India v New Zealand: the NZ innings
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Friday March 14, 2003
It's really simple: India are already through, New Zealand have to win.
Meanwhile, have you ever thought WHAT SORT OF LIFE IS THIS AND WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING BOARDING A TRAIN FOR MOORGATE AT 6.30 IN THE MORNING AND THEN STANDING AROUND FOR AGES WAITING FOR A TUBE WHILE STARING AT A SIGN TELLING YOU THAT IF YOU WAIT FOR FOUR MINUTES YOU CAN BOARD A TRAIN TO UXBRIDGE I'D RATHER WAIT FOUR HOURS FOR A JOURNEY WITH THE GRIM REAPER QUITE FRANKLY AND THEN YOU GET TO WORK AND THEN THERE'S THIS AND I KNOW THE CRICKET'S GOOD AND ALL THAT BUT I'VE GOT OUT OF THE WRONG SIDE OF BED THIS MORNING AND IN ANY CASE IT'S NOT AS IF I'LL WRITE A CRACKING MATCH REPORT AND THEN GET REWARDED BY BEING SENT ON A WONDERFUL ASSIGNMENT AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE I'LL BE VERY SURPRISED IF ANY OF MY BOSSES WILL READ ANY OF THIS LET'S BE HONEST THEY WON'T ALTHOUGH ON THE OTHER HAND THAT'S PROBABLY JUST AS WELL HEY I WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH TYPING THINGS LIKE THIS KIqL!UYS^%$DFLI ZSDSAFC SFE4O92 )(^(*^o"$ bBLKU E875O3 96*&^%o*"$ogb LOOK I'M SORRY THIS ISN'T EXACTLY THE SORT OF QUALITY EDITORIAL COPY YOU EXPECT FROM THE GUARDIAN BUT LOOK AT THE FACTS I'M ADRIFT IN THE MIDDLE OF ONE OF THE WORST CITIES IN THE WORLD SITTING IN FRONT OF THE SAME COMPUTER SCREEN I FACE DAY AFTER INTERMINABLE DAY HELL I COULD BE WAKING UP IN SAY THE MALDIVES OR SYDNEY OR COPENHAGEN OR A CROFTER'S COTTAGE IN SKYE AND GOING FOR A WALK IN THE CRISP MORNING AIR?
No? Only me then. Good.
There are a couple of big cracks in the pitch which may open up later in the day. Get the runs on the board first, says former Aussie wicketkeeper Ian Healy, and who am I to argue with him? In fact, I'm just going to listen to what he says on Sky Sports and parrot it on here.
Sourav Ganguly has won the toss and India have surprisingly chosen to bowl! "It's a bit sticky," he says. He could have been talking about the state of my brain this morning. Meanwhile, Steven Fleming says he would have batted anyway. It's obviously the Antipodean point of view.
The national anthems
Nothing to say about the Indian anthem, but the New Zealand one sounds like the theme tune for an 1960s ATV variety spectacular. Lew Grade must be spinning in his grave.
SECOND-BALL WICKET!!! New Zealand 0-1 McMillan c Harbhajan b Zaheer 0
A half-arsed shout for lbw first ball, and then this: McMillan clips the ball lazily off his legs to square leg, and it's an easy catch for Singh. Nathan Astle will be the new man in. If they keep going like this, I'll be done by 8.15am, which will be good.
THIRD-BALL WICKET!!!!! THIS IS SENSATIONAL New Zealand 0-2 Astle b Zaheer 0
Did I say 8.15am?!? Make it 8.10am. Zaheer wheechs a purler down the track which pitches straight - and stays straight. Not that Astle has a clue as to what's happening, because he can't shift his feet, plays all around the ball, and watches as it raps his pads plum. Enter Scott Styris.
1st over: New Zealand 7-2
Styris isn't messing about. I like Styris. He slaps his first ball straight back down the pitch for two, then clips a ball through the mid wicket and over a quick outfield for four. A single at the end means he keeps the strike.
2nd over: New Zealand 8-2
Srinath coming in from the other end. The ball's keeping very straight off this pitch, which makes you wonder what the hell Astle was doing. Only a wide from this.
