The fifth day of a Test can be dreadful. It can also be the best thing ever. When you get the right ingredients, it’s rich and intoxicating, like a creamy mustard sauce laced with smack.
The second (and final) Test between South Africa and Australia is set up perfectly. South Africa could win or Australia could win. Nor is a draw out of the equation and that’s a good thing. People talk about wanting a result, but a draw is a result and that extra layer of complexity is one more thing that affects the way in which play develops. The changing tones of the action are what make cricket what it is.
Then there are the subplots. The most significant is that of old man Ponting. The crease-faced munchkin is being written off because he’s not been getting into double figures of late, but the man’s always looked gash early on. He managed to get up and running yesterday and if he does so again, it’ll be fascinating to see how he does.
Follow today’s play in person, on TV, on the radio or via the internet. It will be better than whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing by some margin.