LIVE COVERAGE: Black Caps’ final game ever – Day 1

Picture not representative of actual test cricket attendance.

Picture not representative of actual test cricket attendance.

Today, the Black Caps begin Day 1 of their final match ever. After a series of recent performances, the team has unanimously agreed to disband forever, and just go back to their normal lives. Follow along throughout the day as we provide live updates and commentary from Seddon Park in Hamilton.

New updates posted the top, so be sure to check back often, and read from the bottom up!

South Africa – 1st Innings – 123/4

4:51pm: It’s stopped raining at the ground but there still won’t be any play as, according to match officials, the rain has made things wet.

4:22pm: Wait, never mind. That was a highlight from a different game. Still raining.

22.1: de Grandhomme to du Plessis. He drives on the up, straight to Kane Williamson, who takes the catch! He’s gone!

4:02pm: Rain is a part of every great test match, and rest assured, Hamilton dishes up rain like the best of them. The rain here at Seddon Park is truly ideal rain for a ground like this. These are perfect playing conditions for not playing in, and a jubilant crowd of 14 agrees.

41.0: The dark spectre of racism has returned and the shadow has brought about horrific memories of the Apartheid regime that have scared the South Africans off the ground. Neil Wagner seems unperturbed, wanting to play on, but Oxenford and Tucker have called players off the field.

We’ll return in about 20 minutes to commentate rain.

38.2: Spectators at the ground left in the dark as TV viewers learn where Ian Smith gets his pizza from when he stays in Hamilton.

37.1: Commentary box has now gone a full three minutes without discussing how short Bavuma is. Awkward tension building over who will bring it up again.

33.5: de Grandhomme to Amla. Swings in and Amla misjudges it worse than his own facial hair. He’s gone, and Kane breathes a sigh of relief; he doesn’t have to do anything for another 20 overs.

Enter Temba Bavuma.

32.0: Amla brings up his 50. Neil Wagner approaches Williamson to ask if maybe they should try something different than the seven pre-set fields from Cricket for Dummies.

“Nah,” says Kane. “This is fine.”

31.0: Kane returns to the field, shaking his head and shrugging at his men. It’s bad news.

30.1: Kane Williamson has left the field. It is believed he’s asking coach Mike Hesson to strip him of the captaincy.

28.5: We’re back, and Kane has demanded another review he doesn’t have. Wagner to du Plessis. Straight off the middle of the bat. Bruce Oxenford refers the decision upstairs out of sympathy, and once again, not out. To be fair to the New Zealanders, it may have been, if the ICC had implemented the much-discussed bat-before-wicket rule.

Lunch – Day 1: Boy, what a morning we’ve had. There was some real cricket that happened, which is great, because that’s the game we’re playing. Kane Williamson really stuffed the toss, and has already used both New Zealand’s reviews, one to overturn a decision in his favour. That’s just the kind of great leader he is.

It’s really hard to pick highlights from that first session, as there weren’t any.

26.4: Light drizzle threatens the playing condition of Kane Williamson’s fragile beard, so we’re taking an early lunch here at Seddon Park, the possible birthplace of Richard Seddon.

24.2: Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker discuss whether to call an early lunch because they’re bored.

23.4: Henry to Duminy. Distracted by the ever-looming spectre of racism, Duminy attempts slashing at it with his bat. Top-edges the ball and it doesn’t go high enough, instead being caught by Jeetan Patel at fine leg.

A tragic tale like so many before his; in an attempt to take on racism, he’s accidentally picked out the Indian. Shame on you, JP Duminy.

The captain, Faf du Plessis, takes to the field.

22.0: Dark cloud begins to loom over the ground. Umpires looking concerned, but groundsmen assure them it’s not rain, but rather the dark spectre of racism that plagues the future of our world.

21.2: Quick tip for young cricketers: it takes only 10 no balls to incapacitate an entire opponent’s batting lineup.

20.0: With 20 overs passed, Amla is on 28, Duminy 19, and New Zealand selectors pat themselves on the back, telling each other that 53/2 would be a “quite bad” T20 score.

17.4: Kane attempts to waste another review, but is told he has none left.

14.3: We have entered the slow early-middle-overs period of the day where commentators have begun talking about where they went for dinner last night, and whose outdoor barbeque setup is best.

10.1: Neil Wager to JP Duminy. Ball angles in and crashes into his pads on about middle stump. Looks out. Umpire gives him. He’s gone! New Zealand celebrates. Kane mistakes celebration for appeal. Kane reviews the out decision.

3rd Umpire says not out. Decision overturned. Duminy stays.

6.4: Henry half-a-ball to Amla. Ball hits the pitch and just sits there. Cries of frustration from the field. Kane Williamson in gully misinterprets and calls for a review.

3rd Umpire says not out.

6.2: Awkward scenes as meth-affected umpires refuse to acknowledge the need for a new ball. “Looks fine to me,” says Bruce Oxenford, holding half a ball in his hand. Matt Henry forced to continue bowling with half a ball.

3.1: de Grandhomme to Elgar. de Grandhomme cleverly splits the ball in two upon release. One half swings outward. Elgar nicks it to the keeper. The other half clips off stump and Elgar has lost two wickets in one delivery. He won’t be allowed to bat next innings.

JP Duminy to the middle.

2.1: Stephen Cook is swiftly unmasked after an outside edge carries to Tom Latham in the slips. Latham knows how to take such catches early in an innings because he is himself an expert at placing those shots.

Hashim Amla comes out to the middle roughly when he expected to.

0.0: Dean Elgar will open the batting along with Stephen Cook in disguise with a clearly fake name “TB de Bruyn” – a blatant attempt to circumvent his deselection.

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11:19am: Coin has landed and killed a spectator by passing through his entire body at incredible speed. South Africa have won the toss, and will bat first.

11:13am: Coin still hasn’t come down. Faf du Plessis has offered to lose the toss by default so the game can commence, but Kane has declined.

11:10am: Ten minutes later, the toss is still ongoing after Kane Williamson flipped the coin too hard and it got caught in an updraft, sending it high into the upper-atmosphere.

10:45am: Umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker have just spent the last several minutes snorting the field, and say they feel “fucking excellent.”

The toss will occur at 11am.

10:30am: No rain, but the toss has been delayed this morning following methamphetamine contamination of the outfield.

Hamilton’s own Simon Doull says not to worry, as this isn’t unusual for the ground.

“You do get a little bit of this in Hamilton,” he says. “Par for the course, really. When the wind blows in from the North, you get a little bit of that – what we call P spray – just coming in over the hills. It’ll linger for a while, and a few people will get high – possibly permanently addicted – and then it’ll clear, and we should be able to get on with the game.”

A pitch inspection is scheduled for 10:43am.