To those who came in the last 12 hours to read our response to the ritual sacrifice in Hamilton, please accept my humble apologies. After watching Sehwag dismantle our side with such effortless, chanceless fury, I needed a little lie down, and only just woke up.
I looked around my room for a while, gathering my thoughts. Went to Cricinfo, and saw the Bulletin headline ‘it’s tough for NZ bowlers to stop me’ – Sehwag. So it wasn’t a dream. Just another dreamy innings. You’d call it a nightmare, but India’s ODI performances this series have comprised such breathtaking, uttery perfect cricket, that even our fans, commentators and Radio Sport hosts are more in awe of the opposition than criticising the local’s work.
Perhaps the only saving grace was that yesterday Australia yesterday completed a completely unexpected dismemberment of South Africa, thus forcing our once haughtily dismissive fellow blogwarriors Short Of A Length to change their name to Punter’s Biggest Fan Blog. I mean, as much as I was desperate for SA to win and vanquish those arrogant ‘strayans, getting to see that grotesque header across the top of our nemesis’ blog for the next month is a slight palliative for the pain. But only slight.
I suppose now I have to turn my attention to what I saw of the cricket. Magazine deadlines mean that I ‘watched’ New Zealand’s innings unfold via cricinfo’s commentary. Which I must say is getting very good. In the past I’ve often thought it a little dry, but now the interaction with readers and the sheer love of the game evident in the text gets you closer than ever. I’d still like to have seen Ryder and McCullum bring up yet another century opening partnership. They do look pretty splendid, this oddly-shaped duo, and should they continue to develop will be one of the best opening pairs in world cricket before long.
There is a horrible sensation when one of them gets out though. Because as much faith as I have in Guptil (though his innings today was oddly slow, thanks to those damn Indian spinners), and would join a Ross Taylor fan club if one existed (does one exist? Do fan clubs even exist any more? Bloody internet), of late we’ve returned to that delightfully New Zealand proposition, the ‘mini-collapse’. Y’know, two or three wickets for 20 or so runs over the space of four to seven overs. Just enough to totally root our momentum.
Luckily McGlashan (who played a pretty splendid knock down the order, and I hope is not related to Don), ably supported by the ever-vigilant Eliott (funny how everyone in NZ’s gone from strong ambivalence to total love for the guy in a little over a month) meant that we got what should have been a respectable total. And there’s the rub: We’re not actually playing too badly. Our batsmen are scrapping together runs at good strike rates, and our bowlers are a little off, but that’s sorta how we roll – most of our wickets tend to come from the opposition getting a bit excited about facing a guy bowling 125 with no variations (see most poignantly Ewen Thompson’s debut).
Only this time we’ve had the misfortune to run into an absolutely feral Indian side. That innings of Sehwag’s (to say nothing of Gambhir’s supreme composure) was sheer terror, and the only thing scarier than his current form is that we have to play three tests against these guys starting next week.
Can’t wait to read Short Of A Length – Sorry PUNTER’S BIGGEST FAN BLOG – I can’t wait to read their take on the tests anyway. At least they might run out of extremely apt NZ movie references for titles anyway.
* The asterisk was not a tribute to Stellar*. I should do more of those. But this one was an attempt to do some sort of sheep-related pun in the title. Because, y’know, we’re in this blogwar thing with SOAL/PBFB and that and hobbitsss is the only thing know about NZ. Other than that we’re not too flash at bowling. Also, no prize but ‘respect’ for knowing the source of the image and how it relates to the title etc.