The opening morning of a Test Match and the frisson of excitement that accompanies it. In an hour or so I’ll be heading down to the University Oval in Dunedin to cheer on the lads.

Two things worry me slightly. Firstly, the weather. Looking out across the town from the lofty location of my current hostel, things don’t look good for today. Secondly, Australia.

Well, to be honest, our pre-occupation with them.

The Aussies were hammered yesterday in Hyderabad by an Indian side England worked very hard to beat last year. Properly hammered. By an innings and 135 runs. After declaring their first innings. Yes, its the sort of cataclysmically, comical thing that always used to happen to us.

And, as a result, bars, cafes and the Twittersphere are alive with the sound of English smugness. Ladies and gents, don’t get drawn into all this vulgar triumphalism. These boasts of ten-nil and Test Matches winning early may be tongue-in-cheek but their exultant tone is in bad taste and disrespectful to our foes over the next six Test Matches.

New Zealand are first up. We underestimate them at our peril. Witness yesterday’s 114 run victory by their supporters over ours in the pre-match Twenty20. A lusty singing of Jerusalem was shouted down by an awe inspiring cricket Haka solo by the Beige Brigade captain, Big Red.

We come at yer, come at yer, bat and ball.
We come at yer, come at yer, bat and ball.

Six foot and seventeen stone of Southern Man. A William Wallace like figure with thick ginger whiskers and a flowing red mane clad from head to toe in beige. As far a cry from the cuddly Kiwi image beloved of gift shops it’s hard to imagine. The English reeled. Big Red’s team went at the Barmy Army bat and ball. Hard. Bannockburn recreated on a cricket field in the most Scottish city you’ll see anywhere outside of Scotland.

As a marker for the upcoming series, together with the nearly full England team’s unexpected loss in Queenstown last week, this should say something. As anyone who’s ever tried strolling up Baldwin Street in this fair city, you underestimate New Zealand at your peril.

We have been warned.

20130306-080951.jpg

Advertisements