South Africa Tour 2009/10

Joy of joys as Midnight, Saint and I dance a violent jig as Onions survives

The final day of the Test and the situation looks hopeless. The Blades decide against going to the cricket and PC Tango has made for the airport to get back for some more fun on the mean streets of South London.

For a while the day before, the excitement was really at a high level as England responded to a massive target with a promising start by Cook and Strauss. Everything had gone wrong after 5 pm with Strauss, Cook and then the truly awful KP getting out, leaving England on 132/3.

The eve of the final day sees a return to the Bayside Cafe to get reacquainted with Edwin the Slaphead and who should arrive at the opposite table but the lanky Morne Morkel with his rather stunning girlfriend. I watch him closely as he only has one bottle of beer. England needs all the help they can get, so I invite him to the bar to drink into the small hours, but the smartar*e Saffer says “I’ll have that drink with you at 3pm tomorrow”. He will live to regret that cocky statement.

Attendance on the final day felt more like duty than anything else, but as the day goes on, things start looking promising. Trott hangs on in there and then Colly and Bell tough out over after over. It’s hardly a run-fest but t is very absorbing as the Saffers begin to get frustrated. The second session is superb as we show resilience little in evidence in past years.

Midnight is enjoying baiting Dale Steyn (or W*nk as he is known to the AA) who is bowling superbly but with little result. England’s greatest fan has a quip almost after every over W*nk returns to field near us at fine leg.

I am beginning to believe, but in a repetition of the day before 5pm meltdown, Colly, Prior, Bell and Broad all get out in the space of about half an hour, leaving us all like cats on a hot tin roof. It all comes down to Swann and Onions who manages somehow to survive an onslaught from Morkel. I cannot watch the last over and cower under my towel, hoping that Morkel’s over-confidence the night before will come to bite him in the ar*e.

Joy of joys as Midnight, Saint and I dance a violent jig as Onions survives and we achieve an unlikely draw. I challenge anybody to tell me that Test cricket is boring. It was emotional, gut-wrenching and ultimately adrenaline-filled. You cannot beat it and you cannot watch it in better company than the AA.


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