3rd over: New Zealand 19-2
A good over for New Zealand, and certainly not as sensational for Zaheer as his first. Three for Styris with a lovely drive which would have been a boundary had it not been for a spectacular drive by the man at extra cover. Then a four for Fleming with a crisp clack through mid wicket. Leonard Skynard (no, really) writes in to say he's "feeling even worse" than I am and that "he's mad as hell and not going to take it any more". Leonard has clearly been watching Network too often.
4th over: New Zealand 21-2
Two highlights from this over: brilliant running from Fleming to plunder a single off the last ball of the over; Guardian Unlimited's Sally Bolton making me a cup of tea. More from Leonard: to prove his pique, he's been banging his fists on his keyboard. "asdsadf ;lk;lk;lk," he writes. You should move your fists about, Leonard, your letter distribution is predictable.
5th over: New Zealand 32-2
Fleming is setting about Zaheer here. Here hare here. He smashes a four through the onside and then nicks another with a fine edge. A good recovery from the Black Caps this. "Is 'KIqL!UYS^%$DFLI ZSDSAFC SFE4O92 )(^(*^o"$ bBLKU E875O3 96*&^%o*"$ogb' some sort of code?" asks Richard Perkins. "And if so, can anyone crack it?"
6th over: New Zealand 35-2
A minor singles-fest. Meanwhile, a few of you are trying to make me feel better about my sorry lot in life. "Don't know what you are whinging about, I live in Reading, which has to be worse than London," writes a not-wrong Anton Lawrence. "At least you have more to do. And the coffee is better. And you get to watch cricket all day." "Trust me," adds Neil Broderick, "there are loads of jobs out there which are worse than being a Guardian reporter. You should try lecturing first-year electronics students whose lack of knowledge is only exceed by their apathy." And Amber Jones emails in to say: "Come watch my video, it's very stimulati..." Eh, actually, that's a bit of junk mail. Still, beggars can't be choosers.
7th over: New Zealand 35-2
Zaheer's had a bit of a sorry time since his amazing entrance, so Ashish Nehra takes over. And what a difference; no wickets, but no runs either. Good line and length and it's a maiden. Asger Kring works for a Copenhagen media company that publishes several newspapers. "Do you want me to inquire whether they are looking for an over-by-over commentary guy?" Yes. Yes. YES! YES! YES!!!! Not that I'm desperate or anything.
8th over: New Zealand 38-2
There's a bit of a lull here, which Styris does his best to alleviate by sending the ball past square leg for three. Gary Hills writes in to say that he "also knows" how I feel and asks, rather worryingly, if I ever feel sympathy with Coronation Street's Richard Hillman. I'm really not sure what to say about that, Gary, other than to ask you if you would like to invest some money in a block of flats I'm thinking of building. Or else.
WICKET!!! New Zealand 38-3 Styris c Dravid b Nehra 15
An important wicket this. Nehra finds some right-to-left movement off the seam with a full delivery. Styris tries to play across the line but only finds an outside edge to the wicketkeeper. Just as New Zealand were finding their feet as well. Brendon McCullum is the new man in.
9th over: New Zealand 38-3
The rest of the over passes without event. "I must have a different keyboard-banging technique from Leonard," types John Kirby with his big fists. "I get 'ytcdskljojnvds.lkzsedli;j un fesalmjni vfesa;lmija;mju fceiv faewj;omivrewaomiu; svfeomijuhlvesmu;oilgvrstmjloivtrseomiju,' which looks rather like Finnish. Unfortunately, it also makes a great deal more sense than what I was just writing for work." Meanwhile, on a Scandinavian tip, Peter Liljenberg proposes Helsinki to lift me from my London gloom. "That would give you two hours extra, and the lovely Scandinavian spring is just about to start." They call me The Weaver.
10th over: New Zealand 40-3
Fleming nabs two runs by pushing the ball past square leg. "Between your moaning about early mornings and Dan Rookwood's RSI whingeing," notes Dave Holme, "anyone would think you had a tough job. You never got this kind of thing on Lawrence Booth's commentaries. That man was a real pro." You should hear Boothy bang on about the Aussies, Dave. Then you'll know the real meaning of bitching.
