Ball One – As has been the pattern in the Tests against Australia, India’s first hour in the field was low intensity stuff, with misfields and general sloppiness the order of the day. But, again following the pattern in the Australian Tests, once the breakthrough came, India were quick to seize the initiative and one wicket brought a second. Quite why India are such slow starters is hard to explain, but their record suggests that they are not hurt by it.
Ball Two – There’s a lot of old-fashioned cricket being played in this match, which pleases this writer. Perhaps the most old-fashioned aspect of the day was Brendon McCullum’s dismissal, drawn forward by Pragyan Ojha who then beat the outside edge for MS Dhoni to effect the stumping. Unlike many of his batsmen-keeper glovemen, Dhoni merely rocked back rather than stepped back which allowed him to whip off the bails quickly. With television showing how much time is lost in gathering the ball and removing the bails in run outs, I’m surprised more isn’t made of keepers’ footwork in stumpings.
Ball Three – One of the many threats to Test cricket is that players growing up playing mainly T20 and one-day cricket will never learn how to build a Test innings. Those fears will recede a little if the considered play of relative youngsters Taylor, Ryder and Williamson is indicative of the new generation of Test batsmen.
Ball Four – Test cricket needs good umpires and, on debut in this match, in Kumar Dharmasena, it may have found one. So far he has got every decision right, including some very tight calls. As importantly, he has radiated calm, not seeking the attention that some of his longer serving colleagues court so assiduously.
Ball Five – Kane Williamson has a laughable bowling action that will soon be referred for reconstruction, but, fortunately, his batting looks easily enough for him to build a long career as an international cricketer. Founded on a solid technique, his concentration, as befits a man with a top score of 192, is excellent. The lad has what it takes to go far and Daniel Vettori has a successor in waiting as batsman and (possibly) captain, if not spinner.
Ball Six – Jesse Ryder has had a troubled start to his international career, but his talent is huge. Until recently, so was his stomach, but with the booze forsook for some time, he looks fitter, if not yet fit and may realise his vast potential yet. I hope so, as he is an exciting cricketer who makes things happen.
You can find the Tooting Trumpet at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.