Good morning, thanks for joining us on our live blog of the Test match from the Oval. After day one was lost to rain, and day two cancelled out of a mark of respect for the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the match began yesterday. England bowled South Africa out for 118 but missed an opportunity to take total control of what is now a de facto three-day match when they played some rash and overly aggressive shots. Bad light then curtailed play. They resume today on 154/7, a lead of 36.
England’s not out men are Ben Foakes on 11* and Ollie Robinson, who had an excellent day with the ball in picking up five-fer, on 3*. England have quite the tail with this configuration, and have just Jack Leach and James Anderson left to come. All eyes will be on Foakes then as he tries to shepherd the team to something like a total.
With football having taken the strident – and in the case of the grass roots game, bizarre – decision to cancel all fixtures this weekend, there has been plenty of attention on the events in South London. Cricket paid its tributes to the late monarch yesterday. and Oliver Brown was there to see this.
“It was as hauntingly beautiful a moment as any sporting crowd had conjured. For three-and-a-half minutes, ended only by the tolling of a ship’s bell from HMS Illustrious, 27,000 people inside the Oval united in exquisite silence. Only the faint clank of industrial machinery, far outside the ground, broke the sense of reverie.
So much for the tortured debate as to whether sport could summon the decorum to reflect this time of national mourning. The cricket lovers who assembled here under glowering September skies were as peaceful and as deferential as a congregation at St Paul’s Cathedral.
A few spectators in the Vauxhall End wiped away tears. Ben Stokes, the England captain, stood with his head bowed, biting his lip. And when it came for his players to sing God Save the King, the first national side to do so in the reign of Charles III, the anthem, led by soprano Laura Wright, resonated around all corners of this ground like a plangent elegy.”