11th over: New Zealand 41-3
Another run through square leg, this time for McCullum. "I don't want to sound too preachy, but come on." So begins the sermon of the very Reverend Julian King. "It's a great morning, it should be a decent game of cricket." Alleluia, Julian! Do you have any other teachings? "And tomorrow's Friday." To think I was just about to put some money on your plate for the roof.
12th over: New Zealand 42-3
Zaheer's back, replacing Srinath at the Hennops River End. Just a single from it. Only four runs off 23 balls in this partnership so far. Only one message of support for Richard Hillman so far, from a Paul Weston; it's refreshing to know there aren't too many potential mass murderers reading this report.
13th over: New Zealand 44-3
There hasn't been a boundary scored for 51 balls. What do you expect me to say?
WICKET: New Zealand 47-4 McCullum b Zaheer 4
It's 100 ODI wickets for Zaheer, who sends a purler down the track that moves slightly from right to left off the seam. In a deja-vu stylee, a Kiwi batsman plays all round the ball again, only this time instead of clattering into the pads, it clumps the off stump out of the ground. Bye bye, and hello Chris Cairns.
14th over: New Zealand 49-4
A misfield at mid off allows Cairns to get off the mark with two runs. Duncan Bonnett has spotted one of the two not-particularly-subtle film references I've made this morning. "On the Withnail-and-I theme you snuck in earlier, I, like Withnail (not I) have a bastard behind my eyes, and will consequently spend my Friday switching between Guardian coverage of the cricket and Super 12 rugby. Might spend the weekend in a game reserve too, but don't let that put you off your trip on the Uxbridge line."
15th over: New Zealand 52-4
Two runs and so lucky for Cairns, who tries to pull the ball but only succeeds in slicing it high in the air back over the wicketkeeper. The slips all run back to try to take the catch, but it falls to ground in space. "Am somewhat worried by your opening salvo," writes Louise Wright, who can clearly spot a cry for help when she sees one. But who can blame me when I'm receiving emails like the following, Louise? "Can't say things seem quite so bad to me," boasts Tom Waterhouse, "as I sit in my office in Geneva on a sunny Friday morning wondering whether to take the afternoon off to go skiing."
16th over: New Zealand 56-4
A boundary! Fleming drives the ball back down the pitch on the on side. Four. That's four! I said, that's four! More from the walking monument to sarcasm that is Tom Waterhouse: "When I've bought my chalet later this year you'd be most welcome to rent it at a very reasonable rate for a few weeks so you can write that great novel you must as a journalist be constantly dreaming of unleashing on an unsuspecting public." That's a low blow. Kick a man while he's down, why don't you?
17th over: New Zealand 59-4
Three singles off this. "There's really nothing more depressing than the tube and mornings like yours are part of the reason I'm leaving the city at the end of the month," writes Rory Jiwani, telling me something I don't already know. "That and my job being completely pointless and dull. I'm actually looking to do something vaguely similar to you (well, without the copious early morning doses of gin anyway)." Less journalism, more gin, that's my advice. But then again, look at me.
BIG WICKET!!! New Zealand 60-5 Fleming c Tendulkar b Srinath 30
The NZ captain tries to pull the ball but mistimes it horribly and slices it off the top edge to mid off, where the Little Master is waiting to take an easy catch.
18th over: New Zealand 60-5
Chris Harris is the new man in. The rest of the over passes by without event, rather like our lives. "Just what is it that you think you've got to moan about?" asks an incandescent Malcolm Wigby. "You sit there watching the cricket on the telly while all I've got to stare at for the next seven-and-a-half hours is this computer screen with your rubbish written all over it. 'ghjlghsfadf' indeed! And you thought you were in a bad mood this morning!"
19th over: New Zealand 65-5
Harris leaps in the air and HAMMERS a big four through point. Louise Wright earns my eternal respect (for what little that's worth) by sending me an email which ends with the phrase: "My boss will be first against the wall when the revolution comes."
