South Africa v West Indies, Wednesday 17th December 2014,10:30am


The West Indies are in town and Jen and I were able to squeeze in the opening couple of sessions from the first day of the first test at Centurion before heading off to the airport for a flight back to Europe.

It was raining as we drove to the ground, which I thought was quite unfortunate. It rains a fair bit at this time of the year, by African standards anyway, but it usually happens in the evening. Morning rain, when you are off to watch the cricket, could be considered unlucky.

We’d pre-booked parking, but as with the recent Chiefs v Pirates game, we needn’t have bothered. The car park was the piece of wasteland that we’d used on our last visit to Centurion and every passing car was being directed in regardless of whether they had a ticket or not.

The first braai of the day was already smoking away next to a pick up truck. I couldn’t see the sense in that. There were only three-quarters of an hour to go to the start of play and there were braais available inside the stadium. Why have a leisurely breakfast on the wasteland whilst the event you’ve come to see goes on without you?

On the way in.

On the way in.

We had sixty rand tickets for the covered grandstand, in an attempt to avoid whichever of the rain or sun would be causing problems. We’d sat on the grass last time, but I’m getting to the age where I like a proper chair and whilst I could have brought one in with me, it’s less hassle to just sit in the ones already there.

The rain had eased up, but had delayed the start for half an hour which meant we got to watch the teams complete their warm-ups. The West Indies won the toss and decided to bowl. I was quite pleased with that as I hoped it might go some way to mitigating the South African team’s superiority.

Amla signing autographs

Amla signing autographs

The host’s opening pair got off to a good start before three wickets in a short space of time swung the momentum towards the West Indies. That’s what I like about cricket, particularly test cricket. A good spell can turn the advantage around, only for it to go the other way again an hour or so later.

Amla and de Villiers then batted out the remainder of the morning to conclude what I’d say was a reasonable session for both sides with the score on 102 for 3.

View from the grandstand.

View from the grandstand.

We stretched our legs with a couple of laps of the ground at lunchtime. There were still people coming in, perhaps after having waited to see how the weather would pan out. Others were taking advantage of the cooking facilities provided as an alternative to spending the day heating up charcoal in the car park.

Lunchtime braai.

Lunchtime braai.

We moved seats for the second session, partly because I like to do that but also because the fellas sat behind us were yapping away that bit too loudly. I don’t need to know every detail of each of your lives and that of everyone you know, just sit quietly and watch the cricket.

Our new seats were further around towards the grass. There was a bar with a swimming pool between the two areas. You wouldn’t want to try and train for the Olympics in it, but it was big enough to allow a few of the people with limited attention spans to take a break from proceedings and wander around thigh deep in it or throw water at each other.

Swimming pool bar

Swimming pool bar

Amla and de Villiers carried on in the afternoon in a similar manner to that of the morning. Jen and I had to leave at the tea interval to catch our flight to Istanbul and at that stage they were both looking well set for centuries. I saw the closing overs on the telly at the airport and by then they were both on their way to a hundred and fifty. Definitely South Africa’s day.



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