A good time to blow away the opposition
Posted in England in New Zealand 2008
Well, it ain't called windy Wellington for nowt. The first practice today (optional) was greeted with winds so strong, they almost took the nets and everyone in it back to Hamilton.
It was the speed the weather changed as much of the nature of it - bright sunshine quickly replaced by what felt like Hurricane Katrina. The fast-changing weather has already caught New Zealand out. They won the toss under cloudy skies and then took to the field in bright sunshine. In fairness though, the first hour looks set to assist the seamers, with Vaughan and Cook hopeful of repelling them. Immediately obvious though is a faster outfield, better pace in the surface, and a touch of swing.
The big news of course is the selection of Broad and Anderson ahead of Harmison and Hoggard. It gives an opportunity to a new attack, young and eager, and Michael Vaughan hailed it as an exciting time. The door is not closed on the Ashes heroes, but it would seem the new look pacemen will have an extended run in the side.
The lack of breathing space between the Test matches has proved a very good thing for England, with thoughts immediately turning to Wellington and consigning Hamilton to history. With the families over as well, there has been a dramatic lift in morale, and I am convinced England will bounce back and win the second Test. They trained hard and with great intensity in the nets, and the picturesque Basin Reserve seems to provide a feel of positivity - unexplainable yet detectable. Indeed, Wellington itself has more life than any of the previous cities, and there is a real buzz of excitement around the streets.
Captain Vaughan and Monty Panesar were presented with commemorative caps before the start of play, with Vaughan winning his 75th and Monty his 25th. Both will have important roles to play in this Test match and hopefully well beyond as the Moores era perhaps really starts here. There is certainly the feeling that the young (and despite the loss in New Zealand, successful) one day squad is slowly morphing into the Test side. Time will tell but it's always exciting to see young talent wearing the three lions.
ECBtv caught up with Peter Moores and Michael Vaughan just prior to the Test, and you can catch these videos online now.