Jaywalking With Jaunty, one of my favorite bloggers, began a post on Day 2 (before the Indians caved, that is) thusly:
I apologize for the mixed metaphors but the SAffers are just that – a relic, a cliché that belongs to a bygone era of Test cricket.
Before Mark Taylor began the modern trend of batting first and batting fast to bat an opposition out of the game, the practice used to be to pile up runs at a “safe” pace before setting the bowlers loose to exploit the pressure induced by the sheer weight of the run chase. A combination of flatter pitches and more aggressive batsmen has caused teams to revisit what constitutes a safe total. Apparently, South Africa did not get that memo.
Eep. I’ve made worse predictions that went wrong (e.g., after the South Africans destroyed India at Ahmedabad, I said the Test would go down as the moment when the Big Three started to retire. Not so.). But they’re still fun to make: so far, the consensus goes that India will lose the first Test, either on Day 4 (likely) or Day 5 (somewhat less likely). There’s fringe hope for either a repeat of the magical Calcutta Test (sans Rahul Dravid or V.V.S. Laxman), or for Napier. For that to happen, however, M. Vijay or Badrinath will have to score their first Test century (that latter too on debut).
Very unlikely. Count me for an Indian loss. And feel free to make fun of me and make me eat crow if India somehow draws.