So, here we are, Day Five and I'm sitting in the Qantas Lounge in Adelaide about to board a plane home. I'll tell you where I'd rather be right now. Not here. This tour was never going to be easy, by any stretch of the imagination. We've been pumped. And yesterday was the worst of it.
It was always going to be a tough ask batting for the majority of two days to save this Test. But it certainly was one that we could achieve, and should have done a lot better than we did. Bowled out 30 mins after tea on day four. Not good enough. And it could have been a lot worse and play finishing an hour earlier in the day if Brendon and I hadn't of put a partnership together. Not that I had much to do with the scoring in that partnership; infact, I had nothing to do with ticking the scoreboard over myself. My second 'pair' in Test cricket. Although, in doing so, I was out in the middle for 54 minutes, faced 38 balls and was part of a 50 run 8th wicket stand. Baz hit about 45 of them with couple of extras throwen in.
The day didn't start well, Redders out second ball of the day, and Five down at lunch. The writing was on the wall then. It really was just a matter of time. We just couldn't get partnerships together for any amount of time. And to bat time and save a match you have to bat with the guy at the other end for as long as you can. You be positive and you survive. Unfortunatily the boys game plans were not, in general, what they took with them out to the middle.
Baz and Fults were batting at lunch, I sat down in the changing room with them to listen to what their chat was, how things were going out there, any plans they had to bowlers and how THEY were going to save us. I made a comment to them that it was now 'personal,' put the team aside and bat and bat for themselves, go about their business and grind it out. You don't get the opportunity to bat on these surfaces very often.
Right, back home now. Couldn't get much done at the airport so decided to wait till I got back to finish this.
Now, back to my batting, cause that's what you want to hear about... I was a tad worried about my health and well being in this innings. I had served up a couple (and then a couple more) bouncers to Lee and Johnson during their knocks the previous day. It really was going to be payback. Baz decided to take as much of the strike as possible, I was fine with that. I did know though that the quicks would get their chance at me at some stage. My first ball was from the spinner, and I thought that I might just tuck into him and try to get off the mark as quick as possible. I had a dirty heave at the first ball, trying to hit it a long way. I succeeded in getting an inside edge onto my foot. That hurts. I got a bit of a telling off from Brendon and quite a lot of chat from the Aussies calling me 'weak' for not wanting to stick about. Oh, I wanted to hang about, just wanted to get off the mark quickly. So I pulled my head in and defended the next couple of balls in the over.
Baz did a great job of 'farming' the strike, he would leave me with the spinner and he'd take Lee. That was until Johnson came on, replacing Hauritz. Now I really had to face the music. I'd now get two balls an over as Baz would take the first four. Our goal was to get through to tea. This was about 25 mins away. First ball from Johnson, back of a length, I defend it down to short leg. That wasn't so bad. The pitch had slowed down over the course of the match. It's still the same pace out of the hand, but when it hits the deck it loses a lot of energy so slowing down on the way though. I was thankful for this.
We get through to tea, and Baz is going nuts. In our pre tea partnership of 49, I had, as I said, none. I turned down a single in the couple of balls of the last over before tea so that I wouldn't be on strike straight after tea. I'm really wanted this partnership to be worth as many as possible and for that, I still needed Baz to take as much strike as possible.
So, back in the shed for tea. We've put on 49 and we both get our share of pats on the backs. As a part of the things I was going to so in this game was to show courage out in the middle with bat and ball. When it's tough, to hang in there and back my skills. And batting today was taking all the courage I had to try not to show what I was really feeling.
Back out after tea and the spinner is back on, so I'm entrusted with him and Baz, Lee. This didn't go to plan one over, when Johnson came back on. Brendon couldn't get a single towards the end of the over, which left me with Lee. And he was really pumped after tea. Oh s**t. First ball, a bouncer, right at me, I sway back and avoid it pretty well and then get a good mouthful from him. "I'm going to get you, remember yesterday?" Oh, Brett, I won't be forgetting that, and I didn't really know what to say back so I, stupidly or bravely said, "whooooo, gees, that was quick, whooooo, fast man!" Kinda playing up cause I had to try to get him to smile, try to break the 'angry face' he had. And it did. I then turned to Katich, at short leg, smiled and said, "mate, I wish I could bowl as fast as that!" A little 'light' moment out in the heat of the battle. It can help!
I then got a quick Yorker that I played well and then an inside edge on one that I knew about and the umpire not. Out, LBW. Really disappointed not to have batted for longer, although still happy to have been a part of a partnership with Brendon, to watch him 'cream' the ball to all parts.
The match was over soon after and we sat in the changing room reflecting. As it was Braces's last Test match there were a few words from our manager and captain in thanks and reflection. Braces had his reply and from there we said our pledge which is saved for Test match wins. This one was for Braces. It was loud and heartfelt.
Beers open, music on, boys relaxing after a very tough series. A group of us went through to the Aussies room around 7, and stayed there till 10pm. I'm pretty shy when it comes to this kind of stuff so I really made myself do it. Pulled up a chair between Brett and Mitchell and had a great chat to them over a few beers. Ricky was already gone so I couldn't 'chat' some more to him!
And I leave you here as I prepare for the West Indies two Test series starting next week in Dunedin We're now ranked 8th in the world, them 7th. We have to beat them! Just have to!