Monday, May 20, 2013

Day four at Lord's

“The horror! The horror!” that most famous Conradian crux (from the story The Heart of Darkness) came to mind on witnessing New Zealand’s defeat at Lord’s this morning.
(Especially when batsmen of the quality of Kane Williamson chip to mid off.)
My blog stats for Williamson and Taylor posted the day before confirmed my worst fears. With Williamson and Taylor gone cheaply, it was a no win situation. McCullum came to the crease and put away two fours but then succumbed to an lbw appeal. 29 for 6.
It didn’t get much better after the lunch break, Martin and Watling batted with injuries and New Zealand were all out for a sorry 68, including a poor run-out to end the display. Wagner top scored with 17.
It was an unexpected calamity to end this way on what seemed after the first day a moderate pitch. From the second day onwards wickets fell at pace: 10 (Day 2), 12 (Day 3) and 14 on the final day. Who’d have thought? The New Zealand chase of 239 did seem likely.

It’s hard to stay positive sometimes as a New Zealand cricket fan, but for much of the game we had England virtually on the ropes.
After Southee’s six wicket haul, I was on the phone to a friend, excitedly talking up New Zealand. Could we secure a famous victory at Lord’s? It must’ve been a huge disappointment when fans awoke in New Zealand to check the score.
I can only imagine what cricket writers Harold Pinter, John Arlott and Pelham Warner would’ve made of it all.

It’s easy in review of this Test to give credit to the bowlers: Southee for New Zealand (10 wickets in the match) and Anderson and Broad for England, especially Broad, but one player who again caught my eye was the young Joe Root. His second innings decided the match just as much as the bowling. Root’s 71 was a very mature knock from the coming star of English cricket.
Broad, on the other hand, was a revelation. In his last three Tests with New Zealand he had shown some signs (6-51 at the Basin) that he was capable of becoming the destroyer (a relentless “tommy gun” as one commentator put it) and it was certainly his day. The ball of the match ripped out Hamish Rutherford’s off stump.

I could write a poem-lament (or an elegy) but I feel it’s time to focus on the next stop: Headingly.
Our bowlers showed we can foot it with the English; it’s now up to our batsmen to show the necessary mettle and finish the job.

Article © Mark Pirie 2013

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