August 21, 2017

Chris Martin ending career in style against India

Is this a vampire without fangs or Kiwi cricketer Chris Martin? Either way some serious man-love is about to happen.

All the talk around New Zealand cricketer Chris Martin going into the current Test series with India has been about his likely retirement.

Turning 36 next month the New Zealand pace bowler had lost a few k’s off his speed and was looking at life after cricket. This Indian series was his swansong. Going out against the worlds top ranked team.

There was a lot on Martin’s shoulders aside from father time. Shane Bond has retired. Others like Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey are out of form or injured. It was down to Martin to spearhead the attack.

With only newcomer Hamish Bennett at his side in the pace attack, New Zealand went into the first Test at Ahmedabad hoping to avoid total embarrassment.

Fresh from a 3-0 ODI series loss to Bangladesh, New Zealand was under severe pressure. With a Test ranking above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, it was not looking good. Even a drunk optimist would not have given the Black Caps a chance.

Virender Sehwag helped get India off to a flyer in posting an imposing 487 in their first innings. In the process Hamish Bennett pulled up lame and back up seamer Jesse Ryder did the same.

New Zealand despite some hick-ups batted on and on. Ryder and debutant Kane Williamson scored centuries and New Zealand finished with a respectable 459.

India were expected to pile on some quick runs then see if they could roll the Kiwi’s in the final couple of sessions on the fifth day. Enter Chris Martin leading a pace attack that was down to one (himself).

Gautam Gambhir see yah later mate – inside edge to Gareth Hopkins. Sehwag runout by some Martin Guptill brilliance. Rahul Dravid caught behind and India went to tea at 3 wickets for two runs.

After Tea Sachin Tendulkar got going and took ten runs off a Martin over. Then he was bowled next over. Suresh Raina caught at first slip. That made it 5 wickets for 15 runs. Indias second worst total for 5 wickets in their history.

VVS Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni mounted a fightback. India ended the day on 82 for 6. Chris Martin came back for one final effort near the end and got Dhoni to edge onto his stumps.

Earlier in the day young Kane Williamson’s century on debut was the biggest news of the day for New Zealand. It was going to be hard to top that but Chris Martin a man at the other end of his career did just that with 13 overs, 7 maidens, 5 wickets for 25 runs.

Chris Martin is an unlikely hero. Slightly built with an awkward gait and a batting Super Star for all the wrong reasons. Yet out of nowhere he has produced a performance that has given his team a chance of victory.

Not since Ewan Chatfield has New Zealand had a batting folk hero bowler like Chris Martin. Now in the twilight of his international career he has the chance to finish it in style and make this series his very own Indian Summer.

Newswarped salutes Chris Martin. A cricketer who is not over endowed with natural talent, but has worked very hard and fashioned a respectable career. All that hard work would have been worth it for Chris just to see the incredulous look on Sachin Tendulkars face after his stumps were shattered.