Brilliant to beat Australia
Posted in England U19s
The tour didn't get off the the best of starts as we encountered delays during our 27-hour flight to Australia.
Strict border controls in Brisbane made it tough for us to get into the country as they had to wash all the mud off our kit to avoid potential agricultural diseases being brought in before we were allowed in.
This meant that we missed our flight onto Townsville and had to catch a later plane, which wasn't what we wanted to hear after 22 hours of travelling.
When we finally arrived in Townsville, North Queensland, we headed to the Mercure hotel which is the ideal set-up for us with a shopping mall 100 metres away and a food court the same distance in the other direction. The sea, which can be used for recovery after playing or training, is a 10-minute drive away.
As we were like zombies for the first couple of days, still suffering from jet lag, we had the first day off and the second we had a light game of rugby at the beach to ease ourselves back into it followed by a stretch in the sea to help our recovery.
The following day saw the bowlers have a light run through and the batsmen working on their skills, reverting back to the basics of batting and taking everything one step at a time.
We then got back into the swing of things with a practice match among ourselves, which was used to acclimatise us to the difficult conditions.
The majority of the day is around 30 degrees with 80% humidity, which makes it very difficult to keep energy levels high. The practice game proved valuable as it gave us prior knowledge of the difficulties we would undergo during the first match against Australia.
We then took a day off when many of the boys took the chance to head down to chill out at the beach, looking out to Magnetic Island, so-called because sailing nearby affected Captain Cook's compasses.
We then travelled down to the Tony Ireland Stadium, where the Australia game would take place, for a light yet extremely focused and precise session in the build up to the game.
The morning of the 5th was the big one. The opening game of the Quadrangular Series against our biggest rivals, the Aussies!
The feeling of passion and desire to win this game was something that can't be described in words. The feelings going through my body were like nothing I'd felt before.
We lost the toss and were asked to field. We got off to a quality start, reducing them to 77 for five due to some notable performances by Reece Topley and Sam Wood. A steady rebuild from their lower order got them up to a modest total of 203 for eight.
In reply, their opening bowlers were swinging it like I hadn't seen before, managing to get the ball to go big only a yard or two from the bat. This made it very difficult to go after the bowling.
A regular fall of wickets made the game interesting. However, one of the best innings I've seen from Daniel Bell-Drummond of 103 not out off 109 deliveries saw us over the line with three wickets in hand.
This was the prefect start to the tour. Getting one over on the team we most like to beat and showing that we can come out in their conditions during their season and have enough quality to beat them.