Category Archives: cricket

CRICKET [TEST] – November 5th – Brisbane, Australia

SHOW #13

 

Beefy & Rob traveled to Brisbane for the first day of the first Test match between Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately Cricket Australia wouldn’t let us film inside the ground! We did (kind of!)

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CRICKET – January 31st – T20 – Australia v England @ MCG, Melbourne

I’m not really sure why I bothered. But after the humiliation I, as well as 60 million others, suffered during the Ashes and the One Day Series, out of pure loyalty I blindly decided that there was a glimmer of hope that England could pull their proverbial finger out and manage to put together a performance that somehow resembled an International standard cricket team. Australia also seemed to be short on troops as they had recalled 39 year old Brad Hodge, and again put faith in a 20 year old spinner who had played as many first class games as I have!

I think I was being more optimistic than the wife’s “be there in 5 minutes” spiel, if I truly thought England may actually conjure a win in this game. This was reflected in the crowd, as out of the 65,000+ that turned out, I would guess that less than 5% were there to support “The Old Dart” – a far cry from the Test matches. This lead to a rather muted atmosphere; in amongst the breakdancers, Mexican Waves, pyrotechnics and the now obligatory plethora of beachballs, there was very little to get excited about – unless you were 12 or had had 12!!!!

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England won the toss and elected to bat; and they actually started off quite well. Donning their Super Mario Brothers uniforms again (what happened to the sexy dark blue numbers?) – even the Aussies wanted to give them a helping hand when the self-proclaimed “Big Show” Glenn Maxwell dropped Alex Hales, in what can only be described as more simple than a 2 piece jigsaw! Soon after though England lost two quick wickets and were still going okay at 38/2 off 5 overs. When Hales was caught at 3rd man, Morgan then ran himself out when his bat bounced in the air after he had grounded it, diving over the line. Strangely enough, if it had been Morgan’s feet that did exactly the same thing he would have been safe!!!

England continued to lose stupid and irrational wickets regularly and if it wasn’t for Broad & Bresnan steadying the ship to put on 34 for the 8th wicket, I could have been in the pub a lot earlier than I actually was! Bresnan’s dismissal summed up the tour – when stepping across his stumps trying to paddle down to fine leg, he smacked the ball, crashing it into middle stump!!! England failed to score a 6 during their innings, even with the dramatically reduced boundaries.

When Australia went in to bat, the lack of any cohesion or competency from the English bowlers came to the fore. Australia waltzed to the small target with more than a quarter of the available overs to spare. George Bailey smashed 60 off just 28 balls and hit 3 maximums!!! The lack of any pressure or control from Dernbach and Tredwell, at times bordered at the extreme end of ineptitude. In fact Dernbach’s bowling truly is embarrassing. He has gone for 92 in just 7 overs – he is supposed to be the “death bowler” – the only death he is contributing to now is his own International career. The fact that he also bats at 11 really should surely indicate that there has to be better options out there. Not mentioning any names here, but where the frig is Ben Stokes??????

The fielding was not much better to be honest. Bopara dropped catches and Hales didn’t show enough fleet of foot to get into position to catch another. Mind you, if you are constantly getting tonked into the crowd it doesn’t really matter whether you can catch or not.

It’s sad to think that this is near enough England’s best T20 side (Kevin Pietersen excepted), and they have been smoked like a kipper by an Australian team that is on the whole a pick up side, withoiut 6 or 7 of their first choice players. Ashley Giles has been touted as the next Director of Cricket for the ECB. If these past 7 ODI and T20 games are anything to go by with him, then there is no hope for the future of English cricket. The quicker the whole set-up is cleansed of Flower, Giles, Gooch & Saker, the better. It has been a sad tale of despair; quite a few players have been found out – some may never play International cricket again. A lot of luck over the past couple of years has papered over some very big cracks. The fall out could be horrific – if the stiff upper lip brigade have their way, then it may well be business as usual!

I totally expect England to bring the curtain down on this tour with another disastrous loss on Sunday. The bigger the humiliation, the bigger the urgency for change. Roll on the flogging.

SECOND TWENTY-20 MATCH

ENGLAND 130/9 lost to AUSTRALIA 131/2 by 8 wickets

Australia win the series 2-0

T20 1

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CRICKET – January 3rd-5th – Australia v England (& Wales) @ SCG, Sydney

I was going to try to make this review somewhat funny and witty. And more often than not you have to see the funny side of sport. But every now and again there are times when the lighter side of events don’t do enough to relieve the pain and suffering you endure when following your team. Football and rugby only last 80-90 minutes and you can move on pretty quickly. Test match cricket is 5 days (or 3 in England’s case) and during that time, the disbelief and anger that builds can be enormous.

I’m not sure whether to laugh, cry or simply disassociate myself from the disaster that was the 2013/14 Ashes series. Luckily, being Welsh I could take the easy way out and avoid the public humiliation I expect to face for the foreseeable future living in Australia – I won’t, I will cop what’s coming. I have been since Day 2 of the series! I’m still clinging to the fact that it’s still November 21st, and I’m asleep and this whole thing has been the biggest nightmare I’ve ever experienced and we are just hours away from the first ball of the series in Brisbane. The fact that it was 7 years to the day that Australia also whitewashed England in Sydney, bore an ignominious resemblance to the events of that 06/07 tour, that incredibly lead England to win the next 3 series. I’m not so sure that feat will repeat itself. In fact, looking at the dross that this team have served up on this tour, unless the plane crashes on the way home or the selectors clean the slate lock, stock and barrel (the former being more likely!) there is no way that this team can possibly turn the tables in 17 months time.

Even at 4-0 down, the Barmy Army turned out in force for the Sydney Test. When I booked to go to this match (as well as Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne), it seemed like a good idea at the time….. before a ball had even been bowled. After Adelaide I wasn’t so sure; after Perth then Melbourne, I feared the worst!Putting the cricket aside, I had a bloody good time – I always do. It was just those bloody daylight hours in between drinking sessions that generally put a downer on things. The Australian hospitality industry always gets a major boost when teams from the UK are in town, although when you are paying around £6-7 a pint, it does make you think twice – and then you end up buying more drinks anyway! So, come Friday morning we all piled in to the SCG hoping to avoid the inevitable. I donned my traditional Day 1 attire of the (vaguely notorious satirical rap conglomerate) Goldie Lookin Chain edition Newport County shirt and initiated a worldwide game of “Where’s Beefy?”

IMG_3550“I saw some big bloke wearing an Amber shirt!” said my dad completely oblivious…….

It wasn’t long after we sang the traditional Barmy Anthem of Jerusalem at the start of play that the text messages came rolling in from across Australia and the UK. Frankly it amazed me that people back home were staying up late to put themselves through the ongoing torture, but I guess there isn’t much else to do on those wintry Thursday nights.

Anyhow, Cook finally won his first toss of the series but bowled anyway, more than likely trying to avoid a 3 day drubbing! With the Aussies at 97/5 (again on the ropes) it seemed as though England had the upper hand. But we all knew….. Haddin & Smith lead the recovery putting on 128 for the 6th wicket. When the Aussies finally fell with near enough half hour still to play on Day 1, it meant that England would have to face up and make a stand. After seeing England’s batting capitulate in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne (I didn’t go to Perth!) I didn’t think it could get any worse. Losing a cheap wicket before the end of play was unfortunate but all the same poor, but no words can describe the lack of fight or application shown by the top order next morning. The scorecard looked more like a phone number than the number 3 team in the world!

IMAG2500If you added +44 I wonder who you might get…. The Samaritans?

What encapsulated England’s farcical display perfectly for me, was that in ONE ball, Chris Rogers became equal highest scorer in the top 5 English batsmen – who had batted for a combined 2 hours to achieve it. A dab down to 3rd man (where Rogers scores the majority of his runs, which seems to have gone unnoticed by England’s management) resulted in a long chase, where upon the ball being returned to the stumps, whilst running their third run, England wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow hurled the ball at the bowler’s end whilst no-one was really paying attention, to gift the Aussies and Rogers a further 4 runs and a ultra-rare 7! Rogers, considering he is visually impaired, being both short sighted AND colour blind, is able to make the England attack look toothless sums it up really!

The cheers from the crowd when Ben Stokes made double figures was akin to those celebrating his ton in Perth! The Aussie crowds witty banter consisted of incessant chants of 4-0, 4-0, 4-0  and ……… no – that was it! It only changed to 5-0 when they needed 2 wickets to win – far too late! Gary Ballance fielded on the boundary for long periods and was subjected to “friendly” abuse for hours on end. All he could do was smile, because as we all know, the scoreboard doesn’t lie.

I don’t like to pick on individuals, but after witnessing the regular avalanche of wickets over the past 2 months I feel I am entitled to! Carberry flicked at one down leg side with a leg slip in place for exactly that – caught! Cook padded up without playing a shot – gone! Ian Bell after being dropped at first slip for a golden duck (that after a poor first ball dismissal in Melbourne too), scratched around for nearly an hour, for quite possibly the worst 2 I have seen at test level. I would describe it as Monty Panesar like, but that would be an insult to Monty, it was that inept. England did well to get to 166 after being 23/5.

Even in the second innings, the Aussies were 91/4, but survived in tact from there until the end of the day. Day 3 was Pink Day in honour of the McGrath Foundation. I hated him as a player, but there is no doubt that the work his foundation does for the treatment of breast cancer is superb. But, you do see some strange sights along the way!

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Next morning a desperate Cook turned to Kevin Pietersen to try and make the breakthrough. Pietersen hadn’t bowled in the whole of 2013 and now was called upon in front of debutant Scott Borthwick; the man selected for his spin bowling! How’s that for a confidence booster from the skipper? The last 6 wickets did fall for 76, but not before Rogers notched his 2nd ton of the series. Borthwick in the end picked up 3 expensive wickets and with that achieved England’s best bowling average for the tour! Is it any consolation or indication that he collected 3 more wickets than Shane Warne did on his debut at this ground 22 years ago? I wish!

So, England needed 466 to win with 2 full days and a session to do so. Cook again went early as did Bell and Pietersen. Michael Carberry started off quite well when even the Australian bat makers seemed to be ambushing the English team:

At 87/3 at tea, there was a glimmer of hope. 11 balls later, England were 95/7. ELEVEN BALLS LATER!!!! Not even going to make a comment – the proverbial house of cards in a windy room springs to mind. Stokes and Broad had a good old fashioned midweek league slog, belting six 6s between them, but the whole debacle was over soon after. England had lasted a meagre 31.4 overs.

Brad Haddin again showed his flawed character when appealing for a catch off Nathan Lyon which cleared the bat by a wide margin. Snicko proved that the only sound was the ball hitting Haddin’s gloves. After the Melbourne incident when Haddin downright tried to cheat the wicket of Kevin Pietersen claiming he trod on his stumps when he clearly didn’t. Haddin is clearly a delusional type that consequently forgets that there are cameras and microphones around to catch wretched delinquincies like he constantly shows. It is amazing to think that Stuart Broad has been castigated by the Australian public, but Haddin remains a golden boy because he has bailed the team out on a regular basis.

The Australians have been aggressive in every aspect of play. England have been timid. Clarke has no doubt been a lucky captain, but you create your own luck. Cook has been reactionary, lacked any killer instinct by being tactically inept at best. In 5 tests Cook has only used the 6th bowler for 9 overs (4 of which were Pietersen’s in the second innings in Sydney). A total lack of variety on Cook’s part and an insight into his defensive nature. The Australians finally dispensed with their rotation system in favour of stability, playing the same team for the entire series – look at the results of that. England turned a club cricketer into a world beater in the shape of Nathan Lyon, but the Australian public must thank Mitchell Starc for his injury. Without that, the man of the series, Mitchell Johnson would not have even been in the squad. Johnson was in the last chance saloon before the series and is now the landlord!

There are no ifs and buts here. At the end of the day, or the series in this case, England didn’t just lose 5-0. They were trounced and showed about as much fight as a ticklish puppy. They hardly won a session, let alone be in any sort of winning position for a match. The most disappointing fact is the ease to which they have rolled over. They lost all 100 wickets in a series for the first time. They scored less than 179 runs on SIX occasions. On FIVE occasions England’s top 5 batsmen have been dismissed for a combined 20 runs or less. If the series was a dog, it would have been put out of it’s misery well before a last whimper in Sydney!

The only positive from this England display is that the Australian Cricket board has just lost well over $ 25 million in revenue from the lack of play on Days 4 & 5!!

FIFTH TEST MATCH

AUSTRALIA 326 & 276 def ENGLAND 166 & 155 by 281 runs

Australia win the series 5-0 (England lucky to get nil)

aussie win

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CRICKET – November 21st-24th – Australia v England (& Wales) @ The Gabba, Brisbane

If cricket ever became a soap opera or Hollywood blockbuster then this test match would be the perfect storyboard. The whole event had everything you could ever wish for. The build up and anticipation was as intense as it gets. Australia had just been cleaned up 3-0 in the English summer, and had not posted a test match win for 9 games.

