It’s dry and actually pretty sunny at the moment, but there was a load of rain overnight, so it’s not certain we’ll be able to start on time.
It’s been a strange few weeks: two fun, interesting and talented teams, ostensibly well-matched – but only in the big picture, each having annihilated the other in less than three days. As such, we’ve had only half of the action for which we were hoping and are only getting three matches not four, so it feels like we’ve not really seen a series … but goodness gracious us, we’re set up for a helluva finish.
Er, if the weather allows it. Today and tomorrow do not look great, at all – who could possibly have predicted inclemence in the second week of September? – but we should, hopefully, have scope for a proper set-to.
Er, if the teams allow it. Both have suffered when batting in bowler-friendly conditions, partly because both have terrific attacks, and partly because both have unreliable top-orders. So the Summer of JonnyTM coming to an abrupt and unfortunate end is a problem for England, who’ve relied heavily on the ludicrous form of their cuddly ginger hedgehog, but as a consequence, Harry Brook now has the opportunity for which he’s been working his entire life; go well old mate.
As for South Africa, they’ve even fewer reliable batters than England, but in Dean Elgar have a captain with a proven record of accumulation who, depending on how you look at it, is either struggling or due. A lot rests on him – and not just at the crease. At Lord’s, he called correctly and made the correct call; at Old Trafford he called correctly and made the incorrect call. This time, though, given the time of year, likely conditions and state of the teams, it seems extremely unlikely that either will want to take first knock, which is to say that this series, already a metaphorical toss-up, may be a literal one too.
Play: 11am BST