All roads lead to Kingsmead: Action shifts to Durban for final Test

Mahendra Singh DhoniMahendra Singh Dhoni sweats it out at the Kingsmead nets during India’s optional practice session in Durban on Tuesday. The second Test begins on Thursday

The box-office outside Kingsmead seemed rather deserted around noon on Tuesday. There had been some activity here only a little earlier. But then a slight drizzle had sent the small posse of potential ticket-buyers scurrying for cover. By now, only five or so remained. Ticket sales for the Boxing Day Test had begun in earnest, but it didn't look like most of Durban was showing much urgency in being a Johnny-on-the-spot.

The air was humid and muggy while the skies wore a sinister, almost melancholic, look.

Two days had passed since India and South Africa had been involved in a battle for the ages with each competitor giving his best. The result was a stalemate but a more exciting stalemate you couldn't have imagined. Durban wasn't really getting ready for a potential sequel. Instead everyone in the coastal city seemed more occupied with their last-minute Christmas shopping. There were traffic-jams around the city with roads leading up to malls and shopping centers choc-a-block. In contrast, the only traffic around Kingsmead was the Indian team's bus and the token police convoy. The many commercial offices around the stadium had been long shut for the holiday season.

The Indians too followed the Kingsmead ritual of taking stock of the 22-yards in the middle. On first look, it's unlikely to have invoked any chills down their spines. For starters, it wasn't as green and fresh as the one that had welcomed them three weeks ago for the ODI. There were spurts of grass visible at some spots, but nothing that should have intimidated the Indians, fresh from their exploits in much more adverse conditions at the Bullring. Not surprisingly, Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma had opted out of the optional training session and who could blame them for wanting to rest their heels. Zaheer, at 35, had bowled more overs in the match than he had ever before in his long career.

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