England vs South Africa

Match info: England v South Africa Test Series 2012 at Lord's - 3rd Test

Date: 20th Aug 2012 Status: Day 5 of 5 Umpires: H D P K Dharmasena and S J A Taufel

Home team and score Away team score

England

315 All out (107.3 Overs)
294 All out (82.5 Overs)

Result

South Africa

309 All out (101.2 Overs)
351 All out (124.2 Overs)

South Africa win by 51 runs

  • Last Updated: August 15 2012, 23:53 BST

We run the rule over the venue for the third Test between England and South Africa, with Olympic archery taking a backseat to cricket again.

Olympic archery has done the Lord's outfield few favours.
Olympic archery has done the Lord's outfield few favours.

Established: 1814
Capacity: 30,000
Floodlights: Yes
Ends: Pavilion End, Nursery End
Home Team: Middlesex
Test History: 124 Tests; 48 home wins, 29 away wins, 47 draws
Last 10 Tests: 6 home wins, 1 neutral win, 3 draws
Last 10 Tosses: 1 batted first (1 win); 9 bowled first (1 win, 3 draws, 5 defeats)

Overview
England have not lost here since the Ashes series of 2005 - a run of 14 matches.

Despite the MCC's reputation for stuffiness, the ground has been extensively redeveloped to keep it at the forefront of cricketing venues, and many of the additions - notably the futuristic Media Centre at the Nursery End - are strikingly modern without diminishing the famous venue's historical power.

Further development has been proposed, and recently put on hold, as the MCC struggle to find agreement on a 'Vision for Lord's'. In the meantime, the ground was used for archery during the London 2012 Olympics.

Between 2006 and 2009 the pitch became something of a batting paradise - despite the infamous slope - producing six straight draws between Australia's 2005 victory and England's three-day defeat of West Indies in early 2009.

However, the pitch is playing rather quicker these days and offering assistance for everyone rather than just batsmen looking to get their name on the dangerously overcrowded Lord's honours board.

Last Time Out
For the first time in 16 attempts, the team that won the toss and elected to field first went on to win the match as England defeated West Indies.

The fixture was defined by Andrew Strauss' career-saving century, Stuart Broad's arrival on both Lord's honours boards thanks to his first-innings seven-for and the general defiance of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels.

Ultimately, however, there was only going to be one winner - and the Windies were never going to have enough in the tank to truly challenge England.

This time around, however, it's not a precedent-setting series opener but rather a must-win finale, and England must quickly come to terms with third- Test conditions they're all too used to receiving first up.

They Said
"The outfield will look very different from how it does normally ahead of a Test match, like a patchwork quilt, but there are no issues as far as we are concerned - it is fit for play. It is also important to stress that the square has been completely unaffected by Lord's use during the Olympics. That has remained untouched and protected and will be in perfect condition for the start of play on Thursday." - an MCC spokesman shrugs off the after-effects of August's Olympic Archery.

"All five seamers have very strong reasons to be playing in this Test match, but the likelihood is we are going to pick three of them. A lot of it boils down to your gut feeling about who you is going to offer the most in these conditions, but I would be very confident walking out with any of the five that we have here this week." - England captain Andrew Strauss alludes to the return of Swann.

"In the first 45 overs it felt there was a bit difference in carry from the Pavilion End were it kissed through but bowling up the hill it died a little bit. Winning the toss and bowling is always, 'Can you bowl them out for 100'? But we talked at the start that Lord's is never like that and it's a bit of a patience game. I probably got driven too much - but that came from the wicket being a lot slower than we imagined so we searched for a nick. As the wicket got a bit quicker you could settle into a better length and to pick up nine we are delighted. - England seamer Stuart Broad after taking six wickets on day one of the series opener against the West Indians earlier this year.

"We know the wicket is very good for batting, if anything it's better than the first two days. That tends to happen at Lord's. Hopefully the ball won't talk much like it didn't for us today. Once it gets to 30 to 35 overs old it seems to go a bit out of shape and not be very responsive. We beat the outside edge a lot but couldn't pick up the edges we did in the first innings. That was frustrating to say the least but I thought we stuck at our guns very well and to get a chase of less than 200 we're happy with." - England spinner Graeme Swann after day four, May.

Happy Hunting Ground
Most of England's batsmen have good records here, though those are swollen slightly from the boom years of the late noughties and also the fact that they have taken on some very ordinary opposition at the home of cricket.

Nevertheless Jonathan Trott's record stands out as an impressive feat - he has nearly 700 runs from just five Tests here at a whopping average of 83.62 Ian Bell also has excellent stats here, having recorded his highest score at the ground.

Andrew Strauss didn't sport recent Test success at Lord's until May's 122 against the Windies, which took his ground average to 55.03.

Bowling-wise, James Anderson has 46 scalps at 28.10 apiece, but that's put in the shade by Graeme Swann, who has 28 wickets from six Tests at an average of 24.60.

It's also bettered by Graham Onions, who took seven wickets during the Windies' 2009 visit and to Lord's and averages 19 in his two Tests here. He'll be up against Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn for the third seamer's berth, with the latter making a solid case with his 17 wickets in three Lord's Tests at a shade under 23.

For the Proteas, Graeme Smith's Lord's record - although only two Tests long - borders on epic; 107 in 2008's drawn series opener and 2003's resounding 259 in the second Test afford him a ground average as high as 124.66 Hashim Amla, meanwhile will remember fondly his unbeaten 104 three years ago.

Morne Morkel only had one innings to succeed in the 2008 stalemate, and duly obliged with a four-for amid a plethora on either side of Kevin Pietersen and Bell's big centuries.

Weather Forecast
Slight drizzle is forecast for days one and two, but surely not enough to genuinely affect the outcome. The weekend brings mostly sunny condition for a fine two days of Test cricket in front of swelling, expectant crowds. The teams, hence, should not expect as much overhead say as at Headingley.

Conclusion
After a spell where getting Test matches to last a full five days was put before entertainment, Lord's has developed into a venue where bat and ball can enjoy an even contest, with the only draw in the last eight Tests being heavily affected by rain.

Although three of those were May or August Tests against substandard opposition (West Indies in 2009, Bangladesh in 2010 and Salman Butt's tainted tourists three months later), England's Ashes victory in 2009, Australia's win over Pakistan in 2010 and last year's 2000th Test all proved that there is a good balance between bat and ball.

Although no side had won the match after electing to field first since England beat Bangladesh in 2005 before Strauss bucked the trend against the Windies earlier this year, that is a fact which has more to do with who won the toss and elected to field. Often stronger sides were able to force a result in their favour after a weaker side called correctly. All of which suggests a good surface on which the better side generally triumphs, while conditions overhead are often a bigger factor in a captain's decision than what's below his feet.

Of course the wickets have been tumbling in the county championship this season and Lord's has played its part - the 95 wickets that fell in the first three matches cost just 20 apiece. But the absence of the heavy roller in county cricket has had a reasonable say in that, so things should be easier when that restriction is taken away. Nevertheless there should be enough encouragement for the seamers - particularly with initial cloud cover forecast - to expect a result.