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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday March 25 2008

The cricket match between England and New Zealand which began so disastrously for England was turned on its head on the second afternoon, when New Zealand slumped from 93-1 at lunch to 168 all out, thanks to Ryan Sidebottom.  Then those floodgates of Collingwood’s that I was so scornful about finally creaked open, with centuries from Bell and the no longer doomed Strauss.  If Sidebottom looks like a Status Quo roadie, Strauss looks like Mr Darcy, but looks don’t keep you in the England team and he really needed his career-best 177.

By the time England declared, New Zealand needed an impossible 550 or so to win.  Considering that the record for a fourth innings winning total is 418, achieved by the West Indies against Australia not so long ago, this was never on.  The England win, when it materialises, will be visible here.  But, I do love an impossible last day run chase, even against England.

If England take wickets, good.  But if they don’t and the other fellows start piling up improbably large amounts of runs, I enjoy that too.  Last innings heroics raise my spirits no matter who is doing them.  I even remember enjoying the remarkable conclusion of this game, in which Greenidge got a double hundred and turned the impossible final target into a calm canter.  David Gower must have known something because he delayed the England declaration into the final morning, but it did him no good.  I also remember this very fondly.  And this

New Zealand have just resumed their doomed attempt to climb Everest at 9.30 in the evening London time, and for a moment miracles seemed possible, because two of their most aggressive batsmen, Taylor (LRPL Taylor if you please) and wicketkeeper McCullum starting flaying fours.  But sadly, Taylor has just got out, for 74, and now there are only McCullum, now past 40, and Vettori left to cause any embarrassment to England.

Last time England and New Zealand played a game like this one - as many have already pointed out, the scores for the first three innings have been earily similar - Nathan Astle got 222 and took New Zealand to within less than a hundred of what would have been a totally stupendous win that would have had me cheering in my kitchen.  That was spectacular on Ceefax in the bleary small hours of the morning, so heaven knows what it must have been like actually to have been there.  Wouldn’t it be great if ... aaaarrrgh!  McCullum out for 42.  Panesar five wickets in the innings, with three more up for grabs.

Oh well.  Another time.  At least I have a chance of getting to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Further heroics are still on the cards.  Vettori and Patel have just taken it from 281-7 to 329, while I was sorting all the above links out, at which point Patel got out.  (Panesar now has six wickets.) But Vettori, who can also hit hard and fast, is on 25 and clearly determined to make a nuisance of himself, what with him now being the NZ captain.  Yes, make that 31.  Or should I say 35?  No, because Vettori is now on 39.  The boundaries are quite short apparently.  That’s Jimmy Anderson being clouted everywhere, again.  And then tailender Southee played out a maiden, which suggests he might be able to hang around.  347-8.  Vettori 43.  Go Kiwis.  Doh!  Vettori out for 43.  Anderson!  Nearly done now.

And yet ... Southee, a teenager playing in his first test (five wickets in the first England innings) has just hit Panesar for six.  And now Anderson for another six!  Last ball before lunch!  Wow!

LATER:  Double wow!  I had assumed it all to be over and was off doing something else before turning in, but now Southee is 77 not out off 40 balls.  Four sixes, and nine fours!!!  NZ 430-9, having scored 88-1 off the last ten overs.  Go Kiwis!!  Doh!!  Should have left them to it.  NZ all out 431.  Martin out for 5.  Southee not out 77.  England win by 121.

Shame it wasn’t closer.

Is the New Zealand score the highest for a fourth innnings? It can’t be far off if 418 is the largest winning total. I can’t imagine there have been many scores above 400 in a final innings.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 27 March 2008

No expert on cricket (even though I’m from Yorkshire and now live within spitting distance of Newlands), but I found this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/england/england_in_nz_2002/1876355.stm

which says:
“New Zealand’s 451 was the second-highest fourth innings total ever, with only England’s 654 for five chasing 696 against South Africa at Durban in 1938 eclipsing it.”

That must have been some game.

Posted by 6000 on 28 March 2008

CORRECTION!!!!

Test debutant Tim Southee did not hit FOUR sixes and NINE fours.

He hit four FOURS and NINE SIXES!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 02 April 2008

Come to think of it, I wrote it out right the first time, but then changed it, because obviously, that couldn’t possibly be right.  Except that it was.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 02 April 2008

And running out of partners prevented him from scoring a century to go with his five wickets on debut. Has anyone ever done this? It is very rare in any match, let alone a debut.

I hope this guy is as good as he sounds - the cricket world could do with a top notch all-rounder or two.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 02 April 2008
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