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Don Rosco

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Sibley has really taken his chance. It's great to see an England batsman play that sort of innings. We might have finally found an opening partnership with him and Burns. 

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Don’t think we’ll lose it but the pitch doesn’t seem to be playing up as expected before the test began. Root’s bowling to get a spawny wicket when all looks lost to trigger an England-esque batting collapse. 

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It's going to be a tense day tomorrow. Great to get that late breakthrough, but SA could still dig in for the draw. England have to win. 

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Of all the teams who can do a proper dig in this modern era, SA are probably still high on the list. We do seem to have the right attack to give a chance though, I wonder what the pitch will do.

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There does seem to be a trend, at least in Tests that I've watched recently, of pitches not deteriorating but seeming to get better as the match goes on. Is it just me or is this a thing?

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5 wickets needed in a session with a quiet pitch, it does look like the draw is favourite again. Oh well. 

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He got that done early in the end, no doubts needed whatsoever. I liked Crawley's catch there, that's one of the calmer expressions I've seen on somebody juggling a slip catch.

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I love this photo. It's one of those ones where the poses and facial expressions make it look like a renaissance painting. Crawley gazing at the ball in awe while third slip (Bess?) strikes an imploring pose. Anderson tense to the point of alarm in the foreground. 

eb251783-f6ae-4fc0-b356-1ddc408ca28b.jpg

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My two favourite stats for today:

 

1) If Philander finishes this test with figures of 0-24 , his test career will be 222 wickets @ 22.22.

 

2) 

Spoiler

The last time an English pair other than Cook-Strauss survived the first session of a Test was in 2008 (Cook and Vaughan in Wellington). Vaughan was then out 2nd ball after Lunch.

 

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Pope and Stokes setting something good up here.

 

Rabada suspended from the next test. Fucking ridiculous really. I know him and Joe Root have some kind of previous, but he bowled his off stump out of the ground and then did a roaring celebration more or less right next to Root. I mean, it's a bit off? But also the kind of thing that adds a bit of needle and interest to a match, this stuff is fun! A demerit point which took him over the threshold and 15% of his match fee. Meh.

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haha Stokes just put the ball quite a long way out of the ground off Maharaj, batting does seem a bit more fluent this morning. That looked quite dangerous for the nearby traffic.

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Regarding Rabada, it's a shame he won't be playing in the fourth test, but he's not been banned for his celebration - he's been banned for his previous transgressions, and the aggressive celebration is the last thing that's tipped him over the edge to a ban. He got the same punishment that Buttler got for calling Philander a knobhead. 

 

Of course, all the media commentators are conveniently forgetting this because it's easier to create content by being outraged that someone has been banned for celebrating a wicket. 

 

 

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Good session for England,  that one. We could really take the game away from them here. There's a lovely comment on the Guardian OBO about Stokes, shortly after getting his century:

 

Quote

My colleague Martin Rose tells me it was Stokes who encouraged Pope to review that LBW decision with only a couple of seconds remaining on the DRS timer. Stokes can do nothing wrong at the moment. If he fell into a barrel of Brexit, he’d come up clutching a united society.

 

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Yeah I just listened to the Sky pundits spend most of the lunchbreak arguing abour Rabada. He's been a fool and no mistake, but it still doesn't really sit right with me that this one was a demerit point. Buttler was swearing on the hot mic, it's a bit different. But maybe we don't want to be encouraging the kids to celebrate too aggressively either.

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