So wrote the NZ Herald’s inhouse grump Chris Rattue after the first two days of the first test at Mount Maunganui,

Of any human activity ever invented Chris of all people should know that nothing matches test cricket for the fat lady singing adage to apply.

And so it proved. With less than four sessions to go and a draw seeming inevitable, the Kiwis then delivered a massacre level thrilling innings and 65 runs victory.

I looked in vain at today’s Herald for an egg-on-face Rattue retraction. Silly me. Journalists, at least with New Zealand newspapers, never apologise for their blunders, and let’s face it, that was a king-size bad call.


I love test cricket, especially in comparison to the limited overs versions which are forgettable froth. Guys like BJ Watling eeking out 2 runs an over for hour after hour, or Neil Wagner putting in 30+ overs as the third seamer, all in the hope and anticipation of a great finish some four days in the future are why purists love tests. The pay off, if and when it comes, is outstanding. Like a great symphony compared to the quick fix of a three minute rock song. Who cares about losing an ODI, even a World Cup final when you win a test line that!

But I can understand why it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and sadly, despite good quality test matches worldwide lately, the format is struggling for an audience. Plenty don’t have the time or inclination to train themselves for the potential pay-off. Hence Rattue – who is usually a breath of fresh air with different and forthright opinions where most of his colleagues are bland regurgitators of player and coaches’ self-serving quotes – is fair enough with his opinion. He speaks for many, irrespective of the way the last day turned out.

A fantastic test match. Watling must now be seen as one of the all time great test wicketkeeper batsmen. Only Flower and Gilchrist average more for keepers who have played over 50 tests. The test was a triumph for Santner too, after many doubted his selection and de Grandhomme played a crucial controlled innings when England expected him to slog out. A key to New Zealand’s test success over the past 5 years has been Wagner – his ability to make players uncomfortable and get wickets out of nowhere is unparalleled. I think he’s been more important than Boult.

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