Monday, 9 February 2009

NZ vs Australia - SCG - 3rd ODI

No big party last night, alas.

Although we did take it closer than some thought and hushed the crowd towards the end of the match.  Bowling first, again, after Dan won the toss on a track that looked pretty good for a One Dayer; and it was.  There was a change at the top of the Australian order with Warner missing out and Haddin opening; what a week for him. 

Haddin and Clarke played with more positivity than we'd seen so far in the series at the top.  They played well, hit the bad balls, and turned good balls into boundary options by moving around the crease.  I think they trusted this pitch a little more too, or gambled harder, hitting some good balls, through the line and over the top.

My first spell wasn't too bad.  We had planned on being quite aggressive with our lines and lengths and to take wickets as early as possible.  I ran in hard and bowled as fast as I have done, things felt good, I even had to take my run up maker back a foot so that I didn't end up 'no balling'.  I let go of a yorker that slid under Haddins's bat and fizzed past his off stump early in his innings, an inch or so straighter and it could have been a different day.  It wasn't until my second spell that I took my first wicket; this was my first over in the 'batters' power play and the third of my spell.  The ball change had just happened and it was a really hard and newish looking ball.  It  was certainly an opportunity for the batters to score quickly with the harder ball, but also for the bowler to hit the deck hard and see if it does anything off the harder seam.  And it did with my first ball, one just jumped a little off the deck and Baz took catch of D. Hussey's edge; the perfect start to the power play.  I managed to get through a wicket maiden here with White facing out the last five balls, all dots.  That's as good a result as I could imagine at this stage of the match.

Earlier in the innings Baz had been keeping up to Millsy and had worn one, which bounced a little more, on the point of his right shoulder, it flew away as if it had taken the shoulder of the bat.  It had been giving Baz a lot of trouble through the innings and at drinks he shot off for a pain killing injection.  Soon after he came back on he ran Haddin out with his left hand, his right arm, at the time, wasn't too much use.

I came back at the 'death' and I was tossing up in my head whether to gamble to take wickets or just try to bowl dots.  I guess I should have just bowled dots.  I got a couple of balls in the wrong place and they ended up at the fence and when I went back to my other dot or one run ball options I was a lot better and picked up a wicket with a yorker, the last ball of my 10 overs.  This really annoyed me, why was I gambling, why wasn't I just trying to limit their scoring options and possibly picking up wickets when they made the mistake.  It's a fine line between being reckless and economical.  It was one of those days that could have been better; a couple of inside edges past the stumps for boundaries, some good balls going for four, that's One Day cricket; ride the luck your making or get hurt trying to make it.

Our run chase didn't start to well, Baz wasn't able to open.  In fact, he wasn't going to bat at all had we either got their comfortably or not close at all.  Fults stepped up to the opening spot from three and everyone else came up one.  Not a perfect scenario but one of those that you just have to get on with. 

Fults played well for his 40 and that steady ship gave us a chance in the chase after losing Gups and Rossco early. 

We lost three wickets pretty quickly in the middle, Broom, Millsy and Dan fell in a space of about four overs; this really stalled our chase.  Timmy came in and hit a couple out of the middle and all of a sudden Baz has his pads on sitting behind Jeets and I.  We still needed a hundred odd, but anything can happen with one guy in (Elliott) and Baz at the crease, and it almost did.  The crowd was noisy and expectant for an Australian win, they eventually got it, but not without some nervous moments. 

It wasn't to be though.  Once Elliotts innings came to an end and Baz departing soon after that left Jeets and I to get 30 odd of three overs; a bit of a big ask, but we'd give it a go.  I got three bouncers in a row from Hilfenhaus, not surprisingly.  I got under them like a top order player, except that in this form of the game and in this situation we needed runs, not me to not get out.  I've worked so hard to get rid of the pull/hook shot from my game that I now have to re learn it to certain situations.

As I mentioned in my last blog Grant Elliott has started up his own bat company with a couple of lads in our Wellington Firebird's team.  It's taken a while to get off the ground with getting ICC approval being the hardest task.  Finally, "" is up and away.  And there is no better way for TS (Elliott) to be getting his product out there than by scoring 61* in our win that the MCG and then yesterdays amazing 115 at the SCG.  His knock yesterday was as good a One Day hundred as you're going to see especially in the circumstances.  He was bumped up the order after Baz wasn't able to open to four from five and looked comfortable from ball one.  And now in his 14th One Dayer, with an average of around 85 he looks like the international cricketer he has had the potential to be.  I'm sure that now he's promoting his own product when he's batting there's an even higher motivation to hang about and raise his Buzz bat.

