1 (RR: 6.12)

    • RT Ponting 15 (18b 3x4)
    • MJ Clarke 13 (14b 3x4)
    • LL Tsotsobe 4-0-12-0
    • JH Kallis 1-0-9-0

Kallis to Clarke, no run, outside off and left alone


Kallis to Clarke, no run, touch wider outside off and Clarke doesn't play

"The lights are coming on," says Firdose, "and it's only just after 3pm."


Kallis to Clarke, no run, short of a length outside off, defended off the back foot into the covers


Kallis to Clarke, no run, defended square into the off side


Kallis to Clarke, no run, this one is a little fuller and doesn't bring a shot from Clarke...a tempting line and being resisted so far


Kallis to Clarke, no run, full on off stump, driven firmly down to mid-on and it's the first maiden of the match

End of over 9 (maiden) Australia 49/1 (RR: 5.44)

    • MJ Clarke 13 (20b 3x4)
    • RT Ponting 15 (18b 3x4)
    • JH Kallis 2-1-9-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 4-0-12-0

Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, this delivery keeps Ponting on the back foot as he defends into the covers


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, a touch of movement gets Ponting into a tangle as he tries to work this through the leg side


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, back outside off, played square on the off side


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, big appeal for lbw! South Africa think it's pad first before Ponting punches it to mid-off. There are reviews in this series, one for each side, but Amla decides against it. Would have been a good one for Hot Spot

That did look like pad first


Tsotsobe to Ponting, no run, now he goes for a pull and doesn't connect, this is good stuff from Tsotsobe who is causing problems


Tsotsobe to Ponting, FOUR, again a loose ball ends the over as Ponting pulls it away to fine leg

End of over 10 (4 runs) Australia 53/1 (RR: 5.30)

    • RT Ponting 19 (24b 4x4)
    • MJ Clarke 13 (20b 3x4)
    • LL Tsotsobe 5-0-16-0
    • JH Kallis 2-1-9-0

The Powerplay is finished, but the optional ones can't be taken straight away


Kallis to Clarke, no run, on off stump and defended to cover


Kallis to Clarke, no run, full outside off, Clarke goes for a drive but doesn't time it cleanly


Kallis to Clarke, no run, short ball outside off, Clarke lowers his bat and hands out of the line


Kallis to Clarke, no run, another full delivery outside off, driven sweetly to mid-off


Kallis to Clarke, 1 run, throws his arms through a drive this time, it was very wide and the ball went in the air through cover out to the sweeper


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, jumps back into the crease and nudges this from around off stump to the leg side

Well, it's been a very interesting start. Now I'm going to hand over to Liam

End of over 11 (2 runs) Australia 55/1 (RR: 5.00)

    • RT Ponting 20 (25b 4x4)
    • MJ Clarke 14 (25b 3x4)
    • JH Kallis 3-1-11-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 5-0-16-0

Thanks Andrew. We've got a change on the field too, with Morne Morkel into the attack for the first time.


Morkel to Ponting, no run, and he's bang on target to start, firing one down on a length outside off. Ponting lunges forward to defend


Morkel to Ponting, no run, he's knocked him off his feet! Morkel spears in an unexpected full delivery, striking Ponting on the pad and knocking his legs out from underneath him. There's an appeal for lbw, but that was going down leg


Morkel to Ponting, no run, another appeal! Again Morkel sprays this a little too far down the leg side, but it touches something on the way through. The South Africans think its glove/bat, but the umpire insists it was only pad. And he's right, by the looks of things


Morkel to Ponting, no run, a rising delivery outside off is punched firmly to cover point in typically bellicose style by Ponting, but Duminy scoots across and slides to cut it off cleanly. Duminy has really settled in in that position


Morkel to Ponting, 1 run, short of length again, but a little straighter this time and Ponting works a single wide of mid on


Morkel to Clarke, no run, Clarke stands at the crease to tap a length delivery back to the bowler

End of over 12 (1 run) Australia 56/1 (RR: 4.66)

    • MJ Clarke 14 (26b 3x4)
    • RT Ponting 21 (30b 4x4)
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0
    • JH Kallis 3-1-11-0

Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, chopped down on the off side, just the one


Kallis to Clarke, 1 run, a hacked drive played with a horizontal bat flies out to deep cover, where there's protection on the rope


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, pitched full and wide by Kallis, and Ponting eases a drive to cover


Kallis to Clarke, FOUR, slashed square! Again Clarke had to stretch out to drive but this time played it a little later to pick the gap

There's thunder and lightning about, Firdose tells us, the thunder coming from behind the pressbox.


Kallis to Clarke, 1 run, nurdled into the off side for one


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, this might've been an offcutter from Kallis. It kept a little low and moved in off the pitch, Ponting inside edging an attempted glance onto his pad

End of over 13 (9 runs) Australia 65/1 (RR: 5.00)

    • RT Ponting 24 (33b 4x4)
    • MJ Clarke 20 (29b 4x4)
    • JH Kallis 4-1-20-0
    • M Morkel 1-0-1-0

Morkel to Ponting, no run, Morne roars an appeal! That's highly optimistic, despite the sharp seam movement in off the pitch. It's hit him about a foot outside off


Morkel to Ponting, FOUR, Ponting dispatches a short ball to long leg with a cracking swivel-pull! That was sweetly timed, it never got up high but bounced just once before crossing the boundary. The old man's still got it ...


Morkel to Ponting, no run, Morkel pushes his line a little wider of off, and Ponting steps across to shoulder arms


Morkel to Ponting, 1 wide, Morkel's a bit all over the place at the moment. This one is pushed too far down the leg side, and called wide


Morkel to Ponting, FOUR, in the air! Morkel pitched one up and lured Ponting into a drive. It wasn't quite close enough to him for the shot, however, and he couldn't keep the square drive down, the ball shooting just past a leaping Duminy


Morkel to Ponting, no run, Morkel zones in on the top of off, Ponting defends


Morkel to Ponting, no run, slapped on the up to extra cover, where a good sliding stop saves runs

End of over 14 (9 runs) Australia 74/1 (RR: 5.28)

    • RT Ponting 32 (39b 6x4)
    • MJ Clarke 20 (29b 4x4)
    • M Morkel 2-0-10-0
    • JH Kallis 4-1-20-0

Spin is used for the first time, Johan Botha into the attack.


Botha to Clarke, no run, tossed up on middle and leg, tucked to midwicket


Botha to Clarke, no run, Clarke is down the track but Botha spots him coming and drags his length back, drawing a defensive stroke from the batsman


Botha to Clarke, 1 run, a touch too straight from the offspinner, and Clarke finds the gap at square leg


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, quicker and flatter through the air from Botha, but it's dragged down short and Ponting eases a single to leg


Botha to Clarke, 1 run, good stuff from Clarke, getting deep in the crease and placing the ball square for another single


Botha to Ponting, no run, pushed through flat and aimed right at middle, Ponting getting forward to defend to midwicket

"This is vintage Ponting!" shouts Charlie. "Looking magnificent."

End of over 15 (3 runs) Australia 77/1 (RR: 5.13)

    • RT Ponting 33 (41b 6x4)
    • MJ Clarke 22 (33b 4x4)
    • J Botha 1-0-3-0
    • M Morkel 2-0-10-0

South Africa will use the bowling powerplay immediately, Morkel to continue with a slip in place.


