South Africa vs England, fourth Test: live score and latest updates from day one

Jake Goodwill
Ben Stokes is dismissed for two and en route to swearing at a spectator before he headed up the Wanderers tunnel on day one of the fourth Test between South Africa and England  - REUTERS
Ben Stokes is dismissed for two and en route to swearing at a spectator before he headed up the Wanderers tunnel on day one of the fourth Test between South Africa and England - REUTERS



CLOSE: ENG 192/4 (Root 25* Pope 22*)

South Africa fluffed their opportunity in the first session after losing the first three hours' play and England made a blistering start, putting on their first century opening partnership for more than three years. Zak Crawley made a Test best 66 but really should have gone on to introduce himself to Graham Gooch's 'Daddy' but South Africa regrouped at the tea and came back hard, tightening their lines, using the bouncer more and using the bounce to dismiss the two Kent men and strangle Sibley. England are still ahead in the game, both these batsmen look in devastating form but Stokes' swearing at a young South Africa supporter will no doubt prompt the ICC to sanction him.  


OVER 54.2: ENG 192/4 (Root 25* Pope 22*)  

Bad light stopped play.

Faf is livid. According to Shaun Pollock, the problem is the stand at that end, the roof casting such a shadow on the seats that the batsmen cannot see the ball against it. 


OVER 54: ENG 192/4 (Root 25* Pope 22*)  

Just the single for Pope to the cover point sweeper off Philander. That position has saved 30 runs since tea. 

The umpires are fussing about the light but agree to continue for now. 


OVER 53: ENG 191/4 (Root 25* Pope 21*) 

Joe Root scores England's 500,000th Test run, nurdled into the offside. Admirably, no one takes a blind bit of notice, Hendricks has a leg gully and short leg, aiming at Pope's hip and trying to entice a turbo-strangle. Pope tucks a ball between the toe for four but then hits the deck when Hendricks follwos him with a vicious off-cutting bouncer that almost amputated the tip of nose. He lies supine for a moment, grins, jumps up and chops the next ball to cover for a single.



OVER 52: ENG 185/4 (Root 24* Pope 16*)

Pope drives one to cover and Root ends the over with a single, run in agony, after inside-edging one of Vernon's legendary heavy-balls into the fleshy part of the thigh, a favourite area for Bobby Bacala. 


OVER 51: ENG 183/4 (Root 23* Pope 15*)         

Double bowling change. Hendricks returns - a left-arm bowler without an inswinger. It' all about the angle and bounce for him but he begins round the wicket and takes the nick-off out of the equation. Pope and Root milk singles into the legside before Pope misses out on a long-hop by carving it to the point sweeper with such power that he could only run one. 


OVER 50: ENG 180/4 (Root 22* Pope 13*)        

Vern returns and Pope defends four before picking the back of the length one early enough to crouch on the back foot and carve a cut down to deep backward point for a single. 


OVER 49: ENG 179/4 (Root 22* Pope 12*)       

Postman Paterson sticks to his tight line. Root treats himself to a single tapped through cover and two through midwicket. Pope's thighpad helps itself to a leg-bye. 



OVER 48: ENG 175/4 (Root 19* Pope 12*)      

Another sparkling drive from Pope, this one an off-drive drilled down the ground. Mike Selvey always said the off-drive was a better indication of talent than James Vince's swoonsome cover drive. Seems that Stokes prefaced the insult with 'four-eyed', a charmingly schoolboy taunt. But what will Jack Leach make of such anti-bespectacled prejudice while watching at home in Somerset? Did that partnership really mean nothing? 

Just for contrast Pope gives us his cover drive, too, picking out the sweeper and jogging back for two. 


OVER 47: ENG 167/4 (Root 18* Pope 5*)     

Mark Boucher and his coaching staff deserve great praise for the rocket enemas delivered at tea. The bowling attack has been transformed by aggression, precision and skill. After writing those words Paterson bangs one in to Root at 80mph and the England captain pulls him hard for four. Root drives a single through cover, Pope pops one off his hip to fine leg. 



OVER 46: ENG 161/4 (Root 13* Pope 4*)    

Looks as if Stokes put a potty-mouthed flea in someone's ear in the crowd before he headed up the tunnel, possibly retaliating to a taunt with the nuclear option, either that or he spotted Bertie Blunt's parrot. Nick Knight apologises for the foul language, 'you may have heard'. Pope digs out a yorker, defends one stoutly and gets off the mark with a gorgeous midwicket drive for four. 




