England probably does not think so, but yesterday's effort by
New Zealand at the University Oval in Dunedin made for one of
the great days of test cricket.
And it was so unexpected.
England supporter Alex Dettman (30), of York, holds his
head after being hit by a Hamish Rutherford six at
University Oval in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter
How often did we read in the lead-up to the first test
that the Black Caps were in disarray? That they were sliding
down the world rankings by the nano-second - a second-tier
Well, the New Zealanders dominated and were on the front-foot
against the world's No 2 side for every minute of the day's
A couple of home-town heroes made telling contributions in
front of a big crowd.
Otago pace bowler Neil Wagner took two wickets with his first
three balls to help skittle England's formidable top order.
He finished the day with four wickets for 42 runs.
The South African-born left-armer steamed in on his adopted
home ground. His aggression was palpable and the inswinger he
delivered to Kevin Pietersen to trap him lbw (and set up an
unsuccessful hat trick) won the Oscar for ball of the
Debutant spinner Bruce Martin did the rest with the ball,
taking four for 43 to help dismiss England for a miserly 167.
Then, Otago opener Hamish Rutherford (77), also on debut,
combined with Peter Fulton (46) in an unbroken stand of 131.
The 23-year-old left-hander had earlier taken three catches,
including a stunner at short cover.
He provided headaches for the English off the field, too. A
six he hit - the first of the test - left English cricket
supporter Alex Dettman (30), of York, with a bloody brow.
''I blew my nose, looked up and went `Uh-oh','' Mr Dettman
The ball hit him on left side of his head and left a bloody
graze in his hairline.
Mr Dettman turned down medical attention from concerned St
John ambulance staff so he could keep watching the cricket
and said he enjoyed the day regardless.
''It's like England, but a lot nicer and warmer.''
On the field, while Wagner, Martin and Rutherford will hog
the headlines, Peter Fulton proved he was worthy of a recall
after more than three years' domestic toil; BJ Watling was
slick with the gloves, and Brendon McCullum exhibited
Unbelievably, New Zealand trails by just 36 runs with all 10
first innings wickets intact.
Anything can happen in cricket and there are still three days
to go at the University Oval - but what a day to celebrate
for the home side.
- Additional reporting: Shawn McAvinue/The New Zealand