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Friday, January 5, 2018

Capetown, Bhuvi dazzles ~ water crisis and Johnny Higgs, who ??

Ever heard of - John Briggs, born in   Sutton-in-Ashfield, who played for England.

The 1st test between India South Africa got off to a flyer today. The match is played at Newlands, Capetown.  Newlands Cricket Ground (known as PPC Newlands for sponsorship reasons) in Cape Town is the home of the Cape Cobras. Newlands is regarded as one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world, being overlooked by Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. Wiki reveals that  the  title deed for the land currently containing the ground was granted to a brewer, Jacob Letterstedt in 1845, who then presented it to his daughter, Lydia Corrina, as a wedding present upon her marriage to the Vicomte de Montmort.

Cape Town,  is a coastal city in South Africa.  As the seat of the Parliament of South Africa, it is also the legislative capital of the country.   The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was first developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply  station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's arrival in  1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa.

The rival captains sport tattoos.  To Du Plessis, all his tattoos, are stories of his life. He has one on the side of his ribs which reads ‘Grace’ as he feels that his life has changed by the grace of God. He has a quarter sleeve on his arm which deciphers all the important events in his life. The one on the inside of his arm was the day he made his debut for South Africa and above that ‘A day from the Lord’ is written in Latin. On the side he has a compass directed towards the Adelaide Oval where he made his Test debut. It also has the dates of his marriage  !  ~ Indian skipper Virat Kohli too has many tattoos and perhaps thought that he had an even better day than what an ardent fan could dream about this match. 
Indian Express photo

Before that Murali Vijay and Ravi Ashwin travelling might have seen scenes similar to Chennai – people standing with plastic pots for water.  There is sever water shortage and the team India   in Cape Town has been officially asked to not use the shower for more than two minutes. It’s one of the several water conservation messages that the Indian cricketers came across on reaching their hotel after a sweaty and tiring day under the relentless sun. With many in the Indian team hailing from areas with water problems, they understand the severity of the situation, but they aren’t quite timing their baths as of now. The unusually dry winter, the dipping underground water level and the dangerously shrinking dam level has resulted in Cape Town pressing the panic button by enforcing crisis Level 6 water restrictions. These are a strings of curbs to make every drop count.

In such times, Cape Town sees the irony of calling the Test between the top two teams a “mouth-watering contest”.  Indians had that drooling as they had SA reeling at 12/3.  Now the score card reads :  South Africa 286 (De Villiers 65, Du Plessis 62, Bhuvneshwar 4-87) v India 28/3 ~ but can they recover the way, the Proteas did ?

Faf du Plessis confessed he had a score to settle, and so he armed himself with four fast bowlers the envy of the world. Virat Kohli saw Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander during warm-ups. India too had 4 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah making his debut and Hardik Pandya.  Bhuvi struck with the third ball of the series, and then struck again in each of his next two overs, providing India with one of their best starts ever in an overseas series. It was the earliest wicket for India on tour since Kapil Dev dismissed Jimmy Cook off the first ball of the first Test in the 1992-93 series in Durban.

From 12/3 (Dean Elgar, AK Markram & Hashim Amla gone); SA recovered to 142/3, eventually all out for 286.  Bhuvneshwar took 4, while Ravichandran Ashwin who was given only 7 overs, polished the tail, taking 2.  SA played their first ever test in Mar 1889, at Port Elizabeth ~ and were beaten by England by 8 wickets.  India was the first team to tour South Africa in 1992, after South Africa was reinducted  into international cricket after the end of Apartheid era. That series was called the Friendship Series. Mohammad Azharuddin was India captain while South Africa were led by Clive Rice.  Indians have South African connection prior to that also. 

Gandhi arrived in Durban in  1893 aboard the SS Safari. Dada Abdulla, whose firm had hired him to act on its behalf in a commercial dispute with a family member, awaited him on the wharf.  Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi arrived in South Africa at the relatively tender age of 24 as a newly qualified lawyer on a temporary assignment.  By the time Gandhi left South Africa for the last time in 1914, he had already earned the appellation Mahatma for his work in securing significant legal concessions for the local Indian population in South Africa.

SA was to play their 2nd test at Capetown in 1889 and it was a match to be remembered for Johnny Briggs -  the slow left-arm spinner from Lancashire, who was to become  the first man to scale the 100-wicket peak later  in the fourth Ashes Test at Sydney.  In that 2nd test of the Series at Capetown, England were bundled out for 292 !  ~ yet won the match by an innings and 202 runs as South Africa made scores of 47 & 43.  Johnny Briggs had figures of 19.1-11-17-7 and 14.2-5-11-8 !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th Jan 2018.

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