Sunday, 22 March 2009

NZ vs India - 1st Test - Hamilton - Day Four

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I hate losing! It doesn’t matter who to, how big, or if the writing was on the wall, I just hate losing.

We set India 39 in their second innings to win the Test. A 10 wicket hiding we were served. Out played in all departments meant that we weren’t even close.

Test cricket is hard; it’s supposed to be. It’s tough cricket for five consecutive days. It’s hard on the body and extremely hard on the mind, and that’s probably where we’ve let ourselves down. The concentration that is needed to perform for the periods of time that is needed in Test cricket takes its toll and is a tough skill to have, learn and posses. Only the best have it and only the best have that selfish streak that puts such a value on what you’re doing out in the middle that you going to go out there and do it yourself no matter how ugly you make it, you’re going to succeed. I don’t think we showed enough selfishness. I don’t think we ‘gutsed’ it out for long enough, we didn’t show the fight and determination needed. Test cricket can make heroes, more than One Day cricket can. It’s your Test record that goes down in history and is spoken about when you’re finished; it’s our history that we’re creating, and some of us are not doing enough to be remembered for very long at the moment.

We had to bat out the day and bat into day five to save, or maybe set up something in this Test. We were bowled out soon after drinks in the last session just 38 in front.

I was hoping for a very lazy day, feet up watching some genuine Test cricket batting. Not to be, I was padded up and out there just after drinks in the middle session. I joined Baz out there; last time we batted together was in Adelaide in a similar situation and we put on 50 for the 9th wicket; of that 50 I got none, it was all him and a couple of extras. A 36 ball duck, the fifth longest duck time wise in Test cricket, but a partnership none the less. We decided that the same strategy was the best way to play; Baz would take the majority of the strike leaving me with one or two balls at the end of the over to get through. It’s not a pretty way to play, and it’s tough mentally turning down runs for both of us, but it was a means to an ends at the time, and it worked. Together we put on 76 for the 9th wicket. I got 14 off 44 balls in the 100 minutes that I was out there and I was loving it. Every now and then we wouldn’t be able to get the single to get Baz on strike for the next over and I’d have to start on strike. This was probably better for me as it actually gave me a chance to score a couple of runs. It’s my job to not get out, but also to get Baz on strike for the majority of the over. So a couple of sweeps and pushes got me some runs and off strike.

Our ‘annoying’ partnership, that’s annoying for India, not us, was curtailed when I was given out caught in close off Harbhajan, his 6th for the innings. At the time I didn’t think I had hit it and when I got back to the changing room and watched the replay and ‘hot spot’, there was no visible sign of a nick but that’s the way it goes. I was a little disappointed as I needed just one more run to beat my previous best of 14* against SA, a somewhat shorter innings, just six balls that one was (0, 6, 4, 0, 4, 0). On the flip side, earlier in my innings I had come back for a second run to the bowlers end, a throw from long off right next to the stumps, bails off and it was close. I turned around to Baz and gave him the thumbs up; I thought I was in by about a ‘foot’. That was how it felt and I have now learnt that there is a big difference between feel and what the TV shows when it comes to run outs. A really long wait meant that it was a whole lot closer than I thought. I was watching our viewing area for an initial feel from our boys as the TV replays would be playing up there, I was watching the Indian viewing area for the same thing. Signs coming from both areas were of one thumb up and one thumb down, nobody was sure. I got the benefit of the doubt there and maybe that was my luck done for the day.

Sitting around a losing changing room is not much fun and it’s not supposed to be. I got packed up, sorted out washing from clean stuff, had some food and chatted to the physio about a programme for me over the next couple of days in regards to my side. It’s coming along good and I had a gym session this morning where I didn’t feel any discomfort, it feels like a bit of a bruise on the 11th rib, almost like it’s been banged against the top iliac crest (pelvis) in delivery, probably one of the bouncers I was trying to bowl in my last spell.

Travel to Napier tomorrow, a place that I have always liked and have, just recently, had some good success on the park.

Losing is easy, winning is hard, we have to be harder!


Arjun said...

I thought you were not going to blog about the 4th day because of your defeat, but well done. I was waiting up for this blog post. You batted pretty well too, denying my team of winning by an Innings and a couple of runs. Keep it up, the cricket as well as the blogging.

Sal said...

Hi Iain,

I have been following your blog throughout the test match, and like all others, have got addicted to it.

The best part of the blog being the 'insider view' that we viewers otherwise don't get. The other great thing about your blog is the sincerity and modesty reflected in your posts.