Morkel to Clarke, no run, great reflexes from Faf du Plessis! He in close at a short cover point and Clarke absolutely murdered a cut to his left, but Faf thrust both hands out to stop it cleanly. Much appreciated by the bowler


Morkel to Clarke, 1 run, worked away for a quiet single


Morkel to Ponting, no run, nicely full from Morkel, and the line is good too. Ponting comes forward in defence


Morkel to Ponting, no run, yet again Morne is saved by his fielders. He offered plenty of width on the length delivery but the man at extra cover stops the shot


Morkel to Ponting, no run, played a little loosely by Ponting, the veteran batsman slicing at a rising delivery to play it to backward point

Satyam retorts: "Lots of mishits, couple of lives and lucky chances, playing and falling down awkwardly ... vintage Ponting indeed."


Morkel to Ponting, no run, good end to the over, Morkel aiming at the top of middle and Ponting tapping tamely to mid on

And that'll take us to drinks at Centurion.

"Can anyone tell me what Jacques Kallis is doing with his hair? It seems like he's going for the choc-caramel look." I'm as mystified as you are, Jack.

End of over 16 (1 run) Australia 78/1 (RR: 4.87)

    • RT Ponting 33 (45b 6x4)
    • MJ Clarke 23 (35b 4x4)
    • M Morkel 3-0-11-0
    • J Botha 1-0-3-0

Botha to Clarke, no run, a twinklet-toed Clarke greets Botha's first ball after the interval with a quick shuffle down the track, but he doesn't quite get to it


Botha to Clarke, 1 run, hurled down quicker and flatter, and after coming down Clarke double-bluffs the bowler by stepping deep into his crease to work a single into the leg side


Botha to Ponting, 5 wides, has he got bat on this? Botha gave this one a lot more air but looped it down the leg side, and Ponting just needed a thin glance to get it to the fine leg boundary


Botha to Ponting, no run, Botha reverts to type, sending this one down much flatter, and Ponting defends to leg


Botha to Ponting, no run, aimed at middle and leg, Ponting turns his wrists over it but can't find the gap


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, but this time he does, a single coming through square leg


Botha to Clarke, no run, flighted up on off stump, Clarke comes forward in defence

There are some very ominous rain clouds gathering around the ground. We could well have a disruption at some point.

End of over 17 (7 runs) Australia 85/1 (RR: 5.00)

    • MJ Clarke 24 (38b 4x4)
    • RT Ponting 34 (48b 6x4)
    • J Botha 2-0-10-0
    • M Morkel 3-0-11-0

Morkel to Ponting, no run, slapped behind square, on the up but straight to the fielder


Morkel to Ponting, no run, though his direction has been off, Morkel has hit the seam consistently in this spell and does so once again, jagging one in to Ponting and taking the inside edge


Morkel to Ponting, no run, a splice-jarring delivery is pushed to cover. There's pace and bounce for Morkel, as you'd expect, but nothing too dramatic


Morkel to Ponting, 1 run, a well played shot for just one run, Ponting stepping confidently forward and driving wide of mid off. Amla sprinted to his left and tumbled into a sliding stop to keep him to just one


Morkel to Clarke, no run, rising off a length and nicely straight from the tall fast bowler, Clarke tapping defensively to mid on. Morkel held that one across the seam, looking for extra bounce


Morkel to Clarke, FOUR, imperious! The bounce in this track is very consistent, and so the batsmen have the confidence to play shots like these. Morkel offered width outside off, but the length was tricky - middling. Clarke made the most of it, however, hammering the ball square of the wicket with his weight forward

End of over 18 (5 runs) Australia 90/1 (RR: 5.00)

    • MJ Clarke 28 (40b 5x4)
    • RT Ponting 35 (52b 6x4)
    • M Morkel 4-0-16-0
    • J Botha 2-0-10-0

With the game meandering away from South Africa just a little bit, Amla has brought Dale Steyn back.


Steyn to Ponting, no run, he is on target with the loosener, keeping Ponting quiet with a length delivery on middle and off


Steyn to Ponting, FOUR, edged to third man! There is a slip in place but this was far too wide for him. Ponting was aiming for a backfoot punch to cover, but Steyn shaped one away from him to take a healthy edge. Unfortunately for him, it flew at a catchable height through the vacant second/third slip area


Steyn to Ponting, 1 run, much fuller and straighter, and cutting in off the wicket. Ponting spots the change-up and gets forward to defend to mid on


Steyn to Clarke, no run, gentle shape away from the bat again. Tapped down defensively to cover point

"South Africa are missing a strike bowler like Tahir to break this partnership." I agree, Michael Bain. Every good team needs a legspinner.


Steyn to Clarke, no run, Steyn pushes Clarke deep into his crease with a short-of-length delivery that is defended into the off side


Steyn to Clarke, 1 run, whipped off the pads, the ball rolling behind square on the leg side

Bongani writes: "@ Jack: Graeme Swann tweeted this gem last summer: "Wow. I've just seen Jacques Kallis bring up a double hundred and then remove his helmet... Now that is immense!"

End of over 19 (6 runs) Australia 96/1 (RR: 5.05)

    • MJ Clarke 29 (43b 5x4)
    • RT Ponting 40 (55b 7x4)
    • DW Steyn 4-0-34-1
    • M Morkel 4-0-16-0

Johan Botha will begin. The Powerplays are done, by the way.

Hello folks. Words fail me as to what we've just witnessed from Liam. A monumental effort. I think the Man-of-the-Match award is decided. I'm almost sorry to interrupt it with some cricket, but we are about to resume.

8.25pm Right, we're - hopefully - five minutes away from the re-start, and I'm going to leave you in Andrew McGlashan's capable hands. Epic rain-break stint, thanks everyone!


"I feel like I'm at a strange party with a whole lot of cricket nerds.." Sounds like my kinda party, Jonesy.

"Warnie bummed a smoke off me out the front of the Espie in 1997. What do I win?" Respect, Jimmy.

"I'm a fat lazy white guy who, at 4pm looks like he just climbed out of bed. And while trying to wake up after a night of beer and pizza and watching cricket on cricinfo, struggles into work ( with the crumbs of the cold leftover pizza breakfast on my plaid jumper ) to secretly watch even more cricinfo. does this qualify me as a commentator? Also I like pies and I have no friends." We can be friends, Graham.

"I know Each and every international cricket players , i don't care they knows me or not.... PLUS i do some photoshop stuff..... I hereby announce that am gonna be next cricinfo editor." At least you're confident, Nithin Dharan.

Finally, a reply from Heather: "Hey Robert, I like you but no... I can't marry you!! Sorry, enjoy the match!"

"@Liam: I know Superstar Rajinikanth. Will I get the job?" No, Karthik, because as you should already have guessed the job would go to Rajinikanth himself. Could it be any other way?

"Just have not long ago, got a colossal bout of sinusitis, trying virtually everything to clear out my nostrils I can think of without resorting to anything life-threatening," writes Dickson. "Have to say, Bhut Jolokia chillies are nasty, like putting a hot dry frying pan on your tongue. Anyone have any other suggestions?"

8.05pm We're hearing that the match will be 29 overs per side, but again we're still waiting on an official announcement. The scorers at the ground are suggesting they they looking to start at 8:30pm.

"Hey Guys, cricinfo, or Liam, for the matter of that, didn't invite job applications, real or hypothetical. A guy called Chirag simply asked how you qualify, to which Liam shot off a wisecrack. And here we are, shooting our heads off applying for a non-existing job. But it's been fun, hasn't it?" It all got out of hand pretty quickly, didn't it Ananthamurthy.

8.02pm "There's talk of an 8:20pm start," says Firdose. "No word of overs yet." I hasten to add that that is not the official start time, just what's being talked about at the ground.

"I shook Chetan Sharma's chicken curry stained hands in 1994 in the lunch break when he was playing ONGC club. I saw Sourav Ganguly at the Delhi airport and was very nonchallant about it. I mocked Michael Vaughan when he was at the square leg boundary on third day of the India-England test match in Bangalore, '02. He was quite pissed. There! I have a rich history. Last chance!" That is quite a C.V., Bhardwaj DSS.

P. Sa writes: "@Dello's mate, you are GREAT! You had my parents worried why I was laughing around hysterically at 11:15 in the night and wanting to know if too much Cricinfo had finally gotten to me!" There's plenty more praise coming in for that comedy gold.

8.00pm There are positive signs at Centurion. Some of the Australians have strolled onto the outfield to start warming up. South African bowling coach Allan Donald is also helping his charges to warm up. So we should have a definite start time soon!

"Never mind the cricket. I haven't had this much fun on CricInfo since...... er, well EVER! That Anderson-Ponting over.... priceless. Hire the guy, or I will!!" It was a pretty good effort wasn't it, Morten.

"Hard to believe that over was hypothetical," quips Jaffa. "Are you sure it wasn't from the last ashes??"

"Why you should hire me.

1) I can bash IPL like it is nobody's business.
2) I can drag IPL even in a match between Nassau XI vs New Jersey Raiders
3) I can quote current happenings in EPL and let people know how much I worship soccer players
4) I will go gaga even if Kumar Sangakara swats a fly on the field.
5) I will be ruthlessley harsh on all Indian players not named Sachin Tendulkar
6) Will not forget to mention how lucky Dhoni is when India is winning."
You make a strong case, Akil, but I've got to turn you down.

7.50pm Just to remind you all, 9.37pm local time is the cut-off time, so we've got potentially another hour-and-a-half of this.

I lost count of the degrees of separation in this, from Teja: "I'm you-know-who's uncle's cousin's neighbor's son's best friend's aunt's insurance agent's pet dog's care taker's grandson's Cricket coach. Count me in!"

7.45pm Not much to update you about, weather-wise. The covers are still off, and they're still working on the outfield. It's dark in South Africa, obviously, but it does appear that the worst of the weather has passed, and there's still a good chance we'll get some sort of play tonight.

"Hi Liam," writes Harry, from India. "I'm a cricket fan plus m a med school student. If you give me the job, I guarantee you won't miss Ravi Shastri, I myself will prescribe anything you need."

This, from Dello's mate, is too good not to publish:

"Liam, post this, it's a make believe over where a good friend of mine has aped the Cricinfo commentary - he's your man - post this:

36.1 Anderson to Ponting, no run, A JAFFA! Full, swings late, Ponting lurches like an inebriated pensioner on a skateboard, somehow the ball evades bat, gloves, stumps and everything.

After 45 balls, Ponting's still not off the mark. And he's not likely to be any time soon if Anderson keeps bowling these cluster-bombs of high jaffery.

36.2 Anderson to Ponting, no run, A SNORTER!!! Straight out of Snortsville, Carolina, Ponting is left fumbling around for his reading glasses by a short ball that reared up like a gay ostrich and pecked at his grill. Anderson follows through with a few choice words. Lip readers among you might have made out "hermaphrodite".

36.3 Anderson to Ponting, no run, THE McGARNAGLE!!!! Oooh, Jimmy's delving deep into his box of tricks today! Ponting wrongly plays for the away swing and is left looking a real casserole of nonsense by the McGarnagle, which cuts him in half and then quarters and then just keeps on chopping until his mutilated corpse is nothing more than a squinty pulp. England appeal for something, but the umpire is too traumatised by what he's witnessed to react.

36.4 Anderson to Ponting, no run, AN ABSOLUTE CLINTON!!!!!! What is happening out there? Curves in awkwardly, almost at right angles, and Ponting wears it on the chest. Clinton residue all over his shirt. That'll never wash out. England still banging at the door, but so far, no cigar.

What an over this is from Anderson. Four balls. Four brutes. Four Weddings is on TV tonight, I noticed while reading the paper over breakfast. Slice of melon and gram of coke, in case you were wondering.

36.5 Anderson to Ponting, no run, A SCENTED PANDA HAMMER!!!!!!! WHOAHZERS!!!!! That seemed to swing in at least three directions. Is that even possible?! Ricky can't lay a bat on it and - oh, he's down! And up again! Staggering! And down again! And up! Completely bamboozled, he seems to not know where he is. OH MY GOD!! Ponting has taken off his shirt and one of his shoes and is just shambling around the field. Is he crying? Some of the England boys are trying to help him but he's thrashing his bat at them and growling. Hello, what's this? Ever the opportunist, Kevin Pietersen tries to take advantage of Ponting's walkabout by shying at the stumps but misses by three yards. And that's gone for four. But the umpires are signalling dead ball. It's chaos. The Aussie team doctor is on the pitch now, along with the physio and the mascot, Steve Smith. They seem to be calming Ponting down, showing him pictures of his family. Yes, there's some recognition there. His marbles are on the way back. WHOAHNNO, there they go again!! A picture of his kids has thrown him back over the edge like some kind of demented lifebelt. He's spinning on the spot (a nice homage to the Tasmanian Devil) furiously, screaming "little Ricky people!!!" from what I can make out on the stump mic. This is awkward. The team fertility consultant's on the field now. I guess he's about to explain where babies come from. This is going to get worse before it gets better...

The umpires call drinks.

And we're back. Apparently the website went down for the duration of what will surely be referred to in all the papers tomorrow as "The Incident", for which we apologise, but with Ian Bell having been taken into protective custody, the sacrificed lamb's blood mopped up from the square, the affected part of the Joe Mangle Stand quarantined and Dr. Susan something Greek-sounding now acting as Ponting's runner and/or life coach, James Anderson's at his mark ready to complete what has thus far been a very interesting over.

36.6 Anderson to Ponting, FOUR, BUM GRAVY. After all that, Jimmy loses his line and spaffs one miles down the leg side. Prior makes a valiant dive, but unfortunately in the wrong direction. Four byes, and a slightly anticlimaxtic end to the over.

Andrew is telling me that anticlimaxtic isn't a word. But he tried to slip refuddle past me in a game of strip Scrabble the other day, so our bond of trust isn't in the healthiest state at present. Anticlimaxtic a word? E:mails to the usual address. We'll get to the bottom of this by tea."

"I've just turned on and have no idea what you're all on about, but I have a picture of Jonathan Trott and my mum - you can't see Trott's left hand and my mum has a very shocked expression on her face. Does that count for anything? You can take out the reference to Trott if this is too libellous." If you don't know what we're on about, Stuart, then why did you just tell us that?

"How's this, rather than pick us based on random degrees of separation, have a chilli eating competition? See who can handle a single Bhut Jolokia or Trinidad Scorpion chilli with no milk or other neutralising method for at least 30 mins after eating the chilli. It will make for an exciting contest, at least more exciting than waiting for the sopper to finish sopping up!" That's a stunning suggestion, Dickson. Put it into action!

"Having a cup of coffee and waiting for the game to resume with SRT. Beat that. Visit my twitter to see the pic." That from Sumit who, unfortunately, did not include any details of his twitter account. Ah well!

Robert Brown's got a question for a certain somebody: "Hey Heather, i will send you a 1000 shillings if you will marry me?"

An answer, from Hala: "Sorry Dickson, I believe you have the wrong woman. I am completing a useless honours degree to complement my useless bachelor's degree. I do some rugby league live updating and reporting as well, but definitely don't work in a call centre."

"Liam, I'm the ideal candidate. I have a rich lexicon, am encyclopedic on all matters computer and all matters cricket. I'm an amazing cook, excellent at staying up late, dislike my job, once caught and bowled Rob Bailey... if Cricinfo made robots, I'd be the closest in matching them. Send me an e-mail, I know I've won the hypothetical job." Bit of an overachiever, ey, John Sharkey? Wouldn't want someone who's going to make me look bad ...

