New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Wellington, 2nd day January 16, 2011

The whims of the wind, and feathered fielders

Plays of the Day on day two of the Wellington Test between New Zealand and Pakistan

The umpires' new clothes
Umpires Daryl Harper and Rod Tucker haven't had the best Test so far and Wellington's blustery conditions haven't helped . Both umpires were forced to hold their hats while officiating on day one, after having lost them to the wind on more than one occasion, and they emerged wearing less traditional sports caps on day two, hoping they were less likely to be blown off their heads. It wasn't to be though, as their new headgear had to be retrieved from various spots on the field throughout the day. Bandanas tomorrow maybe?

Throat crusher of the day
Usually when cricketers' windpipes are in danger, they are at the receiving end of a vicious bouncer, but it was a return throw that had Abdur Rehman in trouble late in the first session. Umar Gul sent the throw in from fine leg with the wind behind him, and a gust carried the ball faster and further than Rehman had accounted for. The return struck him on the oesophagus and his team-mates rushed to his aid as he doubled over, breathless.

Mad dash of the day
When Tim Southee fell with Daniel Vettori on 81, the New Zealand captain knew he didn't have long to get a hundred with only Brent Arnel and Chris Martin to follow. Vettori went on the attack. He stepped across to the off side to flick Umar Gul fine for four, before running down the pitch a few balls later to loft Rehman back over his head for the first six of the day. He even turned down several singles to keep Martin well away from the strike, but still managed to score the last nineteen runs for his ton at better than a run-a-ball.

Heart-stopper of the day
There were nervous moments before Vettori reached the milestone though, when Arnel was dismissed off the third ball of an Umar Gul over, leaving Chris Martin to face the remaining three. Martin dutifully blocked out the first delivery, but was in trouble when Gul pitched the second one short. Attempting to get on top of the bounce and play it down, Martin's bat swiveled in his hand, and the resulting edge ballooned up, almost in slow-motion as the Wellington crowd held its breath. Thankfully for Vettori it found the gap between slip and gully, and he completed his century eight balls later.

Mis-field of the day
When Azhar Ali stroked one through the infield off Tim Southee, a boundary seemed inevitable. A local pigeon that had positioned itself at deep point wasn't about to have any of it though. Selflessly, the bird put its body on the line for the local team, taking the full force of Azhar's back-foot drive firmly on the behind, only to see its efforts wasted, as the ball kicked up and continued to the rope. The bird, apparently unhurt, took to the air almost immediately, albeit a few tail feathers lighter.

Juggling act of the day
Vettori should have had Taufeeq Umar in his first over, but Reece Young's circus antics behind the stumps may just have put the umpire off. The ball spat back to take Taufeeq's inside edge on its way through to Young, but having failed to collect cleanly on his first attempt, Young tried again. And again. And again. After approximately four juggles, Young pulled off a reverse-grab at ankle height to finally complete the catch, but by this time, Vettori's stop-start appeal had petered out and the umpire had lost interest.

The teaser of the day
The Wellington wind has had a major say in proceedings thus far in the Test, and Ali can thank the local conditions for a lucky escape towards the end of the day. Attempting to slog Vettori back over his head, Azhar's bat turned in his hand and sent the ball sailing high into the air in the direction of mid-on. James Franklin backpedalled to take the chance, but the ball, aided by the stiff breeze, kept going away from him. Franklin, who had started in the infield, was within reach of the boundary when the ball finally came down, and it just escaped his grasp to land centimetres inside the rope before bouncing over.

Andrew Fernando writes for The Pigeon and blogs here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Hammad on January 17, 2011, 9:57 GMT

    Some poor umpiring once again and we ve seen that apart from a very few umpires namely Aleem Dar and Simon Taufell and a couple more maybe the overall umpiring standard has been pathetic in the recent years....some poor decisions even turned out to shift the face of the match... A strict evaluation of umpires may be carried out by ICC to curb this menace... secondly we find cricket as the only game without proper standards as UDRS being used in some matches and no signs of it in the other ones which is totally insane when we talk of international cricket matches being conducted under the supervision of same body i.e. can we call ICC as the standard body for cricket when it cant manage same standards of cricket for all

  • Ali on January 16, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Vettori is a class act. He, Strauss (ENG) and Smith (SA) are the three best captains. Each of the three have character. They are role models. The remaining teams (AUS, India, Sri Lanka, West Indies, PAK, and Bangladesh) need to learn from these captains and their teams. Of the three, ENG is #1.

  • Steve on January 16, 2011, 21:58 GMT

    Hopefully the umpiring is of better standards today, yesterday was embarrasing from both umpires. I know they were tough calls but these umpires are making errors too many times. This is international cricket these umpires are supposed to be the elite panel.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    I think its harsh to say poor umpiring. There have certainly been some incorrect decisions, but none that I can remember have been terribly obvious on first look. Leg side caught behinds are always incredibly tough to determine what has been flicked on the way through, the caught behind where the Pakistani clipped his pad TWICE creating two noises which normally indicates an edge, the inside edge of Umar was very slight and the field didn't even seem adamant it was an edge....

    This series just cries out for the UDRS to HELP the umpires get the close decisions right.

  • Mitchell on January 16, 2011, 20:01 GMT

    Adnan Akmal would not have got 8 catches with UDRS< he would have gotten 7. He would have gotten Chris Martin out, thats the only extra wicket. If Guptill was given out, he wouldn't have caught him later, so he would gain a catch and lose a catch. quite simple really. He would have tied a World Record with many other players. Anyway, they MUST use UDRS

  • Steve on January 16, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Poor umpiring once again in an international test match. Umpires performances must be analysed every year and umpires should be removed from elite panel based on performances. I think both umpires in this test match are not good enough for the international game. The review system and snicko should be used in every test match. Poor Akmal should have had a world record today for number of catches in an innings (8).

  • khurram on January 16, 2011, 17:16 GMT

    some bad umpiring : these umpires are clearly saying USE UDRS but no body listening. Akmal almost got World record. any way good batting by vetori. toufeq as usual got good start & ten went pak stil has to do more. 1 thing i would say that pak batsman scored realy slow. just 30 overs left now for 2nd new ball so thy have to make most of these 30 overs without losing many wickets. looking to be a good test match

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    A good performance from pakistan, being 2 down is not that bad considering they can be 4 down at this stage. They just need to stick to the basics and try winning the match. Apart from the umpiring, the series has been a cracker.

  • Syed on January 16, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    Real unfortunate for Taufeeq Umar to get out the last over of the game. His partnership with Azhar Ali was inspirational and reminded you of the good Inzi era. I hope Pakistan's batters don't choke and they deliver, hoping Azhar Ali goes for a hundred I think Pakistan needs a hundred from him, it would be a huge confidence boost for the team and I think younis needs to help guide him to a 100, a senior batsman on the other side is always good. Anyhow, 134/2 still a long way to go, so fingers crossed. I hope Misbah's men deliver, a series win in NZ would be delightful.

  • shahid on January 16, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Standards of umpiring are falling badly. Until now 4 bad decision against pak and 2 against NZ. In recent times, we have seen that some umpires are not delivering the quality needed to be in elite group. On last two years analysis, Gould, Harper, Tucker and Asoka do not deserve to be in Elite group. And even Doctrove is a bit shaky too. At least one can easily say that Tucker doesn't deserve to be officiating tests.

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