Friday 31 August 2012

Mini-Session Analysis, Second Test, Ind NZ, Bangalore, 2012

Here is the mini-session analysis for the second test between India and New Zealand at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, India.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aNew Zealand 45/1 off 15New Zealand
1-1bNew Zealand 63/2 off 14draw
1-2aNew Zealand 88/1 off 13.2New Zealand
1-2bNew Zealand 44/1 off 16.4India
1-3aNew Zealand 64/1 off 16New Zealand
1-3bNew Zealand 24/0 off 6.3New Zealand
2-1aNew Zealand 33/4 off 8.4India
2-1bIndia 63/2 off 21New Zealand
2-2aIndia 61/2 off 12draw
2-2bIndia 44/0 off 14India
2-3aIndia 57/1 off 11India
2-3bIndia 58/0 off 20India
3-1aIndia 52/4 off 13New Zealand
3-1bIndia 18/1 off 5.5New Zealand
New Zealand 29/0 off 5
3-2aNew Zealand 40/3 off 13India
3-2bNew Zealand 67/1 off 17New Zealand
3-3aNew Zealand 45/1 off 14New Zealand
3-3bNew Zealand 64/4 off 20India
4-1aNew Zealand 16/1 off 4.2India
India 67/0 off 11
4-1bIndia 21/2 off 9New Zealand
4-2aIndia 59/0 off 12.5India
4-3aIndia 27/3 off 12.1New Zealand
4-3bIndia 39/0 off 11India
4-3cIndia 49/0 off 7.2India

Latest update here. India win the match, after the mini-session count is tied 11-11

Tea, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 2-1

An absorbing day of cricket. Punch and counter punch; featuring one of the best captain's innings you are likely to see. Taylor came out in the media before the match and said that New Zealand's batsmen needed to be more positive, and attack the bowling. He then went out and demonstrated what he meant.

He came in after the umpires again decided that the benefit of the doubt should go to the home side twice. The ball may have just clipped the off stump for McCullum's lbw, and may have flicked the bails for Williamson, but both of them were at best tight decisions, and have continued the trend of close calls going the way of India in this series.

Taylor could have responded to the team being under pressure by shutting up shop. He could have tried to get his eye in. Instead he started to swing the bat. His 18 boundaries have covered almost all the points of the clock, with only 12 o'clock and 5 o'clock missing out so far.

Taylor needs 11 more runs to become the fastest New Zealand batsman to score 3000 runs in terms of matches (one behind Martin Crowe in terms of innings). New Zealand have to a chance to get over 300, and allow their bowlers something to bowl at.

Final drinks, Day 1: New Zealand leads the mini-session count 3-1

The third hour that New Zealand have scored at more than a run a minute. To be over 300 before the end of the day would be something that the New Zealand team could hardly have dreamed of after the debacle at Hyderabad.

The Indian bowing has been exactly what the modern game tends to provide. Defensive bowling to attacking fields or attacking bowling to defensive fields. There had been a bit too much leg-side filth, trying to bore the batsmen out for my liking, but to be fair it seems to have worked against Guptill and Taylor.

The new ball will be interesting. I'd expect the spinners will get a bowl with it, rather than the quicks, but the extra bounce might be quite dangerous.

Stumps, Day 1: New Zealand leads the mini-session count 4-1

It's New Zealand's day here. 3 players in particular really took it to the Indians, first Guptill, then Taylor and finally van Wyk. Ojha was the lone bright light for India. He looks like he is the sort of bowler who is good against quality batsmen, similar to Trent Boult for New Zealand. Often the rule is that you take the ball away from the batsmen, but bring it into the bowlers. Ashwin started to look more dangerous once Taylor was out. While he didn't manage to get Bracewell out, he did manage to make him look troubled a couple of times.

