at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
The Proteas are no longer interested in making history; they have got into the habit of repeating it. The series wins in England and Australia in 2008 were iconic, but doing it all over again this year is the mark of greatness.
For those who love to rub the noses of the Aussies in it, the 309-run pasting in Perth made all those early rises during the series well worth it.
To witness Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla go into overdrive on the second day at the Waca made all the nail-biting and pacing down passages during the Adelaide thriller that much sweeter.
It was the pulverising stuff of legend, and may well have been South Africa’s greatest single day in Test cricket. Instinctively, they went for the jugular, and even the one-eyed Channel Nine experts were at a loss for words.
One thing that Gary Kirsten and Co will need to guard against, though, is not getting exposed for a lack of depth in the bowling department. The Proteas made merry against Australia’s back-up attack, but who would we have had if the shoe had been on the other foot?
The crocked Marchant de Lange aside, who would step in if we lost Messrs Steyn, Morkel and Philander at once? It’s unlikely, of course, but these things can happen – just ask Michael Clarke. We have as many quality batsmen as the Boks have loose forwards, but the back-up pace battery needs to be sorted and managed with a rainy day in mind.
It’s time for the likes of Chris Morris and Hardus Viljoen, who have already left a few bruises on local batters, to be brought closer to the squad, so they are not awed like Rory Kleinveldt was on debut.
The beefy Cobras seamer bounced back in Adelaide, of course, but his was a brutal introduction to the big time.
Tellingly, the Proteas always had the answers when the Aussies questioned their temperament.
We have a special unit of cricketers amongst us, and it is telling that they managed to do it whilst the suits that control our game were still making headlines for reasons with precious little to do with success on the field.
Who knows what heights this team can reach with the undivided support of a board that would be focused solely on making them the best cricketers they can be?
It is that same board, albeit under a more cynical leader, that also insisted that the Proteas warranted more respect from their Aussie chums, with regards to the Boxing Day and New Year’s Tests.
How Cricket South Africa expected Australian officials to give up their eternal, iconic cash cows and alternate tours over the festive period is a wonder.
Like the Superbowl, the FA Cup final and quiz final at your local pub, the Boxing Day Test is an institution.
And in all of this, it is players that suffer most.
Instead of toasting a win at the MCG or saving a Test in Sydney in the height of summer, with full houses, the Proteas have been cast far and wide, playing at Australia’s second tier venues.
That is certainly one for the suits to sort out – once their own house is in order – because no player wants to go through a career without experiencing the rare privilege of playing a Test in front of nearly 100 000 appreciative spectators.
South African crowds just don’t make as big a fuss about the annual Test in Durban and it is sad that it has been scrapped this season.
For one thing, the Kingsmead “green mamba” pitch has produced fabulous contests over the past few years.
The absence of a Test at that time also means that those sensitive heads and bloated tums that come out to bask in post-festive buffet bliss will have to find a new venue to nurse their hangovers.
Now those really are the biggest losers.