The local press had painted their target perfectly in order to stir up the crowd, not that they generally need any egging on or excuse to have a go at the English. Stuart Broad was the pantomime villain after the now infamous “Mike Hussey moment”, when he didn’t walk after a faint edge to the keeper. Strangely enough, after years of Australian batsmen “letting the umpire make the decision”, the Australian public turned on Broad faster than an asylum boat entering Australian waters. The Courier-Mail decided to not refer to Broad at all – giving him the “silent” treatment, removing his face from pictures and his name from the scorecards!

gabba98Well known Australian TV personality (if there is such a thing) Karl Stefanovic is a Virgin apparently, that loves Australia.

At 132/6, the Aussies looked like they were staring another defeat squarely in the face. England failed to capitalise and the rest is history. The two late wickets England snared proved to be of little consequence as the game had already slipped from their grasp. Cook’s captaincy is bland and conservative to say the least. He lacks imagination sometimes, and I feel he is also short of the cojones to attack beyond the norm in order to force home any advantages the team may be enjoying. When people get sent out into the deep after only a couple of deliveries, you have to wonder what he is thinking sometimes! And it doesn’t just happen once or twice….

Day 1 highlights included the smuggling of a pig into the ground by some of the locals. It is alleged that new-age vegan, Australian trundler, Peter Siddle has rescued the aforementioned squealer from the bacon slicer. I have never quite seen a crowd get so excited by a beach ball. Grown adults were more mesmerized by punching an inflatable, than the game itself! The local electricity company must have been rubbing their hands, as late on Day 1 the Gabba floodlights were at full strength in blazing sunshine!!

The ball hadn’t swung at all – in fact both teams struggled to get any movement at all throughout. The only ball that did, bowled Mitchell Johnson!! Johnson, who was only really in the squad because of the long list of fast bowling injuries Australia has suffered, was inspired. A total confidence player, the man of fragile mind, who was totally shot after 2010 Ashes tour, was given the kiss of life by Jonathan Trott. When Trott stepped inside a harmless ball just before lunch on the second day, and feathered one to Haddin, the Aussies began to believe the tide was turning. Johnson ended up with 9 wickets and the man of the match gong.

England’s shot selection was very poor. 13 out of the 20 English wickets Australia took were down leg side, which for a Test match is totally unacceptable. They made journeyman spinner Nathan Lyon look like a world beater, although seeing the right arm off-spinner bowl exclusively around the wicket is akin to trying to pan gold from the remnants of last night’s curry. In the middle session of Day 2, they unbelievably lost 6 wickets for 9 runs. Pietersen’s mistimed pull-drive kick-started a collapse that will rival anything you could snare from the Atherton/Hussain era. The worst thing was that it wasn’t even due to good bowling, just a total lack of application. I’m starting to sound like my old man here, and he is a world ranked moaner!!! Lost for words is an understatement – it was like a poltergeist had arrived at the Gabba and removed any linguistic ability at all.

The English bowling attack also looked short of options, even before the game started. Tremlett looks like a typical Newport bouncer, but bowls with the venom of Maltese Shitzu. In a team that lacked a genuine 5th alternative, you need your 3rd seamer to keep it tight and create the odd chance. Tremlett offered neither in any regularity, and when your workhorse spinner lacked penetration and at one stage had the match figures of 0/160+ you are going to need that 5th option!!!

Day 3 (Saturday) is clearly Stag-Do or idiot day.We were with the “true-blue” Aussie fans, who were next to the Barmy Army. To be fair, the real Barmy Army were fairly quiet during the day, still in shock at the events of Day 2! We sat behind Bob Downe, a parrot, Spongebob Squarepants, Scooby Doo & Jimmy Hendrix’s white brother. The Queen is a staple diet of Barmy Army tours everywhere, but during the day we were visited by He-Man, Bananaman, Fred Flinstone and Kermit the Frog to name a few. However the star of the day was Chewbacca!gabba chewy

The Aussies only normally bang out 2 songs, one of which only has 2 words – namely Aussie and Oi! When prompted, they do delve into Waltzing Matilda! It is quite apt considering their convict ancestry, that a song about a sheep rustler is their go-to number. They have now successfully added “Broady’s a wanker” to their repertoire, although this is only a variation to a common theme. First it was Kiwi legend, Sir Richard Hadlee in the 70s and 80s, then it was England superstar Sir Ian Botham who go that treatment. Strangely enough, the other Sir, that always gave it to the Aussies, West Indian great Sir Viv Richards was never on the end of it!!

It saddens me to say that the typical “Saturday” Australian cricket-goer, can sometimes be a tad ill-informed. The idiot we sat behind was having a right go about some of the players with South African heritage that were playing for England. When I asked him to spell “Fawad Ahmed” for me, his response was “Well, what about that Nigerian that’s playing for you?”  I casually asked him who that might be. “The black fella. Aren’t all black guys in England from Nigeria?”

“Who? Michael Carberry? That doesn’t sound too Nigerian to me….” I told him. “Well, it doesn’t matter, we’re fucking winning….” – and so it went on! To be completely honest he wasn’t worth even trying to educate, although the racist undertone continues to amaze me.

The Barmy Army were in full voice on day 4. Chants were ringing out of “We’re going to win 4-1” were briefly interrupted when a huge storm hit the Gabba midway through the day. “We’re going to win 4-0” got louder and louder when  the loudest thunder clap hit the ground. It was as if we were in the middle of it it was so ear shattering. Brussell sprout sized hailstones pelted the ground and the poor security staff who were forced to stand on the boundary right in the middle of it!!

The storm relented, only to return as driving rain an hour later, but unfortunately relent again, to give the Australians just enough time to knock the English tail over and win the game, saving us all the embarrassment of coming back on Monday morning to relive the abject failure of the team. The final wicket of the match proved to be the most controversial as Jimmy Anderson and Michael Clarke “had words” on the pitch that were clearly picked up on the stump microphones. It is safe to say that Clarke wasn’t giving Anderson any batting tips, although he was giving him forewarning of what was to come!!! (see the last bit of the clip below)

Gabba1The only win for England is a signed confession from Mitchell Johnson!!

(pity about the spelling of Freddie Mercury…..)

gabba99Separated at Birth?????

Johnson had the last laugh in this match, although Stuart Broad also showed that the barrage of abuse he received is not going to effect his performances on the tour. So the scene is set for a more than fiery battle in Adelaide. However if you only manage to accumulate 315 runs in a Test match, unless you get 3 days of rain, you’re never going to win, or draw; in fact you damn well should be annihilated. Test match cricket is alive and well. If England had gone 1-0 up then it may have spelled the end of the series. It is great to have a contest, and what a contest.  At 1:30pm on Day 1 who would have thought that we would have been here now?

FIRST TEST MATCH

AUSTRALIA 295 & 401/7d def ENGLAND 136 & 179 by 381 runs

Series sits at 1-0

CRICKET – March 22nd-26th – New Zealand v England (& Wales) @ Eden Park, Auckland

When you start explaining test match cricket to people that aren’t too familiar with it (Americans generally – “is that the game with the paddle?”) you sometimes get faced with that glazed and confuzzled look when you tell them that it can go for 5 days and still end up as a draw! Is cricket the only sport where you stop for meals during continuous play? Now, it is safe to say that the majority of people that attend test matches are not of the fairer sex. In the past, when I have tried to sell the concept of going to a test match to the various ladies that have been in my life, I have tended to concentrate on the virtues and the contest of the sport itself. I have now come to realise that if I had simply said to them “How would you like to sit in the sun for 5 days, drink endlessly and not be too bothered by what’s going on, in the world around you? There might be a cricket game going on, but you don’t have to pay any attention to that….” then I think that I might have garnered a lot more interest……

I ventured over to Auckland for the third test match of the series between New Zealand and England. The first two tests ended in draws, as bad weather had affected both matches. England have quite an amazing record in New Zealand, winning 18 out of the previous 46 tests played; and only losing 4 since 1930. The final test of the series was taking place at the home of New Zealand rugby! Eden Park was rebuilt for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and boasts a normal capacity of just over 50,000.  In glorious autumnal sunshine, just over 3,000 people were actually inside the ground to see the first ball of the match. The stadium operators obviously weren’t expecting many people to show up either, as only two ticket boxes were operating to service the hordes of punters still outside.  Over the 5 days of the match there wouldn’t have been more than 6,000 in the ground at any one time, which is very disappointing. The majority those there, weren’t even Kiwis!!!

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With the lack of numbers, I was able to get some prime seating (in the sun, close to the bar!), although I was surprised quite how close to the pitch you can sit. As a rugby ground it is a strange shape for cricket, but it has to be the shortest straight hit in world cricket. The wicket keeper and slips were only about 30 metres away from us, When there are 102 runs scored in 6s (17 of them, for those of the hard of thinking!), it tells you that the ground isn’t quite big enough for the batsmen!