20th over: New Zealand 70-5
Another boundary for Harris, who slaps Srinath through deep mid wicket. "I'm convinced that nobody really enjoys working otherwise they wouldn't have to bribe us to do it," writes Richard Rouse, a deeply dissatisfied translator. "This can't be a healthy way to live. Does anybody out there actually enjoy their job?" Preach on, brother.
21st over: New Zealand 75-5
Two no-balls and three singles. New Zealand are ticking over quietly but nicely at five an over. Bob O'Hara is backing up the point made earlier by Peter Liljenberg. "The Finnish spring started this week. The temperature has finally risen above zero and the snow has started to melt (and then re-freeze overnight). This morning I was sat at home working on my computer with the sun streaming in through the windows. The only reason I came into my office was to read your commentary." There's a tear in my eye here, Bob, a tear in my eye. And it's because I want to live in Scandinavia.
22nd over: New Zealand 83-5
Harbhajan Singh in, and what a cover drive from Harris as he volleys a full toss to the ropes. "It would appear that you have the black dog running with you today," writes Matt Emerson. "You and I both know that it would still be with you if you were in Copenhagen or Rio de Janeiro." Gah!
23rd over: New Zealand 84-5
Ganguly comes into the attack. His first ball is a tad loose and long and it's dispatched to the onside for one run by Cairns, but the rest is tight. "It could always be worse," writes Rory Lawson, "you could be stuck in a people carrier in a Manchester canal with Gail Hillman. God bless you Richard!"
24th over: New Zealand 85-5
An aggressive field is set as Harbhajan goes about his business. It's Cairns again with one run from a loose, long first ball of the over, and then nothing. "It can't be that bad, can it?" asks Paul Carter. "Surely you have to have one of life's cushier numbers. If rumours are to be believed quite well rewarded too. And then there's all the freebies, complimentary tickets, celebrity parties..." I really don't know where to start with this.
25th over: New Zealand 88-5
Three singles. Cairns is now on 20, Harris on 14. "That's it!" says Ratnam. "No more Guardian commentary! I am switching to Khel. Crisp, ball-by-ball update of scores, and none of this snivelling." He wants the moon on a stick for tuppence a month!
WICKET!!! New Zealand 88-6 Cairns c Khan b Harbhajan Singh 20
Cairns attempts to slap a short delivery from Harbhajan through mid wicket but the ball bounces up at the last and he hacks it to point. A dreadful slice, and New Zealand look to be on their way home.
26th over: New Zealand 88-6
Jacob Oram is the new man in. "I'm afraid I must agree with Matt Emerson," concurs Gareth Johnson. "The last time I broke down sobbing asking how I ended up here, my colleague helpfully pointed out that wherever I was I would still have the same brain inside my head." Thanks for that.
27th over: New Zealand 95-6
Zaheer Khan is back in the attack, the big bully. Oram nearly gets a touch down the leg side but there's no need, because the ball sails past Dravid and to the rope for four leg byes. "You could be having a worse day," spits Andrew Fletcher. "You could be El-Hadji Diouf."
28th over: New Zealand 96-6
Just one off the over from Harbhajan, who bowled that one so very quickly I only saw Harris's sweep down the leg side for one run. "Two weeks ago I was having breakfast in Gothenburg, without a care in the world," recalls Richard Burgess. "Then I went into an Irish pub to watch some cricket and found it was full of Aussies. The grass is always greener, Scott."
WICKET: New Zealand 96-7 Harris lbw b Zaheer 17
Zaheer pitches one outside the off stump that bites back and raps a statuesque Harris on the pads low, middle and off.
29th over: New Zealand 98-7
Daniel Vettori is the new chap at the crease. He's very lucky to escape a leg-before shout with a delivery that raps his pads. Maybe it's just missing off, but that ball was cutting back in. "Living in Scandanavia may seem very appealing," writes Matthew Limbert, "but is beer very expensive over there, and as that seems to feature heavily in a Guardian journalist's diet, that may cause some problems." What exactly are you trying to say, Matthew? Come on, out with it.