Stokes c Van der Dussen b Stokes 2 Tries the on drive, doesn't bring the bat down the perpendicular and it kisses the edge, chipping it to slip. England are 50 for four since tea. FOW 157/4


OVER 45: ENG 157/3 (Root 13* Stokes 2*)   

Dane Paterson, who has been South Africa's most miserly bowler, comes round the wicket to Stokes and ties him down with five dot balls until Stokes plays tip and run to mid-on to bring up his 1,000th Test run against South Africa. These QI stats keep coming. 


OVER 44: ENG 156/3 (Root 13* Stokes 1*)  

Jake's a wicket-taking OBOer, all right. Let's see if he can use his sorcery skills on England's behalf over the next four days. Root leaves three of Nortje's deliveries which carry through at head height to De Kock and then, when he tries to duck another, he leaves the periscope up and the ball sails over the slips for four. Lucky lad.

That run was England's 499,970th in Test cricket. When they get to 186 they will raise the half million. It's the kind of information that might come in useful in conversation at parties. You're welcome.  


OVER 43: ENG 152/3 (Root 9* Stokes 1*) 

Stokes leaves his first delivery well alone. And his second. He brings a calm to the crease when he arrives these days.

He gets an inside away for a single out to deep square-leg to get off the mark. Root clips a single off the final ball of the over, keeping the strike.

Back over to Rob to see out the day! Three wickets on my watch, I can only apologise to England fans.


WICKET! Denly (27) c van der Dussen b Paterson 

I spoke too soon. He nicks a good delivery straight into the hands of first slip. It is fair to say that was coming. 27, a very Denly score. FOW: 150/3


OVER 42: ENG 150/2 (Root 8* Denly 27*) 

Too straight and Root clips away a single, bringing up England's 150. A mini recovery is underway here, in part due to a lot of luck for Joe Denly.


OVER 42: ENG 149/2 (Root 7* Denly 27*) 

Nortje is back into the attack and Root works him away for a single. Denly then edges him through the slips for four - another life for Denly!

Nortje drops it short and Denly is dropped again! He nails a pull shot which bursts through short mid-wicket's hands. That would have been a stunning catch by Pretorius. It was just hit too hard. They pick up two runs for it.


Now this is a good stat... (not for Denly, obviously) 


OVER 41: ENG 142/2 (Root 6* Denly 21*) 

Denly nails Paterson with an exquisite drive through extra cover... for no run. Shame, was a lovely shot. He then nails exactly the same shot, three metres further to the right, and it races away for four runs. The next delivery is pushed for two into the offside. 

Denly is playing quite aggressively here after a series of scoring very slowly. Interesting tactics from the no. 3. Paterson pushes him back with a short ball before nipping one back through the gate which is faintly inside edged and runs away to the boundary.


OVER 40: ENG 132/2 (Root 6* Denly 11*) 

Denly then nails a short, wide ball to the boundary. Better from Denly who cut that with real purpose. The Kent batsman then gets a single off an inside edge - he is into double figures once again!

Root drives expansively through point for another single. The pressure South Africa had built is getting released here. Denly clips a single off the final ball of the over to retain strike.


OVER 39: ENG 125/2 (Root 5* Denly 5*) 

Dropped catch! Denly drives the first ball of Paterson's reintroduction crisply through cover, but in the air. Malan leaps to his right, parallel to the ground, but he cannot cling on to the ball one handed. Great effort from a well struck drive.

Denly then hacks at one, getting an inside edge away for one. He is looking frantic out there!

Root then pushes Paterson away through third man for two. The England captain looks far more composed then his partner.


OVER 38: ENG 122/2 (Root 3* Denly 4*) 

Root punches the ball out to the man on the offside boundary once again.

Denly rocks onto the back foot and punches through the offside for three as a sharp bit of building stops the boundary.


And here is the Crawley wicket - a slightly strange dismissal!


OVER 37: ENG 118/2 (Root 2* Denly 1*) 

Root punches the ball out to deep point for one. A strange decision, to say the least, to have a deep point when Root came to the crease, just after England have lost two quick wickets.

