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On to Cape Town

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Adam Mountford | 11:00 UK time, Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year from the BBC cricket team - let's hope from an England point of view that 2010 starts in a similar fashion to how the old one ended.

It was a highly impressive performance from England in Durban with the South African collapse on the fourth afternoon proving dramatic and ultimately decisive.

Geoff Boycott happened to be in the summariser's chair as many of those wickets fell and I'm not sure I have ever seen him so excited.

I almost had to prise him out of the seat as he turned around to beg "captain let me stay on please, I'm taking all these wickets".

broad_ap595.jpgStuart Broad took six wickets as England beat South Africa in Durban

One of England's stars was Stuart Broad and it is amazing how often his top performances take place with his father watching on from the Test Match Special commentary box.

I remember in one of Stuart's first major roles for England sharing a match-winning partnership with Ravi Bopara in a one-day international at Old Trafford, Chris joined us as his son was receiving the player of the match award.

He was embarrassed when Stuart was asked during his presentation interview whether his father was at the ground watching. Stuart said to Michael Atherton: "Oh yes, he's here, wearing a terrible red jacket."

Then at the Oval last summer Chris was with us again as Stuart ran through the Aussies in the spell which went a long way to winning the Ashes.

That time Chris was immensely proud although he did say that Stuart may have played in an Ashes-winning side like him, but the fact Chris had won the urn Down Under still gave him the bragging rights in the Broad household.

And at Kingsmead, Chris was watching behind us as Stuart bowled Jacques Kallis and then narrowly missed getting a hat-trick as the Test thrillingly swung in England's favour.

Considering how often Chris is away in his role as an ICC match referee it is fantastic that his visits to watch England play cricket have coincided with some of Stuart's special moments.

Although he is not always lucky - I remember coming across him at Hamilton in New Zealand where he had travelled across the world in the hope of watching Stuart play.

Unfortunately he was not selected and it was the only game Chris was out there to watch. Of course as soon as Chris left the country, Stuart was selected for the next two games at Wellington and Napier and has hardly looked back since.

There was some hearty support for Stuart Broad and his team-mates from the England fans who turned up in Durban to spend their Christmas watching the Kingsmead Test.

Lots of "Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to watch England win away." But that will be nothing compared to the following the team will be enjoying in Cape Town. We are expecting about 10,000 England fans and it is apparently sold out for at least the first two days.

As I went to the ground on New Year's Day, I bumped into a group of England fans who were desperately hoping some tickets may be left over - but I fear they will have come away disappointed.

It should be a very special atmosphere for the traditional New Year Test although England's record here is not very good while South Africa have won 14 out of their last 18 tests played at Newlands.

newlands_getty766.jpgEngland prepare for the third Test at Newlands

It all gets underway on Sunday and we will try to bring you all the drama on Test Match Special. We will be on the air at 0815 GMT on Sunday on 5 live Sports Extra and Radio Four longwave.

Joining Jonathan Agnew and Gerald De Kock for the final two Tests will be Christopher Martin- Jenkins. CMJ had an eventful Christmas period with his son Robin and wife Flora producing a grand-daughter on Boxing Day... although being a "Martin-Jenkins" you won't be surprised to learn the baby turned up a few days late!

Geoff Boycott will be with us again hoping for the same kind of thrills that got him all excited in Durban while Michael Vaughan will be looking for a better experience in Cape Town than he enjoyed as a player. England suffered large defeats in his two Test matches played at Newlands.

Completing our commentary team will be local resident Duncan Fletcher who will be able to offer a unique perspective. Fletcher coached England to great success over almost 10 years, including guiding them to a series win in South Africa in 2004/2005.

But most recently, Fletcher has been working for the South Africa national side in a consultancy role and is a former coach of Western Province where he helped to nurture such talents as Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs.

As well as hearing Vaughan and Fletcher we'll also explore why the duo proved such a successful combination at the head of the England team culminating in the regaining of the Ashes in 2005.

We'll be chatting to many of those familiar names who have travelled to Cape Town, including the star of arguably England's most impressive victory abroad before last week's heroics at Kingsmead, Shaun Udal, who spun Andrew Flintoff's side to an unlikely win in Mumbai in March 2006.

The British High Commissioner, Dr Nicola Brewer, will be joining us to give advice to those travelling to South Africa both for this series and for the Fifa World Cup this summer and we'll be opening the pages of "Old Aggers Almanac" as we look ahead at 2010.

Kevin Howells will be providing updates every 15 minutes on 5 live. I feel a bit sorry for Kevin who is enjoying his first visit to Cape Town.

Since arriving in South Africa I have been telling Kevin how he'll find that the famous Table Mountain completely dominates the city. Sadly, so far the mountain has been almost totally covered by cloud , the "table cloth" as they call it here, so I don't think he believes that there really is anything to see.

It is also true that although all the iconic pictures of Newlands have Table Mountain gloriously displayed in background, when you actually walk around the ground you are struck that it's the rather ugly brewery next door which is the main site that you see.

