What were we hoping for today….hmmm, well certainly for South Africa to avoid the follow on…and are it to Day 4. well, they’ve certainly made it to Day 4…perhaps without the scintillating cricket that we saw yesterday, you have to hand it to Hashim Amla, although he took all day to reach his so far unbeaten 157, he was literally there all day! I mean, he shouldn’t have got there…after all we all know that catches win matches…don’t we?
And quite frankly the last hour of play, well it wasn’t really play…the bowlers took ages with each over, the batsmen weren’t really hitting any runs, and even the umpires seemed to faffing about doing goodness knows what in the final 3 overs. Most of the crowd were diehards and hung on either hoping for a sneaky late wicket, or some imitation of yesterday’s batting display hitting all over the place… Maybe it was because it was Day 3 and the Barmy Amry were frazzled from two days in the heat, but they definitely weren’t in full voice today. After an initial start in the morning they seemed to fizzle out – of energy…due to sunshine/too much beer from the last couple of days…who knows…but it is a shame that Newlands bans musical instruments cos we could have done with the Barmy Army’s trumpet keeping the flagging energy up, and not least the players.
Still, there was time for fun and atmosphere to be had. I managed to garner the autographs of Steven Finn, Moen Ali and I think my greatest coup was the autograph of Graeme Smith!!! The firs two were easy as they were outfielders, but I think Smith’s was something of a triumph. Rachael & I spotted him when we headed down to the field during the lunch break…
And it seemed too good an opportunity to miss, surely one of them would sign my cast. When the broadcast was over there were swarms of kids with miniature bats pushing for Smith to sign them – I’m afraid, and I’m not proud, but I used my height and my temporary disability to my advantage and as Smith had a pen in hand I just shoved my arm in front of him (like a miniature cricket bat), he initially looked surprised but then smiled and raised his eyebrows and signed away! To be fair to the others, they all look like I signed their names myself, or not far from many of the doctors signatures I have witnessed over time…but they are all genuine I promise. Apparently my challenge is to get the “Weasley Twins” to sign my cast (Stokes & Bairstow), set by my brother!
In our seats in the gods we met an interesting Australian (talked a lot to the point where you felt you might miss the odd ball – but given the pace of the cricket this didn’t matter too much), an entertaining fella from Birkhamstead – he was akin to a slightly younger and drinker version of Boycott, but when he witnessed me carrying two pints of beer (a balancing act with my cast), and found out that I was a nurse he swore I had wings and was an angel!!! What can I say to that? And next to him was his friend who we couldn’t quite wor out where he lived…Malawi, South Africa, somewhere in the region anyways.
Although the cricket decidedly dragged at times, and we still don’t know what the final referral was for, it just seemed like both teams & umpires were willing the last over and wasting time to get there, we still had a fantastic time, as the winds in Newlands picked up and clouds poured down off Table Mountain (hopefully bringing a change which might suggest a hint of swing for Mr Anderson tomorrow) we hung on clapping each run and cheering at the end and slowly made our way home back to Greenpoint, where there are no clouds and only heat and humidity. We’ve dined at a delicious seafood restaurant down in the port, Panama Jacks – fresh calamari and langoustine from Mozambique -YUM! So all left for me to say is, whilst some might be thinking it’s heading to a draw or a dead end…my daddy would say (from the best seat in the house where he is watching) “It’s a five day test, anything can happen”. And I will pray for rain overnight at Newlands to bring some swing!