TELFORD VICE, Mumbai
TEMBA Bavuma made an odd sight as he stood in the players’ pavilion after the first day of SA’s tour match against a Board President’s XI in Mumbai on Friday.
Bavuma, his floppy hat plonked on his head, held a plate loaded with three post-match pies, which made his food almost as tall as he isn’t. But that wasn’t what snared onlookers’ attention.
What did was his shorts, into which he had shoved a large ice pack to cover his groin and the top of his left thigh. The bulge was as conspicuous as Bavuma himself is reserved, and it did not go unnoticed.
It was that kind of day at the Brabourne stadium – odd. For one thing, it would be a mistake to think of Friday’s events as part of a contest what with 13 players involved on each side. And with only Saturday’s play left there is no chance of it turning into something that could be won and lost.
But SA’s bowlers – nine of them – made the most of it and toiled for more than five-and-a-half hours in the 35-degree heat to dismiss their opponents for 296.
The zip Dale Steyn showed meant more than his three wickets, and while Morne Morkel did not take any in his five overs he also did not concede a single run. And he did not seem in any discomfort from his quadriceps problem.
Vernon Philander, too, bowled with pace and purpose for his two scalps.
But most of the focus was on SA’s three spinners. All performed credibly, although Simon Harmer’s 3/41 stuck out above Dane Piedt’s 1/88 and Imran Tahir’s 1/16.
Even so, Harmer left the field at stumps muttering darkly to himself having come in as nightwatchman with 13 balls left in the day’s play – when Stiaan van Zyl fell to fine catch at short third man – and been caught behind five balls before the close.
That means SA will resume on 46/2. As a scoreline, it looks like Bavuma’s shorts. But that didn’t make the pies taste bad, and SA will look to put things right on Saturday.