I hope you'll join us on TMS Sunday and don't forget to check out the TMS podcast and @aggerscricket on Twitter. And as always we want you to take part in the programme - you can email us at or send a text to 84040 or contribute to this blog.


  • Comment number 1.

    I must say, I enjoy Test Match Special far more during overseas tours than home test matches these days. The commentary is always great, there are always some good, entertaining exchanges and between-session interviews, without having 'celebrities' cluttering up the box during play. And one of the best things about this series is not having to (try to) listen to the gaffe-prone Henry Blofeld's ball-by-ball!

  • Comment number 2.

    Loving TMS during these winter days, its a pleasure to be able to go back and access the comentary if ive had to nip out or work and missed a days play. It has to be said, Geoff Boycott was hilarious to listen to during the South African collapse, he always adds spice to the commentary and, when he is calm, he is about as good a pundit as there is.

    Im not missing Blowers either [gravybeard] it seems as though the blend is just about spot on at the moment. My dream team would have Jim Maxwell in it too, but i am sure he is busy down under at the moment.

    Great to see England growing as a side, this would be a marvellous series to win and i cant help but think that Strauss and Flower power can guide us to that rarest of things, a competitive Ashes series in Australia...

  • Comment number 3.

    It's all getting terribly exciting as we approach the business end of the series!
    The Table Top Mountain view has to be one of the best on the planet, and I am envious of the fans that have made the journey and who will get to see what promises to be some top quality Test Cricket being played in its shadow.
    I've just checked out the 5 day forecast and except for some showers on the first day it looks pretty good for the whole test, although if the Beeb's forcast for Tuesday is accurate, I certainly would not want to be a fast bowler on that day (39'c!!) unless I'm sat in the shed under the AC.
    Does anyone have any info on how the Wicket is expected to play?

  • Comment number 4.

    Gravybear's comment about henry is rubbish. He's great, espexially when combine with Vic Marks.
    I just hope the change in team, replacing Simon Mann with CMJ, will not change the momentum of England.

  • Comment number 5.

    well its snowing again in the vale of belvoir,aggers will be pleased to know.
    wish i was at newlands instead. i was there in 96 when england lost in 3days,and the bok fans could'nt understand why the biggest cheer was for devon malcolm comming out to bat.
    i could listen to vic marks and aggers banter all day,but 1/2hour of blowers is enough.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can't wait for the action to start tomorrow. The third test is a sell-out for the first three days, Cape Town promises plenty of atmosphere.

    Boycs was absolutely brilliant during that SA batting collapse and has been on top form throughout. The indispensable Vic Marks should never be "rested" from any away-from-home TMS matches.

    Loving the commentary .... come on England.

  • Comment number 7.

    Henry is one the great English commentators of all time. He should be in the C.B. more often than not! He has such a flair, grace and ease about him that make for enjoyable listening! His detractors are copiously out of line!

    I predict a fierce and resilient fight-back by the South Africans to level the series!

    That will make Geoff B. feel a bit ansy and queasy in his chair, pontificating!

  • Comment number 8.

    Ahhh the old Blowers debate. Personally I find him getting more and more inaccurate and imprecise as a commentator, and whilst I could accept his eccentricities as part of the joys of TMS when he was more 'on the ball' sadly I feel he is beyond his sell by date now. Though he does come into his own during the rain breaks!!

    Congrats to the Martin Jenkins family on the new arrival.

  • Comment number 9.

    Adam mate, would have posted this on Aggers column today but there was no option to do this. Can you tell Aggers that as much as I rate him his column has become merely a second rate version of the match report. What I want to know from Aggers, particularly after day two of Cape Town is not how each batsman got out in chronological order but how he perceives the balance of power to lie, where he sees the game progressing, who holds the balance of power etc. What he has submitted has obviously been thrown together in an effort to depart from the ground. Have a word mate!!

  • Comment number 10.

    Please add my voice to those asking for Vic Marks not to be rested. I hope he's back for the next test.

    Re the Blowers debate - I agree that his commentary has become a little 'imprecise' but his voice represents cricket to so many and I am sure he should be continued to be used for rain breaks, drinks breaks, lunch breaks, tea breaks or when the run rate drops too low (or as he would say 'even the pigeons become soporific').

  • Comment number 11.

    This match and Paul Collingwood are precisely the reason why fans are leaving (giving up on) test cricket. Its been the most boring last innings i have ever seen and Collingwood is the most boring batsman i have ever seen.

    Solution: Introduce a new rule in the 4 innings- If a run rate of say 3 an over is not acheived in the last innings then the batting side will lose the game even if 10 wickets have not been lost. If the run rate is acheived, a draw is still a possible result.

    This will keep interest for both teams and fans right to the end of the test. It may even keep Kallis awake in the slips!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Very good commentary, but can we please remind Michael Vaughan that commentators and summarisers are supposed to be impartial? Ok, we all know he will be leaning towards England in the way Boycott will, naturally, but comments like 'Come on England' really don't convince the listener that he is providing a balanced view of the game.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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