Let joy be unconfined. England win

Click to follow
At 11.25 yesterday morning, England's cricketers defeated South Africa by 23 runs to win a Test Match series for the first time in 12 years. To mark the occasion, The Independent's poet in residence, Martin Newell, was moved to verse

There's a breathless hush in the close tonight

And a silence from South Africans

As the smelling salts are handed out

To the disbelieving cricket fans

Who'd stayed indoors, their curtains drawn

Tetchy, tense, inclined to weep

And studying screens, prepared to mourn

They sipped warm bitter, half-asleep

The pitch was cracked in the usual way

They'd tittered on disaster's ledge

When Atherton fell on the Saturday

(L.b.w/inside edge)

`Til the Monday morning suddenly

The first Test win in a dozen years

The hardened fans at Headingley

Broke down at once in manly tears

And it's not for the sake of Wisden's books

Or the fact at last, that England won

But it might be the end of the wounded looks

Pack up, let's get some drinking done

(After Vitae Lampada, by Henry Newbolt)