I have a theory. Bear with me here... I've heard somewhere (or possibly dreamt it up - I have conversations with myself on a far-too-regular basis) that when Graeme Smith performs, the South African cricket team performs. Ergo, when Graeme Smith is bowled LBW for a plump duck, the Proteas start the game up to their ankles in bird poo. It's a statistical fact. And we all know that you can't argue with stats. Of course, being a journalist by training, I have nothing to back this up, so I'm going to carry right on with my argument.
Take the match on Saturday. Chasing 377 against Australia, Smith took to the crease... and performed.* Smacking boundaries with confidence, the opening pair were not just matching the required run rate, but bettering it. Then Smith started to cramp and crumble, retiring injured. Boucher lost his wicket and SA started to crumble too.
This is my theory. Graeme Smith is the microcosm of the South African cricket team. Kallis became the cramp in the Proteas' left buttock. Even Smith's desperate return to the crease was reflected (in my world, at least) in the vain attempts by Pollock and - bless his cotton undies - Makhaya Ntini to bring the run rate back to a manageable level.
I realise this is a very flimsy argument, but I like it, so I'm running with it. On the other hand, would someone in SA please do us all a favour and have a sit down with Jacques Kallis to explain the finer details of simple arithmetic?
"Okay, Big J, when chasing a run rate of 10 an over, you need more than a few singles. Because... yes, that's right! Because there are only 6 balls in an over! Very good! Okay, now let's hold up all our fingers... yes, both hands... okay, now that's how many runs we needed every over... okay, now take four... yes, drop those four fingers... how many do you have left? Stop squinting like that, it's making your eye twitch. Right, so can you see that if you only get a single on every ball, it can never meet the run rate of 10 an over? Can you..? Okay, okay, let's pick this up again after your nap..."
My only remaining argument is that losing to Australia now means that we haven't used up all our BMT too early in the tournament. We have been known to peak too soon... again, I have no stats to back that up. Right, cricket rant over.
In other news, Mills and I went to the beach today. It was 15+, the sun was shining, and everyone was out in their wellies and jackets, wallowing in the muddy brown water of the North Sea. Simple delights. We wandered around for a bit, turned around and came home. I guess once you've holidayed on the Transkei coast, northern European seaside resorts just don't cut it.
The really big news is that I cycled the whole way - didn't get off once to wheel my bike. I'm going to be one tough Koekie by the end of my time in Holland.
*My boyfriend taught Smith every thing he knows about batting. Their paths split at a young age: Mills went on to support his live-in desperate house-girlfriend; while Smith became an international cricketing hero. Both noble causes.