Durban awaits for TMS team
This Test match series always promised much - but following the dramatic conclusion to the opening game at Centurion Park the anticipation ahead of this week's match here in Durban could hardly be higher.
It was certainly a nerve-tingling Test match for the TMS team in Centurion with former England captain Michael Vaughan feeling the tension from his new viewpoint.
During his debut TMS Test Vaughan quickly learnt about the infamous commentator's curse. On the third day while Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen were building a useful partnership, Vaughan was in discussion with Gerald De Kock about how impressively the two were batting together.
He then said: "Things are looking good. I just hope I haven't put the kiss of death on them". What happens next ball - KP plays on and Vaughan is crestfallen. "That's it I resign!" exclaimed the Ashes winner whilst Gerald turned to him and said: "Well bowled Michael Vaughan, a wicket to you!"
The main debate since Sunday evening has centred on whether England may get the same sort of bounce they enjoyed following the last great escape in the opening game of the Ashes series in Cardiff. The England coach Andy Flower has been playing this down, but it will be fascinating to see how his team react come Boxing Day morning.
Having seen the sort of weather you have been coping with back home I am reluctant to talk about the conditions here in Durban. But after a hugely frustrating week spent here during the one-day international series when the rain never seemed to stop and not a single ball was bowled, unfortunately the forecast here is a little mixed again for the next few days. Hopefully like last week in Pretoria the rain will come during the evenings rather than disrupting play.
There is certainly no chance of a white Christmas here in Kwazulu Natal with temperatures ranging from 23 to 33 degrees and it is a little difficult to get into the festive spirit despite a sprinkling of decorations in the hotels and streets of Durban.
The England team will have a light training session at Kingsmead on Christmas morning before spending the afternoon with their families at the team hotel in Umhlanga about 20 minutes outside of Durban.
I remember watching England practice one Christmas Day in Melbourne and it was a rather strange sight seeing the likes of Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard bowling wearing santa hats.
Alastair Cook will also celebrate his 25th birthday on Christmas Day -bizarrely two other England cricketers in recent times have also had their birthdays on 25 December with Marcus Trescothick and Simon Jones both born on that day.
Alastair Cook will celebrate his birthday the day before the second Test starts
But come Boxing Day morning all thoughts of turkey and presents will have to be forgotten as a large crowd is expected for the crucial opening day of the second Test.
I am sure the TMS commentary team will show restraint on Christmas Day and will be on top form come Saturday morning. We have the same personnel on duty here as in Centurion with Jonathan Agnew joined by Simon Mann and Gerald De Kock with expert analysis from Michael Vaughan, Vic Marks and Geoff Boycott plus contributions from former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock.
As well as ball-by-ball commentary we will also speak during the Test to Dr Ali Bacher who has been at the heart of South Africa cricket for 40 years and to the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board David Collier. Plus as this is the last Test of the decade we will be looking back and looking forward.
We will be assessing some of the major developments and stories in the game over the past 10 years including match-fixing, the rise of Twenty20 cricket and the effect of terrorism and violence including a special interview with Paul Farbrace, who was one of those injured in the Lahore attacks. We will also be glancing into our crystal balls and opening "Old Aggers Almanac" to look ahead to what may take place in the cricketing world over the next 12 months.
As always we want you to take part in this. Among other things we want you to predict what will be England's line-up for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane come 25 November 2010.
Will it be Broad and Anderson opening the bowling or will Harmison surprise many and return to the side to try to exorcise the ghost of his first delivery at the Gabba four years ago? Will the likes of Alastair Cook and Ian Bell still be in the side or will perhaps Ravi Bopara and Rob Key be back in favour?
You can make your predictions either on this blog or email email@example.com.
Just a warning this Test gets under way half an hour earlier than last week - so try and keep your hangover to a minimum and set your alarm for 0745 GMT on Boxing Day morning for the opening day.
And if you miss anything look out for a full review of the day's play on Aggers and Boycott's TMS podcast - all the details here at bbc.co.uk. Plus Kevin Howells will provide updates every 15 minutes over on Five Live if you are looking to keep in touch with all the other sports action as well as the cricket.
So let's hope the second Test lives up to the excitement of the first and may I take this opportunity on behalf of the whole BBC cricket team to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!