First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
This was the first international match of the summer to be played in Sydney, and since I had the day off and the weather was good, I couldn't see any reason not to go!
I like to support the underdog and was hoping New Zealand could cause a surprise upset, but the result really didn't matter if it was an entertaining match.
This match was defined by Steven Smith. Watching him live makes it easier to appreciate how he manoeuvres the ball at unusual angles into gaps, and you realise that he would be a nightmare to bowl to. He moves rapidly into position, even against express pace. It was remarkable how the ball flies off his bat, such was his timing today. It was a special innings and his hometown crowd were very appreciative.
One thing I would have changed
Martin Guptill had played a terrific innings and it would have been nice if he could have stayed out there a little longer to make the contest tighter.
No single shot in Steven Smith's batting exhibition was as memorable as his remarkable catch at backward point. It looks amazing on TV but it was astonishing to see it live.
Shot of the day
There were several to choose from, but my favourite was Guptill's seemingly effortless lofted straight drive for six off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood in the early overs of the chase. It wins based on the quality of the bowler and the courage required to play such a shot so early in the innings.
Substitute fielder Glenn Maxwell may have been fined for disrespecting his team-mates, but he proved to be totally the opposite for the fans, signing several autographs and posing for photos. Adam Zampa and Mitchell Marsh were ruthlessly sledged by a group of New Zealand fans seated near us.
The SCG was only at half-capacity, but there was still plenty of atmosphere and a healthy contingent of New Zealand fans present.
There were two memorable centuries, including the highest individual score at the ground, plenty of boundaries and a decent atmosphere, so we definitely got value for money. Like I said, the result does not matter if it was entertaining, and it was, but it would have been 10/10 if it was a tense finish.
Marks out of 10
Praveen Indraratna has been watching and playing cricket for as long as he can remember. He is a doctor at St George and Sutherland Hospitals in Sydney.
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