It’s always good to experience all areas of a cricket ground and whilst most England followers tend to do as they are told, I find it fascinating to go wandering.
And so it was today. The NZ grounds have their walkways close to the boundary edge so, unless you strategically position yourself, your view is constantly interrupted by spectators wandering around. But you are among ‘locals’!
The other need is to find somewhere warm especially at this ground. I’ve been frozen at cricket grounds many a time but probably not quite like this. Shirt, pullover, hoodie and jacket with hood are just about able to keep me warm. What’s incongruous is that a few feet away sunblock is being offered and applied as clearly those spectators know something I don’t!
But to the cricket itself…
An early start to catch up on the overs lost sees England lose four wickets quickly – Brook trying to rush things, Foakes just falling down for a duck, Stokes not playing for his average, and an exhibition from Broad in time wasting. I don’t pay good money to watch him stand around changing his mind every two minutes!
There’s a bit of spice in this pitch early on and it certainly livens things up.
The topography of the ground is interesting- plenty of gaps for keen breezes, slopes and mounds to help catch the sun and warm things up. A nice gap and an off drive facing from the Vance end and that’s the last you see of the ball as it lands in a truck, city-bound!
And in keeping with the best grounds around, it has a interesting slope from the RA Vance End towards fine leg!
How you can have ends in a roundabout is another of life’s mysteries to solve!
435/8 declared as soon as Root reaches 153no. Tricky 30 minutes before lunch for NZ but let’s see. Sun keeps breaking through and with keen ‘breeze’ any early moisture should go but we can’t judge the quality of a pitch until both sides have batted.
And so it proved – 12/2 at lunch with Williamson and Conway back already. Pope took Conway’s wicket although the scorecard shows c Foakes b Anderson. Pope was only one to appeal fielding at short point; Stokes needed a lot of persuasion to review but he did and was rewarded. At the moment he can do no wrong but as sure as night follows day, one day…
The weather is strange to say the least – am being offered sun screen which those in front are taking whilst I sit three rows back, shirt, pullover and jacket warding off the stuff ‘breeze’ 🤔
Lunch is punctuated by a rap artist performance – about as far as you can get from the marching bands at Lord’s! And then followed by a fancy dress competition between several characters including nuns, traffic cones and chickens. Absolutely bonkers!
The afternoon goes from bad to worse for NZ with a steady procession of wickets and no real batting to speak of; at 96/6 with only Nichols and Latham reaching 30. Wickets shared between Anderson and Leach but Robinson has kept things very quiet 6-0 off eight overs.
There’s only one way this match is going and it’s only a matter of time – and how much spare we shall all have!
The shortened session after tea progressed as well as the previous – NZ ended on 138/7 as rain stopped play with over 90 minutes play remaining (I say minutes because overs are irrelevant when it comes to over rates – the day was on course for 10 overs to be lost!).
Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer and drier; another cold Wellington day is not something to look forward to!