Day 1
by Vikram

The first ever 3-day test match at Kampong (“Kampong Ashes”) took place between 30 May – 01 June. Hoping that the match would not last for more than 2 days, several enthusiastic members signed up for this match.

They were divided evenly between the two balanced teams, led by Sean and Dirk (photo). Team Sean won the toss and promptly elected to bat first. The pitch looked quite good to bat on. Team Dirk did not mind bowling first as they hoped to make the most of the moisture in the pitch.

Sean and Adrian opened the batting. Kertan and Rahaman did the honours for team Dirk with the ball. Kertan took the first blood when Adrian tried to force a cover drive only to edge it to the first slip where it was comfortably (to everyone’s surprise) gobbled by Ross. Sean batted with a sense of purpose and punished few loose deliveries from Rahaman, while Kertan continued mounting pressure from the other end. Sean’s promising inning was cut short when he left one from Kertan which pitched outside off and ended uprooting the middle stump: 34-2. After this, Pierre and Madan batted with patience and stitched together a partnership of 55 runs. Pierre was solid as always and Madan kept inflicting boundaries in between. Dirk then turned to Frikkie who made the most of the wind and bowled brilliant out-swingers (“bananas”).
This move paid rich dividends almost immediately as Madan, in a bid to assert his dominance, skied one to mid-off where it was caught by Dirk who was fielding with 9 fingers. In no time, Pierre missed one from Frikkie which nipped in. After one of the loudest and longest appeals ever to be heard at Kampong, the umpire adjudged him LBW. The score was 91-4.

Eelko and Christo played their natural attacking game. Christoff was particularly not very kind to Ashmit and plundered a few across the boundary line. However, Dirk kept patience and trust in Ashmit. Soon Christo missed a skidder from Ashmit and was given LBW. Amit was bowling a disciplined spell at the other end. Eelko soon followed when he was caught off Amit by Kertan. Abbas did not get to spend much of time on the pitch as he was adjudged LBW to one of the inswinges from Amit. The score read 127-7. Abhinav also perished soon when he tried to slog sweep a loopy delivery from Ashmit, only to miss it and the leg stump was uprooted. Gert tried to support Bilal and they built a reasonable partnership.
When things started to look worrisome for team Dirk, this partnership was broken by Ashmit when Gert was caught by Ross (in slips?). The score was 155-9. Team Dirk was quite happy with such an effort and wanted to wind up the tail as fast as possible. However, Bilal and Jan had different ideas. Jan kept blocking on one side and Bilal kept leaving on the other. They kept the score ticking and made bowlers work very hard. IJsbrand and Abhinav Singh bowled an impressive spell but could not break the partnership. IJsbrand extracted a lot of bounce from the pitch which was behaving like a road. Dirk then introduced Akshay in the attack who finally succeeded in nicking one of Bilal, when he tried to glide to 3rd man and was caught by wicket-keeper Alex. In walks Hassan to further frustrate Team Dirk. However, Akshay quickly got through defenses of Jan. Team Sean was all out for a score of 181 in 63 overs (12 to bat).

Ross and Alex started the  proceedings for Team Dirk. Sean and Gert led the attack for Team Sean. Ross began his innings in the typical “Sehwag” manner. Every short and wide delivery was treated with utter disrespect. To add insult to injury, Ross was dropped off Sean who was bowling intimidating lengths to both batsmen. Alex was solid with drives and backfoot punches at the other end. Team Dirk was off to a good start. After hitting four boundaries, Ross was bowled by Gert who bowled with a lot of discipline and intent. Alex soon followed when he scooped a full delivery from Gert to mid-on and was caught by Jan: 34-2.
Team Dirk had to play carefully for the remaining 100 minutes. Vikram and Kertan did exactly that. They defended good deliveries and punished anything loose. Kertan played a few exquisite drives, whereas Vikram did not mind taking the aerial route at every opportunity. When Abhinav’s inswingers and Bilal’s outswingers were unsuccessful in breaking the partnership, Pierre was introduced into the attack. In a bid to disturb his rhythm, Vikram tried to dominate him and hit one well outside the boundary. But nothing affected Pierre’s bowling and he kept tossing it up. With 30 minutes to go, the batters decided to get even more careful. They defended almost everything from there on and played many maiden overs on the trot. The day ended with Team Dirk scoring 75-2, with Vikram and Kertan batting on 25 and 19 respectively.

Day 2
by Frikkie: Day two of the historic Kampong three-day test match seemed to be tailor made for test cricket. The weather was perfect, mild sunshine with a cooling breeze.  The evening before the pitch was lightly watered and brushed, which meant there was sure to be something in it for both bat and ball. There were rumours that some of the old-guard were already struggling with sore bodies, one disturbing account told of a certain skipper coming down with a mysterious headache. But this was never confirmed. 

