the new years test in cape town
in south africa there is a cricketing tradition of every year playing test matches on boxing day and on the 2nd of january. the one on boxing day is played in port elizabeth and the one on the 2nd of january is played in cape town, my old home town.
i love the tradition of these test matches and always look forward to them. there’s something quite special about sporting traditions and i love the feeling of partaking in it every year.
the cape town test is particularly special for me – partly because its played in my home town and partly because the ground where it is played – newlands – is one of the most beautiful cricket grounds in the world.
newlands is nestled into the side of table mountain, and has devil’s peak (on the right of the photo) peering over it as well. its also fairly near the sea, and even though you can’t hear or smell the sea, just knowing its there is nice. the field and the stadium itself also seem beautiful to me – i don’t know how beautiful it would be without that mountain there, but the stadium and field are still a beautiful for me. i’ll never forget the first time i went there… as i came up out of the stairs my heart just lifted when i saw that field and the stadium!
the atmosphere at newlands is also very cool. each cricket ground has its own atmosphere. some are vibrant and some are churchlike, some are loud and some are soporific. newlands is just chill… very chill. you can just relax there. a number of people who go there don’t even watch the game, they just go there to chill and chat to friends. its also a ground that appreciates its cricket and isn’t overly nationalistic. you can applaud a good shot by a batsman from the opposing team and often the whole ground will be joining you. they just want to see good cricket and good sportsmanship.
luckily, its also been a very good ground, in terms of results, for us. since 1961 we have only lost to australia there. we really need that record now as we are 1-0 down in a three match series against the west indies.
and while we’re talking cricket, i thought i’d let you know how my man jacques kallis is doing – whose home ground, as it happens, is newlands! in the first match he got 0 and 85, and today he was looking really good but went out early, only getting 36. theres still one more innings left for us, so he has another chance of getting a good score. it’ll be hard, though, because south africa will be batting last on the pitch and by then it’ll be very worn and hard to play on. still, we’ll probably need him to do well in order to win the game, so here’s hoping jk has a good one!