Generosity of Spirit

I didn't see much of the first Test live. Work, pre-Christmas socializing and a trip to Plymouth for a local rugby argument took care of that. But then sheltering from the snow on Plymouth Hoe as de Villiers and Amla built South Africa's lead in slightly warmer conditions thousands of miles away had a certain attraction to it, and it'll certainly stick in the memory.

I was around for the denouement yesterday, though, and the main thing which stuck in my memory from that was Graeme Smith's decision to give Ntini the last over. While admiring Smith's generosity towards a fine man whose status as a cricketing icon for modern South Africa has been rightly pronounced all over the world's media these past few weeks, surely keeping the impressive Friedel de Wet on would have given South Africa a better chance of taking the one wicket they needed to complete an improbable win.

As it is, Ntini couldn't get past the middle of Graham Onions's bat, and, unless the South African selectors are as generous as Smith, that over may well be the last he ever bowls in Test cricket.

Steyn at one end and de Wet at the other in Durban? You wouldn't exactly be queing up to bat, even if you were in better form than Ian Bell and Alastair Cook.

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