16th over: New Zealand 45-1 (Raval 10, Williamson 18) Curran drifts wide of leg stump and Williamson tucks in and the ball bobbles over the square leg boundary. All grist to Williamson’s mill, he has had a surprisingly lean time of it in Tests since the summer’s World Cup.
15th over: New Zealand 40-1 (Raval 10, Williamson 13) And Root turns to Leach, who is wearing a big 77 on his back and wrap around sunglass over his eyes. He trills in, arms wheeling. Raval stretches forward, repeatedly, until the last ball which whisks in sharply , beats Raval and just misses by a whisker hitting leg stump. Actually, no, I think it hits leg stump but the bails remain in place. Slip and keeper have their hands on their head, Raval smiles sheepishly.
14th over: New Zealand 39-1 (Raval 10, Williamson 12) A maiden from Curran, and Raval dances with fate midway through after raising his bat and watching the ball zip past his off stump. He survives, and probably only a couple more overs left to see out till tea.
13th over: New Zealand 39-1 (Raval 10, Williamson 12) The wind ruffles Williamson’s shirt, but he remains unruffled. And that’s a just lip-smackingly gorgeous common or garden jab for four off Archer. He’s your best friend’s mysterious, kind, yet untouchable older brother.
12th over: New Zealand 34-1 (Raval 9, Williamson 8) More skiddy Curran in the last 15 minutes of this session. He tries a few outswingers, pitches it up but Raval and Williamson pat it away. Are they dreaming of tea yet? My brother in Auckland sent me a photo last week of his local pie shop which sold a spagetti bolognaise pie. There are no words.
11th over: New Zealand 33-1 (Raval 8, Williamson 8) Archer zings one through Raval’s defenses before sending a ridiculously bouncy short ball soaring way over Buttler’s head and down to the boundary for four byes.
It is lunch at Australia v Pakistan, with Australia sandwiching at 100-0, a fifty for Davey Warner who chews and spits in the face of this summer’s ashes.
10th over: New Zealand 28-1 (Raval 8, Williamson 8) So homeboy Williamson breathes in the air of his surf town and rises up his toes and defensively prods Curran off the hind leg and over the boundary for four. Classic Williamson, unshowy class. I wonder how many English kids who were as multi-talented at all sports as Williamson was as a boy would have chosen cricket above all else? I think Chris Woakes was a very good footballer… and Jonny Bairstow a fantastic rugby player…
9th over: New Zealand 22-1 (Raval 6, Williamson 8) Ah, so that bit of jiggery pokery by Root was to bring Archer on at the other end, where he delivers a nicely angled over.
8th over: New Zealand 18-1 (Raval 6, Williamson 0) I still can’t quite work out what happened there, on the third replay it turns out it might have been a good decision after all, being a mixture of bat hitting pad, ball hitting pad and ball hitting bat. And the barmy army trumpeter blast out The Archers theme tune.
WICKET! Latham lbw Sam Curran 8
And the golden arm of Sammy Curran does the business again. Three balls into his first over and the ball strikes the front pad and Latham decides not to review..but eeek, replays seem to show the ball hitting the bat just before the bad…. anyway, he’s out and Kane Williamson
walks, modestly, to the middle.
7th over: New Zealand 18-0 (Raval 6, Latham 8) Oooh risky stuff from Raval who awkwardly pushes forward at Broad and the ball whisks airily through between back pad and stumps. Two balls later and he rather toe-ends a drive for four. And an email from Brian Withingon pings into my inbox!
Stuart Broad’s first three overs have me idly wondering what the Test record is for a run-less opening spell? But not enough to try looking it up …
Someone out there is just dying to tell us…
6th over: New Zealand 13-0 (Raval 2, Latham 7) Ok, so that Archer over passed so quickly that I can’t describe a ball. A maiden without incident should cover it.
5th over: New Zealand 13-0 (Raval 2, Latham 7) A Broad maiden, and one that perhaps significantly features some low bounce seemingly from nowhere. Something to get the batsmen’s juices flowing. And while the slips jog up towards the other end, can I just throw a hello out there to Mark in Sheffield and anyone who is listening to the OBO through their computer. I met a man at the West Lancashire Cricket Society yesterday who told me that a friend’s son, who is blind, listens to the OBO through his computer that talks to him. Sometimes modern technology is ace!