Hendricks is starting to get some awkward bounce from this surface and is causing problems.


Here is the Sibley dismissal


OVER 36: ENG 117/2 (Root 1* Denly 1*) 

England's magnificent start is being rather undone here! Root gets off the mark with a flick down to fine leg.



WICKET! Crawley (66) c van der Dussen b Philander

Yes he can! Crawley edges an innocuous delivery to second slip. He really did not need to play at that! It was so short it should have been left with ease. A high quality innings comes to a tame end. A wicket for Philander in his final Test! FOW: 116/2


OVER 36: ENG 116/1 (Crawley 66* Denly 1*) 

Philander is into the attack. Can he make something happen?


OVER 35: ENG 116/1 (Crawley 66* Denly 1*) 

Hendricks bangs the ball in and it flies in the air off Crawley's body. The next ball he nails a pull shot past the boundary riders for four. KP would have been proud of that one!

Crawley works a single through the leg side to continue his impressive innings. A short ball is ruled a wide before Hendricks hits Denly on the pads. Much better intent from Hendricks here! 


OVER 34: ENG 110/1 (Crawley 61* Denly 1*)     

Crawley pushes a single out to the sweeper on the cover boundary for one. Big innings for Joe Denly this. The runs that Crawley has scored with Rory Burns to comeback into the team has mounted some pressure on the no. 3's position in the side.

Denly gets off the mark with a flick down to fine leg for one. Crawley then picks up another single. Denly drives nicely for no run and Philander throws the ball into the back of Paterson - friendly fire! That was village.


OVER 33: ENG 107/1 (Crawley 59* Denly 0*)     

Hendricks starts well to Denly who survives the remaining two balls of the over.


WICKET! Sibley (44) c de Kock b Hendricks 

Sibley gets a little tickle on a ball that is sliding down the leg side which is well caught by de Kock. Slightly unlucky but South Africa have the breakthrough and Hendricks has his first Test match wicket. FOW: 107/1


OVER 33: ENG 107/0 (Crawley 59* Sibley 44*)     

Hendricks gets the first ball of the over to nib back, clattering into Crawley's pads from around the wicket. 

The Kent batsman then clips him through straight mid-wicket but a fine bit of fielding limits it to just a single.


OVER 32: ENG 106/0 (Crawley 58* Sibley 44*)     

Paterson restarts for South Africa from the other end. He only went for six runs from his five overs in the opening session. Can he compliment his miserly figures with a wicket?

He drops short and Sibley pushes him through cover-point off the back foot for four. Sibley then sensibly leaves the rest of the over well alone.


OVER 31: ENG 102/0 (Crawley 58* Sibley 40*)     

Play and miss to start the session! Crawley tries to cut Hendricks but the ball skids past the bat and on through to the keeper.

Hendricks drops short and Crawley pulls through mid-wicket for one. Sibley then pinches a single to move to 40.


What a session for England!

It could not have gone much better for England. The big question is Zak Crawley okay? He took a nasty blow to the head but, if he has recovered, has a superb chance to get a maiden Test match hundred against a lacklustre South Africa attack.

England batsmen Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley celebrate their 100 partnership during Day One of the Fourth Test between South Africa and England at The Wanderers on January 24, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa - Credit: Getty Images
Zak Crawley and Dom Sibley celebrate their 100 partnership Credit: Getty Images


 LUNCH: ENG 100/0 (Crawley 57* Sibley 39*)     

Perfect opening session for England. The two openers have left judiciously, played patiently and, having dug the foundations, have been rewarded by South Africa's bowlers serving up bowling machine fodder. The clout on the head, though, should serve as warning that if Nortje finds the right length, he can be lethal.  Jake will be back for the start of the second and final session, today. Play should finish at 4pm GMT but can be extended to 4.30pm if the light holds. 


OVER 30: ENG 100/0 (Crawley 57* Sibley 39*)     

England's first century opening stand for more than three years - Crawley ends the session at the non-striker's with a nudge through cover for a single and Sibley raises the three figures by tickling a leg-side pie fine for four. Off they walk in rude health despite the battle scar on Crawley's head, 100 without loss. 


