Saturday, 28 March 2009

NZ vs India - Napier - 2nd Test - Day Two

After some serious internet problems here at the Hotel, Day two blog is here... Day three will be posted in about 12 hours...

Is that the perfect day of Test cricket?  If it’s not, it has to be so damn close.  I have never clapped so much in one day’s play ever before; there was 50’s, 100’s, a 150 and a 200, not to mention partnerships and also the team score milestones.  That’s a special day!


It was a batting warm up day, we love these.  A quick non contact game (we all want to play football but aren’t allowed), into stretches and then you go and do as you please.  I headed off to do some catching work, and was terrible.  From there I went and had a little bowl just to get the body moving and just in case the unthinkable happened and we had to bowl this morning after a collapse.  I went and grabbed one of my Aero pads, my gloves and bat and had a good few hits before heading into the changing room to grab a coffee, a water, take the boots off and put the feet up for the morning to watch some bloody good cricket.  What a treat we were given.


Jesse just kept on doing what he had done so well yesterday, the pace of his innings was something that bellies his eight Test experience.  Runs were not a problem for him, and if they were, he’d just wait for the next ball or the next over.  Franky was equally as good, there was no pressure to score at any certain rate, just to hang in there, keep the good ones out and score of whatever else there was.


Franky got into the 50’s before Jesse called him through for a single that just might have not been there and was run out.  It was great partnership that blunted the new ball last night, got us through to this morning and again blunted the attack. 


Jesse was then joined with his One Day opening partner, Baz.  These two bat well together and have a very good relationship out there in the middle, no different today.  It’s amazing how easy great players can make it look and these two just cruised along picking up, it looked like, singles at will and boundaries when the ball presented itself.


It’s a very good feeling knowing two guys are in and you’re not needed for a while.  A good feel around the viewing area, papers read, crosswords done, I got about four numbers into a suduko before I couldn’t get any further without guessing; I used to be good at these, I need more time watching the boys bat to get my skills back up!


It was very proud moment watching Jesse get close and then get to 200.  I’ve spent a lot of time with him with the Wellington team and here in the Blackcap’s.  A great moment he won’t forget and one I felt privileged to watch.


Dan joined Baz after Jesse dragged the next ball after celebrating his double hundred.  Again, these two bat very well together, Baz’s power and ability to score freely with Dan’s unorthodox scoring areas generally makes for a partnership that moves along quickly and is a good watch.  These two worked the singles well and kept each other going.


At tea we had a chat, the plan was to bat the same way for the next 10 overs and then have some fun for the following five overs.  In this course we’d be taking the NZ score past 600 for just the third in history.  At the start of the day 500 was a long way off and would have been a great goal, the post moved with the quality of our batting today. 


I got a quick bat, cut short a chance to maybe post a new high score on a deck that produced a lot of runs.  Dan declared the innings closed, with me on one off one, when Jeets chipped one to midwicket.  There were 24 overs left in the day.  We had planned on just having 15 overs at them meaning the new ball would still be newish in the morning, getting two bites at the cherry.  It turns out that the declaration was genius.


Sehway came out and played just like he did in the One Dayes.  Amazing for a captain to come out and play with that much freedom.  Dan brought himself on at a point where Sehwag was just getting away from us.  It worked; six over wide mid on 5th ball and out on the 6th.  Sehwag tried to repeat the shot and just managed to toe it into Baz’s gloves.  There was a collective weight off our shoulders and a pause to catch our breath seeing the back of him on this deck.  It didn’t stop there.  Jeets came on and drew a shot out of Gambhir, only to find Dan at mid off and we’ve got two with the night watchman wondering out. 


I had bowled three overs at this stage, nine off my first and then two maidens to follow.  I had found my rhythm and Dan took me off and took over the bowling.  I was disappointed to be taken off, especially with the chance to bowl to Sharma and maybe have them three down tonight.  Not to worry, Dan picked up the wicket and we’ve got them three down; brilliant.  Everything Dan touched today turned golden!   Long may it continue!


And that was as good a day of Test cricket as I’ve ever been a part of.  A team score past 600, and not having to bowl until the 6th session of the Test.  I’ll take that every day of the week!





Achyut Telang said...

Iain, I have recently started reading your blog and find it wonderful to know it from a person who is out there in the middle where the action is happening. I have just one question- You seem to be underbowled in India's first innings. Was that a plan or something to keep you fresh for the follow on? And also I was amazed to see that New Zealand bowlers are given something like a 6 over spell and then taken off, even though he might be in the middle of a good spell. I certainly saw it in the first test match..don't know about this. Could you please tell me about the thinking ebhind it?

profernity said...
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vjs (Vijayant) said...

If India needed a seaming surface to expose their shortcomings some years ago, now they need a belter of a pitch to gauge the misfortunes of being a dud fielding side. You matched them catch by catch, and misfield by misfield in the first match and you saw the difference.

It was not only about creating chances, but about converting them and NZ were up to the task and it was refreshing to see some fielding zing back in the team. You guys make so much of a difference by this one aspect and this precisely was missing in the first match.

In my earlier comments, I had written somewhere that it needs to be seen how much dent the century by a struggling Ross Taylor is going to make to this team's morale... I think by the time NZ take to the field on a fourth day morning, this impact will be seen in all its bloody gore.

By the time I write this, I can only reemphasize the blow those four or so dropped catches have delivered to the prospects of team India not only in this match, but also in the series. your team is clear-cut favourites now to make it at least 1-1, and in the best case a 2-1.

NZ have their task cut out now, I'd have loved to see you take a five-for in India's first innings, however, I'm not totally disappointed because another favourite, Ryder has come of age in a single day as an all-rounder.

Indians were appalling in shot selection to say the least without taking any credit away from NZ bowlers (I'd discount Sehwag as we enjoy his freak stints when he's on song and that madness is pretty much the same throughout the horizon), particularly Gambbhir, Dravid, Yuvraj, Sachin and Karthik; did I miss someone here?

NZ should be able to wrap it up with some effort as Sehwag is gone again while India are following on, Daniel has got his best chance now to make a statement in this series. Mind you, if you fail to latch on this opportunity, I reckon it'll be one of the most terrible mistakes you'd have committed in eons.

And once the series score-line reads 1-1, I'd say the Indians would be up against dreaded history to make a "comeback", then you guys can prepare a seamer for the third tie and enjoy! On the second thought, may be you only need to prepare another belter and they may capitulate again...

I'm glad that the better team of the match is still poised to winning it (though I hate to say this :-) -- it's NZ at the moment) and the winner from this match would still be taking a clear-cut lead going forward.

To life!

Salil said...


Thank you for the update. Was keen to read the blog when NZ is on top.

I think the moment you scored 550+, it was always your game unless you guys threw it away while bowling. But the bowling effort on such a pitch was so superlative that India crumbled 100 runs short of what I thought they would make in the their first innings.

I liked what you were trying to do while bowling wide of the crease at times to Dravid.

Looking for the third day's update.