Events in Calcutta and Colombo over the past few days have confirmed the well-worn maxim that cricket is a funny game.
The opening day of what has been officially titled The Golden Test, the 50th at the Queen's Park Oval, added further credence to the adage.
The second Test between the West Indies and South Africa may not repeat the transformation that brought India their remarkable victory over Australia on Thursday or the low-scoring tension of England's triumph over Sri Lanka yesterday. But there were enough peculiarities on the opening day to hint at another Queen's Park humdinger.
In a nutshell, South Africa, with eight Test century-makers in their team, including captain Shaun Pollock at No.9, faltered from a position of mid-afternoon strength to be all out for an unsatisfactory 286.
To the raucous, joyful delight of a crowd estimated at 18 000, they lost their last six wickets for 65, their last five for 30. The miserable ending to the day extended to the only over they had, Alan Donald spraying two wides to get the West Indies underway.
Several factors compounded the South Africans' demise.
Their openers, Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten, survived to lunch after the most difficult part of the day when the West Indies fast bowlers failed to utilise the movement and bounce offered by the residue preparation moisture in the pitch.
They were removed within ten minutes of resumption. Kirsten fended Nixon McLean's lifter to second slip in the second over, Herschelle Gibbs became Courtney Walsh's 497th Test wicket, diverting a sharp off-cutter into his off-stump and South African were left to regroup.
Daryll Cullinan, who would pass his 13th Test century in his 67th Test, and Jacques Kallis chose to do that with a calculated assault that brought them 99 runs at a run-a-minute clip in which ineffective bowling and ragged fielding were accomplices.
South Africa were steaming along towards a formidable position when they were unexpectedly checked.
The change was triggered first by Wavell Hinds, a batsman who had never been asked to bowl in Test cricket but who ended the threatening partnership with his third ball, and later by Dinanath Ramnarine, the leg-spinner, who had been earlier hammered out of the attack.
Hinds was summoned by captain Carl Hooper 20 minutes to tea when Cullinan and Kallis appeared not only immovable but uncontainable.
A right-arm medium-pacer whose bowling needs to be encouraged in a team short of his type, Hinds removed the ominous Jacques for 53, made off 80 balls with two sixes and seven fours. The tall Jamaican claimed a slick return catch low enough to influence the batsman into waiting for confirmation from the TV replay. It was a crucial intervention. His purpose achieved, he was immediately removed by the shrewd Hooper but returned into the last session to account for wicket-keeper Mark Boucher to a soft flick, low to midwicket.
Between those wickets, Walsh moved to within two of the magical 500 Test wickets. He found the bottom edge of the uncertain Neil Mckenzie's bat and Chris Gayle swooped low to his right to claim a two-handed catch.
It was now time for Ramnarine to have another go. The leg-spinner, in his first Test before his home crowd, had been the main target of the barrage by Kallis and Cullinan. He had created problems for some of the top-order batsmen in the first Test at Bourda and the obvious plan targeted him for special attention.
Twice in his second over after lunch, Kallis stepped down to hoist him down the ground and over the ropes. He pummelled him for two more fours, as did Cullinan, and Hooper had no option to shield him from further pressure.
The situation had changed significantly since then but the South Africans did not change their strategy against the leg-spinner. It would bring their downfall.
Outstanding catch The left-handed Klusener thumped three boundaries off Hinds before he was beaten by Ramnarine's sharp, bouncing googly that he edged to Ridley Jacobs who took an outstanding catch.
Nicky Boje, also left-handed, also mistook a googly for a leg-break and, aiming his swing to midwicket, skied the ball halfway down the pitch for Jacobs to gather another catch.
Cullinan now found himself with Pollock and Nos. 10 and 11. He had pull-swept Ramnarine for the last two of his 14 fours but the shot brought his downfall, out for 103 after three-and-a-half hours. Merv Dillon gathered in the topedged skier at midwicket.
McLean rounded off the innings and a satsifactory day for the West Indies by disposing Alan Donald and Makaya Ntini.
Before the start of the historic Test, two West Indian greats of different generations unveiled new boards marking the finest achievements at Queen's Park.
Sir Everton Weekes' board listed the 83 century-makers in the previous 49 Tests. Curtly Ambrose's carried the names of those who have taken five or more wickets in an innings here.
Ambrose would surely have enjoyed the morning's conditions more than Weekes, but the hot sunshine gradually sapped the life from the surface.
The West Indies batsmen should enjoy today.