Hello. The secret of eternal youth is not yoga, serums, goji berries or even a generous swig of Cognac every morning. It’s being an England cricket fan. You heard.
Never mind all that facial stuff: if you want to feel truly alive, and experience the kind of extreme emotions usually reserved for teens and twentysomethings, just support this team. Ecstasy, anxiety, mirth, bewilderment, rage: you get them all with England – often in the same match, sometimes in the same day.
The last 12 months have possibly been the most rejuvenating of the lot. Today should be England’s last day of cricket in 2019 – a year that has included a World Cup victory in whateverthehellthatfinalwas, a Headingley miracle, Test match scores of 67, 77 and 85 all out, the emergence of Jofra Archer and so much more. I suppose it’s only fair that they put us through this addictive wringer one last time.
All things being equal, this match will end in one of three ways for England: egregious defeat, noble defeat or astonishing victory. (Don’t mention the tie.) They will resume on 121 for one, needing a further 255 runs for victory on a strange pitch that behaved far better yesterday than it did on the second day.
South Africa are still healthy favourites – I’d give England a one in five chance – but both sides will be conscious of recent history: England at Headingley in August and South Africa against Kusal Perera in February.
Whatever happens, there will be moments today when we’ll all feel alive, and there won’t be a serum in sight. We might need the Cognac, though.