Day 1, Dunedin

Pakistan won the toss and rightly decided to bowl first. It’s early morning for viewers in India and the sight of that lively pitch swept away the residual sleep in my eyes.Mohammad Aammer couldn’t have hoped for a better start. Tim McIntosh would have hardly expected such a full first ball and that was an unfortunate dismissal for him. Also proved that you need to be off your toes right from the word GO. Both Asif and Aameer maintained a testing line and made good use of the seam movement that was available. They kept asking questions and made the batsmen play as much as possible. Usually, bowlers from the sub-continent while touring New Zealand get carried away by the zip on offer and bowl wide and erratic lines.
Daniel Flynn was a victim of that seam movement and any batsman needs good fortune to survive those deliveries. Guptill looked really determined for a long knock and both Taylor and Guptill ensured there wasn’t any further damage to the top order.
I cannot remember too many overpitched balls in the opening spell and cover drives were a rarety. Scoring opportunities were few and the odd push to the on side helped the score board tickle. It took a while for the straight drives to come out. Guptill left as many balls as possible. He takes all credit for saving NZ’s face today. Ross Taylor started off quite cautiously but did provide a few chances.

Umer Gul started off with a few short balls but soon hit back of a length consistently.Asif and Aameer were a little fuller and were always looking like taking a wicket. Guptill is one of the strongest pullers in the game and one rare short ball produced the shot he was probably itching to play.It was far from the middle of the bat and fine leg couldn’t latch on to the chance. Earlier, Imran Farhat dropped a difficult chance at slip off Guptill. I say difficult even in test level because the ball flew real quick in an awkward height and looked like it was swinging in the air.Apart from these two chances,
Guptill looked solid. He played as straight as possible and that was the order of the day. As expected Ajmal was picked ahead of Kaneria. He was on the money today but well set batsmen can negotiate him with ease in pitches like these.He was treated with caution though and was presented with the full straight bat for as much as possible. Guptill’s strong shot ( the pull) could be tested at test level and his strength could prove to be his weakness if not treated with
the required temperament.

As lunch approached Taylor exhibited some arrogant cuts and the run rate improved quickly. Taylor was uncomfortable with the short stuff and wasn’t watching the ball. He struggled with his timing early on but Im pleased he ended up making a significant contribution today. Gul’s tussle with Taylor from around the wicket with short pitched bowling was a treat to watch.

I thought the pitched eased out nicely after lunch and there was help for both batsmen and the bowlers. New Zealand would be disappointed it couldn’t build on tall from the Taylor-Guptill partnership.Fulton and Elliot missed out. McCullum and Vettori should prove to be tough nuts to crack for Pakistan tomorrow and the pair did well to see through to stumps. Dan already has 40 runs to his name and if these too can carry on for another hour or more, it’s
advantage NZ. Pakistan can’t afford to provide free runs to McCullum and they should try to stifle him. Anything above 350 would be a great cushion for Bond and Vettori. I expected Tuffey to make the eleven ahead of O Brien but that looked like good and sensible selection.

I’d say its honours even at stumps on day 1.Looking forward to 350+ from NZ and then some fire from Shane Bond.

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4 Comments on “Day 1, Dunedin”

  1. vishwanath Says:

    when i spoke to u over phone i hadn’t seen one ball of today’s play………. i got everythin about aameer rite including his yorker……… great coincidence i should tell u…….great game on the cards……..was good readin ur blog…..better than the cricinfo report

  2. KK Says:

    I like Saeed Ajmal – I think he’s capable of posing questions to batsmen on any kind of wicket. Chap bowls with really teasing loop and his drifter is a joy to watch, kind of like Saqlain in the early days.
    Far better bowler on batting-friendly wickets than Harbhajan for sure.
    I like Kaneria too, but I think his problems stem from the fact that he isn’t an expansive enough personality and doesn’t have as much confidence in himself as he should. A good sports psychologist could fire him back to life. Otherwise, his bowling has all the raw material a leg spinner needs.

  3. ragz Says:

    whoa buddy,
    not gettin the time to cover the ind-SL series??? you could have some serious fun with the quality of commentry…I am officially in love with Gavaskar.

    • SJK Says:

      dead indian pitches and that commentary go together. its a blessing in disguise that ind-SL takes place during work hours.


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