Just another day in the park, huh! The body is pretty tired, even my arms started to feel lethargic this afternoon; I could really do with a couple of days with my feet up watching our boys bat. We have a pretty damn good chance of that happening too, we need one more wicket tomorrow morning and then the boots come off, recovery continues, I'll eat plenty, drink lots, wear my compression tights and stretch lots. But that doesn't happen until we get that last wicket.
Tough start today, we would have loved to have batted first on that pitch; it looks and has played like a good One Day wicket. Seeing as we need to win this Test to draw the series we had to take a chance, play the extra seamer and bowl first. It wasn't quite the start we'd hoped for though. Sehwag, again, took the attack to the new ball. He really has no regard for how openers 'should' play, it's exciting that's for sure and I can tell you I was a very happy boy when he nicked one, off me, through to Baz. It wasn't quite the length I was trying to bowl to him, it was the line though and when Dan got to the huddle to celebrate with us, and I got a big hug from him. We know how much getting Sehwag as early as possible changes the course of the first session and day.
Franky, in the next over, removed Gambhir with a cross seamer that held its line and smashed into his pads. The game just changed and as it did in the first Test, it was around a drinks break. Franky and I, at home at the Basin, put a 10 overs set together, 2 wickets and just 19 runs. Bowling in partnerships is such a huge thing in any cricket and when both guys get it right, or close to it, pressure from both ends, things often happen, the pressure has to be released somehow and it's those moments that can define a Test. It was in the last Test where the Indian batters absorbed everything we could throw at them in those pressure situations.
This first spell, though, wasn't what I was trying to do. Sure it was a good effort with Franky but my lengths weren't quite there and when I got my length right, I was too wide to be effective. When things are like this it's important not to try searching too hard for the right things, it is important to get through it for the least expense as possible and to hang tough for guy bowling from the other end.
Now, playing at the Basin Reserve, Wellington is special. A true cricket ground, one of the few left in NZ. Grassy embankments, terrace seating, a couple of grandstands, tree filled hills, a big blue and a gentle breeze and there really isn't too many more places in the world that I'd rather be. The sport mad and knowledgeable Wellington crowd filled every spot there was on the embankment making for a great atmosphere and a good fun day. Thanks Wellington for coming out to watch, it's great to have you there! You certainly got your monies worth today.
After lunch I opened up and found my lengths almost straight away. I just had to concentrate on holding my action for a little bit longer at the top of my jump. Doing this though meant my jump would be longer and I had to take my run up marker back a touch. The ball started to swing a little for me too, just a little, not much, but enough to keep it interesting.
This afternoon after we had taken the new ball I had a chance to bowl to the tail. My second over here wasn't the best I'd bowled, every. To Kahn I didn't quite get it right and I went for four, four, four, four and then a two. One ball left, I bounce him, gloved through to Baz and obviously I'm pretty happy. I knew that I needed just two wickets to reach 50 Test wickets, I couldn't do it in the second innings at Napier, and my chance was today. This was my 50th test wicket, something that I had forgotten until Guppy reminded me in the huddle, I was like “oh yeah, that's right.” I had completely forgotten. I'm really proud of reaching this little milestone. To be fair, it's 48 more than I thought I'd every get the chance to take after my first couple of Tests where I picked up just the two wickets at 98 a piece. This last year has been amazing and I have loved every minute of it (well almost, there's been some really tough times too).
Hopefully we'll pick up the last wicket tomorrow quickly and professionally and get off the park for a well earned rest.