Wow- words almost simply do not do enough. There we were turning up at the beautiful Newlands ground at about 9.15am in the bright and already hot Cape Town sunshine, and I was secretly optimistic that we would make 400 runs but possibly with the loss of a 2 or 3 wickets. My fellow cricket friends here in Cape Town I believe were having thoughts of wickets tumbling and a total of at most 400 being reached. How wrong we all were.
I think by lunchtime I had stood up to cheer the announcements of 50 run partnership, 150 runs, 100 run partnership etc so many times I was hot from the exercise and not the heat. Once again we thanks to Aulden we had fantastic seats in the front row of a block in the North Stand right opposite the main scoreboard with a breathtaking views of Table Mountain behind. This was a great place for watching the cricket, also because the sun didn’t really hit our seats until about 2pm, and because once again we were surrounded by wonderful atmosphere. To our right about 2 blocks was a group of Saffers, all dressed up as Hashim Amla and they were in as good voice if not better as the Barmy Army who seem to be scattered throughout the whole ground. And watching Stokes and Bairstow clobber that ball all over and at one point all over the ground was one of the finest mornings cricket I have ever watched, and what a privilege to witness it live ball by ball. I think the highlight for me was actually when Bairstow hit his maiden century – just fantastic to watch his reaction.
Stokes walking off at the end of his historic innings.
big respect though goes to the Amla Army as I shall call them – whilst none of us can get their chanting out of out heads, they kept up pretty much none stop throughout most of the day, especially after tea when Moen Ali was bowling and Amla was batting, I don’t think they paused for breath. I hope my video which I shall attempt to post, of them does some justice. They worked hard in the heat almost as much as the players!
Moeen Ali above, and the Hashim Amla Army below!
I almost felt sad for the people in the row behind me, they were England fans, and I would say in their mid to late 20s…and they did nothing but chatter all day long about wedding fixtures, dinner, where else they were going tomorrow – I’m not actually sure if they actually watched a single ball with full comprehension of what it was, and when they left shortly after the final drinks break, Aulden said, “Ah, so that is what cricket sounds like without inane chatter in the background!”
There were beer glass snakes, songs sung at Moen Ali & Hashim Amla, beer drunk, spilt, crowd banter, sun cream on some, and not on others, again a a lot of flesh on display – everywhere! There is biltong & droervorse, ice creams, face painting, cold drinks and crisps sold by friendly vendors who sell their wares constantly throughout the day walking through the crowd, oddly they also sell donuts,which are covered in thick icing and look like the last thing I would imagine anyone wanting to eat in such heat – but what do I know….they get sold.
The beer stands open at 10am….and it is impressive/unimpressive how much is consumed by 12 o’clock, and there is definitely a lull after lunch in the singing and banter. The lunch break is brilliant as everyone is allowed onto the field and mini games of cricket start up all over each the place, Aulden nearly took a catch of a young lad!
The heat is something else, and the occasionally increasing breeze throughout the afternoon has been most welcome. It is quite something to watch the players, with the batsmen sticking it out at the crease, and the bowlers and fielders slogging away. A couple of dropped catches, especially Stokes! We didn’t realise that he’d then been run out as we berated the dropped catch.
Such a fantastic day, so much action from batting to bowling, sitting sweating in the stands drinking beer and singing along with the Amla Army – or just watching them! Not south Africa’s day, but here’s hoping tomorrow is a good one and this becomes a contest of 5 days.