30th over: New Zealand 98-7
Harbhajan to Vettori. The bowler's applying the pressure, the batsman's on the defensive. Maiden. Ravi Motha's three private hells: documentation; Ikea on a Saturday; early starts for crap pay.
31st over: New Zealand 103-7
The last ball of this over, a Nehra full toss, is hammered through covers to the rope by Vettori. "Any idea on who gets it tonight?" asks Corrie fan Patrick Harvey. "Fingers crossed it's the boy David." I'm saying Bethany, as it would make it easier to write a load of new teenage-based storylines for Sarah Lou.
32nd over: New Zealand 105-7
A single each for Oram and Vettori from Harbhajan, who isn't giving much away. Kristian Pettersen feels my pain: "I also have been made aware that it's nothing to do with my job or my locale, it's to do with my attitude and my incapacity to alter that. Empathy is here for you. I'm afraid it's worthless, however. Doesn't solve a bloody thing."
33rd over: New Zealand 105-7
Nehra finishes his spell with a maiden. A wicket for 24 runs. Good stuff. "This depressing morning has now got me questioning my pitiful existence," sobs James Dodge. "Without being too philosophical, I've yet to find out why I'm really here. The whole of my life is dedicated to reaching the next weekend and nothing more. And now the cricket is going to finish really early leaving far too much time before the start of the weekend."
34th over: New Zealand 110-7
Vettori launches a ball over mid off for four. "I too have woken up in a bad mood after my new neighbours had a house-warming party that went on until three in the morning, at which point in time it got out of hand and my g/f made me go outside and sort it out," writes Charles Tavistock. "Apparently that's a 'man of the house' job, to go and try and get myself beaten up by several very drunk strangers. Others include fixing the washing machine and any DIY work. However, when questioning what 'women of the house' jobs are, I get called sexist and chauvinistic."
35th over: New Zealand 113-7
Tendulkar into the attack; a no-ball and two singles. "Only one thing for it," writes Sean Clayton from Dublin who is similarly grumpy despite everyone who doesn't live there telling him how great Dublin is. "Apply to the Guardian for a brain transplant, and specify that it should be a happy brain, and preferably one that likes being in Uxbridge (although that last one might be an oxymoron)."
36th over: New Zealand 115-7
Harbhajan is keeping this very tight. Only two singles off this. New Zealand really are in desperate trouble here. As am I.
37th over: New Zealand 117-7
Oram strokes Tendulkar to long on, Vettori hacks one to square leg. "In these times of abject misery I try to compare my life to that of someone with a yet more pathetic existence," writes Scott Reece. "You would be referred to as Scat, an endearing yet irritating niche of the US accent that I endure whenever I'm over there."
38th over: New Zealand 121-7
Oram works the ball to square leg for two. "Charles Tavistock is a wuss," opines Jeanette Phillips. "In Australia, woman-of-the-house jobs include ridding our newly-rented house of a redback infestation. Which may have precipitated my decision to move to Newcastle, England."
39th over: New Zealand 124-7
Both Oram and Vettori are now on 13, which may or may not augur well. "I'm fed up with all this bad mouthing of Uxbridge," writes Adrian Martins, batting on a sticky wicket. "I lived there for over 20 years and it wasn't all bad. Or good. Just fair to middling."
WICKET!!! New Zealand 129-8 Vettori c Ganguly b Harbhajan 13
Unlucky 13 indeed. Oram races down the wicket and clatters Harbhajan for four over the man at mid off. He sweeps for a single and then disaster for his partner; he attempts to drive Harbhajan's final ball of his spell down the pitch, but the ball moves off the seam left to right, finding an outside edge and sailing to the Indian captain at first slip.
40th over: New Zealand 129-8
Daryl Tuffey in. Welcome to Kieran Faulkner's hell: "I've only just got into work after having been at the dentists. Not only did I have to endure a similar train journey to yourself, but my teeth feel like they've been rearranged inside my head. Plus they're too sensitive for me to enjoy my morning milkshake. Plus I have to sit typing numbers into a computer all day."
