On Tour Down Under: Demons Exorcised

It all came to life in one moment. As the 75 tram inched closer on a barmy Boxing Day to the colossal and hugely impressive Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG, or “The G” as the Aussies so proudly call it), my heart virtually imploded in my chest. I was here! Tickets: Check. Wallet: Check. Sunnies: Check. Flag: Check. Tickets: Check again. I was ready to enter.

I took my seat in the fabled Bay 13 and it was silliness personified. Essentially it’s a large group of students drinking mid-strength beer in the sun, cheering all day, every day. Security had other ideas, though, and any mischief was quickly snuffed out. No beer cup snakes, beach balls, or skulling beer.

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63,263 people turned up to the MCG for Boxing Day

 
Rules were rules, but it didn’t stop the crowd. The risk of arrest was irrelevant; it was a mark of legendary status. The survivors would bay the police with some rather defamatory language, and cheer on their hero who was unceremoniously ejected.

Having started well, we were in deep trouble on Day 2. Years of thrashings by Oz began haunting me. But a courageous JP Duminy (an infant in Test cricket terms) and the cool Dale Steyn combined and reversed our plight and the Aussie confidence shrivelled into a helpless heap. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.

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JP Duminy departs after an incredible 166

 
The look on the faces of supporters and players alike was priceless. Our guys withstood all the calls of “boring” from spectators. The crowd even started booing their own players! The world’s best team was in the mire at home. And how!

Going into Day 5, Melbourne was 4 seasons in one day, and my emotions paralleled the weather! Our biggest threat was rain, not even the Aussie bowlers! I found a group of Saffa’s near the changeroom. It was brilliant – all ages and races wearing Bok jerseys shouting for the boys. I wondered if the powers that be are indeed representing the will of the people by wanting the Springbok removed…

“Amla! Amla!” we chanted. To which one black guy responded “Noooh man! Cheer for McKenzie too! Are you racist?!” Amla then hit the winning runs, and we erupted in jubilation, much the same as the dressing room. Revenge was sweet! The Aussie team walked off, dejected, towards us. And our response? “2-0! 2-0!”

It was sweet revenge down under.

Onwards to Sydney!

Read part 1 and part 2.


This article originally appeared on The South African in 2009.

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