At least the boys were competitive

Daniel Vettori

November 23, 2000

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Well the lads went down in the first Test, we all saw that, but I thought they were damn competitive.

We probably lacked penetration on that first morning, but we fought back well after staring down the barrel at 500 runs in the first innings. Jacques Kallis' 160 in almost 6 hours at the crease was pretty useful but even he looked a little suspect early on when Shayne-O and Chris Martin put it on the spot.

When we had them 330/6, I was hoping we could skittle their lower order but they wagged and wagged. Our batting in the first innings was perhaps a little disappointing, but it is easy to say that sitting back on my sofa and it's hard getting your brain back into Test match mode with all the one-day smash and bash cricket we play.

I thought Flem was solid and our new leggie Brooke Walker showed some real mettle in hanging about for nearly 100 balls for his 27 runs. We did significantly better in our second dig.

Mark Richardson batted very effectively for his 70-odd, his technique is slightly more refined than mine, and he as everyone keeps saying, he is "very organised". Flem was immaculate as he ground out 99 runs and seemed destined to snaffle a ton, only to be denied by Allan Donald and Indian umpire Arani Jayaprakash.

It was a jaffa of a delivery but seemed more probable that it was going to break his arm rather than take a splinter off his bat. Macca displayed his never say die attitude once again, cracking a dozen boundaries, and batting in typical gutsy fashion. He and Pollock were chipping away at each other quite a bit, but I know he'll give as good as he gets.

We gave them a bit of a fright chasing the hundred runs for the win and it was good to see Tuffers get his first Test wickets, that should get rid of any nerves?

In terms of logistics, this tour has been a nightmare on the injury front. Poor old Hamish Marshall caned himself at practice so he's unlikely to play against Border or East London next week.

The next Test starts in a couple of weeks so unfortunately the Proteas will have recovered from their sun-stroke after three days in the field in the first Test. I hope we can bowl in the zone and make them battle for their runs.

Back here in the heart of the Waikato, the Northern Districts lads are sorting themselves out for the upcoming domestic calendar. This season the powers that be have organised it so that the international players are likely to play most of the Shell Cup.

I'm looking forward to donning the shiny Knights' maroon strip and, if Kuggs lets me, opening the batting. I reckon we'll go pretty well this season. The experienced campaigners like Doully, Grant Bradburn, Bails and Mike Parlane will all be fired up, and we have some young blood in the form of Joey Yovich, Bruce Martin, Graeme Aldridge, Jimmy Marshall and my aggressive School XI team mate Neal Parlane to back those veterans up.

A chap I played age-group cricket with is also going to be getting his arm over for us, Brent Arnel is a nippy fast bowler who will hopefully cause some of the opposition teams some trouble.

On the home front things are going slowly but I have a scan in the next few days to see how the back has progressed. If that goes well, all bodes well for a return to rolling the arm over in the not to distant future.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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News | Features Last 3 days