As I write this it’s just gone past 03.00 CST. I haven’t been to bed yet. It’s Sunday morning so this isn’t too unusual, but I got up earlier than I had planned today so I’m quite tired. South Africa are 255-5 and they are holding my attention well, which is good because I want to see how the day’s play pans out. If the Proteas get another fifty Australia are probably just about out of it. They only got near 300 in the first innings because of Watson and Hughes, but neither of them, nor anyone in the Aussie batting order, can be relied upon to get a score in the second innings.
It’s the run chase to which I am looking forward. Amongst other things it could be the last time we Ricky Ponting play for Australia. As much as I have enjoyed seeing him struggle, especially during the last Ashes, he has had an excellent career and it will be interesting to see if he can prolong it. If he can’t it is always nice to have watched such endings instead of reading about it in the papers the next morning. Even if he fails it may not be his last innings; he has said that he wants to keep playing and the Australian selectors have not had a good year. Other, though slightly less likely possible departures are Brad Haddin, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson. If the new chairman of selectors decides to really wield the axe most of the players that I so enjoyed watching during the last Ashes may be gone. (Though I only really enjoyed watching Hussey bat in the last two Tests.)
I don’t think they will be that ruthless though. Ponting ought to go, though it would not be unreasonable for him to get a farewell series at home. It’s hard to think that a wicket keeper could do much worse than Haddin is currently, but I don’t think Australia have a clear potential replacement for him so he might stay. There is a clear replacement for Johnson though, so he will be lucky to face New Zealand. Ironically given the difficulties Australia have had in finding a spinner, Nathan Lyon is probably more secure in his place than most of his team-mates.
South Africa have lost another two wickets though, so it’s game on. A win for Australia may save a few careers.