After the pyrotechnics of the final Test between India and Australia in
Mumbai, the first Test against South Africa here in Kanpur had much to live up to.
Graeme Smith's girlfriend has attracted acres of newsprint in India
Sadly, a flat wicket and dense early morning fog do not make a good partnership and the game was soon inching gently forward (much like the traffic in this overcrowded city) towards a rather boring draw.
But when the cricket out in the middle is not up to much then one can always find something in the Indian newspapers to pass the time until the fog has lifted sufficiently to allow you to see the middle.
And with cricket being the obsession it is out here there's normally no
shortage of column inches devoted to the game and the characters in and
Sourav Ganguly's last minute reprieve to play in the Test was well
documented but one sports editor felt his misdemeanours against Calcutta deserved a tad more coverage.
On the first day of the Test, the Indian captain found himself elevated to 'Sports Baddest Boys' alongside the usual suspects of McEnroe and Tyson and, more surprisingly Glenn McGrath, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane.
Ganguly may have taken his place amongst these 'Bad Boys' but in a city as filthy, chaotic and polluted as Kanpur something a bit easier on the eye was deemed the order of the second day.
Step forward Slinky Minki or, to give her correct name, Minki van der Westhuizen, a 20-year-old swimsuit model and the girlfriend of South African captain Graeme Smith.
Not only did we readers get the chance to see pictures of Slinky watching her beloved bat at Green Park but also shopping in the city (for what, heaven knows) and of her earlier visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra.
'Slinky' is more fun to look at than the tiresome fog in Kanpur
Not only that but pictures showing Slinky, sorry Ms van der Westhuizen, with the wives and girlfriends of other South African players dominated the front, back and gossip pages.
Proceedings livened up on the last day, albeit briefly, with a 'disturbance' on the far side of the
Normally these are something as trivial as a samosa being thrown at
a policeman, and the retribution that follows, but not today.
It transpired someone had sneaked into the Green Park Stadium with a loaded pistol and had been caught on camera near Sachin Tendulkar who was fielding at the fine leg boundary.
So now the series moves east to Calcutta's cavernous Eden Park for the
Various questions need to be answered. Will Ganguly play in his home Test?
Will the fog lift and the run-rate soar above two an over?
And, most importantly, where in the 100,000 seats will Slinky be sitting?