England V South Africa Day 4. Oval test.
Test matches are always a spectacle and more so when England are playing at the Oval. A ground that although lacking the majesty of Lord’s has something of its own. A sort of “people’s ground”. Today the ground was packed with cricket fans paying their £60 to watch a day’s play and that is what they saw. South Africa dominated throughout. Scoring around 200 runs without losing a wicket, nor looking as though they might, to declare around 250 runs ahead of England. So the final session began with England needing to bat out 4 sessions to draw the game. The alleged best team in the world should be able to do that on a placid pitch. Wrong. England’s batting was appalling. A few good balls got wickets ( England got no wickets because they did not bowl any good balls) but Kevin Pietersen seemed determined to get himself out. A stupid cameo innings that gained the team 19 runs before his middle stump went cartwheeling out. Strauss was even worse, sweeping a harmless ball up in the air to square leg. Andrew Strauss has had a bad game all round. Bad batting and bad captaincy. The highlight of the day was seeing Hasim Amla score 300 not out. He looked like he might score 1000 if left there for a few days.
Meanwhile the sun shone, 30 degrees at least, the food selection was poor and expensive. We settled on a pastie for £4.50. No alcohol is allowed in the ground, cycnical. But we all enjoyed the occassion and no doubt will be back next year.