Team Dirk resumed their chase of 181 runs with a score of 75 for 2 wickets down, after Kiertan Nana and VikramChaturvedi bravely saw out the last session the day before. 
As expected, the morning session offered some swing and movement off the pitch. Gert Swanepoel jnr., on his way to innings best bowling figures of 4 for 32 in 19 overs, troubled the middle order with pace and swing. A controversial ball change before the start of play had no influence on the contest whatsoever.  (This last line was written under considerable duress and fear of grievous bodily harm).
After some brief resistance, both the overnight batsmen were dismissed. Captain Dirk took over the reins and chipped in a solid 30 but after a mini collapse it seamed like the chase might fall woefully short. Good back-up bowling by Pierre Jacod, Abiniv Giri meant that the batting side was struggling at 6 wickets down by lunch, while still trailing by almost 100 runs.
This was however the time for some true grit to be displayed. Ashmit Agrawal and Abinav Singh steadied the ship and pushed the second innings score to 213. Ashmit falling short of his half century with a well-played 43, contributing to a handy lead of 37 runs. It truly was a case of the tail wagging the dog. Team Sean certainly did themselves no favours by dropping several catches towards the end of the innings.

The second innings of the day started with two quick wickets by Amit Das, utilising the new ball to bowl some howling in-swing. But as the pitch flattened out and the ball aged, Jan Cloete and Pierre Jacod played simply beautifully. It was a showcase of patience and shot making when the bad ball eventually came.
At stumps Team Sean pulled the game back level, heading home with a lead of 66 runs and 9 wickets still in the shed. With a match perfectly balanced, a few cold drinks on ice and the late evening sun on their backs the players looked ahead to a cracking final day of play.  

Day 3
By Adrian

The weather was stunning, the game was nicely poised, the bar was open; everything was set for a great day of cricket and we were not disappointed. Perhaps only Frikkie, (Ah Frikkie, Frikkie, Frikkie), wished he had stayed home with a bowl of Biltong watching old highlights of golfs longest drives. The game was a cracker.

Team Sean resumed batting from a strong overnight position of 103-2 with young ones Pierre (51*) and Jan (40 something*) established at the crease. Captain Dirk, sensing something special was needed, pulled up his starchy old socks and decided he would lead from the front. After an over or 2 of ‘warm-up’ deliveries mostly down leg side, he finally got one on the line (albeit a fair bit shorter then he would have wanted), as he shuffled through the crease he watched (probably) dismayed as the ball ballooned gently toward Pierre – his eyes shining like Christmas. Then… dismay turned to delight as Pierre pulled the gift straight to a cheerful midwicket, out for 55 he turned and trudged off like le escargot plucked from a juicy piece of lettuce. The 91 run partnership was broken, the game was taking another turn.

Meanwhile at the other end Jan was engaged in a battle with a fiery Kertan. Jan took the early advantage, cruising to 50 with an elegant cover drive and a trademark flick through midwicket. But Kertan, inspired by his captain’s success, countered with a barrage of aggressive short pitched bowling, 1, 2, 3 crashing into the body of the young gun Jan before he finally got a little under edge through to the keeper. Out for 51 and team Sean were 126-4. They failed to recover any momentum, regularly losing wickets through the morning session. None of the middle/lower order achieved double figures and they were nine down at lunch, then all out shortly afterwards for 199. Leaving team Dirk a target of 163 and perhaps 45-50 overs to chase it down before the clock struck 18:00.

The bowling of team Dirk does deserve a mention with the crafty A. Das picking up 3-28, Kertan 2-36 and young IJsbrands magical spell of 5 overs-3 maidens-2 wickets-4 runs. As for the cunning skipper himself, after picking up the critical early breakthrough, he withdrew from the attack preferring to orchestrate the carnage from the relative comfort of mid-off.

The fourth innings started with tense anticipation. Ross donned the pads, chugged a Gin & Tonic, strode out to the middle and swung the bat with great intent (and reasonable effectiveness) at anything approximately in range, Alex batted with significantly more style. But when these openers fell in quick succession the score was 41-2 and team Sean tasted blood in the water. Young Agrawal, star of the first innings and promoted to #5, provided gritty resistance but he continued to lose partners and as the overs passed, Team Sean chipped away at the wickets. Finally, when Frikkie (Ah Frikkie, Frikkie, Frikkie) strode out as the last man, there was just 9 minutes left to survive until stumps on the last day, it took just one ball for Frikkie to record a most memorable King Pair and give the first Kampong Ashes test match victory to team Sean. Notable in the bowling attack Pierre took 4-21, Bilal 3-24, Abhi 2-38.

Man of the Match was Pierre – he was the leading run scorer in the test plus four key wickets in the second innings.

The whole match was played in great spirit: more than 230 overs were bowled and more than 700 runs scored over the three days, and all this coming down to the last 9 minutes for the final result. As the sun sunk low over the beautiful Kampong fields, many a crate of beer was consumed in celebration of a super 3-day match.