Monday, 22 January 2007


Okay. So we lost. But I regret my pessimism. At 38/3 I almost turned my telly off in disgust. But then some good things started to happen. After Astle, Marshall and Fleming had made Brett Lee look unplayable, Ross Taylor wandered out and started hitting the ball as if he were facing a school-boy. After he went, McMillan overcame an extremely nervous and indecisive start and started to play like only he can. I would go so far as to say that this was his best innings in one-day cricket ever. He continued to shine in the Australian innings, bowling with mongrel but never losing too much control.

Other highlights include the bowling of Michael Mason, Mark Gillespie and Dan Vettori. Mason was a revelation - bowling with more pace, bounce and accuracy than he has shown before. Gillespie continued his great impression in the side with a spell that was full of short, fast balls on a good line just outside off. And Vettori was, well, Dan meeting his usual high standards.

In fact, so good were those performances that the game was there for the taking. A Mickey Mouse spell in the middle overs when Franklin dropped a dolly off Clarke and Marshall and Vettori butchered a chance to run-out Hussey despite having all the time in the world. For a while the players seemed overwhelmed by the occasion, the jeering and abusive Australian fans and the apparent invincibility of the world champions. But there is even an upside to those bad times - we came through them. Who else watched Clarke loft the ball to Taylor and thought "oh no, here we go again"? Taylor juggled it, but held the chance and suddenly the New Zealand team was back on the up. From that moment, the pressure on the Australians did not let up. For 90 overs yesterday we had the Aussies on the rack. If we can manage to keep the pressure up for only 10 more overs we can beat them.


Brett McS said...

The "jeering and abusive Australian fans" take their cue from the players.

A former work colleague played some county cricket in the UK and made a 50 in his first innings. He couldn't get over how much congratulation he received (clapping, shake of the hand) from the fielding side. In similar circumstances playing district and state in Queensland, cries of "lucky" would have been the mildest of the terms used by the opposition.

karel said...

I wish i could share your optimism. Aside from macca and the bowling (which in my mind has been pretty consistant over the last few years bar one or two performances), everything else was woeful. If you ever want to beat the Aussies then you need to take half chances. We KNOW this. And we've also been to that country enough to KNOW about their fans, the occasion. Guys like Fleming, Atle (even Marshll!) have been in enough pressure cooker situations to bear through it. So i dont buy that.
In fact, i feel incredibly bad about the game because, in all honesty, we SHOULD have won. We had it and we lost it.
All that aside, my positives are the increasing growth of Taylor (although he needs to emper himself occasionally), Gillespies pace and ability to get wickets at not too hgh a cost. And of course Maccas new fund form (coming off a few promising starts).
Biggest blemish of the game was the selection of Marshall and yet another faliure by ASTLE AND Fleming.

deano said...

Bowling was good but batting was crap (as usual, and as expected) and the fielding was woeful (which is unusual for a NZ side).

We need to lure a couple of Australian State level batsmen across the Tasman or something. Seriously, pay them and get them to live in NZ till they have residency qualification to play for us. Opening batsmen would be most welcome.

Suhas said...

Positives yes, but it was shocking to let Australia off the hook like that with so many fielding lapses. And I must question the selection of the reserves for this touring party (Mason, Marshall and Adams) since Bracewell seems so obviously reluctant to use them. Mason did a decent job but I really wonder whether he can continue to prosper against Gilchrist and co. I'm actually going to defend the selection of the extra batsman; the inability of the side to string together a decent total meant there was no other choice, although I wonder how Bracewell came up with the brainwave to bat Hamish Marshall at number three.