|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
May 15, 2008
Innings of the day
Brendon McCullum took seven deliveries to get off the mark, and 18 to record his first boundary. Standard fare, you might imagine. Yet, this is no standard batsman. In Bangalore last month, McCullum had slashed five fours and three sixes in his first 18 deliveries, and had racked up 10 and 13 respectively by the time his 20 overs ran out, at which point he was sitting pretty on 158 not out from 73 balls. His idea of a gear-change is subtly different to that of the rest of the cricket-playing universe, and on a day when England's seamers were hooping the red ball around corners, his response was a run-a-ball 97 that, by rights, should have required at least double that number of deliveries. Until his desperate late demise, it was an innings of breathtaking self-assurance ...
Dismissal of the day
... and yet. There's nothing quite like a Lord's Test for rubbing in the magnitude of an international appearance. McCullum knows this only too well. At Lord's he has now reached the nervous nineties in consecutive innings, and has failed to convert on both occasions. This time he went one better than his 96 in 2004, but his dismissal was every bit as anticlimactic - Monty Panesar beat him with a straight ball, albeit a very well-flighted one. If only he could have transplanted his IPL mindset for the final few runs of today's knock. In that Bangalore innings, he went from 83 to 101 in four legitimate balls - six, four, six, two, thank you very much. But he couldn't. There's no escaping the sense of history at Lord's.
Shot of the day
The aerial route is McCullum's favoured method, but he restrained himself admirably until his eye was keenly set. Dealing almost exclusively in width, he scythed 13 fours - occasionally streakily but mostly with aplomb - before withdrawing his front leg to heave Panesar with disdain, up and over his head and straight towards the journalists in the media centre. That was just for starters, however. Three balls later, McCullum planted his front foot down the pitch and with a startling whirl of his arms, drove Stuart Broad high and handsome over the covers for six, and cleared the longest corner of the ground by a distance.
Doomed debut of the day
Poor Aaron Redmond had a tough act to follow. His father, Rodney, opened the batting for New Zealand in his solitary Test against Pakistan in 1973, and made the small matter of 107 and 56 in his two innings. Redmond Jr might not have anticipated such riches but, after racking up a stoical 146 in six-and-a-half hours against England Lions last week, he was being spoken of as the new Mark Richardson, New Zealand's famously dour stonewaller ... who scored 93 and 101on their last visit to Lord's in 2004. So, it was with a sad sense of inevitability that James Anderson squared him up with a first-over outswinger, to send him on his way for a fifth-ball duck.
Cameo of the day
In his own Cricinfo Diary, Ross Taylor told of how Geoffrey Boycott, no less, had warned him: "Lad, don't be playing those Twenty20 shots, you're in my fantasy team." Sadly, the great sage's advice fell on deaf ears. Coming to the crease at 18 for 2, Taylor got off the mark with a first-ball swat for four, and two balls later, damn near ran out his partner, James Marshall. He then flashed a brace of boundaries in the arc between backward point and slip, before finally hoisting a pirouette pull high into the air where Paul Collingwood at second slip jogged back to complete the kill. Taylor's 24-minute innings had come at a strike-rate of 105.2, which would have pleased his Royal Challenger paymasters, but the score as he departed - 41 for 3 - wasn't quite what New Zealand had in mind.
Kit of the day
For the first time in a week, the sun refused to make an appearance in St John's Wood, but the sunglasses still had to come out in force when England strode out to field. Their radical new adidas kit is cut from a "brilliant white" cloth, as opposed to the grubby cream flannel of yesteryear. The combined effect was like watching Tom Cruise break into a rictus grin as they burst out of their huddle and spread to all corners of the field. It was distinctly unsettling, to tell the truth.
A look at some of cricket's most memorable strokes - and their makers