And that’s why I love Test cricket. A tough day in the field and I feel fantastic; well not fantastic like on top of the world, but it’s great to be out there competing with some of the best in the world.
It wasn’t too long before I had the ball in hand today. I had bowled just the one over last night and I had felt great. I warmed up well today, the ball came out well and I was really looking forward to taking that feeling into the middle. I ran in for the first ball, and always with the first ball, I was worried about my front foot; that confidence doesn’t always come straight away. Front foot good but rhythm not the best; sometimes that’s the way and you know that feeling right away. I bowled a six over spell here, it was ok, nothing flash, but not as good as I had hoped for. In this situation sometimes you just have to ‘suck it up’, accept the fact that it’s not perfect, pull back and just concentrate on doing what you can do to help the team out. I got through that spell without much damage to the scoreboard and was looking forward to my next one, where hopefully the rhythm would be back.
We did have a little piece of brilliance from Franky early in the first session. Gambhir called Sehwag through for a second, Franky picked up and hit with just over one stump to aim at. Sehwag, the guy who has been causing us so much grief was gone. Genius Franky, nice work!
That next spell didn’t come till after lunch and now I was feeling pretty good. First ball out was right about where I wanted it, next ball, not. This is something I’ve identified and it’s been the way since my first Test match. More often than not my first ball is good and my second is not. First ball to Ricky Ponting, my first ball in Test match cricket, length ball, just outside off. My second, leg stump half volley, luckly for me, fielded by CC at square leg. But that’s the way it’s been, it can only be a concentration thing. There are always things to work on!
Feeling good, and bowing to the plan, hanging tough, doing what I’m supposed to do, not trying things, just sticking to the plan, and it paid off. I had bowled three overs in a row at Dravid, a couple of maidens and one that cost a couple. Ball after ball trying to hit lengths that I wanted, and I snuck one through his defence. Top of off and the stump out of the ground, at first I wasn’t too sure to believe it, I was waiting for a ‘no ball’ call or something; nothing, it was all good. I enjoyed that moment, one happy boy. There was something funny happened here too. Just before I started the over I said to Dan, at mid off, “Something’s going to happen this over.” I wasn’t sure if it was going to be something good or something bad, but I just thought something was going to happen. Dan did reply, “Good or bad??” Anyway, second ball, I got a wicket, I turn back to Dan and there was that little moment you just look for out on the park!
The rest of my day was ok. The legs did start to get a bit heavy towards the end of the day, which is to be expected on this outfield that is a bit softer than some. The sand based outfield drains really well, but is softer than normal and this means you have to work harder to run and get around the park.
Overall I was pretty happy with my bowling and instead of the crazy intensity of an ODI where good balls often go to the fence; good balls here are treated with respect. We held one of the best batting teams in the world to three runs an over on a pitch that was pretty placid pace wise and it certainly didn’t move around as much as it did on the first day.
We’ll head back out there tomorrow, stay strong to our plans and keep India’s lead to an absolute minimum. It just takes one good session to turn this game right on it’s head.
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