Five dropped catches, twelve clean ones, 13 wickets, 49 boundaries, an injury scare, a brass band, a seamer bowling in sunglasses, and even a stoppage for midges. The second day at the Wanderers had plenty to entertain a boisterous Saturday crowd, the match having progressed rapidly through two-and-a-half innings with no sign that the denouement of the third Test will be any less swift than in Centurion or at Newlands. South Africa needed just over six days to secure this series, and on current evidence they may need only nine to wrap it up entirely.

Incidentally, that's how many days South Africa and England took to play the famous timeless Test (plus one day rained off and a couple for rest) in Durban 79 years ago - and remarkably, a result wasn't even possible on that occasion. Gone, truly gone, are those days, and 21st century Test cricket has evolved into a completely different creature in the interim, virtually unrecognisable from what it once was.

If 2018 was the year when Tests became sexy again, then South Africa's current series against Pakistan has given an indication that the tendency for drama, intensity and results won't be abating any time soon. Test cricket has never moved this quick.

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Don't blame the pitches, just thank the bowlers. Sure, Centurion was a little spicy, but it was the inconsistency of bounce rather than the movement that might be properly criticised, and even then it was hardly unplayable. Newlands, too, offered something for the bowlers and the game might have finished on the third evening were it not for Vernon Philander's errant left heel - but don't forget that no less than seven fifties and one doughty hundred were also scored in that game. The game just moves faster now.

As forward-thinking and progressive a captain as you will find in international cricket, Faf du Plessis has, unsurprisingly, embraced the changes ringing through the game. In fact, he's positively excited by them.

"Test cricket has evolved, and I think it's great," du Plessis said after his team had closed out the series in Cape Town. "It's great for the fans to come in and watch. They're getting fours, they're getting sixes, they're getting lots of wickets, pace bowlers bowling. It's great to come and watch cricket. I love the way Test cricket is at the moment. I think it's a change that was necessary, and Test cricket for me in the last two years has been the most exciting format of all."

While du Plessis offered a few reasons as to why scores have gone down, 40 is the new 50 when it comes to batting averages, results have increased, and the speed of play has picked up, the crux, for him, is that "T20 has been the big change in Test cricket."

The game has a way of balancing itself out, and the attacking mindset that has been bred into the modern batsman is counter-balanced by the added skill and flexibility of bowlers. Add a juicy track into the mix, and you've got a recipe for thoroughly absorbing cricket. The flavour of juice doesn't really matter: India turns, South Africa seams, England swings, and the very best players will be able to adapt to the specific demands of each scenario - as it should be.

Pakistan haven't achieved the results they set out to on this tour, but they have definitely delivered on the promise made by their coach Mickey Arthur ahead of the series to provide a style of cricket that is never predictable, but always watchable. Despite the feisty Centurion track, they scored their runs at 3.62, and at Newlands their run-rate over the Test went up to 3.8, though quick runs have come at a cost, and it's largely been left up to the bowlers to keep Pakistan in the game.

Pakistan have won sessions but not matches, and there's a touch of grumpiness floating around the dressing room, but theirs has been an active voice in a twisting, turning narrative, and they have provided marvellous entertainment for the many thousands of spectators who have turned up to watch the three games in this series.

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And in South Africa, that's another thing that has changed, and continues to do so. You're as likely to hear fans chanting in isiZulu as you are Afrikaans at the Wanderers these days, in fact more so, and on day two the aptly named Unity stand rang out with the stirring anthems of a truly diverse crowd. Cricket grounds in South Africa aren't a white space anymore, and that's as much a cause for celebration as any of the other changes mentioned above.

Test cricket, as it used to be known, is dead. Long live Test cricket.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town