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 Liam.....my 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 you...one 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!