4th over: New Zealand 13-0 (Raval 2, Latham 7) Archer starts his liquid approach to the wicket, which always carries the potential to pin his victims to the stumps. New Zealand nudge five from the over with a tuck here and a scamper there. No imminent danger on show that over which gives me time to wonder rather pathetically how many months we’ll have to wait till we feel the sun again. It looks so good.
3rd over: New Zealand 8-0 (Raval 1, Latham 3) Thanks Daniel, and sweet dreams. Good godforsaken hour of the morning to those of you in the UK and hello there to everyone else. It is looking gorgeous out there in New Zealand. Stuart Broad has his hands on his hips at the end of his run and he’s looking pretty ruddy already. A maiden.
2nd over: New Zealand 8-0 (Raval 1, Latham 3) Archer lopes in with minimum effort and maximum prejudice, back of a length, and Latham defends, then ducks under a bumper. Four byes follow, one pitching, swinging, lifting, and Buttler moves across Root to push it away. Much better from Archer next up but Latham squirts away three into the off side – I’m not sure that was the plan – and a single follows. England’s openers haven’t quite located their straps.
Anyway, that’s us; Tanya Aldred will coax you through the rest of the day. Ta-ra.
1st over: New Zealand 0-0 (Raval 0, Latham 0) The ladz sing Jerusalem complete with actions; it’s extremely moving, I can tell you, but not as moving as the applause for it – by its singers – at its end. Broad starts from around – Raval, like Latham, is a lefty – but he’s pushing towards the stumps rather than the corridor, and a harmless maiden gives us Jofra.
“An excellent alternative commentary can be found on iheart radio,” tweets Garrett Wong. “Search for alternative commentary collective @TheACCnz”.
That’s a decent show from both teams. England should have got more, but haven’t made as many away from home since 2017. New Zealand dropped a few, but if you lose the toss and field, being well in the game when you go into bat is acceptable.
WICKET! Broad b Wagner 1 (England all out 353)
Short ones, a full one, Broad plays on. You know the koo.
123rd over: England 353-9 (Leach 18, Broad 1) A quiet over with one run from it; Broad gets off the mark with an edge.
“Spent ages on the Amiga trying ‘MUTHA****ENKIWIB*STARDS”’for the infinite lives cheat,” emails Alex McGillivray. Turned out to be ‘FLUFFYKIWIS’.”
122nd over: England 352-9 (Leach 18, Broad 0) Can’t be many number 11s with a Test best of 169. Wagner tries the usual plan to Broad, short then full, and they take a bye before Leach edges four. That takes England past 350 and, it is thought, everything from here is above par. Is it possible for a team to have a specialist tailender because I can’t see Leach doing a whole lot of bowling.
WICKET! Buttler c Santner b Wagner 43 (England 347-9)
I don’t know about this – England were doing fine when Buttler decided to start waving the bat, and he does so again, picking out the man on the point fence. Though, in his defence, until just before the ball was bowled, Santner was over the boundary signing autographs – he had to race back to make the catch so it’s possible the batsman didn’t think there was a fielder there.
121st over: England 346-8 (Buttler 43, Leach 14) Buttler gets another life! He gets bored and toes an attempted something into the covers where Raval thinks Nicholls is going because he lines his hands up, and when Nicholls doesn’t go, he goes and doesn’t get his hands under it. Southee is unamused and they run two, then two more into the offside before four are whacked into the covers! A decisive over thus becomes an expensive one.
Talking of New Zealand, anyone remember this?
120th over: England 337-8 (Buttler 34, Leach 14) Buttler looks to force the issue but doesn’t get proper hold of a clip and pull. Nor does he get hold of a paddle that squirts to deep backward square; they run one, and the strike stays where England want it.
“At the risk of heresy, is it time to consider imposing a fielding restriction in test cricket as well as in limited overs?” asks Brian Withington. “A minimum of say 2-3 in the ring, at least for the last two wickets of an innings?”
