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Preamble "Someone is in trouble, something bad is happening." It may be a bit early to come over all Mulholland Drive about England's position in this Test, yet there is a burgeoning sense that a match which was theirs to mould 24 hours ago may now be morphing into something unexpected. South Africa will resume on 86 for one, a deficit of 299. If they bat as they did yesterday, when the defence of Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla made water seem loose by comparison, England will have a long, hard day in the field.
Much will depend on Graeme Swann, who has already got a couple of balls to rag, and of course whether the ball swings. (Doubtful; it's a lovely day in south London.) There is certainly no reason for England to panic. Today should be a compelling struggle for supremacy between the two best teams in the world. By 7pm tonight, there's every chance only one team will have realistic hopes of winning the match. This, you don't need me to tell you but I'm going to anyway because I'm trying to justify my goddamn existence here, is a huge day.