OVER 29: ENG 95/0 (Crawley 56* Sibley 35*)    

Sibley tests Crawley's reflexes which come up to snuff with a push to midwicket for a tight single which earns them an additional buzzer when the throw at the striker's end misses and shoots past the backing-up fielder. SA in diSArray. Sibley drive stwo more to cover but is pinned when the left-arm seamer Hendricks comes round the wicket. A full-throated appeal does not convince the umpire as it hit him outside the line and too high ... apart from that it was plumb. Two more for the Vicar of Sibley through midwicket to end a productive over. 



OVER 28: ENG 89/0 (Crawley 56* Sibley 29*)   

The skirl of the pipes - Scotland the Brave resounds across the Wanderers while Crawley receives prolonged attention and, eventually, courtesy of Jonny Bairstow, a replacement lid. He has an egg of a lump above his left eye. The bouncer may do its job and make him hesitant about taking it on again.

Crawley hit - Credit: Sky Sports
Credit: Sky Sports

Nortje tries the bouncer again, obviously, when play resumes but it's too short and is called wide as it sails over Crawley's battered noggin. He tries the channel instead and Crawley leaves it. 


OVER 27.5: ENG 88/0 (Crawley 56* Sibley 29*)  

On comes the physio and doctor as Crawley misses a pull and is sconed flush on the helmet by Nortje's 92mph bouncer. He says he's OK but will have to have a concussion assessment. 


OVER 27: ENG 88/0 (Crawley 56* Sibley 29*)          

Hendricks replaces the leaking Pretorius, serves up a floaty half-volley and Crawley harpoons a drive past the bowler for four. Sublime timing and testament to his batmaker as he barely raised the bat through the perpendicular. 


OVER 26: ENG 83/0 (Crawley 50* Sibley 28*)         

Michael Atherton is playing Jonah by pointing out that it's 37 months since a century opening stand in Tests for England - Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook in Chennai in Dec 2016, the third that winter with different partners for Cook. He also put on a hundred with Ben Duckett in Dhaka and in Rajkot with the great lost lad, Haseeb Hameed. Here's hoping a move to Notts can revitalise that talented young man's career.  A kind of victory for Nortje as he angles one into Sibley's goolies after a pair of singles. He strangles an appeal for leg-before and Sibley joins him in an anguished yelp. 


OVER 25: ENG 81/0 (Crawley 50* Sibley 28*)        

First Test fifty for Crawley, brought up by a thick edge that fizzes it through point. Up goes the bat and he takes deserved applause for a confident knock even if it has come off a shoddy and seemingly demoralised attack. Sibley comes to the driving party that Pretorius is hosting by creaming an on-drive - as sweet as a Ponting beauty pageant winner - for four. It's only their fourth opening partnership and now it's their highest after the 70 at PE. 


OVER 24 ENG 75/0 (Crawley 49* Sibley 23*)       

Nortje uses the crease to tempt Sibley into a genuine no-footwork, squared-up play and miss that was within milimetres of kissing the edge. He doesn't play the cut stroke so tends to prod at the ball, chest on, with a vertical bat. As Nasser says, it's OK that he doesn't cut but he has to continue to be a good judge of line, length and what to leave if that's the case on quicker pitches. Just a wide from the over, from a bouncer that trampolines miles over Sibley's head. 

At last the sun breaks through the clouds. 


OVER 23 ENG 74/0 (Crawley 49* Sibley 23*)      

Terrible from Pretorius, hanging one outside off-stump for Crawley to lace through the covers before creeping on to middle and being thrashed through midwicket for another. Crawley ends the over with a third boundary to take him to the threshold of a maiden Test half-century with a sweetly-executed straight drive. 

Faf, your ship is sinking. 


OVER 22 ENG 62/0 (Crawley 37* Sibley 23*)      

And immediately Nortje is 10mph quicker but the pitch isn't at its fastest yet because of the rain. When the sun comes out tomorrow it should bake it and allow Wood to extract something spicier than has been available today. Crawley drills a drive for a single and Sibley ends the over flashing at a wider one, square driving for four. Risky shot from the opener but decent reward for his audacity. 


OVER 21 ENG 57/0 (Crawley 36* Sibley 19*)     

Crawley's soft hands save him when he edges Paterson's slower ball short of first slip. Paterson tries him with a half-tracker again and controls a pull down to deep backward square for another single. Nortje is coming on, at the instruction of Temba Bavuma as Faf is off the field for a moment. 