So here we are in Adelaide, we're 2-1 up with two games to go.  This series is important to us and last night's loss was a bummer, losing hurts, no matter what.  In saying that we lost a game of cricket, and when you think about perspective it's not that bad at all.  Families in Victoria and NSW are losing not only their homes, but their families.  These bush fires are horrific.  I know one of the Victoria Police that is out there doing their bit to help out, pulling double shifts and giving up days off to work; these fires affect so many people.  I just hope as this series goes on we can do something to help the families, the fire-fighters and police and anyone involved with this disaster.   

I've just come from our Captains meeting and I can reveal that as a team we are donating a considerable part of our match fee towards this disaster.   It's a great thing that we can help out.  We are also giving up a signed playing shirt to be auctioned off at the end of the series.  Here's hoping that auction makes a small fortune, cause they need it!

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Anonymous said...

Hi Iain, nice reading your blog. You are very honest and appear very humble from the way you write. I think you bowled pretty well yesterday. Hope you go on and win in Adelaide.

profernity said...

Hi Iain, was at the game last night. Mighty glad you guys could shut up the rowdy Aussies (of which I am one, but fortunately a Kiwi supporter) for a while near the end there.

Hope Baz isn't too badly hurt and doesn't risk any further injury if he plays in Adelaide and/or Brisbane.

Would dearly love to see you and the team close out the series; you deserve it after performing so well as a tight unit at Perth and Melbourne.

Anonymous said...

Nice work mate.

Great news about the team helping out the poor buggers in Victoria. My mate who works at Sydney airport told me today that a Kiwi Hercules arrived this morning with fire trucks and crew to head down south and help out. Our thanks go out to you all.

TS' knock was a beauty and he looks the part.

I'm going to take the liberty of adding your blog to the links at my site. If too many rabid Indians or clueless Poms find their way here from 99.94 give me a yell and I'll take it down.

Good luck tomorrow mate and take it easy on Hilfy when you get a chance to square the ledger!

Nicola said...

Well it turned out to be pretty exciting, even "watching" it on Cricinfo in the snowy UK. I hope you guys take plenty of positives from the match as "it could have been a lot worse".

And good on you for donating some of your fee to the current tragedy. It certainly puts things into perspective.

Hope you wrap things up in the next match"

Anon said...

Hi Iain
Was working at your last game at SCG on Sunday. Would like to see you again when next in Syd if you remember me. Will watch this blog for your thoughts...

Paul Tudor said...

Greetings Iain

Replying to this post re. Game 4, as you have not put anything up yet about it.

I though NZ had a real chance there, but it was a strange game in many ways e.g. Baz not hitting a single boundary, Millsy getting smashed for 6 when he had not conceded a single boundary to that point etc etc etc. And how about Craig Cumming - he was not selected for the original tour, then comes over and gets in ahead of Diamanti and Boult. I think that it very harsh on both those guys and a sign of muddled thinking on the part of the selectors.

Also Dan seemed a bit muddled in his thinking. Just because you guys got caught out in the heat in Sydney, does not mean you should have batted first. Clearly that was the wrong call. Then Mills bowled a fantastic containing first spell, came back for a couple of overs and Dan took him off with one over for him to go, just as he had started to contain the Hussey brothers. Elliot came on too late, he did a great containment role. So Dan's first poor game as captain, I reckon.

I hope you don't mind some constructive criticism. You probably realise this yourself, but while you and Southee had the batsment playing and missing (more so than when we batted) and a few front edges and bottom edges, both of you bowled too many four-balls. The figures show this. The Aussies had more dot balls than us and more fours, largely off you two guys.

I think you have bowled terrifically well in this series and you are clearly still learning a lot about ODIs and how to bowl during the different phases, but it was this flood of fours towards the end that killed off our hopes.

Keep up the good work - and celebrate hard when we win tomorrow in brisbane!


Iain O'Brien said...

Four balls, or balls that get hit for four?? Big difference between a good shot off a good ball and a half volley!!??

Brat said...

Iain, have you and the rest of the boys donated blood? You can do it if you're an NZ citizen (I did it at the Brissie blood bank today)

The people in Victoria need blood - lots of. And you guys are all fit n' healthy.

See you tomorrow! Win this damn thing!