Duane Olivier was the star of South Africa's total domination of Pakistan earlier this summer and having come from the fringes of the squad due to injury to all-time great Dale Steyn made himself undroppable with that performance.
Olivier made all the right noises about playing for South Africa, and in that series at least, seemed to love it.
Which makes it all the more disturbing that the 26 year old this week turned his back on his country to play county cricket, something we are more used to seeing from West Indians. West Indians, I'd suggest, have more reason to do so.
Olivier has signed a "Kolpak" deal with Yorkshire. Yorkshire, basically, out-bid South Africa on Olivier. This Kolpak deal is to do with residency, I think, but it somehow "naturalises" the player and while it doesn't make him valid for England, it makes him invalid, or some shirt, for South Africa. The moneybags English counties will, thankfully, be hobbled in this by our leaving the EU, so silver lining.
I haven't seen an interview with Olivier yet, but obviously it's a fucking disgrace and hell mend him.
For a short spell last night, Bangladesh looked like they might be able to dig out a second shot at NZ, at the very least, as Sarkar and Captain Mandullah forged themselves scores in the 140s; Southie and Wagner cleared up though, Boult taking the key wicket of Sarkar. Bangla collapsed after these two were dismissed, adding 9 runs for 5 wickets.
Big test match kicks off tonight 10pm UK time, 11am NZ time in the Basin Reserve, Wellington.
The Bangladeshi performance in the first test was very mixed; a poor first innings of 230ish was tempered by an excellent, gutsy 400 plus in the second innings. Their bowlers having been ground into the dirt though, this was nothing like enough and a huge defeat was meted out. As discussed in this thread, Bangla has expressive, exciting batsmen, but they appear to want to be express and exciting a little too often. This is the consequence of a side that learned to be sub-elite in shorter forms of the game.
But it's exciting to watch. Any chance they'll do any better this time around?
Bangla just don't have the quicks to compete. Their three pacers managed one wicket for 360 runs; their strength is spin. But NZ meanwhile saw their impressive pace attack take all the Bangla wickets.
There's going to be rain, this is a batting wicket and Bangla's only hope for a result is two big scores or one big score and rain. It's now or never for them.
Tempered against that - Iqbal, Bangla's star in the last test, may not be fit and the wicket is green which will suit the NZ seaming attack.
One more thing:
NZ can't displace India as the #1 test side but Kane Williamson might be able to displace God as the #1 batsman in the world. Then I have to start calling him God, to the confusion of this thread's three readers. So I almost hope it doesn't happen. Lol, lies, centuries for Williamson please.
Not a ball had been bowled in Wellington until this morning. Two entire days have been lost to rain. This is a blow for NZ who now have three days to win a test match, but it's also taken a routine task and turned it into a very difficult one, so from that perspective it's all good.
Kane Williamson won the toss this morning and could hardly contain his glee - cold day, green wicket, and he can put Bangladesh straight in to bat, the right decision with his side in need of twenty wickets quick sharp. But NZ had a disastrous first 90 minutes this morning with Iqbal and Islam doing damage to the NZ bowling, batting aggressively, almost dismissively, Iqbal especially thrashing everything wide. It looked wrong until Bangla suddenly had 75 on the board.
They did lose a wicket after drinks though, de Grandhomme throwing down a beeautiful ball, high, at the stumps, seaming, and Islam is caught behind for 27.
New Zealand battered Bangaldesh in the second test, not news until you know that the first two days were washed out and NZ battered their way to a three day victory. Wagner took nine wickets of the twenty, charging in like a fucking lunatic and New Zealand, who batted just once to win by an innings and ten runs, saw Ross Taylor stage a staggering 200 in 212 balls, Henry Nichols add an only slightly less lunatic 107 in 130 balls and Kane Williamson fall short of his own absurd standards adding 74 in 105 balls. It was a slaughter, made necessary by weather conditions. Pretty thrilling.
The upshot of all this is that Henry Nichols is now ranked the ICC #5 ranked batsman above both Root and Warner and Ross Taylor has moved up to joint 13th. Neil Wagner is now ranked the #5 bowler on earth above both the Immortal Abbas. Most exciting of all, Williamson is creeping up on Kohli. I think he's too far behind to overhaul him but a really big score would put him right there. Kohli is meant to be operating on a plane of his own making. That is crazy. Williamson seems to have joined him - he is nearer now in ranking points to the #1 than the #3. Stupid world cup will postpone their duel.
New Zealand, meanwhile, continue to creep up on India in the test rankings. They're third test with Bangladesh starts Friday and you'd need to be crazy to bet against the whitewash. And you don't even need to caveat with "weather permitting."
Sixteen hours before NZ-Bangla kicks off, a wonderful and interesting test match will be played out in India: Afghanistan-Ireland, in a one-off.
I'm sad to say there are no plans to televise, stream or otherwise let anyone in the world watch this test match, which will undoubtedly be very poorly attended and makes you wonder why they're bothering. It's a real shame, but there's no way I can figure to catch it at this moment in time. Might be on the radio somewhere I suppose.
I'll probably keep up with this one though, so fascinating.
Kane Williamson a doubt for the third test match with Bangladesh. Tear in his shoulder, I doubt they'll risk him on this nothing test with the silly World Cup hoving into view. So he won't be catching Kohli this week. Months and months until NZ's next test.
Ireland have lost seven wickets for 70 runs in their first ever overseas test. This one's done on the first morning, it's a tragedy. Haven't seen enough of the wicket to judge, but it doesn't look like madness...the good news is they got themselves together and sorted a stream for anyone that enjoys maulings:
Ireland are now 133 for 9, it's a really good comeback, Tim Murtagh, the Irish #11, hence, possibly, the weakest bat in test cricket, is swinging and hitting at everything. He's had a "they're not that good" moment and has hit 32 off 44 balls!
Thanks to the heroics of tail-ender Tim Murtagh, Ireland's first ever test total was a defendable 172.
Bangladesh then put together a very decent 314 and that seemed to be that.
Ireland though, are battling and this test match is certain to make it's fourth day. An 82 for Andrew Balbirnie and a beautifully controlled 50 from Kevin O'Brien, still unbeaten, have them into a fifty run lead. They need a lot more if they're going to have any chance of winning this test - probably nobody is thinking about that just now - but if these two are still there at close, heads up.