Malinga takes four
Providence, 28 March 2007
Providence Stadium wasn't a patch on the dear old Bourda, we decided as we stewed in the former's glassed in press box. On South Africa's 2005 tour, for instance, a stark white face glowed out of the deep darkness of the verandah opposite the Bourda's airy, open press box. A gander through the binocs confirmed the stupendous: Mick bloody Jagger himself!
And here we are two years later, suffering the stupidity of this half-built, half-baked sterile new stadium. Can't get no satisfaction, indeed.
Now if South Africa could only get the last four runs, we could find some unboiled air. Come on, Lasith Malinga, bowl the last two balls of the 45th over already.
A slower delivery, straight and true, sends Shaun Pollock's leg stump jumping jack flash into the air. Next ball, Andrew Hall digs out a yorker - straight into the hands of the man in the covers. The 46th over yields a single, and puts Jacques Kallis on strike to face Malinga's hat-trick ball.
Surely Kallis, rocksteady as Table Mountain itself, on 86, will end it. Here comes Malinga… and there goes Kallis, square-driving an edge to the wicketkeeper. Malinga rockets into the sky with a yawp, mad pom-pom of hair all abounce as he does so.
Makhaya Ntini doesn't really know what's going on until he's doing the Harlem shuffle all the way back to the hut, yorked by Malinga's next delivery.
Four in four. Nine down. Still three to get. Chaminda Vaas bowls a maiden. Some of us succumb to a 19th nervous breakdown.
Malinga's in to Robin Peterson, who looks like he's been woken by a bright light. He swings. He misses. Dot ball.
Here comes Malinga again. Peterson throws his bat at a ball pitched outside off stump as if he is trying very hard not to hit a hand grenade. But he does - only just, and the edge scoots to the third man ropes for four. Emotional rescue.
Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa