First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
Because despite my earlier attempts to destroy my liver, I'm still here. And so are New Zealand and Pakistan.
Misbah-ul-Haq played probably the biggest role, putting Pakistan ahead, getting close to a hundred with some very nice fours, and then getting out in spectacular fashion in a way that even if we'd had the referral system, it still would have been gone.
One thing I'd have changed
I'd have given Daniel Vettori and Chris Martin the kick up the backside they clearly needed sometime in the middle session, rather than in the dwindling end of the last session. They announced that Vettori had overtaken Martin as leading wicket-taker at the Basin, and suddenly the competition was all on.
The interplay I enjoyed the most
There were indeed a few verbals, but what really stood out was the interplay between Vettori, Martin and Timmeeeeeeeeeeeee Southee. Tim seemed to either be working a piece of cricketing magic in annoying the bowlers into getting wickets, or he spent a dozen overs going "Can I bowl now? Can I bowl now? How about now? No? Please Dan? Now?" This is why we need better on-field mics.
Filling the gaps
Rather than spend the lunch break with the grown-ups lurking around the wicket going, "Yup, it's flat alright", I decided the best way to appreciate the groundsmen's efforts was to stretch out in the outfield and have a nap. And that really is some nice turf they have going.
Chris Martin took a catch. Let me repeat that. Chris Martin, a man who gets montages of his fielding stuff-ups, took a catch. A difficult one. And then there was man-love.
James Franklin, in his implausible orange boots, was chased all around the boundary by stampeding kiddies. To his credit, I think he really did want to sign all the autographs, but there was a spinner on.
There was a crowd. A moderately sized one. They were (unlike the weekend) well-behaved, except for the streaker in a Zorro mask wielding a plastic sword. Note to future streakers: pick a day when the prime minister has not come for lunch. You will find there are far fewer policemen for security to hand you over to.
Being as it is just after Christmas, and lots of kids seem to have been given European football strips by Santa (maybe he got lost?), it was amusing to see how many EU nations were fully represented on New Zealand children.
Tests v limited-overs
I much prefer Test matches to ODIs or Twenty20s. Hey, five whole days. I can work (for the limited quantity of work which I do) from the ground. I'm not crammed into a stupid plastic seat at the Cake Tin. And Chris Martin plays Tests. Given how often I've mentioned him in this report, you may have noticed I am a
completely gigantic bit of a fangirl.
What could have enhanced my viewing more than a couple of good mates? More man-love. Watching big tall fast bowlers get cuddly is a highlight of any cricket watching experience.
The cricket picked up a bit, the wind settled down a bit, and I managed to escape any further horrendous sunburn. And did I say that I got to see Chris Martin play? I did? Just thought I'd mention it. And then giggle like a schoolgirl.
Marks out of 10
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