The inevitable march of this match hung over the team meeting this morning like an albatross with a plastic bag full of sandpaper caught in its gullet. Sarah, the Head of Marketing, tried to liven things up by sneaking in late and slipping a large Easter Egg under the youngest team member’s backside as he sat down. There was only a modest cracking sound, followed by an expletive by the young opener that suggested that only a fool would waste good chocolate like that. Although he didn’t waste it, he ate it. No sharing. So much for team culture!
It was confirmed that The Captain had indeed broken his thumb, and it was firmly denied that Faf did it to him during the handshake on Day 1. He will soldier on, but who knows who is going to captain the team for the pointless 5 ODI series in England in June. [Ed. All ODI’s are pointless, aren’t they?]
No one felt like letting rip with an April Fools belter today. It was left for us old hands to reminisce about great pranks of the past – like sewing Wicky’s gloves together [Ed. He took three catches that day!], sewing Puff Warner’s pockets shut [Ed. The ball didn’t go reverse that day] and telling Junior Junior Marsh that he’d been dropped and replaced by his sister. [Ed. The fact that he got shirty about this is all the more amusing when you know that she’s a basketballer].
We were hoping against hope to avoid being the butt of any jokes from the South African side, with most of the team being in a fragile state of mind. A large cardboard box was delivered to the dressing room just after we arrived, but The Prof intercepted it and hid it behind Junior Junior Marsh’s stash from the Easter egg hunt. Once the team had trudged out to the field for the second dig, we peered inside the box.
“Sandpaper. Is that the best they can do?” said The Prof.
“A little too obvious, really, even by their standards,” I said. “It’s a nice 320 grit, though. What will we do with it?”
The Prof was already on the phone, wandering out into the corridor. He came back a few minutes later, accompanied by a young man who took the box and a wad of notes.
“Thank you, Mr Prof.”
“Thank YOU, Jonty.” The young man scuttled away with the box.
“Well?” I said.
“Young Jonty works at the Saffers’ hotel. That sandpaper is going to be cut up, rolled up and placed on the toilet roll holders in all their rooms.”
“By some strange coincidence, it might just be curry night at the buffet tonight.”
“How opportune. I guess it won’t be to Warnie’s taste?”
“Jonty’s brother works in the kitchen. I’ve slipped them both enough Rand to ensure that there will be no mercy.”
On the field, we scraped together another 100 runs, then got a few poles. A zillion behind and looking down the barrel.
SA 488 and 3/134 Australia 221
COMING SOON: The return of cartoonist Jock Macniesh.