The second day dawned sunny and bright and with the prospect of the mercury reaching 25C – this is no UK style heat, it will feel a lot more and sunburn watch is the order of the day. So much so that ANZ Bank are sponsoring the sunscreen process at the Test and offering free lotion to anybody and everybody – how much sense does that make? Why don’t we do this in the UK where all cancers and especially skin ones can be so devastating?
In England you need to arrive at the test venue in sufficient time for a) public transport to have delivered you there and b) the stringent security to get into the ground. Here you need to arrive early to a) park your car – or even bike! And b) take in all your picnic chairs and equipment to gain the best spots!
I needed to purchase an umbrella to day – not for any rain but to keep the sun off as there is minimal cover or shade at the ground – another new one for me!
The match starts on time with England pootling along quite nicely until a bit of high cloud cover, extra swing to the ball and Stokes holes out for 91 when a century was there for the taking.
Pope soon follows for 29, Curran S for a golden duck and Archer for very few – leaving England in a mild state of confusion at 301/8 – losing 4 for 60 in just over an hour. A question for my cricket followers…why does Archer bat at no 9? Even Broad in his current batting form/style is better than him?
Anyway, Buttler controls the scoring up to lunch, keeping Leach away from the strike (didn’t Leach do well at Lords and Leeds last summer and knows how to wield a bat?).
Southee bowled well – nearly a hat trick and as lunch looms it’s 329/8 – missed opportunities by England this morning and grasped ones by NZ (as opposed to those they missed yesterday).
Post lunch England fold for 353 with Buttler trying to control the strike but with 8 batsman out caught England are some 50 short of what they could have been. Southee takes 4/88 and de GrandHomme bowled 23 overs at 1.8 – the second string bowlers are key here.
By tea NZ reach 50/1 with no real issues – Williamson just accumulating runs, Broad and Archer looking ok but Curran S makes up for his earlier misdemeanour.
Drinks at the third session sees NZ 106/3 some 80 minutes after tea but Taylor was suckered into a catch in the deep but Williamson just keeps going – 50 at least is on the cards.
Just as I think that he gets a brute from Archer and is gone for 51. Archer is brought back for the last 20 minutes or so to soften up the middle order as NZ reach 144/3 off 51 overs at the end of the extended day and I’m done out of three overs entertainment and no one seems to care! Over a season that can be a lot to lose!
The pitch is beginning to show some inconsistent and variable bounce and, as the locals say, we’ve never had a five day game on one pitch here before, it could get interesting.
England are in the box seat especially with the big guns back in the Pavilion but who knows?