It is a year to the day since England claimed a famous victory against South Africa at Newlands led by a signature performance from Ben Stokes.
We can’t wait for the Sri Lanka series to get started next week but today we’re turning our focus back to the 7th of January 2020, Day 5 of the second Test against the Proteas and the cause of these celebrations…
This is what Test cricket does to people.
Scenes. 🦁🏴 pic.twitter.com/IBW1Ms0toM
— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) January 7, 2020
The previous day had seen Dom Sibley bring up his maiden Test century, Stokesy provide a clinic in positive red-ball batting, and two late scalps that left Joe Root’s side searching for eight final day wickets to level the series at 1-1.
Jimmy Anderson claimed the first early on, trapping nightwatchman Keshav Maharaj in front, before wickets from Dom Bess and Sam Curran helped put England in the driving seat.
But Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen frustrated Root and his bowlers on a sweltering day in Cape Town, leaving South Africa 225/5 at Tea. What would follow was a session that outlined why cricket is so special.
Newlands is one of cricket’s greatest venues and the final session on Day 5 was befitting of that majestic stage – and we are proud to have played our part.
“The atmosphere and the players responding to the Barmy Army, it really was the ultimate 12th man experience,” explains Barmy Army managing director Chris Millard. “Feeling you are almost part of the team.
“It was absolutely deafening and it was unbelievable to be a part of. A moment that I find hard to top for a single moment of atmosphere, obviously winning the World Cup and the Ben Stokes day at Headingley are up there, but for the sheer atmosphere and support, that experience in South Africa would be hard to beat.”
In the shadow of Table Mountain, the Barmy Army’s support was constant and, as a number of players have attested to, helped the tourists turn the tide when the victory seemed to be slipping away.
It was Stokesy that really inspired England to the win though, by producing one of those magic spells that won the game and simultaneously put an end to the argument for four-day Test matches.
The year since has been difficult for a lot of people, which makes it all the more important we appreciate what a special moment that was…