Oh, wow. The rain clouds have abated, the sun has peaked out from where ever it has been for the last 3 days and we have some cricket.
Thank fuck for that; I really was running out of things to talk about outside of the game.
So, down to breakfast for normal time, still a few puddles outside so still those "are we" or "aren't we" thoughts were still there. And rightly so. Our leave time is delayed an hour. Back upstairs to watch Game 5 for an extra hour. It's a good game too. We have to leave it at 2-1 to the Phillies at the top of the 6th. It's raining there, they're still playing. But not for to much longer we later hear.
On the park for warm ups at 9. Start time 10am. There are still a couple of damp spots out in the field, but we all want to get out of the changing room and play. Warming up was quite hard, lots of pent up energy, but not wanting to go to hard just in case we bowl first and do a day on the park.
Dan continues to call 'heads,' I don't know why. It should always 'tails' on tour and 'heads' at home. So that's a 5-1 victory to Ashraful on the toss stakes for the tour. Not even close to Dan's toss success rate! We're batting on a sticky, tacky dark black looking pitch. And we're 2 down early. Red and How out within the first 5 overs. Not a great start, but a good and calm fight back from Rossco and Jess.
Ross leaves a ball that comes back nicely off the deck and is bowled for a pretty 19, and we're 3 for 49. Jess and Baz bat well. Put on a new 4th wicket partnership record vs Bangladesh and both look great. Jess deserved to go on and get to his maiden ton. Alas, plays a shot he hasn't played all day and is caught on 91. His now best and his first 50 for NZ in a Test.
During the morning session we learn that Chris Cairns has been suspended from his ICL team, a few stories going around. Nothing concrete, but we've been watching that ICL stuff and it's fair to say, there are a few doggy looking things going on there. We, as a group, can only hope Chris is not a part of it, and what we've heard in the media, so far, is all that is behind what's going on.
At tea we're looking at getting to 300 with about 12 overs left in the day. That's our target. It doesn't quite happen that way. And, right now, we're not to bothered by it. We're sitting in a pretty handy position against a team that we know can fall over. And they did tonight, in one over.
When we went out to bowl we searched for some swing, as we always do. There was very little there, so we adjusted our lengths accordingly. Still not much happening. Let go bouncers, it was getting a little dark, if we could sneek in a couple more overs of the quicks before the spinners come on, then happy days. And we do. Mills bowls is 3rd over, a couple of handy bouncers to Saddique. Doesn't play them to well today. So my next over is based around that theory. Tamin (Tim Tam we call him) is on strike and I'm going short. He gets inside it and works me to deep square for one. Saddique on strike. Short ball plan under way. Ducks one, gets hit on arm with one ducking, then last ball of the over, I hit him flush on the side of the head ducking under one. I check to see if he's ok. I don't really like hitting guys in the head, yeah sure, I'm aiming for there, but hitting them is another story. I've seen to many nasty things happen from balls that sneak through visor and grill... He's fine, but we can see that there is a little something not quite right. I bowled another over to him, try to nick him off from a good length with the first 3 balls, hoping he's 'hanging back' a little. Doesn't happen, but it's ok. It's time for Dan to replace me as it's getting a touch dark.
Jeets bowls a couple of good overs with a very good LB shout, but nothing. Dan comes on, Saddique is facing. And straight away he does something dumb. He runs at Dan on a deck that is quite fast and skiddy. He runs right past it and Baz, all be it a little messily, becomes NZ wicketkeeper with the most stumpings. We've got one. The bouncers worked. Both Mill and I get a pat on the back for that one! And then we've got two. Hits the pad, that's out. Ashraful gone. He's not had a good series and Dan happy to get him after Ash picked up Dan, played on, early in the afternoon. And then we have three. Dan's got it on a string.
Jeets starts his next over, it's really quite dark now, Four balls in, umpires confer, that's the day play gone. We've done pretty well. Inserted on a sticky one, got some very hand runs on the board and with this being a 'two dayer' the follow on is 100 behind. If we can pick up 10 for less than 162, we can have another crack at them. As there is only one day left, just one day in the field, just one more effort, I'm can tell you right now, we will stick them back in. So, here's to a big first session tomorrow.
My bowling today, 4 overs for 6. Ok on the outside looking in. But I felt rusty. it's been 3 days since I bowled a ball. There is no way that you would go into a Test match with that little bowling under your belt. My timing was out, and tonights 4 overs we good for me. I created some pressure whilst not being at 100%. So, I'm asking myself, for tomorrow, an improved standard. Of those 6 runs, 5 of them came through the leg side. This is poor for me. This is not how I should be bowling to 'lefties.' I'll hit the computer tomorrow morning and have a look at my action from todays play and see where my timing was out. Then out to warm ups with a fresh and uncomplicated confidence, then into the days play knowing that I am going to bowl well. I'm going to hit the crease, power through it, my front arm is going to be strong, my timing on it better. My release will be spot on fingers right behind the ball, fingers tall. Hit the deck hard, bowl maidens and create pressure for the other guy; and if I get one... you'll hear me all over the world!
Tomorrow is going to be a special day. Even if we can't get 17 wickets, you will see a team that is driven by a real pure feeling. There is such a good feel in the changing room. We are going to be ruthless. And, we are going to have so much fun.
That's me for tonight... and maybe for a couple of days as we travel straight after tomorrow play.
I can't wait to get HOME!