In honour of charitable causes, the South Africans take to the field in a pink kit every year during a One Day International at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Now affectionately dubbed ‘Pink Day,’ this celebratory occasion in the South African cricket calendar often sees the Proteas at their belligerent best.
A red-letter day
During Pink Day in 2015, AB de Villiers scored the fastest hundred in ODI history after reaching the milestone in just 31 balls against the West Indies. Few South Africans will ever forget Ian Bishop’s raspy line after De Villiers hit the six that took him to a 100. “The world record new belongs to AB de Villiers” the West Indian commentator roared as he competed with a raucous crowd who were in complete disbelief at what had happened.
While De Villiers’ innings can best be described as a freakish event, the broader theme is that ordinarily, there is no stopping the Proteas when they don their pink kits. This impressive trend, however, was obliterated by India on the 17th of December when the tourists thrashed South Africa by eight wickets.
All dressed up with nowhere to go
It was such an empathic beating that the game was over within three hours. Most of the fans hadn’t even got to the ground yet while those that did filtered out onto the streets of Johannesburg on a lazy summer afternoon, scratching their heads with nothing to do.
Ask any cricket fan and they will tell you that there are few experiences more underwhelming than leaving a cricket ground well before the scheduled close of play. In these instances, it’s hard to know how to fill your day after such an unexpected let-down.
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Putting the action of Cricket Penny Roller to one side and the generous welcome bonuses on offer, the wider point is that the Proteas’ fans were left high and dry by their team on a day when South African cricket is normally at its strongest. Unsurprisingly, folding in such a weak manner sparked fears about the upcoming two-match Test series against India beginning on Boxing Day and how quickly the contest would be over.
A timely warning
These concerns weren’t unfounded as India had never beaten the Proteas in South Africa during a series in the longest format since readmission, despite seven attempts. It’s a remarkable stat given that South Africa remained the only Test-playing nation that India is yet to beat whilst playing away from home.
After the events at the Bull Ring on Pink Day, however, many people – including AB de Villiers, felt that India’s time had arrived in the Rainbow Nation and that records would tumble.
Proteas issue Boxing Day Test knockout
Incredibly, it was a prediction that would be spectacularly shattered thanks to Kagiso Rabada’s precision bowling and Dean Elgar’s formidable batting.
— Proteas Men (@ProteasMenCSA) December 28, 2023
Yes, South Africa – like they seemingly do in any sport when their backs are to the wall, managed to upset the odds and roll India over inside three days at SuperSport Park during the first Test.
Given that this is only a two-match showdown, the Proteas’ innings and 32 run victory means that India’s wait for a series win in South Africa will go on as the best Rohit Sharma’s men can do now is draw the contest.
It’s becoming a foolish pastime to write the Proteas off; their determination in the face of gloomy forecasts means that the Rainbow Nation will go into 2024 smiling.