A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Tour of New Zealand 2013 - part 5 - the 2nd Test

2nd Test, Wellington (Basin Reserve)

Drought, what bloody drought?
Due to the impact of work, family and sanity commitments, this blog entry for the 2nd Test match may be slightly shorter than usual. This may be a good thing, because at the moment I seem to be looking at this on my TV……………………………

It had to happen again didn't it? An area of New Zealand that has seen a major lack of rainfall over the last few months hosts a major international Test match and of course, the heavens duly open with a deluge as the game is very nicely poised thank you. Now before some do-gooding people start saying that a drought ridden area finally getting some rain is rather more important than a cricket match being completed. I'm not actually (quite) arguing that another Test series win and consolidation of our 2nd place in the world rankings should take place at the expense of an environmental disaster…….honest. All I'm saying is that maybe the rain and cyclone thingy arriving just a few days later would have satisfied the environmentalists…. and the English cricket fans…, who were hoping for another Test series win and consolidation of our 2nd place in the world rankings. The 5th day weather forecast isn't too good either from a cricketing completion point of view, so barring a monumental bowling effort in the two or three overs that may be available we seem to be heading for another draw. My 3-0 series win for England is now looking seriously pants - its a good job that gambling is not one of my many vices…..

The short period of time between the first and second Test meant that little of note took place, no homework-gate for our hard working conscientious chaps, no perennial under achieving batsmen going back home to Oz in a huff. The only slight controversy were the comments made by the Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum who referred to Alistair Cook as being something of a genius (well we knew that) and on a par with Don Bradman. 

Don Bradman, being a bit good.

"Where he is at in his career at the moment, he is as good as anyone who has ever played the game, barring Bradman," He's obviously a genius batsman, his record is testament to that." said McCullum. 

Of course he is pretty close to the mark, but for some reason this remark created a reaction of quite vitriolic reaction on the Twitterverse with remarks ranging from;

1) "I know that Cook has 24 Test centuries and that he became England's all-time record century-maker and the youngest batsman of any nationality to pass 7,000 runs  - but is he actually that good?"

2) "How dare he be compared to 'The Don' ?…different era, bowlers, blah blah blah."

3)  "Why didn't he compare him to Tendulkar??!!!!!!!!!……so lets give  McCullum a damn good thrashing…..blah blah blah."

Cooke, being better than Bradman….
McCullum seeing that his remark was 'obviously' one of gargantuan mistakes promptly tried to explain his statement. Captain Cook in an interview was obviously flattered by the initial remarks and tried to laugh off the comments made by his opposite number, though I'm sure I read in his eyes "Yes, I am that good, you'd better believe baby"…..though I could be imagining it. 

Anyway, enough of that, back to the actual Test match.
It was all looking oh so promising at the end of day 1 - well, the sun was shining for a start. Alistair Cook once again couldn't be arsed with winning the Toss, so that left Brendon McCullum to continue his love affair with Cook's batting by offering to bowl first. He did make some lame excuse about the pitch being a little green and probably offering some movement….. but we all know what you really meant Brendan.

Cook had obviously seen through this facade and decided that he wasn't going to be any body's love object and so opted to forget about his magnificent batting average, instead opting to make only 17 after chipping tamely to mid-on. The day actually belonged to Messrs Compton and Trott as their second-wicket stand of 210 became cornerstone of England's imposing 267-2 by the end of day one. It wasn't a great run rate in comparison to modern standards, but it put us firmly in the driving seat.

Day 2 saw England continue in much of the same vein having converted their overnight 267-2 into a rather fine 465, which is apparently our highest total at the Basin Reserve. The highlight of which was a rather fine swashbuckling counter-attacking innings from Matt Prior ( who according to my friend Sara Terry, is a very nice man). He swiftly made sure our innings, which was in danger of meandering to an unsatisfying total after one or two cock-ups (yes Mr Bell, I'm talking about you) ended on a high. There was a welcome return to form for Stuart Broad struck twice in two balls to help England take control in the afternoon - though the Twitterverse was again annoyed when he failed to take a hat-trick. Even though he took care of Hamish Rutherford and Ross Taylor in immediate succession, some people just weren't satisfied it seems.

By the end of day 2 the Black Caps had stumbled to 66-3, still 399 runs behind.

Day 3 saw Stuart Broad get a six-wicket haul as the Kiwis were bowled out for 254 and just agonizingly short of the follow-on total. 

6 for Broad - not too shabby

Captain Cook decided to ignore Geoffrey Boycott's cries from the Test Match Special commentary box to bat again, England decided  to enforce the follow-on as the depressing weather forecast made this the only logical decision. Sorry Geoffrey. However,New Zealand had obviously failed to read my script and instead stubbornly rallied to close at the end of the day on 77-1, still 134 behind.

Day 4 saw our normally all-conquering  bowlers being a tad short of their best as the combination of the remnants of Cyclone Sandra and the benign pitch meant a frustrating day in Wellington. Jimmy 'Golden god' Anderson's dismissal of Peter Fulton was the only bright spark before a) rain limited day four of the second Test to 34 overs and b) I fell asleep on the sofa. Before the advent of the rain which decimated the the afternoon's play,  Williamson (55no) and Ross Taylor  had doubled the overnight total in an unbroken stand of 81, leaving the New Zealanders on 162 for 2 and trailing by a measly 49 runs. 

So if I was a betting man I would suggest that another draw is on the cards. I'll update the final day of this Test match if that naughty little minx, cyclone Sandra has her way….

Day 5 More rain. A draw. Bugger.

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