OVER 20: ENG 56/0 (Crawley 35* Sibley 19*)     

Crawley plonks that big dog of a front leg down the pitch to defend Pretorius for five balls then whips a single off his pads. Pretorius and Paterson are excellent one-day bowlers but to be on the defensive less than two hours into a Test at the Bullring against two young openers with the chance of squaring the series and grabbing half the Test Championship points frankly beggars belief. 


OVER 19: ENG 55/0 (Crawley 34* Sibley 19*)    

Paterson is not much quicker than Vern and not as accurate. He bangs one in at 82mph that gets up to hip height and Crawley pulls it for a single. Look how full they've been.

Pitch map - Credit: Sky Sports
Credit: Sky Sports

Kevin Pietersen is livid - questioning the uncharacteristic lack of aggression from the Saffers. There's a distinctive whiff of defeatism in the air from the hosts. It's as if Rabada carries this team. 


OVER 18: ENG 54/0 (Crawley 33* Sibley 19*)   

SA turn to their fifth seamer ... a sentence that never raises the spirits, especially not 80 minutes into day one. Pretorius finds a fuller length to Sibley and racks up a maiden but he is positively pop gun and unthreatening. Why isn't Nortje on to rough these two tall lads up on a quick pitch? If they're going to be made to look like Aunt Sallys for target practice - this is the place. 


OVER 17: ENG 54/0 (Crawley 33* Sibley 19*)   

Good afternoon. Dom Sibley has made the most of Vernon Philander's error so far, driving crisply through the on-side after being caught off a no-ball. Crawley looks perfectly suited to the pace of this pitch, his height allowing him to hit balls comfortably off the back foot through the covers. And here's another one - Paterson serving up a pat-a-cake delivery that Crawley punches hard. Malan gives chase and dives to flick it back from the boundary but his endeavour is thwarted by his body touching the rope before he can haul it back in. 

No swing for Paterson and Hendricks. South Africa have been curiously and alarmingly flat so far. There's no noise, chirp or even discernible fight. At last Paterson provides some hope with one that grips and sears past Crawley's edge as he groped at it on the front foot. Looks a much better player on the back foot. 



England have been excellent this morning, Crawley in particular. The same cannot be said for South Africa who have not been disciplined or especially threatening.

It is time to handover to Rob Bagchi for the remainder of the session!


OVER 16: ENG 50/0 (Crawley 29* Sibley 19*)  

Philander, into his seventh over, continues to plug away. Sibley is unperturbed and punches him away for two runs through point.

He then overpitches and Sibley crunches him for four back past the bowler. Cracking shot! 50 up for England!

Philander then swings one past the outside edge. Superb comeback.


OVER 15: ENG 44/0 (Crawley 29* Sibley 13*)  

Paterson gets one to bounce off a length, flying past Crawley's bat through to de Kock.

He then overpitches but Crawley cannot get the ball past mid-off. Crawley once again drives powerfully to the same fielder.

England's excellent start continues. Faf du Plessis will be a little disappointed with his sides showing thus far.


OVER 14: ENG 44/0 (Crawley 29* Sibley 13*)  

Philander is full and straight to Sibley who gets an inside edge away for a single. Crawley then pinches a single through mid-wicket. Two from the over.


Bad timing in his last Test!


OVER 13: ENG 42/0 (Crawley 28* Sibley 12*)  

Paterson is into the attack for the first time in the match. He starts full to Crawley who blocks the ball back to him.

A gentle, but solid start from Paterson. Maiden.


OVER 12: ENG 42/0 (Crawley 28* Sibley 12*)  

Philander is back into the attack. 

Sibley cuts the ball to Bavuma at gully who takes a low catch - Joel Wilson signals no ball straight away! Correct decision, he overstepped. Big call from Wilson, but the right one! South Africa had started celebrating. 

No ball called! - Credit: Sky Sports
No ball called! Credit: Sky Sports

A life for Sibley!


OVER 11: ENG 41/0 (Crawley 28* Sibley 12*)  

Nortje has found a better length this over, probing away at the top of off-stump at good pace.

Crawley finds the boundary again! Nortje is too straight and he is clipped through mid-wicket for four once again. Good comeback from Nortje who hits the young batsman on his pad with a ball that just nipped away a touch.