The first day was a tad slow. New Zealand had thrown a career saving lifeline to the man with the best nickname in World cricket. 34 year old “2 metre Peter”, Peter Fulton (he is 6ft 6, so genuinely worthy of the moniker!). Fulton had averaged a less than modest 21 (runs per innings, or “at bat” as the Yanks would say) before this series and had never scored a test match hundred. At the end of this match, his average had rocketed up to over 33 – a mighty leap in just 3 games! England only took 1 wicket as the Kiwis cantered along to 250 at the end of the first day. When Fulton was eventually dismissed just before lunch on the second day, he looked incredibly tired and every day of his 34 years. During lunch on that second day, we were treated to something that you rarely get to do any more – go on the ground and have a look at the pitch. For us cricket aficionados this was an opportunity not to be missed, and within minutes, thousands of British tourists descended on the wicket like the post office used to be on giro day in Newport.

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The Kiwis only added another 146 runs before England bowled them out. When England began their innings, at 72/5 things looked incredibly bleak. A partnership between Root & Prior, which accounted for half of England’s meagre total of 204, spared complete decimation. The Black Caps were now in no-lose territory, although their top order crumbled to leave them 8/3 with an hour to play of the third day,  opening the door to an England fightback to try to avert a humiliating series defeat. Fulton dug deep to notch up his second test century in the space of 3 days!!!! It took him 7 years to bring up his first!!! When McCullum declared at 241/6, the equation was simple. England needed to score 481 to win or bat for 143 overs or the equivalent of 9 and a half hours!

Again, England’s top order fell apart; the night watchman was removed with the last ball of the day, leaving them 391 runs short and only 6 wickets in hand. The resignation among the Barmy Army was markedly apparent as we left the ground, even though they had sung their hearts out all day trying to lift the team. The next day’s newspapers were bubbling with Kiwi confidence as they sensed an unexpected Kiwi win.

The early stages of the fifth day were only to be expected. There were no risks being taken, and no attempt to go for the runs. The resolute defences were being tested with every ball as New Zealand’s “Tommy Rundlers” suddenly looked like world beaters. With England desperately trying to save the game and New Zealand firing on all cylinders, the turning point on the final day came when this happened:

Unbelievable scenes really; as a bowler it is the most gut wrenching feeling when you strain your balls out to try and get a wicket, only for fate to play her part. I love the way Matt Prior just shrugs his shoulders at the end of it as if nothing had happened, bearing in mind he had just been hit in the throat with a ball that was hurled down at him at over 80 mph! At this stage you kind of knew luck was on England’s side. When Ian Bell’s 6 hour vigil came to end with 35 overs left in the match, you would have thought it was the start of domino rally with only the three non-batters left. Out strode Stuart “He’s big, he’s bad, he’s better than his dad” Broad to the crease. 103 minutes and 62 balls later, he edged through the slip fielders to get off the mark – a new world record! But with only 5 overs to go in the match, a misjudged Prior hook was literally inches from being caught as England rode their luck again.

When Brendan McCullum, the Kiwi skipper, turned to part-time off spinner Kane Williamson, it was the proverbial last throw of the dice. With his first ball Broad managed to treble his score to rocket on to 6. Just 4 balls later both Broad and Anderson had edged to slip and were back in the pavilion. England’s prospects of saving the game were left to cricket’s Mr. Bean, Monty Panesar! At this stage, the Barmy Army were still in full voice and the Kiwi crowd had finally woken up – the atmosphere in the stadium was tenser than a 70s TV presenter watching the evening news! The last couple of overs also gave rise to some of the most attacking fields ever set in a test match!

NZ v Eng 1

Now, this video is 10 minutes long but it is worth it – these are the highlights from the last hour and closing stages, and it really does sum up the atmosphere and tension of that final session and what was essentially England’s Great Escape.

NZ v ENG 2

Monty’s near ill-fated dive that nearly cost England the game!

The result of five full days of cricket came down to the final ball of the final over. When a draw feels like a win and creates an adrenalin rush like only sport can, and when Monty Panesar (bearded, of course!) is the hero of the hour, all is good in the world! Test match cricket is still the pinnacle of the sport and matches like this are the reason why. I can’t recall many results of One Day Internationals or Twenty-20s from over the years, but Test matches seem to stick in your mind forever and a day.

Long may it continue that way! And don’t forget – there’s sun and endless drinks, if you don’t want to watch the game. But, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t…..

nz v eng 7

THIRD TEST MATCH

NEW ZEALAND 443 & 241/6d drew with ENGLAND 204 & 315/9

Series drawn 0-0

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