January 13, 2001

Big win at Eden Park prepares us for hardest stage of all

We've finally managed to win our first one day series away from home, which feels really good, and the manner in which we did it was superb.

Alistair Campbell
Alistair Campbell
Photo CricInfo

We lost the 2nd one dayer in Wellington resoundingly by 8 wickets, which set the series up at one apiece, with the third game to be played at Eden Park in Auckland. The wicket had been relaid only 9 weeks ago, so nobody knew how it would play - so we won the toss and elected to bowl. It turned out to be quite a good wicket, although a bit up and down. We thought 240 was a par score and when they chalked up 273 we knew we would have our work cut out batting second. At 160 for 7 again we thought - " It's all over" But we had not reckoned on Heath Streak playing the innings of his life, and being ably supported by a very composed Travis Friend. They took us to within 20 runs before Friend and Strang fell in the space of 4 balls. 9 down 20 to get and Streak got them all finishing it off with a huge six over mid-off. It was a great morale booster for our tour of Australia which will no doubt be a very tough one.

To our surprise, there was a very big ex-pat community in New Zealand who cheered us all the way in all our games, and went out of their way to make sure that we were well looked after, The day after the Eden Park encounter, four families invited us out to a picnic on the beach at a place called Goat Island which is a marine sanctuary. It was beautiful and being able to snorkel surrounded by abundant sea life was very theraputic. However the real reason i went was the promise of a traditional Zimbabwean "braai" and proper Zimbabwean "boerewors".

We're in Brisbane at the moment preparing for our first game in the Carlton and United Series which is against the West Indies. However we've had some time off to go up the Gold Coast and take in a few of the theme parks and animal sanctuaries. My family is still with me and I took them to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary yesterday, where they got to hand feed kangaroos, and hold a koala but the funniest thing was seeing my youngest getting chased by a cassowary wanting some food.

It is going to be a very tough month ahead but we are playing some good cricket at the moment and hopefully we can continue doing that and give a good account of ourselves on probably the hardest stage of all!

Regards Alistair.