OVER 10: ENG 37/0 (Crawley 24* Sibley 12*)  

Well this has been a superb start from England. South Africa have been a little wayward but nevertheless England have been composed.

Hendricks is now round the wicket with his left arm angle, targeting Sibley's pads. He has changed back to over the wicket now. 

His line has been a little too leg side during his debut so far. Maiden.


OVER 9: ENG 37/0 (Crawley 24* Sibley 12*)  

Nortje is into the attack and his first ball is clipped through mid-wicket for four. Great shot from an overpitched delivery. 

Overpitched again and Crawley crunches him through the covers. The Kent batsman has been dominant this morning. He then clips the ball away for three through mid-wicket. Great start for Crawley who is still looking to nail down a place in the side.

Sibley picks up a single from the final ball of the over to keep the strike.


OVER 8: ENG 25/0 (Crawley 13* Sibley 11*)  

Both batsman pick up singles to conclude an eventful over.



Sibley is given out for clipping the ball to the wicket keeper down the leg side. Joel Wilson gives it out but Sibley reviews straight away. DECISION OVERTURNED! He was nowhere near the ball! It came off his back pad.

Decision overturned - Credit: Sky Sports
Decision overturned Credit: Sky Sports


OVER 8: ENG 23/0 (Crawley 12* Sibley 10*)

Sibley clips Hendricks away for two. 


Read Nick Hoult's piece on the Jofra Archer injury below

Distraught Jofra Archer breaks down in warm-up before play as ongoing elbow injury rules him out of fourth Test


OVER 7: ENG 21/0 (Crawley 12* Sibley 8*)

Philander is back on his line and length to start the over. There is a tiny bit of movement in the air and some nip of the seam. Nothing too extravagant however.

Crawley drives an away swinger to the man at extra-cover. Another drive is stopped by Philander. Crawley is striking these nicely but essentially driving at a new ball for no rewards.

Philander drops a little short and Crawley flicks him away for two through square-leg. Crawley then dispatches a cover drive for four - that was a hit me ball! Not the best start for the man playing his last Test.


OVER 6: ENG 15/0 (Crawley 6* Sibley 8*)

Hendricks starts with a short ball that is well evaded by Sibley. He then punches the ball off the back foot away for four. Nicely played.

England have started nicely here, pouncing on any misdirected line or length. 


The selection of left armer Hendricks may suit Crawley


OVER 5: ENG 11/0 (Crawley 6* Sibley 4*)

Philander strays down the legside but Crawley misses out. 

Shot! Philander overpitches and Crawley nails the ball through mid-off, past the fielder to his right. Lovely shot.

Philander bowls a good comeback, full with some away shape but Crawley does well not to be drawn into the shot.


OVER 4: ENG 7/0 (Crawley 2* Sibley 4*)

Hendricks draws a play and miss from Sibley from the first ball of the over. The left armer is getting some zip of the pitch. It has been a promising start from the debutant.

Sibley recovers well, getting in behind successive deliveries solidly. Maiden.


This may not be the worst toss to have lost...


OVER 3: ENG 7/0 (Crawley 2* Sibley 4*)

Philander continues with a typically full length. He oversteps and, remarkably in this series, a no-ball is called!

Solid from Crawley.


OVER 2: ENG 6/0 (Crawley 2* Sibley 4*)       

Hendricks, on debut, will open up from the other end. His first ball is a little short and Crawley attempts a front-foot pull shot but the ball hits him on his upper thigh. That skidded on nicely.

Crawley then does exactly the same thing but this time he gets bat on ball, earning a single through mid-wicket. Hendricks then hits Sibley on the upper leg. That is the third time in 10 balls an England batsman has been struck in the upper thigh area.

Hendricks' line strays and Sibley clips him for four, very fine.


OVER 1: ENG 1/0  (Crawley 1* Sibley 0*)       

Philander will open up in his final Test. Crawley leaves the first ball of the match well alone. There was a little bit of nip off the pitch there.

England are off the mark as Crawley inside edges one through the leg side.

Philander gets the last ball of the over to nip back, hitting Sibley on the pads. It was a bit high but that does not stop Philander appealing!


The players are out onto the pitch

Finally, we will have some play!


Has Joe Root made the right call?

It was a tricky toss to call. On balance, batting looks the right option but the pitch will provide some assistance for the South African attack.


