On the Front Foot: Heart sinks at flyover threat to historic beauty of Basin Reserve

 

It has been an unfettered pleasure to be at the Basin Reserve. Pretty, close to the city centre, with grass banks and a sense of history, it is a rarity in New Zealand for being solely a cricket ground.

Most of their Test venues are used also for rugby and it shows, as it will at Eden Park, Auckland next week, where the short boundaries and the cavernous stands may prove embarrassing. But Wellington has been a joy. It was created where once was Basin Lake, which became a swamp after the 1855 earthquake. Subsequently the city fathers decided they needed a recreational reserve and chose this site – hence the name.

There is a bit of a kerfuffle at present because today's city fathers propose putting a flyover close by which would pass over the edge of the ground. It might relieve traffic but it would change the Basin ineradicably. It staged the country's second Test match (after the first at Christchurch) in 1930 and this is its 54th match. It is intimate and you can smell the history.

John Mills and Stewie Dempster put on 276 in that opening Basin match, still a record for the first wicket for New Zealand at home. Frank Woolley took 7 for 76, still the best figures by an England bowler at the Basin. There is a framed print in the press box of the words of Lord Harris, one of the great early men of English cricket, on his 80th birthday: "You do well to love it [cricket], for it is more free from anything sordid, anything dishonourable, than any game in the world. To play it keenly, honourably, self-sacrificingly is a moral lesson in itself and the classroom is God's air and sunshine. Foster it my brothers so that it may attract all who can find the time to play it; protect it from anything that would sully it so that it may grow in favour with all men."

Flyovers indeed.

Mixed omens for Compton

With his 100 in the Second Test, Nick Compton became the first player since Ravi Bopara to follow a maiden century for England with another in his next innings. Bopara then added a third, but there have been none since. The previous player to have scored his first two hundreds in consecutive innings was Clive Radley, and he also added another.

But Compo should take heart from the fact that Wally Hammond and Ken Barrington also did it, and they went on to score 22 and 20 hundreds respectively.

Pietersen breaks cover... sort of

Kevin Pietersen spoke on Sky Television yesterday. It has been his only media appearance of this tour so far. He was measured and sensible, offering insights about batting in the wind and being generous about Matt Prior. But regular requests for Pietersen to appear before a wider audience have been rejected so far.

He might have been reintegrated into the team after the dispute that almost brought English cricket to its knees last summer, but this has not applied to public appearances. Whatever anybody says, he remains a special case. Reintegration goes only so far.

Finn has space to rent

The second hero of the Dunedin Blockade was Steve Finn. He scored a maiden first-class fifty and faced 203 balls, an epic of concentration and resistance which few nightwatchmen in England's history have matched.

Yet his bat still remains untouched by sponsors' logos or makers' names. It is still a plain piece of willow.

Finn said that sponsors had failed to beat a path to his door, and offered this column the chance to have its name on his bat. He seemed unmoved, however, by the offer, one unsanctioned by management, of half a crown.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before