South Africa 475 and 248-5 dec., England 342 and 101
In the end it was a very short day’s play. It took South Africa’s bowlers – primarily the new national hero Kagiso Rabada – sixty-eight minutes to take England’s last seven wickets, and none of the batsmen showed any intention of sticking around. They had won the series, the were in an impossible position in the match, and they capitulated. I went round to join the Barmy Army once we were eight down, and so was able to see the players and presentations at close hand. Joanne met her favourite player, Temba Bavuma, and most of the players came in and out of the dressing rooms a few times, giving away their kit to pleading fans. At one point Bairstow had run out of shirts to give to a little boy in an England ’92 World Cup shirt, so he went back to the dressing room and got a pair of keeping gloves for him.
After the close of play, the Barmy Army went along to the Castle Corner section of the ground for a few more drinks and to dissect the series. I finally got a chance to try out the swimming pool – which I’d bothered to go in there during the game, it has a great view of the pitch! – but only Caleb dared to join me. I bumped into Steph again, who I’d met in Kruger, and we put the world to rights until the bar was closed and we were all turfed out. A hard core of the Barmy Army were invited into the players’ dressing room to sing some of their songs, but I missed the boat on that one – I need Kate to get me in with the right crowd! This evening is the official end-of-tour party, so I’ve put my glad-rags on and I’m off to celebrate the series win. I’ll worry about the actual cricket tomorrow!