PRETORIA – South Africa has won a Test match again. They will savour it, as they must.
Monday, January 14, 2019, was the last time the Proteas left a cricket field having won a Test. Since then they’ve been ‘Perera-ed’ ‘Kohli-ed’, ‘Agarwal-ed’ and ‘Ashwin-ed.’ Five losses in a row. But from Boxing Day until the third last day of 2019, they started to find themselves again. And they would find victory again.
The would find it in the precocious batting of Quinton de Kock in the first innings, the brilliance of Vernon Philander with the ball when it was England’s turn to bat, the courage and fortitude of Anrich Nortje as a nightwatchman, the patience and discipline of the bowlers, the athletic fury in the field in England’s second innings and the ferocity of Kagiso Rabada (in both innings) and Nortje with the second new ball on Sunday.
It is important to note, South African cricket has come from a dark place, selfish administrators have done their best to put themselves ahead of the game they are supposed to serve. It has taken the players to protest through their union, and to then refocus and train to prepare themselves in less time than is optimal for a four Test series.
The interim Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith has had to hastily assemble a coaching staff, Mark Boucher cut short a family holiday, Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt answered the call and Enoch Nkwe took a step down, to help this team. They all made sacrifices and in doing so have set an example for Cricket SA’s administrators to follow.