England 303, South Africa 137-4 My first two days of this tour were spent either in my hotel or the Kingsmead stadium, and I could almost have been watching cricket anywhere in the world. This evening, I finally regained some semblance of a social life when my friend Kate, who studied for her MSc alongside me in the UK a few years ago, picked me up after the day’s play and took me for dinner in Durban North with her friends Sindy and Neil. The peril of travelling alone is that you can spend a lot of time cut off from everyone, especially if you’re staying in a hotel rather than a hostel. On the other hand, the advantage is that you are forced to go out and meet people, and that is often the best part of the trip. It was a lovely evening with old and new friends, and I’m looking forward to seeing them again before I go.
Today’s play sees the Test still pretty finely balanced: England owe their decent position after their first knock chiefly to Compton, with contributions from Taylor, Bairstow and the unusually tall tenth wicket partnership of Finn and Broad. South Africa owe what success they have had to Dean Elgar, 67 not out overnight, and a 49 from AB de Villiers. It is always terrifying to an opposition supporter when de Villiers or Amla walks out to bat, and the relief was palpable when they got out – especially since several chances had gone begging. Of the bowlers, Steyn and Broad both looked dominant, and Morne was impressive too. Probably my favourite wicket of the ten that fell today, though, was Moeen bowling Faf du Plessis for 2. The ball went right through Faf, and also through the keeper, so James Taylor went tearing after it to prevent a boundary; what no-one noticed for a second or two was than, in passing, it had brushed gently against the very top of the off bail and knocked it off. Perfect positioning.