It's a truism that the next morning is going to be vital. However If New Zealand manage to bat through the first 4 or 5 overs without losing a wicket, they could potentially go on to score 400, and really make the Indian team work in the second innings. There is not likely to be a complete reversal of Hyderabad, but it's amazing what scoreboard pressure does to players.

Inning change over, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 4-2

A combination of good bowling, poor shots and some really bad luck saw New Zealand only add 33 runs for the loss of 4 wickets at the start of the day. India are certainly back in this game, but New Zealand still have the runs on the board, as the cliche goes.

The Indian response will be interesting.

Lunch, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 5-2

Another session, another tough decision against New Zealand. Sehwag looked to be out off the first ball from the second over. There may have been some doubt on height, but after seven decisions that had more doubt than that being given out in the last three innings, it was surprising to see the umpires finally giving the benefit of the doubt to the batsman.

The bad news for New Zealand is that Sehwag is not one to often squander a start against them. He has 7 centuries against New Zealand in international cricket. Once he is in he is a difficult man to stop. At the other end is Tendulkar. While he is hardly looking in vintage form, (4 off 41, no runs off his last 26 balls) the longer he bats, the closer he is to recovering his touch.

New Zealand need at least two more wickets before the clouds burn off. As the pitch is wearing quickly, they can't afford to give India a first innings lead.

Final drinks, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 5-4

On the first day we saw a fantastic counter-attack from Taylor, assisted by Flynn and van Wyk. Today it was Kohli, assisted by Raina and Dhoni. The game is quite even going into the last hour. We really have an absorbing test match on our hands here.

Stumps, Day 2: The mini-session count is tied 5-5

The game is now probably slightly in India's favour. New Zealand can not afford to allow India a lead, as the New Zealand lineup is not as suited to playing on a wearing pitch.

It's been a great partnership from Kohli and Dhoni, but batting will be more difficult in the morning with (probably) some cloud cover and a new ball. Again the first hour will be really important.

Tea, Day 3: New Zealand leads the mini-session count 8-6

This game is still very evenly poised. Both teams are yet to really grab the game by the scruff of the neck. New Zealand are probably still 150 runs from a score that's likely to win, but even chasing 200 will be difficult on this pitch for India.

The star of the day has been Tim Southee. His 7/64 is one of the best ever returns for a New Zealand bowler. He really took the spotlight off Virat Kohli's fantastic hundred. Kohli has scored 450 runs in his last 5 tests, at an average over 50.

Stumps, Day 3: New Zealand leads the mini-session count 9-7

R Ashwin has managed to get India back into the game. The second one side looks like they are winning, the other one strikes back. This is test match cricket at its' most absorbing.

Going into day 4, there is almost certainly going to be a result (unless there is some terrible weather or a phenomenal rear guard effort by Patel and Boult tomorrow.) We may even have the exciting prospect of a day 5 with a very small number of runs needed, and only a couple of wickets in hand.

First drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 9-8

A very aggressive start from India, after another horrible decision to end New Zealand's innings.

Sehwag and Gambhir have looked like they are playing an ODI match. If they keep this up, the game will escape New Zealand very quickly.

Lunch, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-8

The roller-coaster lurches again. This test is starting to feel like the Hobart one. Tendulkar looks all at sea against Boult, but if anyone can battle through a bad patch, it's him. There is still a lot of work for New Zealand to do, but the momentum is back with them at the moment.

Rain break, post lunch, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-9

India have taken hold of this match. It will take either some very poor cricket from India, some very good cricket from New Zealand or a combination of both for India to lose this now.

Brendon McCullum's missed stumping may prove to be very costly.

Final drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 11-10

It looked like India's game at lunch. Then an hour later it was New Zealand's. Now Dhoni and Kohli have taken back control. Is there another twist?

