PORT ELIZABETH – As the Barmy Army belted out their rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a prayer” with the famed lyrics “Woah, we're half way there” drowning out the St George’s Park brass band it was confirmation that there was only one team in this third Test match, and possibly even the series.
That team is, of course, England and at that stage the visitors were indeed halfway there with South Africa five wickets down in their follow-on innings and staring the prospect a massive defeat right in the face. By stumps they had lost another one to leave England needing just four wickets to take a 2-1 series lead to the Johannesburg finale.
It is indeed a pitiful state of affairs for South Africa, especially as the rain had wiped away the majority of the first and second sessions. It is hard not to imagine that the match would have been concluded already were it not for the weather interruptions and that South Africa’s only hope of salvaging a draw on the final day rests with the heavy downpours forecast for Monday.
“Today (Sunday) is not a day we can say we fought hard or hold our heads up high. There might have been a couple of things that added to the lacklustre performance but we can’t be too emotional about it. We need a lot of hard work in the future and that’s what we need to do,” Proteas coach Mark Boucher said.
To England, and their captain Joe Root’s credit, they were cognisant of the pending weather disruptions all the time. It was for this reason they had no hesitation in enforcing the follow-on for the first time since 2013 after running through their hosts in the morning session. South Africa lost their four remaining overnight wickets for the addition of just one run to be dismissed for 209. The deficit was exactly 290 runs.