New Zealand v Australia, 2nd Test, Hamilton, 1st day March 27, 2010

New Zealand's all-round all-star


Daniel Vettori's wife calls him the Captain of Everything, which goes back to when he was appointed skipper in all three formats and plans for split leadership with Stephen Fleming were shelved. It could also refer to his role as the team's best bowler, most consistent batsman and their general in the field. New Zealand have relied so heavily on Vettori so often that despite being in his 100th Test he has celebrated fewer wins (31) than Michael Hussey (33), who is playing his 50th.

On the day that Vettori marked his milestone he was once again the star with four wickets, a direct-hit run-out and some well-thought-out field placements. But this time, he had support. From the moment New Zealand strode on to Seddon Park to the time when Vettori led them off to a standing ovation, his men looked sharp. Catches were held, pressure was maintained and Australia were skittled for their lowest total in New Zealand in a decade.

Nothing would please New Zealand fans more than seeing Vettori finally enjoy a Test win over Australia. The same intensity will need to be shown over the coming days but Vettori gave his men a good start. They rushed to their captain to congratulate him when his throw from mid-off ended the innings of Ricky Ponting, who has sung the team song after beating New Zealand in nine Tests during his 12-year rivalry with Vettori.

It was a big wicket. Tim Southee had picked up Shane Watson early but Ponting and Simon Katich had looked comfortable and the run-out sparked something from the New Zealanders. Southee, who said the team wanted to lift for their captain, went on to collect four wickets and it is only when the fast men back Vettori that New Zealand look at their best.

Then there was the plot conceived by Vettori to place a man at deep mid-on, hoping Michael Clarke would try to clear the field off Jeetan Patel. The trap worked. Southee held a good catch - none were spilled during the innings - and although some of the wickets fell to batsman error the bowlers stuck to their plans with diligence.

That the pressure built on Australia was yet another tribute to Vettori. He bowled tight, giving the Australians no freedom to attack, and Marcus North and Brad Haddin fell at the other end to Southee when they sought to find runs off him instead. Vettori won his personal rewards at the finish, with three lower-order wickets to finish the innings with 4 for 36 in his 20th over.

"It was a good day," Vettori said. "To turn round from where we were at the Basin, by only being able to take five wickets, and to step up today on a pretty good wicket was impressive. I couldn't really have asked for too much more from the day's play. Losing that last wicket right at the end put a little bit of a tarnish on it but I think our track record suggests it has to be five good days as opposed to one."

The first day of his 100th Test could hardly have gone any better. The previous night his father Renzo, who was born in a small village in the Dolomites of Italy, had been invited to present Vettori with the cap for his milestone game.

Across the road from Seddon Park, a supermarket was stocking kiwi-fruit imported from the world's biggest producer of the item. It wasn't a deliberate tribute to Vettori's heritage but the abundance of Italian kiwis was especially fitting this week.

Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2010, 0:40 GMT

    oh danney! xtraordinary player, team leader and a icon for learning players now kiwis are so lucky that they got danniel in de side

  • Jarrod on March 27, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    As an Australian... I probably wouldn't mind losing this test. However, Dan's got to keep his boys sharp. The Aussies will be -pissed- today.

  • Evad on March 27, 2010, 21:49 GMT

    Vettoris bowling is not what it once used to be. He used to turn the ball a lot more, but back problems meant he had to evolve his bowling style to increase his longevity in the game - less turn, more use of variation in pace and flight. Also, NZ wickets are not often conducive for finger spin or spin in general! Throw in the mix that top class batsman know they can just defend at his end while they pillage the lack lustre bowling from the opposite end. I think these are the reasons why his strike rate is not as competitive as some of the other world greats. I would have liked to see Vettori be able to bowl with a large totall of runs on the board, on a dry turning wicket, with quality seamers (Fit bond, fit Cairns, Fit Allot, Fit Nash!) adding pressure. Or if he was in a team with McGrath or Warne?!? Nice non-dubious classical bowling style too! All said, he is great a player, a gentleman, and advocate to cricket. Congratulations on your acheivements Daniel Vettori.

  • Bunty on March 27, 2010, 19:26 GMT

    Vettori is a great ambassador of NZ cricket as was Fleming. Astute and canny. For an Indian fan we always though for Vettori 10over 30 runs and 1 wicket .Almost always - even on a shirtfront wicket. Can not give a better tribute. Always on the game and a true gent to boot . Hard to beat Dan!A man's man

  • Dhandev on March 27, 2010, 18:40 GMT

    Hes proven from time to time that he is one of NZ greatest cricketers ever.

  • Anil on March 27, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    DAN is The MAN for kiwis, i love too see NZ win over Ausies after a long time and a MOM of DAN that will be a perfect 100th test match for him.

  • Sydney on March 27, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    By far the best modern day Kiwi. But all the rants about him being a superstar apart, I still think he needs to bowl better at top order batsman. Cant think of even one occassion where he ran through a top order on Day one/ Day two of a test match on a good wicket. The reason why wizards such as Warne, Murali, Kumble, Mc Garth and Ambrose were called 'legends' is because they had top order world class batsman as their bunnies. Cant think of one top class guy who is Vettori's bunny...and even his wickets emanate out of shrewdness of thought (read sneaky arm ball) rather than artistry. When was the last time we saw him get a proper batsman out by bowling a loopy enticing delivery pitching leg , hitting off? ..and not to forget, his strike rate is a poor 77.0 in test cricket.To conclude, Great guy, fantastic ambassador of cricket, tidy batsman, effective bowler, impeccable behaviour, decent captain? Yep indeed!! Legendary/artistic spin bowler. Nope...

  • Vrushank on March 27, 2010, 16:24 GMT

    Delhi are waiting for Vettori!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jagdesh on March 27, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Dan will always be one of the best in my view!

  • Dre on March 27, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Well done Vettori. So far for 2010, this guy is leading my world test XI. I think Vettori and his team has set the test match up beautifully. Sinclair's comeback vs a pumped up Aussie attack. The last over of the day was test cricket at it's best.

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