End of match: The mini-session count was tied 11-11

India won the match, mostly due to the batting of Virat Kohli. The rest of the teams cancelled each other out, but he shone above everyone else. When Dravid described him as India's best batsman in all three formats, he was not exaggerating to make a point. Kohli has turned potential into delivery. There is a long time to go, but at the moment he is truly a wonderful batsman.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Mini-session Analysis 1st Test Ind NZ Hyderabad 2012

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between India and New Zealand at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, India

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

MS Dhoni said before the match that their aim was to win the most mini-sessions, because the team that does that normally wins the match. His team certainly executed his plan.

1-1aIndia 65/1 off 13India
1-1bIndia 32/1 off 12New Zealand
1-2aIndia 39/1 off 15New Zealand
1-2bIndia 46/0 off 14India
1-3aIndia 75/1 off 16India
1-3bIndia 50/1 off 17draw
2-1aIndia 26/0 off 12India
2-1bIndia 38/0 off 9India
2-2aIndia 41/2 off 15New Zealand
2-2bIndia 26/3 off 11.3New Zealand
2-3aNew Zealand 39/3 off 14India
2-3bNew Zealand 45/1 off 19India
2-3cNew Zealand 22/1 off 9India
3-1New Zealand 53/5 off 19.3India
3-2New Zealand 41/1 off 18India
4-1aNew Zealand 30/0 off 14New Zealand
4-1bNew Zealand 21/0 off 11draw
4-2aNew Zealand 30/2 off 14India
4-2bNew Zealand 24/3 off 16India
4-3aNew Zealand 18/4 off 6.5India

Final update here. India win the match by an innings and 115 runs. The win the mini-session count 13-5

Lunch, Day 1: The mini-session count is level at 1-1

New Zealand really missed a trick in the morning session. They dropped Sehwag twice, and left a gap for him to score at 3rd man, allowing him to score 24 of his 47 runs to that spot.

However despite that, the first session was quite even. Boult again looked dangerous. He is turning into a very handy bowler.

Middle drinks, Day 1: NZ lead the mini-session count 2-1

Trent Bould bowled Tendulkar. In his 5 matches, his victims now include Gayle, Kallis, Gambhir, Tendulkar and Michael Hussey. It seems that the better the batsman, the more they struggle with Boult.

Tea, Day 1: The mini-session count is level at 2-2

Kohli and Pujara have put together a great partnership here. New Zealand will want at least one more wicket before the new ball.

Post tea drinks, Day 1: India lead the mini-session count 3-2

Two more dropped catches in that session. The Kohli-Pujara partnership was fantastic. New Zealand will be very frustrated with this match. They have played some good cricket, and yet are behind in the match.

Stumps, Day 1: India lead the mini-session count 3-2

It was a day of missed chances for New Zealand, and yet they are still well in this match. Boult bowled very well, as did Jeetan Patel, although with very little luck. The 4 bowlers who took wickets all had at least one catch dropped off their bowling, so all can feel a little unlucky.

The star of the day, however is Cheteshwar Pujara. His 119* so far has been head and shoulders ahead of any of the other Indian batsmen. It wasn't quite chanceless, but the one half chance that he did offer up was still after he'd scored more than anyone else managed.

Tomorrow there is likely to be some good cloud cover, which, when combined with a two paced pitch, should make for tricky batting conditions.

Tea, Day 2: India lead the mini-session count 5-4

Due to my TV dying, I've been unable to watch much of this day, but Kruger van Wyk seems to have pulled off one of the stumpings that he made his name with. The partnership between Dhoni and Pujara threatened to take the game away from New Zealand, but in the end 438 is a fair score, but not much more. In the last 6 first class matches at this ground, at least one of the first innings have scored more than 400, so it's about what would be expected.

How the New Zealand batsmen go about building their innings now that Hesson is in charge will be interesting.

Stumps, Day 3: India lead the mini-session count 10-4

New Zealand are in a lot of trouble.

While India are dominating the match, I don't think that the difference between the teams has been quite as great as the scorecard would indicate. There have been number of 50-50 decisions by the umpires, and only one of them has gone to New Zealand's favour. India have also had the luxury of having a lot of men round the bat. It's a luxury that their batsmen purchased for them.