"Hey Liam, i've bowled countless bouncers at you, can i get a job? Also, looking forward to seeing you man! Epic thread happening right now, well done, a welcome comedic relief from the dissapointment of not being able to watch the game." That's from Lasse Manson, who - I must say - does bowl a particularly mean bouncer when he comes off his long run.

It's all getting a bit silly now. "Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Ishant Sharma live within the radius of 100km from my house. Good enough?" asks Arpit. "I know Chuck Norris," adds Ben. And to top it off, Vinci writes: "Hey Liam, I have a gun on your head. Does this qualify me?" I really hope there's some cricket soon.

"Is Heather the only Lady here? Nice to have you here Ma'am. I once started a thread about ladies following cricket on cricinfo, and my God !, was I astonished by the quantity and quality of comments. Different and unique perspectives, too." Judi and Hala were around earlier, Ananthamurthy.

"I'm Guy...Guy Whittall...Now show me my room in the office." Right this way, sir.

"@Liam, I am 35 years old working on content management applications. I have been following commentary in Cricinfo ever since it was started. So I can type pretty much the same way yo guys do with better format :-) I honestly can do this with a thin pay check." Selling yourself well there, Chandra.

"I'll love to know, the match will start or not. You and me both, Akas. The mopping-up operation is continuing at Centurion.

"Here's what I bring to the table... My cousin (Yehali) is married to Sanga...and Nuwan Kulasekara's class mate. How about a net session where Kula bowls to you while Sanga keeps. Maybe once we are all done, we can all go over to Sanga's house for some of Yehali's mean curry chicken!" That does like a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, Shawn.

"I repair radiators and oil coolers for a living..Oh and I also had a beer with Ramnaresh Sarwan's brother!!! How about that for being overqualified?" Woah, slow down Gavin Singh!

"Liam, I'm the banker for Kolkatta, Pune and Punjabi IPL team. Does this qualify me for a job @ cricinfo, given the numerous financial insights I'll be able to provide." No, but I'd like you to provide some financial insights to my wallet, Paritosh.

"Hey Liam, I'm related to the guy who did the light-rigging for Motorhead and ZZ Top, I tend to play a full day's cricket on 2 hours sleep and then work a 10 hour shift afterwards and provide my own commentary at work even if no-one else is there to follow it. How's that count?" Well, you do sound like fun Dickson.

"Nough said! Lets not cajole him anymore. I will start my own website: CricSIRI. I invite Robbie, Heather, Zain, Abhishek, P Satish, Shoaib, Scott, Hassan, Priyashrav, AT, Suhail, Tahir, A.V.Anish, Shafaqat, Morten and the others to invest in it and join as guest commentators. Hala, you'l be my secretary, no?" Don't suppose you've got space for one more there Bhardwaj DSS?

Heather has upped the stakes with this latest comment: "Besides being a female cricketer, I am also a member of the groundstaff. I think Liam, you are in need of a grass wicket in your back yard. I will personally take care of it. Any kind of wicket you need, I'm your woman!"

Dickson writes in: "Question for Hala, do you work in a Sydney call centre with Jonathan, Ruth and mark? I have a funny feeling I know you..."

"I play some touch rugby with Liam Botham in the park on weekends and sing karaoke with Liam Gallaghar occasionally in my local pub and take acting classes with Liam Neeson. If only there was someone to share my passion for cricket commentary with...." Hang in there, Morten, something will come up.

Yet more gold from Robert Brown: "Well it gets hard , as another lady from china wanted 7000 dollars, and a lady from the USA wanted 10,000 dollars just for the engagement ring, so when i read send 1000 shillings i thought this must be a lot of money to, so now my profile reads, poor man seeks rich lady for a wife, now i get no replies."

"Hi Liam, I claim to deserve the most," writes Shafaqat Ali. "I have worked with Ijaz Butt." You poor man.

"Zubin was jealous of my Dave Warneresque batting," writes Benny. Not the most indepth character description, but thanks for that.

7.00pm Everybody! The covers are coming off. Fingers crossed!

"I'm from Hyderabad, Liam. I watched every match at Rajiv Gandhi stadium which is just a kilometer away from my home. I also know VVS Laxman and Ambati Rayudu from close quarters. I'm also associated with Deccan Chargers franchisee for a while as an internal staff member. Now do I stand any chance of getting into the commentary job @ cricinfo? Not to forget, I'm also a columnist in the local magazine." How close were these quarters, A.V. Anish?

"Liam you should take me for that job, because i am very big fan of cricket, and i also remember most of the cricket records in my head," writes Tahir. "During rain time in a cricket match, i can sing indians songs for our readers, because i have been singing for last 13 years or so." That sounds lovely.

"I am a particle physicist, know some C++, have used emacs, gedit, kyle and miktex for quite a long time, a classic indian tea maker, a smoker and can speak french, english, hindi/urdu, punjabi. Am I eligible?" I didn't understand a word you just said, Suhail.

"Bile . A dark green yellowish brown fluid produced by the liver of most vertebrates which aids the digestion of lipids to the small intestine, you could be right." Classic Robert Brown.

"I am a South African who played cricket in South Africa for the 3rd team of a club that was not very good. Now I play for the 2nd team of a club that is worse here in Ireland. I once met Daryl Culllinan at the urinal in a pub in Stellenbosch and he told me many important things that I am sure to remember if I become a commentator." AT leaps into the lead!

"So, potentially 3 more hours before we find out whether or not this game will be concluded? I love the cricket, but want the job so I can have an excuse for being up, watching the cricket at these unGodly hours - we're closing in on 4am here in Sydney." Good effort, Hala!

"Is this the longest Cricinfo Live Commentary page I have ever seen? Hmm.. never seen so many comments." I'm going for the record, Bhargav Sura.

"Liam - I have just entered a bet with my friend at work about who can get the most comments posted on cricinfo by the end of the year and I would really appreciate a head start! There is a "mystery" prize in it for you if you do." Keep talking, Robert Spencer. I like cash. And shiny things.

"Robert Brown, you cheapskate, couldn't you send the lady a measly 10 bucks, whereas we have have Liam here, ready to accept Dong's and whatnot, poor guy?" You make me chuckle, AnanthaMurthy.

Chris writes: "@ Robert Brown: Please keep 'em coming! I'm enjoying picturing Lewis Black reading your comments."

"Damn It!! Get those thunders and rain here. I'm in a busstop and many girls pouring in. I wish when we board they get wet and frightened by thunders. I'll be the savior." You worry me just a little bit, Ramdev J.

6.48pm That rain is getting harder now, sadly. By the by, people, you can find me and several other Cricinfo commentators on Twitter.

"Try this.......I'm a philosophical 18-year old teenager with a rude sense of humor who happens to almost exactly remember the full details of almost 90% of matches India has played since 2004!Not good enough,eh?" I'm afraid not, Priyashrav.

6.45pm Oh dear. Light rain has started again, and the covers are being brought back on. It doesn't look good.

I can't begin to comprehend the life you live, Robert Brown: "Some time ago, a Lady from Kenya, on a Dating site i might add, wanted to marry me, but said while we were waiting to meet, could i send her a 1000 shillings, could some one tell me how much that is in Australian Dollars, never got around to sending it to her and no we did not marry, shame really." It works out to about 10 bucks in Australian money, FYI.

"Off to watch a Prep School concert now. Am hoping that by the time it is over and I am home, sense will have prevailed, no-one will bribe anyone for jobs at cricinfo and the commentary will continue as cricket will be on. Thanks for the chat guys. I also qualify - I know the game, was born in Somerset, hope to go and see where next year, live in SA, love the game in ALL forms but don't have packets of money in any currency. Can cook and type and get my tongue around the names of our players." Thanks for your company, Judi Steel. See you next time.

