Cricket: Dylan Cleaver – Five takeaways from day two of second test between Black Caps and Pakistan

Dylan Cleaver provides five takeaways from day two of the second test between the Black Caps and Pakistan.

Wagner Sorely Missed

A small but vociferous corner of the Hagley Oval crowd was finding it difficult to move on from Neil Wagner and his broken toes.

To the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean”, one punter launched into a passionate rendition of “Bring Back My Wagner To Me”, which was followed by “There’s Only One Neil Wagner”, which seamlessly morphed into “Walking in a Wagner Wonderland”.

As we’ve said before, a national treasure.

Generation Next

A friend once said that when you live in Wellington they ask you where you work, in Dunedin they ask you where you come from, in Auckland they ask you what suburb you live in and in Christchurch they ask you what school you went to.

Four of Christchurch’s educational bastions were represented in this test: Matt Henry went to St Bede’s College, Tom Latham attended Christchurch Boys’ High, Henry Nicholls is an old boy of St Andrew’s College and coach Gary Stead is a former deputy head boy of Shirley Boys’ High.

In Stead’s 1st XI team was Nathan Astle, and Craig McMillan would soon follow. McMillan’s son, Mitch, however, has switched allegiance and was recently wicketkeeper-batsman for the CBHS side that won the Gillette Cup, the symbol of school cricket supremacy.

Doubting Toms

The point was made in Mt Maunganui about opener Tom Blundell’s atypical stats that have him averaging much more when he bats for a second time (49) in a test than the first (32.55). Given that, it’s probably not surprising that he and Tom Latham have yet to combine for one of those innings-defining opening partnerships that can set up a test – a la Greenidge and Haynes or Langer and Hayden.

In the seven times they have batted together in the team’s first innings, they have yet to pass 68, but sometimes the numbers don’t match the eye test. Both looked in great touch in getting the team through to 52 and it was a genuine surprise to see them both dismissed on that score.

Expensive Toy

A kid in the crowd was mightily impressed by Spark’s new remote-control, gyroscopic camera that is mounted on what looks like a mini Mars Rover. He asked his old man if he could buy him one. The dad looks at the kid and said it’d be nice but he didn’t have a spare $5000. “Try $200,000,” said a Spark technician who overheard the conversation.

Outfield Of Dreams

Cricket tragics like to obsess over 22 yards of close-cut grass but often overlook the expanse of green beyond the wicket block. At the risk of earning the opprobrium of Karl Johnson, Jared Carter and Hagen Faith, Hagley Oval has topped the pops in terms of presentation and value for shots. Rupert Bool, like all other groundsmen around the country during this fickle summer, has had limited preparation time, but he’s produced a lovely piece of lawn.

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