All through the unedifying spectacle of 23 batsmen making a hasty (and, in some cases, shell-shocked) beeline for the pavilion at Newlands on manic Thursday, there was one man who was kept busy, and surely earned his dinner that night.
With nine referrals made to him, as the third umpire, Billy had to be constantly on his toes, and the DRS led to decisions that the on-field umpires might have not given.
Billy Bowden is known for his peculiar, and occasionally comical, actions while on-field, and one wonders what gestures he made while sitting before the TV screen for the decision reviews. One thing’s for sure – he would have been a tired man had he been on the field of play, such was the exodus.
I returned from work that day and switched on the TV expecting to see the continuation of the South African first innings, and was puzzled when I saw an Australian batsman at the crease. A couple of minutes later, the screen flashed this scoreboard.
“This is not real, you’ve got to be kidding,” I yelped.
Smug after bowling out the Proteas for a mere 96 and taking a seemingly large lead, the Aussies got a hiding that will remain in collective memories for long.
One wonders at the ineptitude that led to them being 21 for 9, and later, 47 all out. The pitch was certainly not diabolical.
It might have been fun watching the Smith and Amla pummeling the bowling on Day Three, but, the Aussies had thrown in the towel by then.
The new selection committee led by John Inverarity, and including Rod Marsh and Andy Bichel, is probably sharpening the knives as they set to work next week, and some tough questions will surely be asked of the ageing veterans.
And, New Zealand, must be relishing the prospect of having a go at this Aussie team when they face up in Brisbane on 1st December.