Day one went fantastic for the Black Caps, who dismantled India’s star studded batting order like a 21st marquee due back at midday. The sun shone, and we had one more wicket to get at the close before getting stuck into the (big) total.
Day two. I walked into the Basin for the first time ever just after 12. After saying g’day to Graeme and son, and holding my breath through the field of bad vibes and disturbing weirdness that surrounds Sonny Shaw (don’t explore that site at work, team), Hadyn and I, and soon Dan were parked up on the bank. For those of us to used to ramming our knees behind a plastic Eden Park seat, stretching out on the grass was a real treat. The Basin Reserve is a fantastic park, the elevated view from the requisite down-the-ground angle gives a great perspective.
Then we started watching Cricket, possibly the down point of the day. To me, the crisp (I’m being nice) breeze made it tough to bat, but just as tough to bowl in, especially into into the breeze. Ross Taylor was quietly playing to the conditions, waiting for bad ones and putting them away with sweetly timed on and off drives. No-one else wanted to do that, and our top order used the walk from the sheds to the pitch to the sheds again like a revolving door.
Ryder was more interested in staging a one man outlandish helmet exhibition than batting, much to the disgust of bloggers staying up late in the UK, and was soon back in the sheds, followed by pretty much everyone else. It was depressing, slow going – this Indian team may be full of rock stars, but they fuck around between balls and overs like Keith Richards trying to change a string. The over rate was disgraceful, and made the day tough going at times.
The tail enders weren’t about to let the crowd turn blue without getting their money’s worth, though. Every blogger’s favorite Ian O’Brien got his highest test score in front of his home crowd, while Chris Martin, yes, ‘Learn to Bat‘ Chris Martin hit Harbhajan back over his head for four. Good on him.
The final potential high point of the day was watching Sehwag knock it around, but turned to custard as Martin claimed him after only a couple of token swipes. From then it was shut up shop time until, I admit, we sneaked off early with beer and a heater top on the list.
It was one of those days that add to the purists’ sense of worthiness, but despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The great company of all the above, plus Fraser and Robyn, a couple of beers and great conversation made a challenging day’s play for Black Caps fans go by too fast. I was hugely impressed by the Basin, especially the ‘let everyone run around at the lunch break and smack balls at each other’ policy, and can’t wait to come back.
I have to note that I arrived in the capital Friday to a stunning day and extremely kind welcome from the Wellington digerati. I’m not sure if it’s the strong coffee or daily caviler laughing in the face of earthquake-induced certain doom, but the capital has easily the warmest web / community spirit around – the locals were incredibly welcoming of Auckland based half-arsed sports bloggers blowing in for the weekend. I even got free beer in classy surroundings. Ta.
I can’t stress enough the *awesomeness* of meeting up with the *actual people* we’re reading / writing to / twittering with over the intertubes. Let’s not forget it’s about connecting with people – there doesn’t always need to be a modem involved, eh.