IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.
IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.

Wanderers has been fun and festive for third Test

By Lungani Zama Time of article published Jan 13, 2019

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There may be a need for Sir David Attenborough to shoot his next BBC documentary at The Wanderers, given the entomological frequency at international matches these days.

The Pakistan side was halted in their tracks several times by a buzzing army, with a flapping of arms that looked to be a more convincing defence to the short ball than anything else.

The magic spray came out, and there were sniggers from the gallery. After all, they have seen their own side floored by a bumble of bees at the very same venue.

Aside from the natural distractions, the Bullring was a heaving, beautiful mass of like-minded humans. They were all intent on having a party, even as wickets tumbled like unpaid debit orders in early January.

Who cares when the cricket is so fun and festive!

There, in the Unity Stand, the band was, with their trumpets and classic tunes.

They arrived promptly at 2pm, and the mood and volume rose significantly. The amber nectar flowed like December, while the bowlers rummaged for both sides.

Duanne Olivier, making himself the star in Jozi yet again, was on a hat-trick, as he romped to yet another five-wicket haul. He simply can’t stop clattering Pakistani gloves and limbs, and he helped South Africa forget a comical first hour.

From 10am, they clattered chances for fun, and even saw Dale Steyn trudge off in shoulder dismay.

He almost made another hole in the Wanderers players’ tunnel, banging away at it in fury.

Steyn had strong words with the manne at the first drinks break, and that clearly had the desired effect.

“He just told us to forget about what had happened,” Olivier said, steering clear of any verbatim.

Beyond that break, South Africa secured a 77-run lead, then proceeded to lose regular wickets themselves.

The highlight of those was first knock ace Aiden Markram being brilliantly snapped up by the visiting skipper behind the stumps.

Well, it looked brilliant to most of us, but the enigmatic Master Sarfraz has high standards.

Was it one of his best?

“No, no, no! It wasn’t even in the top three. Not even top five,” he chuckled at the press conference.

“There was one at Lord’s, off Dawid Malan. And another here, off Hashim-Bhai (Amla). Maybe this one is in the top ten,” Sarfraz quipped.

You can’t say he isn’t a barrel of quotes, and he also seems to be on better terms with his bowlers now.

Well, they are still bowling in patches, he noted.

High, high standards.

Not that the masses noticed, as the band rollicked relentlessly, and the sun belted down. It was glorious, with the backdrop of a fun, stress-free jaunt in the middle, irritating insects and all.

Who says January is full of worries?


Sunday Tribune

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