Old New Zealand


Watching the Grass Grow

Cricket is a curious invention of the English, a game that takes five days to play and usually ends in a draw (Except of course if Australia are playing or the teams are badly mismatched e.g. if Australia is playing), great for loafers and others with time on their hands, a perfect occasion to sit in the sun, listen to the radio, read the paper and suck on a few beers.

OK they were only playing Bangladesh but we don't often get a test match in Dunedin these days. We couldn't have asked for a better day either as we soaked in the sun and the amber fluid was flowing. The University Oval became the 96th venue in test cricket. Don't ask me why they can't play them at Carisbrook any more, it's political..... It would also be an opportunity to see Jacob Oram at the crease and he didn't disappoint notching up his fourth test century in quick fashion. Mathew Bell also made a ton. The tail didn't really wag with just captain Daniel Vettori adding 32. Chris Martin coming in last was roundly applauded as he saw the fist delivery safely off, then as he scored his first run, then as growing in confidence he found the boundary, reaching double figures and then finally leaving the field with a test cricket high score of 12 runs not out.

New Zealand Vs Bangladesh, First Test, University Oval, Dunedin.

During the match Glenn and Greg Turner came and sat beside me as I perched on a window sill just by the sight screens. They are pretty close to sporting aristocracy in this country. Glenn Turner was the first player since WW2 to score 100 runs before May in England (Graeme Hick is the other), and is in good company with Don Bradman the only other players to do it as part of a touring side. Turner was something of a bad boy of NZ cricket and after falling out with administrators was unavailable for NZ selection for a number of years. During that time he concentrated on English county cricket, only returning to the international stage late in his career. He remains one of our best ever performers with a career average of 44.64 in tests and 47.0 in ODI. His brother Greg is a seasoned golf pro who has performed well on the Australasian and European golf tours. Another brother Brian, represented NZ in hockey and is an award winning author, poet and newspaper columnist.

No I didn't bother them, I'm sure they've had enough of cretins from the public. It is one thing I like about this country though, that sports stars (and others) can get about freely without being molested too much. I went to a game years ago when the Windies played Otago at Carisbrook. Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh took a stroll on the terraces. The chicks were all over them of course, I suppose that level of molestation would be tolerable for them. I remember seeing Curtly at the MCG in 1995, the Boxing Day test. The "Collapso Calypsos" hadn't won a single match on tour, even going down to teams such as the Wallamagoogoo U13s second 11. Finally on the third day of the test Ambrose got it right and ripped through the Australian batting line up, the Windies scored the required runs and had the match sown up. 70,000 quiet Australians, a marvelous day.

The Bangladeshis returned to the field, their openers putting together an unbeaten 148 run partnership at around 5 runs per over as the kiwis failed to capitalise on their superior position. On day three they got it together though after breaking the opening stand at 161 (record for all wickets for the tourists) they dismissed the rest of the batting line up fairly cheaply to notch up a relatively easy win.

Can't wait til the poms get here......

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