Thursday, May 16, 2013

The New Zealanders at Lord’s 2004

Good news this week about New Zealand bowler Tim Southee now fit for the Lord’s Test, and that they are considering four seamers.
It sure is exciting as we are a short time away from another New Zealand Test at Lord’s, the ultimate Test at the home of cricket in St John’s Wood.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I wrote the below Lord’s poem, written after following New Zealand’s Test defeat at Lord’s in 2004. It’s in A Tingling Catch.
There were a number of circumstances surrounding the Test at the time. It was to be Nasser Hussain’s last Test, and Ian Botham had made comments in the media calling for his ‘axe’. He went out making a Test-winning century in style (103*), while his teammate Andrew Strauss was close to back-to-back centuries (112 and 83). Add to this Brendon McCullum missing a century (96) in the second innings, some defiant workmanship from opener Mark Richardson (93 and 101), and Chris Cairns’ scintillating knock of 82 from 47 balls in the first innings. Well, you had the perfect cocktail for an absorbing Test.
Four years later and New Zealand toured again with an inexperienced batting line-up (Jamie How, Aaron Redmond, Daniel Flynn, James Marshall and Ross Taylor) but drew their Lord’s Test in 2008, thanks to some time being lost, which could be a factor in this 2013 Test. Jacob Oram though stepped up with 101 off 121 balls in the second innings. That Test was notable too for McCullum again missing a Test century at Lord’s. He was out for 97 from 97 balls bowled by Monty Panesar, oh so close.
With this in mind McCullum could be among the batsmen to watch at Lord’s this week, as he heads out to the centre third-time lucky in search of that elusive ton and his name on the Lord’s Centurions Honours Board. Peter Fulton, on the other hand, is third-time lucky for three consecutive Test centuries following his renaissance at Eden Park. I’ll be among the fans following it from home and willing them and their New Zealand teammates on.


The New Zealanders at Lord’s, 2004

A see-saw struggle,
a tightly fought contest.

At the end, Hussain punches the air
in victory ­– or is it disbelief?

Botham called for his axe.
Strauss just wanted another ton.

Drama at the cricket.
Richardson played hard.

Everyone loves a battler.
McCullum though was last seen in the doldrums.

Poem © Mark Pirie, 2007

First published in Mark Pirie’s Slips: cricket poems (Earl of Seacliff Art Workshop, Paekakariki, New Zealand, 2007)

No comments:

Post a Comment