Ball One – Until fatigue understandably overtook him just before lunch, Kane Williamson played a textbook Test innings, riding his luck, defending the good ball and putting away the bad ball. He also worked well with his senior partners, ticking over the scoreboard when Vettori was scratching around early on and taking a back seat when Vettori was established. He reminds this writer of another shortish man who made a ton on debut – Graham Thorpe.
Ball Two – India have progressed to Number One in the Test rankings through a powerhouse batting line-up that builds scoreboard pressure to get wickets. That lack of penetration has become perfectly clear in this match – with five sessions left at the time of writing and the pitch still a road, it’s hard to see how either side can force a result. However, if Test cricket were as predictable as that, it wouldn’t fascinate as has done for 133 years and counting.
Ball Three – It’s a cliché to say that one wicket brings a second, but over three Tests in India these last few weeks, it has never been more true. It’s not just the obvious fact that new batsmen haven’t got their eyes in, but also that captains and fielders attack more in the period after a wicket and set batsmen can become nervous. These factors all appear to be in play in producing clatters of wickets after periods in which little seemed to be happening.
Ball Four – Martin Guptill isn’t even in the New Zealand XI, but he made something happen in sprawling full length in the field and backhanding the ball to a very alert Daniel Vettori who effected the run out of Virender Sehwag. Good athleticism and even better concentration from the substitute.
Ball Five – Test cricket demands respect. Not so long ago, draws were commonplace, but bold is the man who predicts a draw these days. The game has its mysteries still, and the more one watches, the less one knows – unscripted drama indeed!
Ball Six – Chris Martin looks like a typical seamer of the type that have always been produced by the greenish pitches of cricket’s two wettest, cloudiest environments – England and New Zealand. They are not supposed to travel well, with pace, reverse swing and hard spun slow bowling favoured elsewhere in the world. But if a bowler keeps on asking questions of batsmen, sometimes the answers won’t be forthcoming. And the celebrated Indian top order couldn’t answer Chris Martin today.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.