Monday, 17 November 2008

NZ vs NSW - Day Four

The plan was good, the follow though was pretty poor.  After a good sleep and a pretty good breakfast off to the ground.  A 9am departure, on the park for 9.30 and a 10.30 kick off to make up for time lost the previous day with weather.  A couple of handy batters still in the shed, two very good ones out in the middle and we're set up to bat for as long as we can and then look at getting some wickets later in the day.  Not so fast there Iain.  We lost Dan early to one that stayed a little low, Jesse for 10, Tim run out on not many, and that left myself and Chris.  Striding out to the wicket looking like a 'Storm Trooper,' as Chris and I have been nic named because of our pads and in combination with the short sleeve jersey we look like, well, Storm Troopers; without the white helmet that is.  Meet by Baz saying we need to put on about 80 between us.  Sixty for him and 20 for me.  I suggested 70 for him and 10 for me.  I had felt comfortable batting in the first innings, but didn't want to get in front of myself and get greedy looking for 20 runs.  I'll just take what I can get.  Last time I batted with Baz was in South Africa, Ntini at one end, Steyn at the other.  I was happier here!  The other plan between us, which we came up with after an over or two, was for him to face the 'leggie' and me to face the quick at the other end.  A prospect I was very happy with.  I didn't have a clue facing the leggie; leggies, googlies, straight ones, loopy ones... oh, I leave that to you Baz!  I'll try to keep out the quickie.  

Baz and I put on 36 before he cut one to gully.  Good catch.  In that partnership 36 I had worn one on the arm.  It managed to hit my left bicep and my left forearm at the same time.  I thought I had played it pretty well, until it hit me!  I have been training really hard to not play the pull shot, I've got out to many times playing it.  So back in the bag it goes.  Well, lets be fair, I wasn't consciously playing it, it was more of a swat to keep it from hitting me.  I'm trying not to play it.  Ducking is what I have been doing a bit of in the nets with red harder tennis balls getting served at me.  And yesterday, I didn't play the shot once.  I got three or four short balls in the 35 balls I faced, one hitting me, the others I left alone outside off.  I thought I had gotten far enough across the stumps to let, the one that hit me, sail over my left shoulder, and then, as it hit me, remembered, the tracks pretty low and slow... Whoops.  It actually opened up a little cut on my forearm, missing my arm guard completely.  Must work harder on the short one in the nets, especially after watching a T20 just recently held at the Gabba.  So I got to 14, my 2nd equal high score for NZ.  Off the mark with a cover drive, four, good shot that one.  An edgy defensive poke to 3rd man for four. A couple of singles and then the new ball...  Batting with Chris now, the two Storm Troopers batting together.  We'll take whatever runs we can get.  I get another boundary away through point, sort of a clover drive/slash.  Who cares, it looked ok.  And then thump, into the pads, that's out.  I thought I got a little tickle on it before it hit my pad, so was a little disappointed when Paul Rifle gave me out.  And it left us quite a few runs short of what we wanted, and them to many overs to get them.

We're going to have to bowl well to win this or hold them to a draw.  162 they needed.  

And we couldn't do it.  I bowled poorly, got through 9 overs at almost the cost of Dan, Chris and Kyle put together, and they bowled 32 overs between them.  Not by best day in the park, by a long way.  And at this point, after the match, after I have bowled poorly, I would normally beat myself up quite heavily, mope and sulk around for the rest of that nigh, at least, and pretty much stay away from people.  And would even be like that on the park while it was happening.  As something I'm trying to change, I made myself stay upbeat and socialise.  And on the park kept myself positive and supportive of the rest of the guys.  It's real easy to just sit back and mope around when things are bad.  The things is, it was one bad day.  I've had five very good test matches in a row, I'm now a quality international bowler.  I'll have a bad day every now and again.  My focus is now on looking the next game, on training tomorrow and not so much on what I bowled yesterday.  I can't change it.  Although I did learn a couple of things, I did pick up on a couple of 'traits' that I do when things are not going so well.  I can see those things now earlier and stop them or at least try to change them.

Pretty poor feeling losing to NSW.  And being honest, it was a Baby Blues team we played too.  Containing quite a few of the younger guys.  We just didn't turn up to play as good as we should have.  We certainly didn't score enough runs, and dropped way to many catches.  We should have set them around the 300 mark in their 2nd innings, that would have meant batting longer in the first innings and may actually not have left us time to bowl them out on day four, but it would have meant more time with the feet up after a good day and a bit in the field.  

Good debrief this morning.  Something that was important was that it not turn into a 'witch hunt.'  Looking for someone(s) to blame.  It was a very constructive meeting focused mainly on moving on to here, Brisbane, which we've now traveled to.  Some real excitement about the upcoming series.  A real chance to create history.  Certainly some nerves, maybe even fear, but over the next couple of days that'll be changed in to pure energy, positive energy.  Not afraid of taking that extra step to achieve something that's never been done before.  Often it's easier to site back and just accept the norm, but we're not going to do it.  We are going to fight with everything we've got to do something very, very special.  I am actually really excited by it.  I do have a nervous energy that I am entertained by.  I'm always nervous before a test, Bangladesh, England whoever, but this, if we do it right, will be amazing.  You just have to believe me!

Off to the gym now to get in some strength work, there are two days after today to prepare for this Gabba test.  Training in the afternoon both days.  I'll catch you again the night before the first Test.

Till then....

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