6.35pm The covers are coming off again! The official stats man at the ground has told Firdose that if we dont start by 9:37pm local time it will be called off.

"I'm quite important, I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany..." I like where you're going with this Benny.

Robert Brown appears to be getting back to his bile-spewing best: "Well all i ask if any of you become commentators , please leave the umpires alone, my pet hate, people who are umpire bashing, need to spend a day or so out on the cricket pitch , and see how easy it is. You will change your thoughts on umpiring then you will see that most of them do a great job."

"My writings are very intriguing and people notice! Plus I know Sachin Tendulkar! Let me join!" That's what they all say, Bhardwaj.

"What if i adopt you? will that qualify? I own 2 houses worth a million dollars and good money in banks and stocks too and have no offspring. Think hard..." I've always wanted to be a kept man, Ismail.

"I often nick throw downs and I make a killer cup of tea," adds Benny. "I used to play with Canadian batsman Zubin Sakhari in Toronto and against Mitchell Marsh." What's Zubin like?

"Except the question now becomes: Why would you want to play for England?" writes Heather. "I play cricket in Holland at a high level. You'd be very afraid of my inswing. Liam - dont worry, I wont swing them in too hard on you." Very kind of you, thanks.

"I always look for and venture out when it thunders and rain...Firstly i can give lifts to girls in my car(its easy when it rains), so new friends. secondly, when it thunders i might get an hug when she frightens. Thirdly car gets washed. Don't ask me next steps pls." Don't worry, Ramdev J, I won't.

"Hire me, I play for the same club as the Waugh brothers did, the female teams still count as the same club, right? I am also attractive and have a useless university degree." Certainly ticking all the right boxes there, Hala.

"My second cousin is a Hooter's waitress," writes Jeffrey. "Do I get a commentary job?" Good grief.

"Liam Count me in please... I am a Mechanical Engineer, But amongst my whole University I was the biggest critics amongst them all." But does that mean you're going to criticise me, Hassan? Not sure I like the sound of that.

6.20pm "Just had a minutes worth of hail and now more rain at my house 10 km upwind from the stadium," writes Antonie. "Hoping it bypasses the grounds."

"This is a long, long shot.. But put me in the pole position on all this "I want to work at cricinfo stuff". I am German, played cricket in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Germany. So if cricinfo finally introduces German commentary no one will challenge me. Hope we can follow some cricket here sometime soon, I don't like this lack of punctuality.." You said it, Tobias. Long shot.

"Guys, Liam is searching for a servant. He will treat you like his step children. Please wakeup from this dream, it will turn out to be a nightmare later." Would I do such a thing, USP? ;)

"In my recent interview when I was asked about my -ve points then I told that "I have addiction of using internet for watching cricket updates" and for your surprise I was not selected for the job :)" That is surprising, Deepak.

Judi Steel is not too far from Centurion and has this: "I hate to rain on anyone's parade, but we are having a HUGE storm again, thunder, lightening and it is lashing down with rain. Don't think the Super Sopper is going to be any good. You sure you don't want your weather back - even just the evening?"

"I can stare at a monitor for 8 hours a day, 5 days of the week. I can type pretty fast. I have absolutely zero social life, so I can write articles with meaningless analysis after those 8 X 5 hours. I like to watch Cricket and am an armchair critic. To top, Arial is my favorite font. When can I start?" Bhardwaj DSS, you need to get out more.

"Really? Vietnamese Dongs? No comment." It's the real currency, Ross Done! I would never stoop to such innuendo ...

Czech cricketers, get in touch with Scott Page: "I am wondering if there are any South Africans in Czech Republic, keen to play cricket??? Our indoor season, is about to start here in Prague."

Shoaib Ahmed writes: "Hey Liam I have an ample experience of reading your commentary !!! Now say no to me." No.

"You didn't specify the currency. If you are accepting bribes in paper bags, you're likely to get a lot of Vietnamese Dong's(which is the weakest currency in the world-googled that!)." As long as it's not Zim dollars, AnanthaMurthy.

"The popular story in my family circles is that VVS is a distant cousin. Distance being inversely proportional to performances. Also I know where his dad runs his evening clinic(and a damn fine Doctor too, he is). So am I in as commentator?" Probably not, P. Satish, but lets talk.

6.05pm Bad news! It's raining again, and the covers are back on. "Pouring!" is Firdose's lament.

"Please adopt me inspiration is Guy Whittall, favorite wicket keeper is Andy Flower, fav fast bowler - Bryan Strang, fav spinner - Dirk Viljoen, fav batsman - Stuart Carlisle, not to mention the inventor of the dilscoop - Doug Marillier. What more do you expect from me?" You had me going for a second there, Pras G, but only a charlatan would call Dirk Viljoen a spinner.

"I watch all matches, even during my exam days. Have a degree in environmental engineering. Am I in Liam for commentary environment?" I'm not sure, Abhishek. Are there many transferrable skills in environmental engineering?

Varun Dave needs some advice, people: "Since everyone here is looking for a job, I am hoping that they have a few interview tips. How do I tell an employer nicely that I want the developer job so that I can keep always keep Cricinfo open? This is for an interview I have in an hour."

This is massive. Robbie's withdrawn from the adoption race. "I am reconsidering my adoption request, already i am not good enough for you, you prefer my friend to be bowling at you, bad daddy!"

6.00pm The Super Sopper is going round the ground, and the officials are out there inspecting conditions.

"Heather that doesn't make you the quality cricketer that just gives you a chance to play for England! I own three Hawaiin shirts and watch my fair share of the Simpsons.." Points in your favour there Benny, but what are your feelings on throw-downs in the nets? And do you make a good cup of tea?

5.55pm The last of the covers have come off, and it's been dry for a while. We've still not heard anything official about re-starts or overs lost yet.

"Hey there Liam I once met Mark Richardson, am I in?" No, Ryan.

Something of a desperate plea, from Zain: "Hire me as a commentator at cricinfo! I have a bachelors degree in science, no one else would give me a job!"

"What can I bring to the table? South-African born, half South-African half English, that should make me the perfect cricket player ... oh and I can bring donuts." You're doing good there Heather. A nondescript brown paper bag, filled with cash and delivered to me, would certainly help your case.

"@Liam: All your work is hand typed?? no voice recognition software of any sorts?? thats awesome man!!! Respect." Yes, Sarthak, all typed by hand. I've got fists like Christmas hams.

Robbie makes his case: "Wanting to join the ranks of the adopted, I am from the windies, know for my laid back demeanour and excellent curry, being a fast bowler I can bowl at you all day, friends with bishoo, and I have a really hot girlfriend! how does that shape me up?" Never mind your girlfriend, will you be able to get Bishoo to the nets to bowl at me too?

"I am little disappointed with the answer, but Thanks for replying." Now I feel bad, Chirag.

"@Terry - I'd prefer some cricket." Hear hear, Nick.

Ravi adds: "In Telugu, VVS Laxman's mother tongue, it's 'Endaa Vaana Gaali, Kukkala Nakkala Pelli.' (Sunshine, Rain, Wind means Dogs marrying foxes)."

"In England when it's raining and the sun is shining we say "the sun will disappear behind those big black clouds shortly". Eternal pessimists that we are. It's raining here now. No sun though." Very droll, Derek Williams.

"How about a Bakkies Tsotsobe?" chirps Terry.

"I was chatting to a mate here in the office and we were wondering how many words per minute the commentators need to type to get a job at cricinfo?" It's the quality rather than the speed of the words that really counts, Damo.