Ashwin and Ojha really made the most of the advantage that their batsmen gave them, and looked more dangerous than I've seen either of them before. Ashwin bowled one of the best deliveries I've seen to Chirs Martin. That was really a waste, as he could have probably gotten out Martin without needing such a good delivery. He should really have saved his best for when he's bowling to someone who is good against spin, like Misbah-ul-Haq or Darren Bravo.

First drinks, Day 4: India lead the mini-session count 10-5

Good work from McCullum and Williamson. McCullum has really gone into his shell here. He has quite a poor record when he defends. In innings where he has a strike rate of less than 45 he's never scored a 50. In his career he's only batted more than 150 balls 8 times, so to face 92 balls for only 31 runs is certainly not batting according to his normal script. If these two put together a very large partnership it could be the start of a very good period in McCullum's career.

Lunch, Day 4: India lead the mini-session count 10-6

McCullum and Williamson are still there, and have batted through the entire session. Realistically they need to bat for another session before New Zealand start to look even marginally likely to draw the match.

Second session drinks, Day 4: India lead the mini-session count 11-5

The umpire strikes back. Brendan McCullum was out bat before wicket, then Ross Taylor left one that bowled him. Still, the Indian bowlers put a lot of pressure on the batsmen, and created the situation where the umpire had to make a decision.

Williamson is still looking solid. This is the 7th time he has faced more than 100 deliveries, in only his 27th innings.

Tea, Day 4: India lead the mini-session count 12-5.

Ashwin and Ohja have continued to weave a web of mystery over the New Zealand lower order. Dhoni made a fantastic change bringing in Raina for an over to Williamson. The lack of overspin seemed to unsettle him. The next over Ojha came back in and got out Williamson immediately.

End of match: India win the mini-session count 13-5

A complete thrashing. New Zealand went from 98/1 to 164 all out. 9 wickets for 66 runs. The innings was typified by the dismissal of Doug Bracewell. He was beaten by a good ball, edged it. The catch was grounded by Kohli, but Bracewell didn't notice, and walked off in a hurry. If he had stayed around, he might have been given not out, but he had given up. Ashwin and Ojha were too good, and New Zealand were awful, despite good, fighting knocks from Guptill, McCullum and Williamson.

New Zealand will need to make an enormous improvement in order to level up the series in the second match.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Mini-session Analysis 3rd test Eng SA Lord's, London 2012

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the third test between England and South Africa at Lord's, London, England.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aSouth Africa 27/1 off 13England
1-1bSouth Africa 38/3 off 11England
1-2aSouth Africa 40/1 off 14.1draw
1-2bSouth Africa 46/0 off 16.5South Africa
1-3aSouth Africa 50/1 off 15South Africa
1-3bSouth Africa 61/1 off 17.4South Africa
2-1aSouth Africa 45/2 off 13England
2-1bSouth Africa 2/1 off 0.4South Africa
England 29/1 off 10.4
2-2aEngland 25/3 off 12.4South Africa
2-2bEngland 40/0 off 14.4England
2-3aEngland 48/0 off 14England
2-3bEngland 66/1 off 20England
3-1aEngland 35/1 off 14South Africa
3-1bEngland 34/2 off 11South Africa
3-2aEngland 38/2 off 10.3South Africa
3-2bSouth Africa 33/0 off 15draw
3-3aSouth Africa 37/2 off 15England
3-3bSouth Africa 75/1 off 20South Africa
4-1aSouth Africa 38/1 off 13South Africa
4-1bSouth Africa 33/0 off 13.4South Africa
4-2aSouth Africa 52/2 off 14.2England
4-2bSouth Africa 38/1 off 16England
4-3aSouth Africa 39/1 off 15England
4-3bSouth Africa 6/2 off 2.2South Africa
England 16/2 off 13
5-1aEngland 29/2 off 13South Africa
5-1bEngland 75/0 off 14England
5-2aEngland 54/2 off 15South Africa
5-2bEngland 47/1 off 15England
5-3aEngland 73/3 off 12.5England

South Africa win the mini-session count 14-13, and they close out the match and the series.

