Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What a match!

In what is one of the best test matches played anywhere in recent years, New Zealand came up agonisingly short of a match and series victory against England yesterday.

The final day's play was compelling watching; a veritable emotional roller-coaster - and that was just for the spectators. For a moment it seemed that there may have been a final twist as Kane Williamson took two wickets in three balls, but the final wicket remained elusive. The Herald reports:
With a single ball to go and just one wicket needed for a win, sunburnt Black Caps fans leaned forward in their seats.
As bowler Trent Boult ran in for the final ball at Eden Park yesterday, the stadium reverberated with the sound of pounded railings and whistles - but it was almost too much for expat Englishman Keith Park 50, from Howick, who covered his face with his straw hat.
"Come on, bring it home," he yelled, while his mate Dean Sharrar, 51, stuttered: "My heartttt... this is unbelievable."
They weren't alone. In offices throughout the country, workers gathered around televisions to watch the nail-biting finish to a test that has captured the attention of both cricket fans and non-cricket fans.
England narrowly avoided a last over defeat however, in the final match of the test series which was drawn 0-0. England had slumped to 304 for nine with three overs to go after two late catches to Ross Taylor.

England wicketkeeperMatt Prior batted magnificently to save the match. He had the little birdie on his shoulder, playing on to Neil Wagner when Prior was on 28, but the ball failed to dislodge a bail. His relief upon playing out the final over and the roar from the Barmy Army though was telling; England was mightily relieved not to lose to a side ranked six places lower than them on the ICC rankings.

New Zealand tried and tried again to land the killer blow, but it was not to be. In years to come, people will look at the hsitory books and see "draw" and have no idea how much tension and drama occurred on the last day, and in the last fifteen minutes.

Those who have predicted the demise of test match cricket are premature. As long as the long version of the game can produce excitement such as we witnessed yesterday, test cricket is alive, well and in great heart. Congratulations to both sides on a magnificent match that will live in this blogger's memory for many, many years.

1 comment:

pdm said...

`Those who have predicted the demise of test match cricket are premature.'

Too true.

I was glued to the set for the last two hours and it was great to watch. New Zealand must now play more tests.