"I think the performance of the Wallabies fly-half and coach during the World Cup are more hilarious than the name of Morne Steyn... But that's a topic for a different espn commentary website." Where've you been all day Sutty?

"Bhargav Sura, I think the SA rugby team has 2 Steyns (including Morne Steyn), a Morkel and a De Villiers. Is this some sort of fiendish sporting cloning exercise?" I think you might be onto something, James.

"Be Careful, the old Robert Brown is recovering from his sick bed, but is about to hit the ground running. Be Warned." Point taken, guy, and glad to hear it. Get well soon.

Jack writes in: "In Polish, the saying is that "when the sun is shining and the rain is raining, the witch is making butter".

"Oi Liam, Lets see if you have the spine to expand on those 2 non-classy words that you chose not to use. By the way, you do realize that you are just a nondescript sad simpleton doing an uber-trivial job to earn your daily bread right? Stay humble Liam ... stay humble. Good for your health you see." That just in from wealthy international playboy 'Chanakya'.

"If Theo Zabilowicz can cook, poisons you and I manage to save your life, does that count?" Not if you knew about it ahead of time and didn't tell me, AnanthaMurthy.

"Not sure bout the Aussie bloke, but I can cook, and will gladly save your life or any of the other commentators lives for that matter. Also from Zim, not that it matters much but we did produce the finest leggie (Cremer) so surely that works in my favour?" Yes, Steven, you certainly get some points there. Steven now leads the race to be adopted by me. Oddly.

530pm The covers are coming off! "And for some atmosphere, there is a parlotones song for the crowd," adds Firdose. "Lyrics: 'you are all beautiful, you are all magical'. Thank you for waiting in other words." It also looks like most of the spectators have stuck around.

"Its funny that the top scorer in Rugby World Cup 2011 is Morne Steyn ( a combination of two SA bowlers; Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn)." Is it funny, Bhargav Sura?

"Could you please inform us ,if you think we are going to get further pay, watching old classics, Alan Donald at his meanest best, and Jonty Rhodes diving everywhere, but at 1.45 A.M was wondering if it was worth staying up, thoughts please." You seem to be in a suspiciously pleasant mood, Robert Brown. I don't like it. Where's the old Robert Brown? But, to answer your question it has lightened significantly at Centurion and the rain appears to have stopped. The drainage there is superb, we've been told, so the delay shouldn't be a terminal one.

5.20pm The rain hasn't quite left Centurion yet, but something of a mopping-up operation has begun. No word of a potential re-start time yet.

"Further to the Question from Chirag on how to become a commentator on Cricinfo, can you tell me if any of the current commentators are thinking of adopting a 55 year old well spoken Aussie? Or are any of the current commentators in danger and in need of life saving intervention?" I can confirm, Theo Zabilowicz, that the thought had not crossed the mind of this commentator. Can you cook?

"@Liam Come on now.....We all know the greatest leggie to embrace the game was Brian Murphy. End of topic. Let's move on." I met Murphy in a bowling alley in Harare once, Pras G. He was cool. But he's no Dirty Joe.

"@Liam, I haven't been following your commentary but since you are on the topic of leg spinners why is Tahir not playing?" He's simply not been picked, Luke, as it was felt conditions were in favour of the seamers.

"That's S.A. for you, rain then beautiful sunshine," adds Judi Steel. "Look for the rainbow guys and hopefully our boys will be out on the pitch again soon. I trust Chirag's boss is not reading what he has written."

"Isnt it called a fox's wedding (and not a monkey's) when there is sunshine and rain simultaneously?" Not where I come from, Karthik. In Afrikaans, monkey's wedding is "Jackal marries wolf's wife".

"Yes. Excellent reference. Liam, it seems like there are only old-school Simpsons quotes when you're in the chair." Hugh, you just made my day.

"To all those talking leg-spin, I have two words for you : Sachin Tendulkar." Ashok, I also have two words for you but I will refrain as I like to keep things classy on comms.

5.10pm It's a monkey's wedding at Centurion! It's still raining, but the cloud has broken to one side of the ground and there's sunshine too.

"I am a huge cricket fan and sick of my job. I would like to join the cricinfo commentary team. Can you tell me how to apply for it?" Chirag, in order to join the Cricinfo commentary team you either have to be the child of a commentator or save the life of a commentator.

"As for the leggies Creamer is my top choice in his age group," adds Onismore Dudu, "but spare a thought for Bishoooooooooo."

A riposte, from Charles: "Dear NEW ZEALAND, we just handed you the rugby world cup... Enough favors done!! Don't bet on an easy cricket day ever!! Good luck for final. ;)"

"Graeme Cremer is a fine leggy," reminisces Bozi. "I remember going on tour with him with my high school 1st team when I was 18 and he was just 15. Even then he got prodigious turn and deceptive dip through the air. I also remember beating him with a cricket bat in the nude for initiation. Good times."

5.05pm Right, they've been off over an hour now, so we've started losing overs.

"As a South African living in the states I really appreciate the work from you commentary guys, it's the only way I get to "Watch" the cricket! Keep up the good work." Glad you enjoy it, Gregg Rose. We aim to please.

"I have some hopes of Scott Borthwick as a decent leggie," adds James. "Let's hope he develops (unlike Adil Rashid)."

Karthik writes: "@Liam: Why is Sumit Patel not included in your list of leg spinners.. !" Who?

"A friend of mine and I were joking today saying that even in the middle of a Highveld winter, if there was cricket at Centurion, it would probably rain. I posted on BBM this morning "Don't want Duckworth-Lewis to spoil our fun". Loving the commentary while I am at work." Nice to hear from you, Judi Steel. Hope you're not working too hard!

"Dear South Africa, PLEASE have one of those turn arounds when you come to New Zealand next year. Yours sincerely, The Black Caps." Cheeky, Ryan.

James writes: "The average English county cricketer also often "makes his appearance in droopy, rainy conditions", but I must have missed Higgins' references to him."

"I am very glad to see my country men Graeme Cremer coming through in the converstaion of quality leg spinners," writes Taurai. "I hope he is recovering well and will be back in the Zim line up soon." Yep, we've heard he's back to light training. Cremer will definitely push Paul Strang's record as a Zimbabwean legspinner, and it's hard to think of a better leggie in his age group in world cricket.

"Hashim is more Saffa than my family. And I am a proud Saffa. HIs ancestors came to SA 150 years ago. So there." Well said, Johan van der Staaten.

"Massive turnaround?" asks Dan. "SA have been rated No1 in all thre forms of the game at some point in the last 3 years, with the best away record hands down during that period...hard to massively improve on that." Some silverware wouldn't hurt.

Rakesh comes bursting out of left field: "Liam Devlin is a character who more often than not makes his appearence in droopy, rainy conditions, with lightning and thunder in the background, Irish of course, and is a notorious character from Jack Higgin's books."

"Seeing as how South Africa is "right up there" when it comes to cricket teams, wouldn't a "massive turnaround" require losing to Bangladesh, the Windies and Zimbabwe?" I like the sound of that, Ross Done.

Firdose Moonda confirms the power failure. "Stadium lights and everything. Andrew Samson, master statistician, says he was here once in the late 80s when the power went out and Franklyn Stephenson had just bowled a ball!"

Hannes bigs up the Centurion drainage: "Last December India and SA played a game after the stadium was under a foot of water two hours earlier and the Hennops river behind the stadium was flooding its banks. Even cars were swept away, but there was cricket! Nowhere could this have been possible."

4.40pm I've just been reliably informed that there's been some sort of power supply issue at the ground now, and the floodlights are off. Which surely won't help matters.

