TELFORD VICE, Bangalore
CROSSING a street is a petrifying prospect for a certain class of foreigner in Bangalore, where pedestrians are disenfranchised by a citizenry that votes with its wheels.
Add rain to the equation and you might as well be walking a chewing gum tightrope stretched over a cluster of hornets’ nests.
Will the man staring intently at a woman searching for a few square centimetres of intact pavement to step onto – the same man who is driving a rapidly approaching tuk-tuk, the one that’s indicating left but turning right – see you through his vehicle’s rain-streaked windscreen?
Just how far and wide will that incongruously gleaming 4×4 careening at you from the wrong side of the road splash the gallons of mud lurking in cow-deep potholes bigger than the average farm dam?
Is the bloke on the motorbike with the umbrella clutched in one hand while he hoots furiously with the other – all the while holding a bulging bag of onions between his knees even as his pillion passenger props up a two-metre ladder on the smidgen of seat that separates them – honestly going to try and ride through you?
The SA squad are not part of the class of foreigner who has to worry about these things. Only luxury buses and police escorts will do for them.
On Monday they didn’t have to bother with even that, what with the third day’s play in the second test abandoned at the scheduled lunch break – or before both teams had seen fit to arrive at the M Chinnaswamy stadium – because of the rain that has soaked the city, on and off, since SA arrived a week ago.
Sunday’s play suffered the same fate, and more rain, though a little less than has fallen on each of the past two days, has been forecast for Tuesday. Another splash is due tomorrow.
When, of even if, play resumes India will be 80 without loss in reply to SA’s first innings of 214. In other words, as a contest the second test is dead in the water.
The third test is set for Nagpur on November 29. There is time, then, for SA to understand how they have gone from being the first side touring India to advance within sight of victory in rubbers in all three formats on a single tour to, at 0-1 down, veering towards their only loss in their last 15 away test series.
What with 27 of the 30 wickets SA have lost in the series falling to India’s spinners, the elephant in the temple is obvious.
And, as the home side lost 15 of their 20 wickets to SA’s spinners in the first test in Mohali, advice on how to play the slow stuff has come from many who have wielded a bat at a decent level in these parts.
“Playing spin is all about your mindset,” former test batsman Gautam Gambhir said. “If your mindset is to survive all the time, you will not survive.”
That will work for facing Ravichandran Ashwin, but not for a certain class of foreigner trying to cross the street in Bangalore.