03:10 – That’s tea in Dunedin, Cook & Compton are still there and the scoreboard reads 139-0. The run rate is only 2.8 but then that really doesn’t matter. Both batsmen had a pretty torrid time of it with the new ball. Boult, Wagner & Southee were all getting a touch of movement in the air and off the pitch, enough to beat the bat on numerous occasions, but the edges wouldn’t come. After lunch there was a period of ten overs when the run rate crept up to 4.2, but the runs dried up when Martin, the left-arm spinner, came on. There’s nothing in the pitch for him, but his line & length have been consistently good and he’s varied his pace well. Neither batsman is prepared to take the least chance with him.
Compton impresses me. He doesn’t have the Rolls Royce elegance of an Ian Bell (very few batsmen do) but he looks solid and very cool. Several times I noticed that, in avoiding bouncers, all he did was to move his head back an inch or two, so he must be picking the length early. One ball got very big on him very late, but even then he kept his eyes on it as it zipped past the end of his nose.
The bowling has been consistently tight and the NZ body language still looks good. McCullum has tried everything with his bowlers and his field placements, but he’s finding – as Cook did yesterday – that there’s simply bugger all in it.
In short, there’s not a lot actually happening but it all adds up to an intriguing session of Test cricket. 188-0 and 17 overs left in the day.
The unqualified good news is that Bumble has arrived in the commentary box.