Beuran Hendricks will make his debut for South Africa

The left arm seamer has played for South Africa in limited overs cricket but not in Test matches. The 29-year-old has taken over 300 first class wickets at 23.56 apiece.

Exciting opportunity for Hendricks on a pitch that looks like it will offer some assistance to the bowlers.


Joe Root on Jofra Archer:


Changes for South Africa

Faf du Plessis is not too upset to be bowling. Pretorius and Hendricks, on debut, in for the banned Rabada and the spinner Maharaj. Bavuma in for Hamza.

Both sides playing without a spinner!


Team news!

Chris Woakes in for Dom Bess. It will be Joe Root and Joe Denly to bowl any spin in the match for England.

Jofra Archer is unfit, Mark Wood has been passed fit though.


News from the toss!

England win the toss and will bat! Joe Root believes that the pitch will break up and therefore wants to bat first.


The toss is five minutes away!

The captains are out onto the pitch in their blazers. 


Anticipated team news!


Jofra Archer looks to have failed a fitness test this morning

England bowler Jofra Archer chats with physio Craig de Weyman during the warm up during Day One of the Fourth Test between South Africa and England at The Wanderers on January 24, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa - Credit: Getty Images
Jofra Archer with the team physio before play Credit: Getty Images


Play to start at 11.20am UK time!

The toss will be at 11am.


More Jofra updates


Jofra Archer looks distraught

Reports from the ground suggest that Archer has just been informed he is not playing. The fast bowler looks very upset. We await official confirmation.

It will be interesting to see if it is due to injury or just selection.


Jofra Archer to miss out today?


England fans patiently wait for the second pitch inspection...

England cricket supporters wait in the stands for the match to start after rain has delayed play during the first day of the fourth Test cricket match between South Africa and England at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on January 24, 2020. - Credit: Getty Images
England fans await the start of play Credit: Getty Images


South Africa have now also arrived at the ground!


Will we see England's rapid pace duo together?


Inspection news!

There will be an inspection at 10.45am UK time with view to an 11.20am start.


Pitch inspection to take place at 10am UK time (12pm local time)

It could take a while for play to get started even if the umpires give the all clear. But at least it has not rained for a good while now.


England have arrived!


Fingers crossed!


With play looking likely, who should England pick?

Five seamers or stick with Bess?

Wood and Archer? Or just one of them?

I think I'd go for Bess, Archer, Wood and Broad - assuming Wood and Archer are both full fit.

Let us know who you would pick by commenting below!


This is what we like to see - even if it is still a little grey in Johannesburg! 

General view of officials and groundstaff on the pitch as rain delays play  - Credit: Reuters
The covers are coming off at the Wanderers Credit: Reuters


Play today looks promising


England to head to the ground in just under 10 minutes

We still need to have the toss and the teams need to be announced when they arrive.


Good news everyone!

The rain has just about stopped and the covers are coming off! England are going to head to the ground shortly which is a positive sign. 

Play will take a while to get started but it does look like we will get some play in this series decider!


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Sigh. At least this photo reminds us how good Ben Stokes has been alongside the England youngsters

Rain falls and the toss is delayed during Day One of the Fourth Test between South Africa and England at The Wanderers on January 24, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. - Credit: Getty Images
No sign of play this morning Credit: Getty Images


Weather update!

It is a little brighter at The Wanderers but the rain is still persisting. Hopefully the emergence of the sun will be followed by the rain stopping.

Another positive is that this ground has good drainage and should be able to get play going if the rain does stop.

Unfortunately it looks like the players will be on and off all day if we can get started due to the ominous forecast!


It is farewell to Vernon Philander in this Test match

Big Vern has played 63 Test matches, taking 222 wickets at 22.29 with a miserly economy of 2.63 runs per over. His record is truly sublime and South Africa will struggle to find a bowler who can be as dangerous as Philander while also keeping things tight.

Vernon Philander of South Africa during day 1 of the 2nd Test match between South Africa and England at Newlands Cricket Stadium on January 03, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. - Credit: Getty Images
Vernon Philander will join Somerset after retiring from international cricket Credit: Getty Images

Paying tribute to the 34-year-old, who has signed for Somerset, South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis said: "Vern is that good that he will take some time to replace, but I know there's a lot of talent in this pool of South African cricket that someone will come through.

