Steak, tea and rest
As I write this, I’ve just finished a physio session and feel confident that the rehab on my hamstring is on track. I’ve got a few days rest ahead of me, but am pretty sure that when the third test at Lord’s comes around next week, I’ll be ready. As it stands, we’re 1-0 up with one match to play, and that third test is going to be a cracker.
With regards the drawn second test at Headingley, the focus, from a personal point of view, was obviously on my hamstring and my hundred. I first felt the hamstring on the second morning, when I played a ball to third man and set off for a run. Fortunately, there was no tear and it’s just a strain. So, like I said, I just need about three or four days of rest, treatment and rehab, and I should be okay.
The hundred itself was very satisfying. You may have seen on the TV that I didn’t celebrate excessively, when I reached three figures. That’s because, from a team point of view, we were still a long way from where we wanted to be and I was very focused. I also wanted to make sure I was around for that second new ball and for the second morning, where the ball was still going to be new and dangerous. I didn’t want the guys down the order to have to deal with that.
There seems to have been a lot said in the media about me being under pressure and not scoring runs, going into the game. I didn’t see it like that, even though there’s always pressure in test cricket. I set myself high standards and I wanted to meet those. I also felt that if I got in, I could score some runs. What was great, is that I always had the backing of my teammates and management, and that was very reassuring. There really is a great vibe about the squad.
The hundred was celebrated by Vernon and I grabbing our first steak of the tour, at a place down the road from the hotel. You’ll often find us eating salads, to stay healthy and in good shape. But, we felt that the special occasion warranted the steak, and it was good!
Besides that, during the test, we were in and out of Nandos a few times, which is no surprise, and Vernon and I also enjoyed a bit of a ritual that we started during the first test. Even though tea is obviously complimentary in our hotel rooms, we’ve chosen to go down to the hotel bar and enjoy a couple of cups of tea. Surprising, you may think, but Vern enjoys his English Breakfast tea and I quite like my green tea, with a bit of honey. We also don’t mind paying about 10 pounds for it! Anyway, that should get you laughing, although probably not when I tell you that during the first test we spent about a thousand rand on tea!
In terms of how the game panned out, I think it was positive for us. We wanted to put England under pressure and knew that they would chase the game. We lost a couple more wickets in that middle session on the final day than we wanted to, but batting was quite difficult. There was lots of pressure when I walked out to bat with Kallis at the wicket with our lead only around 200. He was soon gone, followed by Steyn. But, I enjoy batting in pressure situations and it focuses my mind. It also took my mind off the bad hamstring. Ultimately, though, when we bowled, we were probably just a couple of wickets away from really pushing for victory.
Now we’ve got a few days off and I’m looking forward to watching some Olympic action, live. I think we’re going to be seeing some hockey and some athletics, which I’m very excited about.
After that, it’s the tour game against Derbyshire, but I’m not sure if I will be involved, with the state of my hamstring.
Looking forward to a few days off.