I'll start today piece with what happened last night.
At 6pm, the night before a match (ODI or Test) the team meets for the 'Captains Meeting.' A Test match meeting holding a little more significant than the ODI one where it is more of an in out, quick chat and off to tea. The Test match meeting would normally have a 'guest' come and re-present the caps to the playing members. The 'guest' is often an ex player, a special person in NZ sporting history, or even successful NZers overseas. Side note, my first test cap was presented to me by the late Walter Hadlee (Richards dad). Walter was Blackcap 29, I am Blackcap 229. Anyway, back to the meeting. Caps are set out on the presentation table, the team sits around a conference room and the manager starts the meeting. Normally introducing the guest who then tells us what his Blackcap meant to him or other significant stories/insights. Some very good speeches in my time. Jacob Oram presented us with our caps for this Test. Not to many NZers in Bangladesh; a real honor for Jake. Your cap is presented while significant personal stats are read out. My stat was in this last year I have taken 20 test wickets at 20. Not bad. After the caps are presented the captain then holds his chat. Last night we looked at some KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) that we need to achieve to win more tests. That done, off to tea. And then bed.
Good sleep, woke up this morning feeling calm and good. Quite often i don't know if i'm playing or not till right before the toss. It was nice not to have to worry about that overnight. So up an hour before the bus leaves, showered, dressed and down to brekie. Past the guards that sit outside the lifts on all levels of the hotels. The sit there day and night with there 40 year old Ak47's and 6 shot rifles. Say hi to those guys while waiting or the lift to arrive. Which here in Bangladesh, as you can imagine, takes an age! Down to breakfast with about 45 mins to eat and get to the bus. Breakfasts at this hotel are average. So a couple of (cold) pancakes with maple syrup and then a couple of bits of half toasted toast (as the toaster only does one side...) with some duty free bought Nutella.
On bus, off to the ground. And Jesse's in my seat... Someone's in his... anyway. Sit with Hoppy for the journey. I don't talk to much on the bus, just loose myself in what's going on outside and my thoughts on the day. Which this morning are, I hope we win the toss! AND BAT!
Warm ups start 75 mins before kick off. Out on the park, I won't bore you with our warm up, but it's fair to say, i was warmed up! Dan calls 'heads', it falls 'tails,' we bowl! Not what we wanted.
Felt pretty good warming up and bowled pretty well to Gillespie, who had the mitt.
Mill has the first over, I've got the 'into the wind' end... surprise, surprise. Although it's hardly of note! Running in for my first ball.. please land roughly where I want it... please... the shinny new ball slightly slipped as I was letting go of it, felt it come out earlier than I wanted to let go of it, it's going to be to full.. easy half volley to start my spell.. All this going through my head before the ball has even arrived at the other end. It swings, in to the left hander, it hits him in line.. That looks pretty good, i go up, I hear everyone else go up, a good chorus from all the lads, I turn around to complete my appeal, the finger goes up. I'm one for none off one ball!! Happy fucken days! That is a good feeling. A ball that slipped out a touch, is a beaut!! Right then, one in the bag.. lets get on with the day. Next ball, possibly one of the best balls I have EVER bowled. Held it's line to the number 3 right hander. Starting on just outside, the ball holds its line, he pushes just a little bit at it, it starts to swing away, nick.... through to McCullum; dropped. I swear quite loudly... which is unusual. Could have been 2 for none of 2 balls.
First spell of 6 overs, I think I went for 3 runs.
Second spell, straight after lunch, they are 40-1 off 32. Plan is to just keep plugging away, maidens the goal. Bowled 4 straight maidens and in my 5th over picked up my second wicket and my first run of the session off me. So 11 overs 2 fa 4.. or something around that.
And into the last session; could do with a couple of wickets here. And we don't! New ball available, we take it. I bowl 6 overs at the end of the day. And not the best 6 I've ever bowled. Got a little tired in my last 2 overs, lost my action a bit, and went for more runs that I wanted to. Did create a chance to second slip, the first chance of the session. Grassed, although that would have been a special catch. But those special bits of cricket are what changes a teams luck.
So we finish the day with 4 wickets and they've 180 odd.. If they bat for 3 days, at this pace, they'll have good first innings score.
Ice baths, debrief, and on the bus. Radio Sport NZ interview via the managers phone takes up most of the trip. Straight to the pool for a swim and stretch. Room, dressed, tea... Which is a little hurried tonight as I have a massage at 7.
So I sit here, sweating, again, smelling of massage oil, and ready for bed. One more liter of water and then I can sleep. And I haven't even had a chance to speak to the wife yet.
Right then, I'm knackered. Thanks for the support, as always!