This was the closest of the 3 matches, but South Africa were still clearly better than England. The overall mini-session count for the series was 47-31 to South Africa. They clearly deserved to win the series.

Friday 3 August 2012

Mini-session analysis 2nd Test, WI NZ, Sabina Park, 2012

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between West Indies and New Zealand at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aNew Zealand 35/2 off 12West Indies
1-1bNew Zealand 39/0 off 15New Zealand
1-2aNew Zealand 45/1 off 13New Zealand
1-2bNew Zealand 33/2 off 12West Indies
1-3aNew Zealand 22/1 off 13West Indies
1-3bNew Zealand 86/4 off 17.5West Indies
West Indies 11/0 off 5
2-1aWest Indies 32/2 off 13New Zealand
2-1bWest Indies 19/1 off 12New Zealand
2-2aWest Indies 43/2 off 13.1New Zealand
2-2bWest Indies 58/2 off 11.5West Indies
2-3aWest Indies 46/3 off 9.3New Zealand
2-3bNew Zealand 30/0 off 11New Zealand
2-3cNew Zealand 29/2 off 10West Indies
3-1aNew Zealand 25/2 off 15West Indies
3-1bNew Zealand 25/3 off 15West Indies
3-2aNew Zealand 45/3 off 14.2West Indies
3-2bWest Indies 56/2 off 12West Indies
3-3aWest Indies 26/0 off 12West Indies
3-3bWest Indies 53/2 off 19New Zealand
4-1aWest Indies 56/1 off 14West Indies
4-1bWest Indies 15/0 off 6.2West Indies

Final update here. West Indies win the mini-session count 13-8

Stumps, Day 1: West Indies lead the mini-session count 4-2

New Zealand has imploded on day 1, after a solid start from Taylor and Guptill. A third successive 50 from Guptill was this time brought to an end by an injury causing him to get run out. Guptill managed 7 successive 50's. Again the New Zealand bowlers came out and attacked, and looked effective. Again that should be a worrying sign.

The positive sign for New Zealand was the bowling of Trent Boult. He is now probably the most dangerous bowler that New Zealand has. With 2 left-armers in the side, (for only the 4th test match in New Zealand's history) Taylor has the option of having a left/right combination constantly in this test. That's something that batsmen will not be used to facing, and could work to New Zealand's advantage. However, the pitch was not a major factor in many of today's dismissals, and it is unlikely to come to New Zealand's rescue tomorrow.

Innings break, post tea, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 6-5

New Zealand's bowlers have stepped up today. This wasn't calypso collapso, it was quality bowling: 6 of the wickets fell to batsmen trying to defend, and 2 fell to batsmen trying to hit a single to relieve the pressure.

Boult led the way removing the first two. Then some disciplined bowling from the rest of the bowlers managed to generally pick away the West Indian wickets before Bracewell went rabbit hunting at the end.

New Zealand have often struggled to clean up the tail of teams, but Bracewell has now done it a number of times. With Boult removing the batsmen and Bracewell removing the bowlers this could be a very good combination.

Marlon Samuels stood magnificent amongst the rubble. He scored more than half of his team's runs, and, other than one half chance early on, looked like he was batting on a different pitch. In the end he perished when hitting out, but his century was, In Brian Waddle's words "as good as you are likely to see."

Final drinks, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-5

Two contrasting approaches to this innings. Guptill has looked to get after the bowling more than he has in the rest of this series: 24 of 32 and showing some real intent. Wattling however has been content to wait. He batted fantastically at Sabina Park in the second ODI (his 50 in the first match was quite scratchy), and he will be hoping to recapture that form in this innings.