Good work during that partnership. I think if all NZ batsmen think in terms of occupying the crease (runs will come with time), you guys can do a great job with the depth in your batting.

NZ can always bounce back, the way you did in the last ODI.

Good luck to you guys.


Rudra aka Atul Shashank Kulkarni said...

Ian, come on! You were all but "not out" for that run out thingy. Line belongs to umpire and the third umpire did not think of it that way, I guess. You were found wanting and that meant you should have been given out. But well that was your luck, I agree. To put it has close is unfair and benefit of doubt which never existed and none other than u and umpire seem to have. (Well on the later matters actually). So come on be forth coming with the truth after watching TV replays.

And better luck next time. I must say you are running in to one of the best Indian team touring NZ in all of the past.

sid said...

I checked ur blog at least 10 times waiting for ur views on 4th day though i never expected u writing on day 4.
Yeah u r right,Kiwis were outplayed in all departments of the game.Hope u will bounce back and give good fight to us.

Chriz said...

Iain, I like your straight forward approach.. straight from the heart form of writing.. thats a great sign indeed.. God bless Bro.. all the very best for the next match...

Iain O'Brien said...

My last day of a Test match post is always done the day after, as opposed to being done that night..... I can't blog with a couple of beers in me!!

Diljeeth said...

Iain, Do you think that a green-top will favour NZ that India in the second test??

vjs (Vijayant) said...

Well, I do not buy this idea of "N or so poor decisions going against or otherwise" et al. All I know is that there are times when you badly need miner's-fortune going your way in a game like this.

You'll get where I'm coming from if you compare this match with the one that heppened in Sydney. If you find a lot of similarities, then of course, you are entitled to cry hoarse.

However, you guys were never in, say, had you got a longer stick of luck and stayed there for another hour or so; what could be achieved? another 60-70 to chase by India, a possible century by Mac... I'd rather have you analyse the situation from a bigger perspective mate.

You lost this game because you were found wanting on your strength - batting on a seaming pitch with relative ease - first morning of the match; because your batting order was not able to weave two decent partnerships in cuntinuum; because you faltered on your greatest prowess of yore, fielding... All of the above as a team.

This is no doubt hard to come over, all three of them occurring together for any team, and NZ is not an exception.

The other difference that's working wonders for India is that their acclimatisation is perfect this time around, T20 (whitewash), ODI (win 3-1) and now the most importand element of any itinerary, the Test Match Cricket (lead 1-0), and you could see the difference.

Had it been in reverse order, I daresay it would have been slightly different reading here, though not entirely given the kind of closely knit team India has been sending out overseas for quite some time now.

Napier, well, I read that NZ has an awfully ordinary record there.

I do hope you guys do not give a damn to History, and I surmise you won't... This'll make it an interesting match. All the best.

All the best for your niggle as well. I hope this is but a scare and you'd be playing in the eleven.

To life!

rAhul said...

hard luck for this of luck for next one.....

btw the best thing about your blogging is that u write directly from your heart..a cricketer's heart...i m following ur blog since past 2 weeks i guess....and got addicted.Hope we get to read with good frequency from ur bloG.

Balachandran said...

Couple of questions....

How do you find time to blog???

How did you get the interest of blogging???

I too got addicted to your blog...

Saurabh said...

Welldone Ian, I am not an avid blogger but following ur blogs quiet regularly. Regarding ur loss i believe u have run into the strongest Indian team of all time who knows wat to do and wat not to do. However, would advise to probably prepare a seaming track for India as that could expose the weakness of Indian against the moving ball and difference in quality betwn India and NZ would be bridged.
what you say about this?

Lakshmikant said...

Hey Iain, were you the one who bowled out Rahul Dravid in India's first innings? or was it someone else?

Lakshmikant said...

Hey Iain, sorry about that decision and good luck for the next match....India's an experienced team and you guys were expecting difficulties ahead, which i appreciate. I wanted to congratulate the effort you put into your bowling, and wish you good luck

arvinjones said...

Joe Antony said...

Great Post Iain, loved reading it. Though you guys lost, I think you had lot to cheer about, taking big wickets and annoying indians by a 50+ partnership. Indians will be definetly looking at you next time. Seeing the comments section, tis lookin like you are earning many fans here in the subcontinent, are you up with IPL or ICL :) ?

gane said...

who do u think is the toughest between sachin & dravid to penetrate..

hazel17 said...

great bowling Iian - keep it up for the test mate! Focus and you'll be fine - and BTW great batting in the first test!

ritwik said...

hi ian iam ur fan and you bowl pretty fast, my name is ritwik and iam from india.
is shane bond ur friend,please tell nzc to include him in your squad he is the best fast bowller in the world. you can destroy indian batting lineup with him please give me shane bond's email ID. reply me iam eagerly waiting

The CL said...

