Frozen – the sequel

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.

Cricket through the monument in the ground

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!

Even as Foakes gets up from being flat on his face, his foot is not over the line!

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.

Some majestic strokes again today!

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…

‘Well done Olly, no one else heard anything’!
Foakes doing a bit better falling down!

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!


Brook – no argument!

Today is the first day of the second test of this short series and the first time at the Basin Reserve in Wellington for some time. The ground forms the centre of a roundabout and is, apparently, an extinct volcano.

Brook – take a closer look!
Basin Reserve

So, while some will go round and round in circles, others will bring bangs and explosions over the next five days.

Talking of going round and round, several tour groups have congregated in the hotel. The melee at breakfast shows what life could be like in a compos mentis care home – no one under 50, a number still high on Sanatogen and rudeness in abundance! The joys to look forward to!

NZ started with a bang taking three for 21 in no time – Crawley (why?), Pope and Duckett back in the Chatfield Pavilion – looks like two shipping containers on top of each other; but you need to remember, everything here is built to withstand earthquakes!

101/3 at lunch (lot better than 21/3); why persevere with Crawley? Out of touch; Brook 51 no and Root 23no steady the ship after early inroads on a very green top! Root seems to be enjoying this ‘standard’ approach to the day, whilst Brook is carrying on regardless! Probably a good combination!

Crawley – first delivery of the day

237/3 tea Brook 136 Root 72; Wagner 0/81 off 12 – surely the end is nigh for Neil? A fine combination this afternoon – Root batting as he used to (as I said earlier, he’s internally conflicted by bazball) and Brook building on his fine career start (average is close to Bradmanesque) but hasn’t had the chance yet to face all attacks of all qualities! Time will tell.

And so they press on! Records falling – highest 4th wicket partnership by England v NZ (or in NZ) but also Root and Wagner both went to their hundreds off the same ball – not something you see every day and not one Wagner will relish! Immediate break for rain – short showers expected – at 315/3; and that’s it for the day.

Brook reaches his highest test score with the power to add against, what must be said, a pretty bland attack on a pitch that looks like getting flatter and flatter.

And another close look needed.
How did you take those photos I hear you ask?

These green edged photos were taken through the hole at the top of a recycling bin – had to stop walking at the bowlers end, and this was the only view of the batter I could get!

One thing Brook doesn’t do is flatter – he’s the real deal!

Root – another hundred.
Allowed on the ground at lunch
A photo of people looking at grass – surreal in the extreme!
It can be cold in Wellington when the wind blows!
The only test ground with its own folly which in turn has a bird bath? That must be a record!