There was a steely determination the eyes of the team as we left the hotel this morning. We were in a position to press for a win, but today was the day that we had to actually press for the win.
Puff again let rip with a near run a ball 100, and that about summed up the day. There were a few minor stumbles along the way, but The Captain reached the target he had in mind in plenty of time. Trapper’s contribution came at a strike rate of nearly 200. Sublime Test match 100s and frantic hit and giggle. He can do it all. He is a marvel.
The team, including the non-playing members of The Reject Club, clapped Smiff onto the field through a guard of honour as he came out to bat for the last time in his test career. In the interests of diplomacy and inter-team harmony, Coach2.0 sealed up Puff’s gob with gaffer tape just to make sure he didn’t spoil the occasion with an indiscreet or poorly timed sledge. It was a wise move – after scoring two 100s in the game, he really is a little over exuberant. Anyway, the tape came off before the first ball was bowled, and from what I could hear over the stump mic, he made up for lost time.
A few wickets were blasted out, including Smiff who trudged off to a standing ovation. He has only a few more runs to show for the whole series than Trapper made from his 20 ball madhouse earlier in the day. Clearly, it’s time.
The Prof and I got bored very quickly in the last session watching ABdV and Amla block out what seemed like a few hours play after the initial flurry of wickets, and got to reminiscing about the last year. Cricket is a fickle game. Twelve months ago we were getting flogged 4-0 by India amid the chaos and controversy of HomeWorkGate. Then we failed to regain the Ashes in England in spite of patches of good play and some games that we could have won. We couldn’t take a trick. Then the sun moved to the south and everything changed. A glorious 5-Nil win in The Ashes, and now on the verge of 2-1 against the reigning No 1 side. Amazing! Putting it all in perspective, The Prof said: “I hope we get to go up that cable car tomorrow afternoon.” That’s what I like about him – unbridled ambition.
The journalists will no doubt be drawing parallels between the situation at the close of play and the drawn Adelaide Test in November 2012 when SA started Day 5 at 4/77 and batted all day for a draw. But they haven’t seen what I have. Tatts and RocketMan in their jock straps dancing around the dressing room to One Direction at full volume, after bowling 22 overs between them, while The Natural sat in the ice bath with a fiery stare that could burn a hole straight through Table Mountain. Plopper standing in the corner, ripping the ball off his spinning finger while muttering the words to “Under the Southern Cross” under his breath.
He’ll be singing it before tea tomorrow.
Australia 7/494d & 5/303d, South Africa 287 & 4/71, and hanging on.