Jeeze Iain, you seem to get your balls busted quite often by sections of your readership! Would be interesting to see how many of those offering up their views have played Test Match cricket.

Of course, I haven't played Tests or anywhere near that level. Even if I had, I don't think this is the forum for fans to comment on the factors that lead to results. It's just a great chance for those of us who'll never get to charge in with the new ball or wield the blade in an International to get the inside scoop.

So thanks, Iain. Your views and insights are intriguing and I look forward to reading about how you see things in the Napier Test. All the best, mate.

vjs (Vijayant) said...

It seems someone's got real hurt at your deliveries being smacked Iain. I do not see anything but friendly banters spread here and there. But thoughts are thoughts and fans are incorrigible you see! :-)

And by the way, I read that you need to have made at least a few movies before you try to comment or hold and express an opinion about a Hollywood movie, if this were the case, 'The CL' mate, every movie would be a runaway hit in your land, because no one except a few good men would dare to call a spade a spade ... Ironically, it doesn't happen anywhere else.

Or are you trying to follow the edict "you better say the pleasant things or clam"? I'm afraid you form a sorry minority.

I'm from the school of thought, that if you express your opinion at the Times square, you get more people who come in your face with what they think about almost everything than who concur.

Cricket has transcended the definition of being an amateur's sport, a lot is at stake, and people's faith in certain player/team hinges on more than one good series or performance.

The fans can be pardoned for being exacting and ruthless at times; maybe for holding an opinion as well.

Hence, pretty please, if you're so concerned about getting your opinion answered/appreciated by 'peers', then please spill them at appropriate forum.

Blogosphere is roamed by all and sundry I'd say. And many blokes read and write with equal amounts of verve.

To life!


Polo said...

Where did Iain ever say if poor decisions didn't go against NZ the result would have been any different? He said himself NZ got well and truly outplayed.

No idea what you are getting at vjs, perhaps you should have another read of the blog.

Thanks for the insight Iain, I hope we can come back in Napier...really need to fight hard, fire up and knock some heads off!!!

deehzee said...

So now you are changing the pitch at Napier. One wonders whether it is at the request of NZ team, as they think they can outplay India ONLY in a seaming wicket with exaggerated side movements. Mark Richardson has been crying hoarse for this for a long time. It is interesting...

Chriz said...

yes napier it is...

a diff pitch

all the best

The CL said...

Vjs, what a pretentious and wholly irrelevant rant. Your questionable arguments (and I use the word lightly, as I wasn't looking for one when I posted a comment for the writer of this blog, not his narcissistic readers) have little or nothing to do with anything I said.

I find it hard to comprehend that someone who obviously places high stock in his intellectual abilities can be so stupid as to think that I would want my opinions "answered/appreciated" by my "peers" when I never mentioned anything of the sort in my comment.

Please, Vjs, take your hackneyed and off-point rants some place where they're more appreciated. Maybe a "Pseudo-Intellectuals Annonymous" meeting, or a "I start petty fights on my computer over cricket blogs" sight. Good luck, soldier. By the sound of things, you're going to need it.

vjs (Vijayant) said...

For far too long this rant of India being one of the two best sides in the world 'at the moment' is going on, and it emanates invariably from the sub-continent.

Even I am dying to see a hard-core seaming pitch in Napier and daylights being knocked off some faces, be it Indian or NZ.

At least there will be a result within (may be) three days and the victors will have a clear lead going into the third Test.

Moreover, India will get to know where they stand on the nastiest of pitches and then improve on whatever they have achieved till date (not to mention NZ & Co. would as well; if at all they think that the first day of first Test was a mere blip.)

Topping the ICC charts can wait, but I seriously think India needs to pass these tests first. Hope the Curator listens to Mark Richardson's calls.

Needless to say, if more NZ than Indian heads roll in Napier, no one would be happier than yours truly :-)

Now is the time.

To life!

vjs (Vijayant) said...

By the look of things, I can only make one observation of "The CL" being from ANZ area at the least.

I'm afraid "The CL" guy, I could not infer anything but the above from your rants. If you could be less pretentious then it might help in a clear interpretation here.

And you get on with your soldiering and marching, whatever you call it. I am happy that you're doing what you're best at and my posts are doing a great job of helping you out; not that I intend to...

To life!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.