New Zealand now lead by 81. In the history of Sabina Park, there have only been 2 times that a team has successfully chased more than 100, and no team has ever chased down 250 here. If these two are together at stumps, New Zealand will be in a commanding position.

Stumps, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-6

Two quick wickets from Narsingh Deonarine has taken the game back towards being even. Guptill again failed to convert a start. It was clever captaincy from Sammy, as both batsmen tried to turn the ball round the corner for singles into a gap that he'd left for them. Both of them missed, and so were out. New Zealand will be looking for a score of at least 250, but they will probably need someone to do what Samuels has done and convert a start to at least 100.

Final drinks, Day 3: West Indies lead the mini-session count 11-7.

Since I started keeping track of the mini-sessions, the closest any team has come to winning a game, but losing the mini-session count was Sri Lanka vs South Africa, where the mini-session count was tied, but Sri Lanka won convincingly. New Zealand will need to be the first to over turn the mini-session count if they are to win this match.

The set up is similar to Hobart. One batsman is playing well, the rest are looking shaky. There is a feeling that BJ Wattling may have dropped the match when he put down Samuels, who is looking imperious.

Earlier New Zealand managed to implode in dramatic fashion. 5 wickets went to batsmen trying to hit boundaries and 2 to batsmen trying to hit singles. Only Wagner, McCullum and Bracewell got out after being beaten by genuinely good deliveries. Ross Taylor probably needs to re-assess his decision to play the cut shot early in his innings. He's gotten out to it a few times now, he should probably either try and place it for 1, or just leave those deliveries alone until he has his eye in a bit better.

Stumps, Day 3: West Indies lead the mini-session count 11-8

West Indies need Chanderpaul to stay there and one batsman to stick with him. New Zealand need at least 1 good spell of bowling. The bookies currently have NZ at $7 for the win. I feel if the two teams were to play from this position 20 times that New Zealand would win 4 or 5, so $7 looks like a good price to me.

There is one joker in the pack: Ernesto. Hurricane Ernesto is likely to hit Jamaica about midday tomorrow. The NOAA have it 70% likely to have hit by 1pm local time. It is unlikely that play will be possible after it hits (although if it turns slightly to the left it may only last for an hour or so). If play progresses too slowly tomorrow, and neither side has won by lunch, then the game may be a draw.

End of match: West Indies beat New Zealand and the rain by 5 wickets. They win the mini-session count 13-8.

New Zealand were unable to make the vital break-throughs, and West Indies walked home in less than 2 hours on the morning of day 4. A terrible tour for New Zealand, who were comprehensively out played by a West Indies team that produced some of the best cricket they have played for about 7 years. Every time it looked like New Zealand were going to get back into a match or series, a player would step up and take the game away.

Mini-session Analysis 2nd Test, Eng SA Leeds 2012

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between England and South Africa at Headingley, Leeds, England.

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aSouth Africa 41/0 off 14South Africa
1-1bSouth Africa 42/0 off 13South Africa
1-2aSouth Africa 47/1 off 13South Africa
1-2bSouth Africa 33/2 off 12England
1-3aSouth Africa 38/0 off 17South Africa
1-3bSouth Africa 61/2 off 18England
2-1aSouth Africa 33/0 off 15draw
2-1bSouth Africa 41/1 off 13draw
2-2aSouth Africa 39/2 off 11.5England
2-2bSouth Africa 44/2 off 12.3England
2-3England 48/0 off 18England
3-1England 32/1 off 12.2South Africa
3-2aEngland 44/1 off 16.4South Africa
3-2bEngland 59/2 off 16South Africa
3-3aEngland 63/0 off 14England
3-3bEngland 58/0 off 14England
3-3cEngland 47/1 off 14England
4-1aEngland 45/2 off 15South Africa
4-1bEngland 29/3 off 6.4South Africa
South Africa 5/0 off 2.3
4-2South Africa 34/0 off 14.3South Africa
5-1aSouth Africa 51/0 off 13.5South Africa
5-1bSouth Africa 33/1 off 7.1South Africa
5-2aSouth Africa 59/2 off 13.5South Africa
5-2bSouth Africa 57/4 off 13.1England
5-3aSouth Africa 19/2 off 2.4South Africa
5-3bEngland 114/4 off 24South Africa
5-3cEngland 16/0 off 9draw