"He is a banker. I know I am going to get control out of him, I know Vern gives me that.

"In the later years it's been about managing his workload. He didn't bowl as much in the previous game as a bowler like him can bowl but that was foresight, understanding that we will need him here at Wanderers.

"If necessary he can push himself a little bit more here, which he will because it's his last."


Some evidence for the reason why England might rest Mark Wood today


Who will make England's XI?

England look set to play five seamers, when we get play that is.

Dom Bess is likely to be replaced by the fit again Jofra Archer, who by all reports was in fine form in training this week, while Mark Wood could be replaced by Chris Woakes. The England management seem concerned about playing Wood in back to back Tests after a long injury lay-off. It would be a shame to miss out on Wood, who was impressive on his return, especially on a notoriously quick pitch in Jo'burg but long term it could be the right decision.

England bowler Jofra Archer in bowling action in the nets during England training ahead of the 4th and Final Test Match at The Wanderers on January 23, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. - Credit: Getty Images
Jofra Archer should be fit to play today Credit: Getty Images

Woakes has become the forgotten man for England in Tests away from home due to his poor record outside of England. It would be a huge opportunity for the talented all-rounder to stake his claim on a seamer friendly pitch for more opportunities in Tests on foreign soil.

What would your bowling line-up be for today's match? Comment below.

I think I'd go for Bess, Archer, Wood and Broad - assuming Wood and Archer are both full fit.


Weather update - it is not good news!

England's fourth and final Test against South Africa is set for a long delay on day one, with heavy morning rain in Johannesburg.

The rain set in early and there were pools on the outfield as the scheduled toss time of 9.30am approached.

England remained at the team hotel this morning, waiting until signs of improvement to head to the ground. However, the forecast is suggesting plenty more bad weather to come.

We will keep you updated with any weather news!


Match preview

Joe Root has teased "a relentless barrage of pace" as he looks to complete his finest hour as England captain with a third straight win over South Africa.

Having levelled the series in Cape Town and taken the lead in Port Elizabeth, England have the chance to make it a rare overseas hat-trick on the quickest pitch in the country, Johannesburg's Wanderers Stadium.

If there was ever a stage to hand Jofra Archer and Mark Wood their first Test appearance together, this is surely it, though there are fitness factors to consider.

Wood has only just returned after six months out with a torn side and must always be managed carefully in back-to-back matches, while Archer has missed the last two games with soreness in his right elbow.

But both men looked quick, strong and healthy in the team's final net session and, provided they emerge in good condition on Friday morning, Root does not seem likely to let the opportunity pass.

"It would be a relentless barrage of pace which is exciting, especially on the surface you typically get here at the Wanderers," said Root.

"It's great to have that extra bit of pace and firepower. It would be nice to see how that looks and see how they go together.

"Jofra bowled with good pace and he's looked in a really good place. That's a really promising sign for us as a team and really good to see him back. We'll keep an eye on how Woody goes but I think he's pulled up pretty well from my understanding."

Root oversaw three victories in a row in Sri Lanka in 2018, the first England skipper to do so in an away series since Michael Vaughan in 2004. Before that was Mike Brearley and the 1979/80 Ashes.

Given the illness problems which swept the camp at the start of the trip and ruined preparations for the first Test in Centurion, which South Africa won, and the subsequent fitness problems which saw James Anderson, Rory Burns and Jack Leach leave the tour early, Root admits a 3-1 series win would be his finest hour as leader.

"I think it probably would be, yes, because of the different things we've had to manage throughout this tour," said Root.

"It would be a very big achievement for this group. It's been a tour that has thrown everything at us and I think collectively as a squad, not just the players but the coaching staff, have worked tirelessly to make sure we stayed calm and as much in control as we can.

"When we've had our opportunities to bounce back we've really taken them and created an environment where the guys can ultimately take on whatever's thrown at them.

"It's been really pleasing in many ways because we're a very young side at the start of something and we've seen some very promising performances. Hopefully that can continue throughout this week as well."

One of the youngsters who has stepped up is Dom Bess, a late call-up for Leach but a key performer in each of the last two games.

He may yet find himself surplus to requirements given the seam-friendly surface being promised but if he has played his last part in the series he can expect to be back in the thick of things soon, with two Tests in Sri Lanka coming up in March.