"One of my favourite ever cricketing moments was while umpiring," writes Random Irishman. "Lightning struck the corner of the ground (no rain) and when I looked back the facing batsman was half way to the pavillion running at full speed while everyone else was still in position for the next delivery."

"@Vij: Unless you drop Mike Hussey down to 6," writes Vernard Bongcaras. Stunning name, by the way. You should write horror/sci-fi fiction.

Eddy V thinks the signs are positive for South Africa: "I must say amongst all the complaining about who was in and who was left out of the SA team i think its GREAT that we can for once be in a position of DEPTH in the squad. I think we now have a fantastic coach who knows what it takes to win a world cup plus a bowling coach who helped NZ get so far in the World cup so we should brace ourselves for a massive turn around in SA Cricket now"

"Liam, did you see Mishra bowl in England this summer?" asks James. "Fair to put him in Steve Smith's "class" I reckon." At least Mishra spins the ball, and even did so in English conditions. Can't say that about Smith.

Estie writes in: "@Sunil - It often happens in the highveld here in South Africa that play is stopped because of lightning. This area (Johannesburg, Centurion) is renowned for it's lightning and being in the open is one place you don't want to be when there's lightning anywhere near. They sound sirens on golf courses to warn golfers of lightning and players are supposed to get off asap."

Some might say Michael's contribution is a little controversial: "Tahir statistically is the first choice bowler. So then it would be a choice between Botha and Steyn. South Africa is light on batsmen, especially form batsmen - Dale Steyn you are the weakest link - Good bye."

"@Bongani Don't import you say? Does that mean Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir are pure Saffers? Who woulda thunk it?" You might have made a good point there, Pras G, had you not included Amla. The man is born in Durban, for goodness sake.

"Liam, "Quality legspin or no legspin, I say"? That would mean guys like, Smith, Mishra, Kaneria etc. were wasting their time after Warnie." How dare you include Smith in Mishra and Kaneria's company, Caino's little brother.

"@Caino: Its called the curse of Bevan," writes Vij. "No matter who you put at 5 or 6 in the Aussie line up...they are still not good enough."

"@Bongani: Who's Imran Tahir then!!!? Reincarnated!" Touche, Maulik.

4.20pm The weather is still frustratingly changeable at Centurion, the rain easing before another squall blows across the ground. Updates as and when we get them. We've got an hour to play with, from the time they left the field, before we start losing overs.

Bongani writes: "Graeme Cremer? This is South Africa, not England. We export cricketers, not import." Well said. I did mean Graeme as an example of a quality leggie who might be used as an attacking option inside the first 10 though. He's that good.

Sunil has a story about thunder and lightning: "A few days back , lightning struck the ground while a domestic ( u-22 ) was going on between kerala and Andhra in Perinthalmanna , India . 3 players were affected by the shock though none were injured thankfully . The effect of this was that the next ( final) day , with Andhra requiring 3 wickets to win with 5 overs remaining ; the players and umpires ran off at the first sound of thunder . The match referee forced them to return , but 5 minutes later , a louder thunderclap sent them all scurrying back . Thats the only instance I know of lightning stopping play without any rain."

"South Africa should probably look to use du Plessis as the leggie more often." Pras G, lets not besmirch the art of legspin with part-timers. Quality legspin or no legspin, I say.

Conrad's 10 cents' worth: "I work for a green keeping company and I can confirm that Centurion does have one of the best drainage systems I've ever come across. But best in the world.... big call."

"Hey Liam, don't you mean you're "not sure weather to believe him"?" Stunning effort, James. I wish I'd thought of that one first!

Ron has this: "SA have always missed the extra edge a good wicket-taking spinner gives the can use in both forms of the game...They need a spinner good enough to bring on even before the 10th over if needed." Someone like, oh, Graeme Cremer for example?

"Its already a very short series," adds Mudhabir. "Can't imagine rain interrupting it." You don't have to imagine it, friend, it's happening right now.

"I would have atleast thought that they would put Cameron White in this team," reckons Caino. "Smith at No.5 or 6 sounds a bit fishy to me." You're not the only one to think so, I'm sure.

4.05pm There's light rain falling, Firdose tells us, and the covers are very much on.

"Mike must have had a little bit too much wine," writes Denzil Correa. "Wanderers probably has the best drainage facilities."

"Under whose expense you will bring Tahir in, that too in this wicket," asks Mudhabir. "Surely not Botha as he is more than capable with the bat." But would South Africa be better off with another wicket-taker in their bowling ranks? Even without Botha they've got seven batsman in the team today.

3.58pm Good grief, the apocalypse appears to have arrived in Centurion. It's very, very dark out there, and there's deep thunder rumbling. And indeed, the umpires are taking the players off. And it's raining now too, so we're in for a delay. Mike Haysman has just called this one of the best drainage grounds in the entire cricketing world on commentary. I'm not entirely sure whether to believe him, but fingers crossed!


Botha to Clarke, 1 run, work off the hip to square leg


Botha to Ponting, no run, outside off stump and heaved along the ground to midwicket

Australia won't have a chance for a batting Powerplay


Botha to Ponting, no run, comes well outside off stump, plays with the spin into the leg side and wanted a single but was sent back by Clarke and had to scurry


Botha to Ponting, FOUR, lovely shot, a hint of width and Ponting glides it through the vacant slip area down to third man


Botha to Ponting, 2 runs, drilled into the leg side wide of long on


Botha to Ponting, FOUR, connects well with a sweep, takes it from well outside off stump, it goes in the air but clear of any fielders. That takes him to fifty

End of over 20 (11 runs) Australia 107/1 (RR: 5.35)

    • RT Ponting 50 (60b 9x4)
    • MJ Clarke 30 (44b 5x4)
    • J Botha 3-0-21-0
    • DW Steyn 4-0-34-1

Lonwabo Tsotsobe into the attack


Tsotsobe to Clarke, 1 run, gives himself a touch of room outside leg then slashes down to third man


Tsotsobe to Ponting, 1 run, nearly does Ponting with a slower bounce, it looped off the surface and he had to wait on the shot before pulling to midwicket


Tsotsobe to Clarke, 1 run, back of a length, flat-batted back past the bowler put without much timing so mid-off comes round

Looks like it will be all-out attack from Australia


Tsotsobe to Ponting, 1 run, opens the face and pushes into the off side


Tsotsobe to Clarke, SIX, he's middle that! Dropped in short, Clarke was hanging back waiting for it and latches on with a powerful. He didn't even try to keep it down


Tsotsobe to Clarke, SIX, and again! He's peppering the leg side, this time it's straighter and more over midwicket as he clears his front leg

The hundred stand has been brought up with that six

End of over 21 (16 runs) Australia 123/1 (RR: 5.85)

    • MJ Clarke 44 (48b 5x4 2x6)
    • RT Ponting 52 (62b 9x4)
    • LL Tsotsobe 6-0-32-0
    • J Botha 3-0-21-0

Botha to Ponting, OUT, backing up, what a way to go! We've seen a few of these of late. Ponting used his feet, drilled it down the pitch where Botha got a hand on it and Clarke was backing up well out of his crease

MJ Clarke run out 44 (83m 48b 5x4 2x6) SR: 91.66

That's a big break for South Africa because this pair were flying after the rain break


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, almost another run out. Ponting open the face and found third man, Hussey races up the pitch and commits to a full-length dive. Boucher had knocked the bails off before getting the ball, but then uprooted a stump but Hussey was home


Botha to Hussey, no run, round the wicket, full on off stump, driven to cover


Botha to Hussey, 1 run, back in the crease and work off the stumps to deep square leg


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, chips down the pitch and works out to midwicket


Botha to Hussey, no run, lovely delivery, beaten by turn and bounce as this spins past the outside edge

