So that’s Day One out of the way. Another midday start but this time the sun is shining. The deck just looked amazing, a definite bat first wicket. We all hoped that the impressive tosser, Dan, would come up trumps for us again. Alas, we lost the toss and are bowling.
Arrived at the ground on the early van, and headed straight over to the nets to get some work. I hadn’t managed to fit in a bat the previous day at training so I thought I’d get some in early this morning. It was good, hit the ball pretty well and ducked and weaved well enough to feel as good as I can going into this match. Quickly back to the ground and I had a quick TV interview before heading off to warm ups. A quick chat to Simon Doull about the preparation and way the match will go, also a quick chat regarding my blog. It seems that everyone is surprised that I am doing it, but as far as I can understand, they all enjoy reading it.....
During that interview I said that if we had to bowl first it wouldn’t be the end of the world. If you’re going to bowl on a batters deck then often it’s good to get in early, see what you can do when it is at its juiciest.
Stats from this ground, which is known as a batting ground, say that quite often the team that bats first after winning the toss will lose four wickets in the first session; which is what happened today. After a partnership of 43 I came onto bowl, the 14th over of the day. As I said I felt good in the nets yesterday and took a whole heap of confidence into this match. First ball, one of the best balls I’ve ever bowled and we’ve got Gayle. One of the big ones gone and I’ve got him. I can tell you I was pretty pumped after he walked for the nick behind; the perfect start to my spell. The next ball wasn’t so flash, and two balls later, again, not so good. But I can tell you I’ll take the wicket of Gayle and go for two fours in my first over every day of the week.
I was feeling really good, the pitch had some pace and bounce, not sharp ‘take you head off’ bounce, but it kicked and carried through like a good Test deck should. There was just a little, and only a fraction, of sideways movement. Apart from that, a real good surface for a good days play.
Jeets picked up Sarwan a couple of overs later with a very good catch by Baz behind the stumps and we had them 2-54. Pretty happy at this stage, a couple of big wickets back in the shed and we’re bowling real well. Jeets was creating a lot of pressure by bowling maidens, not as a defensive plan, but by very good bowling. I had some pace and bounce at the other end and together we were bowling in ‘partnership.’ Partnership bowling is important; there is no point having one guy tie it up at one end while the other guy is getting flayed all over the park. It’s important to keep the pressure on from both ends by bowling dots and denying runs.
Marshall was next to go and I had my second. This time Jesse, at third slip, got one of those amazing catches. Just a little more bounce and managed to get him to fend it slightly down and to Jesse’s right. He got both hands around it barely millimetres off the ground. That’s three and we’re very happy.
Chattergoon, meanwhile, at the other end play a very good openers innings, that was until just before lunch where he tried to pump Dan through the covers and Howza took a great catch at 2nd slip. Again, we enjoyed this immensely. We’ve got them four down at lunch after being asked to bowl and only gave up 74 runs off the 31 overs. Sitting pretty and the boys are going to enjoy lunch.
We didn’t enjoy tea so much. The Windies were still only four down. Shiv and Nash batted well, 150-4 after 64. We had done a great job of not allowing them to get away on us, so we were still very much in it, but we had to shift one of them as soon as we could. And, alas, we couldn’t quite do that as quickly as we wanted to. It wasn’t until the 5th over with the new ball until Franky got Nash to drive one straight to cover, held happily by Flynny! This is where a good team will pounce, opened up an end, fresh batter in, and one that had his pads on for a long time. And we did. Dan replaced Franky and Ramdin left a straight one. Oh, those sorts of things are fun especially late in the day. If you see the replay you don’t see the smiles move off our faces for quite a while! So that’s six down and they’re 258 off 91.
It was a good day in the park, an honest day in the park. There was no really bad bowling, sure there were some bits that we could have done better, but we hung in there on a very good batting deck and we have four wickets to pick up as quickly as possible tomorrow morning. In saying that, we are well aware that this is the combination that put a whole heap of runs on us in Dunedin.
It was an especially good feeling taking the boots off tonight. My feet were sore. Never have I had sore feet like that before. Blisters and one banged up big toe on my left foot. The physio wanted a look at the toe, she wanted to pierce the nail and release the blood bruise underneath. I’ve never had this done before but it involves a lighter a paper clip and someone to hold my foot down. I wasn’t so game for this, but in the effort to try to reduce a bit of the throbbing I thought I’d give it a go. So I now have a burnt hole in my big toe nail and a lot less pressure under it. The paper clip was straightened out, heated up till red hot and then poked through the toe nail so that the blood underneath it can, well, squirt out. It wasn’t pretty; it didn’t smell too good; and I can tell you, it hurt. Oh, gees it hurt. Hopefully by the morning it’ll feel like new.