I don’t think so; it’s ok for the game to move slowly for a bit. The most significant factors here aren’t the fielders either, I don’t think, but the Kookaburra ball and the dry pitch.
119th over: England 336-8 (Buttler 33, Leach 14) Southee gets some late movement into Leach, a similar ball to the one that got Curran, but Leach gets into a better position, on middle and in a line. He turns to backward square for one, then Buttler does likewise to point; this is going nicely for England now, sedate progress before Latham and Raval have to face the small matter of Jofra Archer.
“There is live radio commentary on radiosport.co.nz,” emails Ben Mimmack, “which is accessible to overseas listeners in the US at least.”
Thanks – I’d try to find it on TuneIn Radio too.
118th over: England 334-8 (Buttler 32, Leach 13) A leg bye gets Leach off strike immediately, and the boundary riders go out for Buttler; I doubt he’ll mind bunting it around though, and he shouldn’t. There’s not much going on and his partner looks solid, so he can “just bat”. Wagner then slings down a full bunger and Buttler chops it towards the fence, but picks out the sweeper and they have to make do with a brace.
117th over: England 331-8 (Buttler 30, Leach 13) Southee, who’s bowled well so far – it looks like Ferguson will take Wagner’s place at Hamilton – starts us off. Buttler takes one to mid off, then Leach drives to point, and England won’t mind that. They’re close enough to a decent total to cover the remaining distance slowly.
“Youngster Naseem steaming in at over 90mph for his first over at the Gabba,” emails Brian Withington, “looks very promising. Warner and Burns off to a quick start though.”
He looks amazing on Twitter, which is the main thing.
At the Gabba, Nassem Shah – on debut, aged 16 – has the ball. Pah – at that age, some of us were spending all our money on CDs, cider and Embassy No1.
“Bumble and Ward look like they are having the time of their life on location in a stunning New Zealand,” says someone watching on sly at work. “Quick question, where do Rob Key and the like obtain blazers that sports pundits wear on tv? They are a boxy grey/white dot matrix style force of nature. I’m no fashion expert but I’ve never seen one in a shop and if your friend wore one when you met them you may have a fit. God I wish I was in New Zealand right now.”
My parents actually are in New Zealand now, and have managed to avoid cricket at every juncture. As for the blazers, I can only imagine someone has a cache of them, marked “Barmitzvah attire 1984-1988”.
So, that was New Zealand’s morning. England started beautifully but then lost a flurry of wickets, and by the look of it will be dismissed for a total with which both sides can work. See you in 35 or so.
116th over: England 329-8 (Buttler 29, Leach 12) Yup, one more over, and it’ll be Santner with it. I can’t see there’ll be much turn out there, and he doesn’t do enough with the ball to force it. Every time I see a something like this I think of Graeme Swann, and how rare he was: a spinner who got first innings wickets – and, of course, also contributed some of the most hilarious #bantz cricket has ever seen. Maiden.
115th over: England 329-8 (Buttler 29, Leach 12) Buttler’s had enough of the patting around, so slams a half-volley back over Boult’s head for six; Boult retorts with a wide. We might just get in one more over before lunch…
“Leach is the most exciting tailender in Test cricketing history since Jason Gillespie, period,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “Long live the Taunton Tendulkar!”
It’s a shame we don’t get to see him bat against the Burnley Lara – I bet he’d do better than the Mumbai original.
114th over: England 322-8 (Buttler 23, Leach 12) If these two can take England towards 350, they’ll feel like every run is a bonus run. And there’s fair reason to think they can do that – the ball isn’t doing loads and there’s not much natural variation either, though Buttler then chucks a cross bat at one, which goes into the ground and to the keeper. The he stretches for a wide one and slices a single to third man, bringing Leach onto strike. Good luck, lads.
113th over: England 321-8 (Buttler 22, Leach 12) Boult takes the globule and will hurl it into the wind; Buttler deflects one to mid on. What a strange session this has been, like three sessions in one: England scoring freely, England decimated, an even contest.
112th over: England 320-8 (Buttler 21, Leach 12) Buttler spots Wagner’s knuckleball and lets it go by – the field is spread for him because they’re not really trying to get him out. Problem being that Leach is actually hard to get out too. Strange tactic, I’d say, and Buttler adds a single.
