Another early start to catch up on the overs but the pace at which this game is progressing it’s probably not a worry. The day dawns misty and cool with occasional sunny spells. The overnight rain has passed and whilst the grassy banks are ‘moist’ we start on time.
Today’s first period is spent at the top of a bank beside the sightscreen. A great view but into a strong and cold breeze so every layer needed and an excursion for my alpaca headwear.
Strong legs are required to keep your balance as the slope is so steep and after an hour or so, one can take no more. The locals come prepared with blankets, deck chairs and all kinds of impedimenta for the day.
The early action sees a couple of sharp catches not quite carrying – Crawley and Stokes. But the bowling of Leach and to a degree Broad makes life free and easy for Southee and Blundell. The former powering to 73 (apparently he’s NZs top run scorer without a century). Robinson looks the real deal. He, for me, was the pick of the bowlers but unlucky – he will bowl worse but have better figures!
NZ add 62 in very quick time but succumb in sight of the follow on requirement for 209 – 226 short in total! This is a lot better than the early stages foretold; so batting for two days and two and a half sessions or setting England a total that they can’t chase down are the options. And we’ve seen what England can chase in recent times. Nothing is beyond the collective belief in this team; weather is an ally for NZ but the entrails don’t look good!
Lunch arrives at 40/0 but not without its alarums and excursions – Leach in particular causing the odd headache.
What’s become clear is that we’re only seeing half of Anna Doorsbred
(see message from Anna Gram below) at a time – Robinson being preferred with the new ball, and half of Anna is first change. Seems to work.
Tea sees NZ sailing into safer waters at 128/0 – 88 in the session; Latham 72 and Conway 53. True grit and grind of test cricket. Having said that, the wind and today’s sun have/are drying out this pitch so it’s easier for batting and a different colour from what greeted us on Friday.
Both openers fall with 40 minutes of tea (to spin) so a bit of rebuilding is needed. But plenty of time to go! But by the end…202/3. Tomorrow should be interesting!
A day when pictures speak louder than words!
Message from Anna Gram – I’ll leave it to you to work out who Anna Doorsbred are