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!