111th over: England 319-8 (Buttler 20, Leach 12) Colin returns, and begins with a high bouncer that’s called wide, then Buttler dabs into the off side and ambles one. Colin then goes around to Leach, who very carefully fences two through gully.
110th over: England 315-8 (Buttler 19, Leach 10) A leg slip and a short leg suggest Leach is getting some glasses music, but as if that matters to the Little Schoolmaster. He plays out a maiden with relative ease; Buttler will now be allowed a turn.
109th over: England 315-8 (Buttler 19, Leach 10) Jack Leachards hogging the strike here! He sees away five dots, then drives to cover where a dive prevents what might’ve been a boundary and they run one/
108th over: England 314-8 (Buttler 19, Leach 9) If you accept that tail-end runs are one of the greatest things going, Leach bats like an absolute dream – sometimes, nurdles are more amusing than swipes. He turns three around the corner, the only runs from the over.
107th over: England 311-8 (Buttler 19, Leach 6) Oh have a look! The field is spread, but when you’re Jos Butler it doesn’t always matter, and he suddenly lifts Southee over mid on for a one-bounce four. That looked so easy. In commentary, they reckon this is a decent score, and also that England’s bowlers will bowl well in this track. The question, really, is how few they can get Williamson for, but back in the middle a single and a leg bye arrive before Buttler sidles across to open the face and send four to deep backward point. He can always get himself out, but hasn’t looked in any trouble at all so far.
106th over: England 301-8 (Buttler 10, Leach 6) Wagner into the attack, which is, of course, no problem for Leach. Maiden.
“I see from my Sent Box that it’s been months since I emailed you in July, and nearly two years since my 03:49 m missive during Ashes turmoil in Australia,” says Brian Withingron. “Have I been lazy, or you reclusive? Anyway, great to see you compering the OBO again and expanding the repertoire with words like chleanses and mechaye – back in July it was meshuggenery that had me reaching for the dictionary. Meanwhile it’s turning towards a verkakte session for England…”
I am the world’s foremost expert in the vernacular of Jewish north London, 1988-1997. England did what they’re doing now for absolutely all of then
105th over: England 301-8 (Buttler 10, Leach 6) The one who’ll be proper vex with himself is Pope, who gave his wicket away. Anyway Leach flows four through extra cover; of course he does, and then nabs one to long leg.
“TMS link unfortunately doesn’t exist for overseas listeners when England are playing away,” says Richard Harman. “If the button isn’t visible for you on the BBC live cricket page then you can’t listen to TMS … said Richard with feeling….”
Eeek. “Perhaps tell Nel Smith (101st over) that there’s fine coverage at @guerillacricket on TuneIn, YouTube, Simple Radio, Facebook and http://Guerillacricket.com,” says @markzip.
104th over: England 295-8 (Buttler 10, Leach 1) New Zealand are going to regret bringing Leach to the wicket – he’s been promoted above Broad, which definitely makes sense given there’s a batsman still out there and probably in any event. Leach immediately goes for a Red Bull single, but Nicholls shies at Buttler’s stumps and misses. What’s mad about this morning is that not long ago, New Zealand looked in trouble; then they took four for 18 in 3.1 overs.
WICKET! Archer c Southee b Bould (England 295-8)
You’ve got to absolutely rattle your entire corporeality laughing, you really do. Archer can’t decide what to do with a straight one then eventually decides to edge it to slip. England are magic.
104th over: England 295-7 (Buttler 9, Archer 4) Buttler takes one to midwicket then Archer opens the face and, though Santner chases it down and gets his hands off the ball as he crashes over the rope, he drops it outside the boundary.
103rd over: England 290-7 (Buttler 9, Archer 0) Here we go and it’s not a bad one, beating Archer who moves across to flick it around and misses … but winds up with four byes added to the total.
This is now a great morning for New Zealand! England are absolutely Englanding, and that’s drinks – after which Archer will face Southee’s hat-trick ball…
WICKET! Curran lbw b Southee 0 (England 286-6)
Curran gets a first-baller! This is “very adjacent”, the ball swinging in and catching him so dead he’s almost reincarnated. Curran reviews because, well, um…