Attritional is a euphemism for dull and that it was on Friday as England were dismissed for a paltry 165 and the Proteas set to overhaul this.
Captain Dean Elgar is in the Gary Kirsten mould – a gritty run accumulator but not a player of expansive stroke play.
His partner Serel Erwee came to Test cricket late at the ae of 32 after playing for the Durban-based Dolphins and more recently the Weybridge club in Surrey.
The England opening pair of Jimmy Andersen and Stuart Broad looked rusty with no red ball experience since the India Test match.
South Africa closed play with Marco Jansen 41 not out after a productive partnership with Keshav Maharaj. If the rains do not come their 128 lead should be enough for victory.
The main event was off the field with the Red for Ruth day.
These colour-coded cancer fund-raising days have become a feature of the cricketing calendar with parts of the ground, but not the Member’s Pavilion, swathed in red.
I was at Sydney for Glen McGrath’s pink day for his late wife and there is Blue for Bob at Edgbaston.
Let’s not be churlish, the Ruth Strauss Foundation does fine work in funding counselling for bereavement.
I take my red hat off to Sir Andrew Strauss as cricket’s foremost administrator who has enough on his plate without setting up the day.
Cricket has to negotiate a path between red and white ball. Next year there will be no Test cricket in August to accommodate the Hundred, there is a new chairman of the ECB, social media and the regular one and he has to keep the counties on board.
It was the sort of day where you have long conversations with your neighbour.
Mine, after a lengthy lunch, was extolling the virtues of a debenture seat in the Compton stand where you sit behind the bowler’s arm but not side on. They want £17000 for this privilege.
I like where I am as I like my immediate neighbour -a smiling ex-partner in a well known city law firm who loves his sport – and another friend of over 60 years now who prefers the social side to the cricket.
The renewal here is just under £10,000 for another 4 years. This just gets you your seat.
I enjoy the social dimension but like to be assured of a ticket especially with the Ashes being contested next year.
That I was there for the memorable World Cup Final win over New Zealand justified the high expense.
Unlike Wimbledon, the debenture has no value but the three guys in the office tolerate my internet inefficiency with a helpful and prompt service.
The catering attracts criticism but in a 45 minute interval I’m happy to eat my sandwiches.
However the soundings from my area signify a reluctance to take up renewal or the new offering because of the high expenses.