Almanac Cricket – NZ v Aust, First Test: Day 2 – Green and Hazel favourite colours




What a day it has been for Australia and particularly for those among us who favour colours.


It is Mardi Gras weekend after all and maybe, just maybe Hazel will be added to the rainbow.


I confess I was a bit crook over night and thought I will sleep in and come down once New Zealand go into bat.  More crook than I thought and I missed the whole first session but did not miss the start of the NZ hit.


Speaking to people at the ground they just said Green just continued where he left off from overnight to finish 174 not out and Hazlewood scored 22 in fine assist. They put on 116 runs for the last wicket which will be enough to give Australia a distinct advantage and no chance of losing. Matt Henry with 5/70 was the pick of the bowlers by far.


Perhaps I should have stayed in bed.  It was a disastrous start for the Kiwis. In no time they where 3/12.  When one of my all time favourites Kane Williamson was run out for nought. My day did not improve from the start I had.


Kane Williamson ‘at the bat’ was my main reason for making another trip to NZ. Williamson pushed firmly to mid-on and set of for a run.  Young at the other end made a mistake that we were taught as kids. When called, and you are at the bowlers end run, don’t look behind. Even worse happened then when the two batters crashed near the bowler’s end and of course Labus had the ball – end of story.


As is their want the home team fought back after the start but this bowling attack is too good when it comes to containing the opposition.  All four fasties took a wicket early and then after some fighting batting from Phillips 71, Henry 42 (a good double so far) and  they were all out for 179 only 5 more than Green made by himself. Nathan Lyon cleaned up the middle order with 4/43 and all other bowlers contributed.


New Zealand trailed by 204 runs and are completely out of the game.


The home crowd cheered every run and cheered even louder when SPD played – on and was out for a duck to Tim Southee, his first wicket of the match.  Tim must have read my story last night.  Now 206 behind with three days to play.


Although extremely disappointed at seeing number 22 fail, a rare treat in itself, I got the chance to talk with many, many people from where I was sitting.  I think this is one of the pleasures at being at The Basin, it is the Mecca in my opinion for meeting people from all countries and all walks of life.


Number 22 came up again when I was talking to a fell octogenarian from Sydney for example.


He asked-  “Who was the best football player you have seen?”


Answer – “Ted Whitten who would have made a zillion dollars in today’s sport. Then Polly,  and Bob Skilton?”


Next question – what about Collingwood?  He does barrack for Sydney but Collingwood always seem to enter a conversation on football. He was also very happy with the Buddy portfolio even though there was no big dividends at the finish.


Me – ” Bobby Rose, number 22, was the best player to come out of the country. Such a wonderful footballer and person , I just loved him when I was a kid”.


He was satisfied with my answer and for the next 20 minutes or so he fired questions about this player and that player as if I was the font of all wisdom on our game.


He travels with his son to cricket Tests around the world which is a wonderful thing to do.


On the other side of us sat a New Zealander wearing a colourful striped jacket, the rainbow effect has triggered something. He said that it seems to becoming very fashionable for cricket clubs in NZ to be wearing stripe jackets as part of their club loyalty. They were there in all shades and shapes, the owners and the jackets.


Saw old footballers from West Gippsland and people from Mildura including James Walder viewing Test number 201.


It would be wondeeful to be paid for just chatting with people like the late grat cricket nut and sometime Yorkshire player Michael Parkinson.


And then there was Christy O’Brien, a friend of Paul Daffey, an august Knacker from the start. Christy lives in Echuca. A former journalist herself and like many of her ilk has seen the light and has started up her own publishing company.  We had so much in common it was weird. I gather her partner was a top footballer but I forgot to ask his name.


On Saturday I will be going live across regional Victoria from the centre pitch with key in hand.  That is how they like it in the land of the long white crowd, everybody is part of the game and the players are not surrounded by body guards who were in fact a bit slow on the uptake when the first naked streaker in a long while made it to the other end of the ground. Followed with the binoculars the whole incident and he was taken through a food stall that’s motto was ‘add spice to your slice’. I will leave to your imagination.



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About Bob Utber

At 84 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he has always done since growing up on a small farm at Lang Lang. Talking, watching and writing sport and in recent years writing books. He lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny) and a groodle named 'Chloe on Flinders' and can be found at Deakin 27 every day.

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