Wellington, New Zealand
By the third day you’re either used to the journey or sick of it. Maybe both. It is slightly under 4km from hostel to railway station (though the hostel manager reckoned it was 5, which must please those who take it on without benefit of a GPS to set them straight), and I walked in again, this time wandering in to the Basin Reserve before 12. It was busy – I had wondered whether the Blackcaps’ perilous position might have kept people away, but the grassy bank was full of families enjoying the weather. The official temperature of 21 degrees seemed a bit cool in the scorching sun, but I was cold in the shade so I guess they had it right.
The moral of that paragraph is: measurements are good.
By lunch NZ were in trouble, and at 94 for 5, with Corey Anderson out for two and swishing his bat in frustration, I thought it might all be over by tea. The ground PA is loud enough for everyone to hear, but giving career averages for this team doesn’t fill everyone with confidence; I don’t think a batsman in the team has an average over 40. But McCullum and Watling dug in. They were still together when I left at tea. I left, for an ice cream and a train ride home, and they were still together at the close, with New Zealand now 6 runs ahead. 6 for 5 isn’t so good, but with a big partnership taking shape they were in a good position. In fact, at the close the following day, Watling was out after hitting a century, McCullum had another double century and Neesham had hit 67, NZ 325 ahead with 4 wickets to go. They only need a draw to win the series, so no incentive to go crazy, but 325 in a day is already a lot to chase, and with 5 quicks they are in a great position to put pressure on an India side looking to win.
I did the station-hostel walk one last time and was back in time to run along the beach into the sunset. Every one different, hostel manager Barb had told me; frankly tonight’s wasn’t as dramatic as the night before’s red extravaganza, but, well, it’s February and I’m running on the beach in the last of the summer sun. I could live here.