TELFORD VICE, Adelaide
SOUTH African coach Russell Domingo could be forgiven for not having his mind on cricket in Adelaide on Tuesday, even though his team are one win away from history.
Victory in the third test would make South Africa the first side to inflict a 3-0 drubbing on Australia in their own backyard. And that in the South Africans’ inaugural pink-ball, day/night test.
But Domingo’s attention was on what spectators will have to shell out to curb hunger and quell thirst during their visit to Adelaide Oval.
“I’ve heard a beer will cost you Aus$9.20 and I know there’s a bit of controversy about the pies’ prices (of Aus$5.60) as well.”
That’s R96.10 for a beer and R58.50 for a pie – a bit steep, even for Aussies who are used to paying the equivalent of R36 and more for a single espresso.
“There’s all sorts of stuff happening around this test match at the moment,” Domingo said. “Forget about Faf – those pies are damn expensive.”
Ah, Faf. As in Du Plessis, who on Tuesday was damned as a ball-tamperer for the second time in four years.
Domingo spoke before that was decided, and he knew he had to tread softly down every avenue.
For instance, were the South Africans happy to play the match under day/night conditions considering their stated opposition to that idea when it was mooted in April?
“There’s so many sensitive things to talk about,” Domingo said, adjusting his cap warily. “I’ve got to be careful about what I say here as well, I suppose.
“I think there was reluctance from both sides to start with. And now we’re playing. That’s the bottom line.
“How we got there is …,” he held that thought right there, and segued seamlessly.
“I’m just a cricket coach – I’m not making those decisions. I’m excited about it, I know our players can’t wait. It’s one of the iconic stadiums of the world we’re playing at.”
Which was where that tasty tangent about swilling beer and chucking pies came in.
But Domingo was soon back on the pitch.
“I don’t know how we’ve got there but we’re very excited to do it. Initially there might have been some reluctance based on feedback from guys who had played in the previous (day/night) test match.
“But it’s all hunky-dory; we’re good to go, we’re ready to play.”
None more so than Quinton de Kock, who Domingo was counting on to show the South Africans the way under Adelaide’s floodlights.
“The beauty with Quinton de Kock and the way he plays is the simplicity he gave with that answer about the pink ball,” Domingo said with reference to De Kock’s comments after he scored 99 at the same venue and under the same conditions in a tour match last month.
“He said it’s just another ball. Someone asked him about batting at dusk. He said it was the easiest time to bat.
“So that’s the sort of attitude we’re going into it with. It’s just another cricket ball. It might be a different colour, but we’re playing on a cricket pitch, we’ve all played under lights before.
“We’ve got a great opportunity to beat Australia 3-0 at home in their history. That’s what our focus is on.
“We’re not too concerned about whether it’s pink, white or red – we just want to play the test match.”
And so say all of us.