41st over: New Zealand 134-8
Tuffey faces his first ball and clumps it through the covers for four. Uxbridge is so fair-to-middling that Adrian Martins informs us that he has moved to Woking.
42nd over: New Zealand 137-8
Sehwag into the attack, and his first three balls go for singles. "Never mind who bites the dust," writes Alexander Wright. "I'm wondering which of the three salt-of-the-earth honest working men (Kevin, Tommy and Martin) who are in pursuit of the dastardly Hillman is going to dive into the canal to save the kids. Tommy's got to be the leading contender so as to be exposed to excessive news coverage, revealing his whereabouts to the criminal gang that are after him." This sounds so good it must be right. I wish I'd set the video.
43rd over: New Zealand 144-8
Slightly expensive from Tendulkar, this, with Tuffey timing one nicely through the covers for four. "I was struggling this morning not to think about how much I hate my job so I thought I'd catch up on the cricket commentary to distract myself," writes Peter Campbell, who's had better ideas, let's face it.
WICKET: New Zealand 144-9 Oram b Sehwag 23
It's nearly all over, as Oram tries to lift it over mid wicket but finds an inside edge which bounces off his back foot and onto the stumps.
44th over: New Zealand 144-9
Shane Bond is the last man in. "Continuing from Andrew Fletcher's comforting reassurance that you could be El-Hadji Diouf," writes the elegantly-monickered Leticia L'Amour, "just think: you could also be Paul Burrell, Michael Jackson, One True Voice, Gary Glitter, Glenn Roeder, Geri Halliwell's dog, a Stoke City fan, an estate agent, allergic to cheese, Liam Gallagher's anger management counsellor, Liam Gallagher..." By God, she's right.
45th over: New Zealand 146-9
Srinath's back. A wide and one for Tuffey guided to fine leg. "I have just been informed by my wife that we can have a nice evening in watching Comic Relief," writes Rory Lawson. "Must I really dear? I feel a Richard Hillman moment could be on the cards this evening. Any viewers know of any canals in the Haslemere region?" Bit worried about this one.
AND THAT'S IT!!! New Zealand 146 all out. Tuffey c&b Mongia 11
Mongia into the attack, and his first ball is enough to wrap up the innings. It's short and pitched well outside off stump; Tuffey attempts to drive it through the covers but his stroke is far too weak and the ball loops into the bowler's hands.
New Zealand 146 all out
Well, a decision by Ganguly that looked surprising at the start of play has been totally vindicated. The Indian bowlers really have done the business and the Kiwis look to be on their way home. On this form, India will be able to give Australia a game in the final. Should they make it, of course.
Meanwhile, I've cheered up plenty thanks to the following two emails I've been sent. Well, mainly because the innings is over and I can have a rest, but I'm just trying to make you feel loved.
"On the way home from the pub last night I was on the receiving end of an anti-pedestrian tirade hurled in my direction by a cyclist," writes Phil Rhodes. (It wasn't because your name sounds like a car lobbyist's wet dream, was it? Anyway.) "Unfortunately, my cloth-eared girlfriend caught only my curt reply and assumed I was trying to start a fight. After separating us, and, unbelievably, apologising to the abusive cyclist, she proceeded to propel me towards the tube by dint of smacking me in the head every two steps. See Scott? There's always someone worse off than you."
"I think Hillman would have enough presence of mind to put the central locking on, thus rendering escape futile," writes Sheila Hollins. "Perhaps I don't have the mind of a Corrie scriptwriter. Anyway, you think your job is bad (and let's face it, it isn't, is it)? I have a pile of filing that's a foot high to do today."
To answer your questions in turn: yes, and no, you're probably right. I am suitably humbled. Anyway, thanks for all your emails and please join the ever-excellent Sean Ingle for the Indian reply. I'm off to enjoy the rest of my working day, despite the black looks I'm getting from one or two people in the office.
India: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly (captain), Mohammad Kaif, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra.
New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (captain), Craig McMillan, Nathan Astle, Scott Styris, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Chris Harris, Daniel Vettori, Shane Bond, Daryl Tuffey.
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