Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The morning after

Should I be writing this now? I am tired, I am grumpy and I managed to get only a couple of hours of sleep last night. It wasn’t that I spent the whole night watching cricket – I turned off when it was clear England were going to stroll to victory – it was that I spent the whole night lying awake seething.

I think I am going to have to restrain myself from ranting though. After all, this blog is going to become as predictable as the New Zealand cricket team if I have a rant after every single bloody victory-turned-into-defeat-by-a-second-innings-collapse.

Uh-oh. I almost couldn’t restrain myself there. I had to interrupt this post to fetch myself a nice cup of tea. Just typing the words “second-innings-collapse” made my blood boil.

Uh-oh. I did it again. Mmmmm, tea. Nice, soothing tea.

Positives. Yeah, positives. Let’s look at some positives. Forcing myself to look for a silver lining always helps me get over a loss. Jamie How is starting to look the goods now isn’t he? And Ross Taylor is proving himself to be a world-class batsman. And I bet Iain O’Brien’s first innings spell really surprised a few people.

I’ve always had a high opinion of O’Brien. I remember watching him bowl for Wellington years ago and being surprised at how quick he was. Mark Gillespie was bowling with the wind at one end and looked sharp, but O’Brien looked even sharper and more dangerous bowling into the breeze.

Another reason I have a fondness for O’Brien comes thanks to a bunch of annoying school kids who once perched themselves next to me during a State Shield match. The tykes had a not very endearing dimness to them, which was highlighted by the constant high-pitched abuse they piled on Iain. Maybe they don’t teach school kids about apostrophes anymore, because those idiots were pronouncing his name “Ob-re-on” – which meant O’Brien didn’t actually notice that their abuse was directed at him. I still find that funny. The abuse becoming increasingly shrill as O’Brien obliviously wandered back and forth in front of the embankment.

I think I might have told that story before.

What else can I talk about to distract myself from the nature of our loss? I could complain about the lack of variety in our defeats I guess. Wouldn’t it be really nice if just – for once – New Zealand failed in the first innings and then went gloriously to defeat with a battling second innings performance? I know the end result would be the same – but I think I would respect the team a lot more. And, you know, variety is the spice of life - for both cricket and blogging.


Ben said...

Mike, NZ can lose in a multitude of ways. Your memory is so short. Think back two months to Napier. Failure in the first innings, all out 168, 80-odd run deficit, followed by one of our most glorious 2nd innings of 431 to lose by 121.

Admittedly our second bowling effort at Napier was a bust.

Or Wellington where we wittled a 140-odd decifit to a 120-odd loss.

Ben said...

Nice to hear that you're a fan of O'Brien. I've been wanted to speak out against all the knocking he's received lately as I think he's got far more than people realise. Had to wait until he actually showed something before I could speak though.

Mike said...

You are completely right Ben - I did forget about the Napier test. I blame lack of sleep for that one. Still, I would argue that the Old Trafford game fits a fairly common template for this side.

Sportsfreak said...

V England in 97

V Pakistan at the Basin 2003 (and the test before it)

V Aus Jade-AMI 2005

V England Lords 2004

This horror…

What do they all have in common? A varying combination of 3rd innings collapses and lack of wickets by a certain spin bowler on the last innings of a test.

There are others, but they should wait for a less emotional time.

As I said in the tipping review, this test is the Bracewell Ear in miniature; best epitomized by some of the worst fielding I’ve seen from a non-English side on Day 5.

Anonymous said...

As an English Fan - I thought NZ deserved to win, Taylor's 150 in the first innings was the best part of the match.
Vetorri should have had a more attacking field in the fourth innings and back himself to put pressure on England's fragile batting line up. England only bat to number 4 at the moment!
O'Brian's slower ball was also very good.
Two young average test sides trying to improve - who are nowhere near the Aussies/SA at the moment.