Fighting the Flab

As at least one person a bit better qualified than me (they were there) and a bit quicker off the mark (they didn't have to go to work in a job that doesn't involve writing about cricket before getting to watch the highlights) has said already, the first day in Hamilton was good for the soul. You can have all the batting fests you want, but really, virtually anybody who appreciates the five-day game prefers a more even contest between bat and ball. This we almost got, although, outside the Ryder-Vettori partnership, the ball dominated.

As I've said before, in a strictly New Zealand context, Daniel Vettori is a great cricketer, while the fantastically flabby Jesse Ryder, all power and timing, is going to be around for a long time if he keeps his head together.

From yesterday, though, I'd like to mention two things. Firstly, the hugely impressive way that James Franklin took a poor decision, suffered in the worst imaginable circumstances.

And, secondly, Munaf Patel, a bowler I really liked when he played his first Tests against England three years ago but who's spent the intervening period going nowhere in particular. Now he looks fit, his pace has been stripped back but his action and rhythm have more than a little bit of McGrath about them. Knowing him he may not be able to maintain it but right now he looks like a great foil for Zaheer and Ishant.

The second day's play starts in less than half an hour. India will be looking to bat all day and beyond.

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