Springbok Stew

India has put South Africa to the sword and it looks like the new World Order will be maintained – with India remaining atop of the Test ladder.  That is, if India can close out the match having lead on the first innings by 350 runs, with two days remaining.

South Africa arrived in India – the “land of one billion opportunities” – to play a two Test series.  South African captain, Graeme Smith was interested in just one opportunity: To win the series and finally get his hands on that mace – the symbol of world Test supremacy.

Smithy has waited to win this mace for quite some time.  It seemed a formality that it would be his in March 2009.  All his team had to do was beat a beleaguered Australian team at home – a team they had just beaten in Australia – to claim the prize.  But after two Tests, his dream was in tatters.

The South Africans arrived in India with a less presumptuous attitude.  In fact, Smith left at home the purple robe and ring, set with a single Kimberley diamond, that he has had made for the occasion when he is presented with the mace.  What a surprise to see the Boks win the first Test by an innings.  All they had to do was close out the second Test to finally climb to the top of the ladder.  Smith sent for the robe and ring – special delivery.

At 1-218 on the first day of the second Test, it seemed South Africa was in the clear.  With the score 2-228 at tea, Smithy sent the robe off to the dry cleaners, just to make sure everything would be perfect.  He put the ring on his fat mitt – just to make sure that it still fit.  Nothing could go wrong now.

But go wrong it did.  And how.  South Africa was nine down by the close off play.  On day two, South Africa was dismissed for less than 300 and over the next two days, India proceeded to belt almost 650 before the declaration.  No less than four Indian batsmen passed 100.  Steyn could manage only one wicket and Paul Harris compiled a tidy 1-182 from 50 overs.

Still, Smithy can save the day.  It will take some work but in the land of one billion opportunities, he doesn’t have to look far.  Smith will be at the crease at the start of day 4.  All he has to do is bat for the better part of two days and he can still get his hands on the mace.  And wear his purple robe.  And the diamond ring.  And yes, I’m making this up.

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