What a day at Newlands was the 4th Day of the South Africa versus England test match. What a mammoth day. We arrived as the teams were warming up, and our seats were a little closer today…
…although it did mean that we were just above to the left of the Barmy Army, and directly above the newly named Hashim Army – all of whom for some reason were sporting yellow marigold rubber gloves! See below:
In fact it is likely that is was dress up day, as there were quite a lot of fancy dress groups around the ground – some definitely more tasteful and wiser than others considering the heat today. We saw a Thomas the tank engine, someone in a full length wig (presumably Captain Caveman – it was a tad hard to tell), men in parasols sporting tutus and creepy masks, a man dressed as a full grown baby, a pint of beer, Snow White (I think!), and many more. In the next photo, they are some of the fancy dressed group giving their all back to the Hashim Army!
The Barmy Army started commenced proceedings with a good and tuneful rendition of Jerusalem, and then proceeded to serenade the bowlers: Anderson, Broad, Finn and they also sang to Bairstow. But it was hot this morning and very humid, and both armies fizzled out abit with the slow cricket that was also taking place. Hashim Amla’s double century was really the only thing that lifted us out of our seats during the morning. I couldn’t even go and try and get more autographs as firstly we were in the middle of a row so it was a bit awkward, and also, I already have Moen Ali’s, and he was on our boundary most of the time.
Still the lunhbreak came, and this time a whole load of school children went onto the pitch to have cricket practice which was quite fun for them. I think most members of the crowd took this opportunity to imbibe of the beer, as after lunch the mood definitely picked up, especially of course when Amla was bowled by Broad…if you can’t catch them out then you have to bowl them out. With du Plessis following shortly afterwards, the mood in the crowd definitely improved and the chanting began and to be honest didn’t let up – at one point it was difficult to concentrate on the actual matter in hand, that being the cricket. Although, whenever we were able to concentrate on the cricket it seemed to be when England was either dropping a catch or letting a ball shoot through beyond the fielder’s grasp…I’m not sure that shoddy is the word I would use, but it was hard to not mock.
And then there was the quite magnificent maiden century of Bavuma. Quite ridiculous – and he gave a lot of cause to the Hashim Army to grow ever louder, aided at appropriate intervals by a South African in the row in front of us who every so often simply bellowed in a very loud deep resonant voice BAVUUUUUUUUMA. Sean, sitting next to me tried to imitate it, but wasn’t quite as effective. His century was fantastic, even though he doesn’t look quite big enough to hold the bat, he runs darned quick between the wickets. What a privilege to watch his maiden century and for it to be such a historic one. If nothing else this test has been one of records broken and achieved which as my brother says has given me lots of “I was there moments”.
Every so often we (I mean the English fans, not Rachael, Aulden & Sean), kept thinking the wickets might start to tumble, but this just didn’t happen and that deficit kept shrinking. If only we’d caught one of those 8 missed catches! We were of the opinion that ought that Amla should have declared as soon as Bavuma scored his century, but I’m mighty glad he didn’t – it was a tense 25 minutes or so watching Cook & Hales stay in to the close of play – and yes we all noticed how the Sotuh Africans rattled through as a any overs as they possibly could – slightly different to last night’s sat half hour 🙂
So to the 5th day tomorrow. If we’d only held onto a couple of catches, then who knows what it would look like. It’s made the 5th day though full of twists and turns, and while some of the cricket hasn’t been the best advert for 5 Day Test Cricket perhaps due to an incredibly flat bland wicket, my goodness some of it has, and it’s been the best batting I think I may ever see. Still, there is room for some more ups and downs tomorrow that is for sure, and I hope both armies will be in full song, I have a feeling our tickets might be quite close to them.