End of over 22 (3 runs) Australia 126/2 (RR: 5.72)

    • MEK Hussey 1 (3b)
    • RT Ponting 54 (65b 9x4)
    • J Botha 4-0-24-0
    • LL Tsotsobe 6-0-32-0

Morne Morkel comes into the attack


Morkel to Ponting, no run, driven on the up from off stump straight to cover


Morkel to Ponting, no run, down the pitch and aims a heave to leg but loses shape on the shot so doesn't connect


Morkel to Ponting, 1 run, length delivery which doesn't really come on to Ponting, he goes for a pull and it lobs towards midwicket


Morkel to Hussey, FOUR, pinged away. Unlike Ponting, Hussey connects with his pull and it races through square leg


Morkel to Hussey, no run, beaten! That had some pace on it. Good comeback from Morkel. Hussey tries to run it down to third man but is done by the bounce


Morkel to Hussey, 1 run, fuller and driven square into the off side

End of over 23 (6 runs) Australia 132/2 (RR: 5.73)

    • MEK Hussey 6 (6b 1x4)
    • RT Ponting 55 (68b 9x4)
    • M Morkel 5-0-22-0
    • J Botha 4-0-24-0

Botha to Hussey, 1 run, round the wicket, worked off the stumps out to deep midwicket


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, down the pitch and thumped to long off


Botha to Hussey, SIX, brilliant from Hussey, comes down the pitch and outside leg which opens up the off side and he drives it over the deep cover boundary


Botha to Hussey, 1 run, fired in quicker, full at the stumps, and tucked out to deep square leg


Botha to Ponting, 1 run, backs away to leg but Botha followed him and fired the ball at his feet which meant there was no room to swing the arms


Botha to Hussey, 1 run, full again, yorker length and squeezed out to deep cover

End of over 24 (11 runs) Australia 143/2 (RR: 5.95)

    • MEK Hussey 15 (10b 1x4 1x6)
    • RT Ponting 57 (70b 9x4)
    • J Botha 5-0-35-0
    • M Morkel 5-0-22-0

Morkel to Hussey, 1 wide, down the leg side, no touch on the pad so no escape for the bowler


Morkel to Hussey, 1 run, opens the face and plays to cover


Morkel to Ponting, 1 run, he's found the non-striker's stumps again, but this time without any touch from the bowler, and it deflects away wide of mid-on for a single...the shot was worth a boundary


Morkel to Hussey, FOUR, another short ball and Hussey likes them, he managed to control the shot even though it was around head-height and there's no one at long leg


Morkel to Hussey, 1 run, goes back to a full length on the stumps, Hussey opens the face to find third man


Morkel to Ponting, 1 run, a fairly ugly shot from Ponting as he carves this down to long off


Morkel to Hussey, 1 run, delicately glided down to third man using the pace of Morkel

Australia going nicely here and their total will be adjusted with D/L, although South Africa will have the advantage of know exactly what the target is at each stage (if they can read the D/L sheet, that is)

End of over 25 (10 runs) Australia 153/2 (RR: 6.12)

    • MEK Hussey 22 (14b 2x4 1x6)
    • RT Ponting 59 (72b 9x4)
    • M Morkel 6-0-32-0
    • J Botha 5-0-35-0

Now Kallis gets another spell


Kallis to Hussey, no run, gets past the edge straight away as the ball bounces over Hussey's cut


Kallis to Hussey, 1 run, full on middle and leg, nicely timed through midwicket but the fielding is swift to stop a second


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, full at the stumps, whipped down to long on


Kallis to Hussey, 1 run, low full toss on off stump, Hussey drives firmly to cover where Morkel gets down well to make a good save


Kallis to Ponting, no run, comes down the pitch outside leg then doesn't connect as the ball is outside off stump


Kallis to Ponting, 1 run, aims down the ground but it comes off the toe end and lobs into the outfield short of long on

End of over 26 (4 runs) Australia 157/2 (RR: 6.03)

    • RT Ponting 61 (75b 9x4)
    • MEK Hussey 24 (17b 2x4 1x6)
    • JH Kallis 5-1-24-0
    • M Morkel 6-0-32-0

Plenty of bowling changes, here's Dale Steyn


Steyn to Ponting, 2 runs, starts with a good yorker but it's pushed down the ground with just the right amount of force to allow time for a second


Steyn to Ponting, OUT, picks out backward point. It was full and wide, Ponting connected quite well but Botha didn't have to move too far to his right

RT Ponting c Botha b Steyn 63 (118m 77b 9x4 0x6) SR: 81.81


Steyn to Haddin, no run, slashes and misses at his first ball, wasn't far away from a wide but Haddin was giving himself room


Steyn to Haddin, 1 run, splays his stance to allow himself a free swing then drives a very full delivery down to long off


Steyn to Hussey, 1 run, tucked off about middle towards square leg


Steyn to Haddin, 2 runs, some excellent timing, again staying leg-side of the ball and drives sweetly through cover leaving long off a chase around the boundary

End of over 27 (6 runs) Australia 163/3 (RR: 6.03)

    • BJ Haddin 3 (3b)
    • MEK Hussey 25 (18b 2x4 1x6)
    • DW Steyn 5-0-40-2
    • JH Kallis 5-1-24-0

Not sure about Kallis' hair, but anyway...


Kallis to Hussey, FOUR, this is a super little innings from Hussey as he picks up another boundary over midwicket from a full delivery


Kallis to Hussey, 1 run, now he drives firmly through the covers


Kallis to Haddin, 2 runs, low full toss at leg stump, pushed down the ground and again with just the right amount of force


Kallis to Haddin, 2 runs, this is on a good length so Haddin is able to get slightly under it and swing into the leg side


Kallis to Haddin, 2 runs, another full toss which is heaved through midwicket, there's a good piece of fielding on the boundary as JP Duminy brings out the slide


Kallis to Haddin, OUT, lofted down to long on, got underneath this too much and it almost went straight up

BJ Haddin c Duminy b Kallis 9 (7m 7b 0x4 0x6) SR: 128.57

End of over 28 (11 runs) Australia 174/4 (RR: 6.21)

    • MEK Hussey 30 (20b 3x4 1x6)
    • JH Kallis 6-1-35-1
    • DW Steyn 5-0-40-2

Mitchell Marsh, who impressed in the T20, is in at No. 6


Steyn to Marsh, 2 runs, drives his first delivery firmly down to long where's a fumble so he gets back on strike


Steyn to Marsh, no run, excellent yorker outside off stump and Marsh plays over the top


Steyn to Marsh, 1 run, low full toss and Marsh swings powerfully through the line to pick out long off


Steyn to Hussey, 1 leg bye, well bowled, Hussey shaped to move outside leg and Steyn fired the ball full at his pads and it rebounded down to third man


Steyn to Marsh, FOUR, connects cleanly through the off side, was short of yorker length and Marsh could drive with a full swing of the arms


Steyn to Marsh, 1 run, gets the final ball of the innings down to third man

Australia reached 183 for 4 which isn't a bad effort considering they had to resume from a standing start after 19 overs. Ponting, Clarke and Hussey played well and we'll confirm the D/L adjustment for you shortly. The talk is a target around 220, but nothing official as yet. Been confirmed that the target is 223, makes it a tough chase but gettable in the Twenty20 era. Just a rough explanation as to why the target is increased, it's because Australia's innings was interrupted after they expected to face 50 overs so played accordingly. It's more complicated than just that, but that's a basic principle.

End of over 29 (9 runs) Australia 183/4

    • MR Marsh 8 (5b 1x4)
    • MEK Hussey 30 (21b 3x4 1x6)
    • DW Steyn 6-0-48-2
    • JH Kallis 6-1-35-1





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