We got to sing the team song today!
At some points in the day, it didn’t look like we were going to make it. Overs passed by, few runs were scored, and the tension mounted. Just when all seemed lost, a wicket would fall and fan into flame the burning desire to add the South Africans to English in our Summer of Shove.
Plopper lead the singing with outward gusto, but I could tell that inside he was rather sheepish. The victory was ours, but he was feeling his lack of contribution by way of wickets. Someone had to stand up and get through the stone-wall defence, and on a last day pitch it’s the spinners’ job to winkle out even the stoutest of defender. Only Trapper got a wicket from the spin brotherhood, with a ripper in amongst his usual bunch of speculative fiction.
It was tense in the middle, and The Prof and I were intent on listening to the stump mic to feel like we were close to the action. When Philander was given not out on DRS as the video ump thought you might have been able to put a piece of tissue paper between the batsmen’s glove and the bat at the instant of contact, things really got hot out there and the Umps had to intervene. No one likes losing, but Steyn and The Captain like it less than most, and let each other know in no uncertain terms.
Dharmasena was all over it. He kept the peace, and the last 17 DRS reviews that have been taken to review one of his decisions have all been wasted. It hasn’t always been the case, but he has had a great tour.
In the end it was The Natural who pulled through, hobbling around on his creaky knees, one of which is well past its use-by date. At the last roll of the dice, with just a few overs left, he gathered up his sizeable frame for one last tilt, and slipped in a couple of yorkers that hit the stumps (therefore not needing a involve another potential DRS omnishambles) and sealed the victory.
It was a nive touch carrying him off the field. In truth, he was so buggered and his knees so sore, he wasn’t able to make it back to the dressing room under his own steam.
During the tour, The Natural has built up a collection of business cards from orthopedic surgeons that would fill a cricket kit. They’ve been arriving by post, courier and personal emissary. Even some of the “medical tourism” mob have been on at him about having the surgery done in one of the excellent hospitals in Bangkok, Delhi or Ulan Bataar, but he’s a home boy at heart. He also knows that with match payments, winning bonuses and the next rather sizable distribution from the Players Pension Fund No 8 (by way of a cheque with an obscene amount of zeroes on it, signed personally by The Prof), he can pay for whoever he wants to slice him open and determine his whole playing future.
So, it’s party time tonight! 2-1 makes it 7-1 for the Summer. I hear we’re eating boerwoers all night tonight!
Australia by 245 runs. 7/494 d and 5/303 d, South Africa 287 and 265.