Consider, if you will, the following two journalistic extracts on yesterday’s cricket test match between England and South Africa.
England’s Graham Onions brings tears to South African eyes
Another day, another arse-nipper. Test cricket, which many believe to be fighting for survival, is pulling out all the stops. This was exceptional, a match that, as at Centurion a few weeks back, went to the last available ball.
As in that first Test of this remarkable series, it was the unlikely and certainly unheralded batting of Graham Onions that secured England the draw. They will now go to Johannesburg and The Wanderers next week for the final Test leading a series that they cannot lose and may well win.
Onions makes Proteas cry again
NEWLANDS, the grand old lady of South African cricket grounds, has seen many great test matches over the years, but none more thrilling that the third Test which ended yesterday.
Heading into the final session, just like they had at Centurion in the first Test, England appeared to have done enough ground work to secure a credible draw after being set a world-record target of 466.
It’s a bit disheartening for me to see the comparison between the two openings. The first is from the Guardian’s Mike Selvey and the second is by the Cape Times’s Zaahier Adams. The first captures some of the excitement of the match and the anxiety felt by both teams of supporters. “Arse-nipper” is an unusual description but it works here.
The second story, by comparison, is plodding. What does it serve to call Newlands a “grand old lady”? What is a grand old lady anyway? And what does she have to do with cricket? Maybe the Mount Nelson hotel with its pink walls and stately setting could be called that but as an opener to a report on a thrilling test match it falls very flat.
I could go on but there’s absolutely no excitement in the words “enough groundwork to secure a credible draw”. Credible draw? Credible in whose eyes? Who cares whether it’s credible or incredible? The fact was that it was exciting and heroic and showed how passionately England take this “funny game” that their supporters take huge delight in hours of dot-balls. “Dot ball to the England” sang the Barmy Army in that final over while the rest of us sat on the edge of our seats and clenched our sweaty paws and desperately willed South Africa to an improbable (and ultimately unattainable) victory.
I’ll admit it. I’m a Grinch. But please, if South Africa can’t win a test match this summer, can we at least have some excellent reporting at their attempts to do so?