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South Africa: Cricket Stadium Runs Out of Beer

The opening day of the first Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and England was characterised by an embarrassing shortage of the sponsor's popular beverage.

We all know the saying lampooning someone’s inability to organise frenzied mass consumption in a brewery.

Well, on the opening day of the first Castle Lager Test between South Africa and England the suppliers of the sponsor’s product here were not only understaffed, which made for election day queues, but some of their outlets first ran out of the amber ale and later out of cups to serve it in.

The mercury reached the early 30s on the Day of Reconciliation but spectators are going to be hard pressed to reach out, and as the spirit of the day demands, embrace Test cricket.

No wonder Cricket South Africa (CSA) recently enlisted some outside help to try and determine why crowds at international matches are dwindling.

A myriad of reasons were said to negatively impact on attendances and on Wednesday it was again clear why some may feel the couch and relative close proximity of their fridge is a better option.

While there may be very legitimate reasons for not allowing spectators to bring alcohol into the ground it then certainly is incumbent on the hosts to provide adequately staffed and stocked refreshment outlets.

If the heat was felt in the queues, the players, especially England, also had reason to be a little hot under the collar.

They expressed reservations about the use of the umpire review system and by the time stumps were drawn that may have graduated to the realm of suspicion.

The system, in use for the first time on these shores, is supposed to limit the number of incorrect umpiring decisions but without the full range of techno laden tools at the third umpire’s disposal, the system, as witnessed on Wednesday, is rather fraught.

Due to recessionary constraints the hotspot and snickometer were conspicuous by their absence and England will feel that it seriously undermined their use of the system on the opening day.

England were convinced that they had AB de Villiers caught behind off Graeme Swann but in the absence of the hotspot, an infra-red imaging system, or ‘Snicko’, the graphically illustrated sound wave, the available evidence proved inconclusive.

Without the benefit of the tools designed to determine whether or not a batsman has hit the ball, England had no luck with the review system but their misfortune of course directly benefited the South African cause.

Ashwell Prince was the first to benefit from a successful referral after he was adjudged to be lbw off Graeme Onions with his score on 19. After umpire Steve Davis had raised his finger Prince quickly consulted with Hashim Amla at the non-striker’s end.

The path the ball was predicted to travel however suggested that it was likely to miss the offstump and Prince remained.

England’s frustrations were compounded by delays caused by the sight screens which at times, failed in its core purpose.

When the bowler runs in from the opposite end the sight screens at Centurion moonlight as advertising boards but changing on cue at the end of each over has become a bit of a lottery, which mind you, in the reliability stakes on the opening day places it on par with the service at the bars and the referral system.

Tags:Cricket Stadium Runs Out of Beer, South Africa: Cricket Stadium Runs Out of Beer
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