New Zealand v India, Basin Reserve, Wellington, February 2014
As this 100 days is closing, I am running out of content. There is a logic to me including this year’s Football United Tour of Australia and New Zealand by English Premiership clubs Newcastle United and my beloved West Ham United. I have the ticket, I took the ride… but West Ham were so, so pathetic I am vetoing what should have been a crowning appearance of theirs in this 100 days. Instead I am picking my gruelling spectatorly efforts on the Basin Reserve embankment upon Day 3 of the 2nd Test against India. Short story: New Zealand had surrendered a lead of 240+ runs to the freely scoring Indians after the teams’ first innings. At the start of Day 3 we were 24/1. The Doom Merchants were loving it. Yet, as Lars (the only Danish cricket fan I know) and I headed along that day, I clearly remember saying (delusionally) that we only needed a double ton from B Mac, and someone like Williamson or Watling to get another 100+ and we might be able to scrounge a draw. Even as I said it, I realised what utter fantasy it was. By lunch, when McCullum took the crease, New Zealand were 87/4 and it looked hopeless. Yet, Baz and his second partener Watling began a gritty, determinatined, stubborn resistance so that by drinks NZ were 213/5. By stumps, McCullum had his century and Watling a fifty, and we were 252/5. Each of these milestones, and ultimately the end of the days play brought rousing cheers from the smallish crowd. This was Test Cricket at its finest, in the sun on a Sunday – not exciting, not comfortable viewing, not even very optimistic. The efforts of those two that day set up an array of records to fall on Day 4. The beauty of Test Cricket is that New Zealand fans celebrate that day in a match that was drawn. When the crowds flocked in to the Basin Reserve on Monday morning to see Brendan McCullum get his Triple Century, that is the only moment that mattered out of five days of graft. For me though, I remember that foundation effort the day before, in front of a much smaller crowd willing them on, hoping for the seemingly impossible. Bloody brilliant day. Part of sporting history.