Final update here. The match was drawn, with South Africa winning the mini-session count 15-9

Lunch, Day 1: South Africa lead the mini-session count 2-0

And they lead it despite England bowling quite well really. They have swung the ball, seamed the ball, beaten the South Africans on the inside edge, beaten the South Africans outside edge, had edges go to ground, had an edge caught off a dead ball, and not taken a wicket.

And now it looks like normal coverage continues.

South Africa have run very well. Smith and Petersen have taken a lot of quick singles, hitting the ball softly to mid off or cover. This has given them some real momentum, despite them not ever really getting on top of the bowling yet.

Stumps, Day 1: South Africa lead the mini-session count 4-2

It was a day of missed opportunities for both sides. England looked threatening with the ball, and managed to almost take a number of wickets. South Africa survived the early onslaught, but then lost a couple of key wickets. They rebuilt, only to lose a couple more wickets at the end of the day.

Overall it was a good day of test cricket. Alviro Peterson has almost made up for missing out at the Oval. Jacques Rudolph will be happy. He's finally managed to get involved in a game. South Africa are in the lead, but are definitely not in control yet.

Lunch, Day 2: South Africa lead the mini-session count 4-2

South Africa made the most conservative of starts. Their first run didn't come until the 7th over. However they managed to survive the first hour, and finally scored some runs. The breakthrough for England came from an unlikely source, Kevin Pietersen. It allowed us the joy of having Pietersen bowling to Petersen.

Stumps, Day 2: England lead the mini-session count 5-4.

I counted the whole session as one mini-session, as there were only a couple of overs after drinks before the rain and bad light conspired together to end the day's play.

While England are leading the mini-session count, South Africa are probably slightly ahead in the match. Runs on the board mean more at Leeds than most places. When teams scores 300 in Headingley they win 80%. There are always exceptions, like this one, but England are not likely to have Don Bradman come out and slay 173* in the final innings.

The first session tomorrow will be a fascinating session. How will the English batsmen handle Philander? The little bit of rain that got onto the pitch might cause it to misbehave slightly, and he is a genius when the pitch is helpful. We've potentially got an interesting match on our hands here.

Lunch, Day 3: The mini-session count is tied up at 5-5.

The South African bowlers did enough to keep the English batsmen in check, and Philander managed to get a straight one to get rid of Cook.

There is still a lot of room for extra twists and turns in this match.

Stumps, Day 3: England lead the mini-session count 8-7

What an innings from Pietersen. England are in the lead now, but the draw is probably winning the race.

The thought is still there though, one cloudy morning in Headingley and everything can change.

South Africa maintained their discipline, kept bowling to the plan, and it was working until Taylor and Pietersen came together. Their partnership was 147, of which 99 were contributed by Pietersen. During this series Pietersen has moved past Denis Compton's total number of runs scored in England, and it was an innings that Compton would have been proud of. Rather than allowing the bowlers to dominate, he set about the process of making them uncomfortable by scoring runs as quickly as was sensible.

He was dropped on 52, and just like Amla in the first match, he has made South Africa pay. How much it costs them will be interesting to see overnight.

Stumps, Day 5: South Africa win the mini-session count 15-9

This match was ruined by rain. There was a chance of a stunning finale in store, but almost 90 overs were lost to the weather. Despite South Africa being so far ahead in the mini-session count, England probably had their noses slightly ahead in the match, and may well have won it if there had been an extra day. Again it makes me wonder if it would be a good idea to have reserve days in test matches.