Woes bypass Aussie attention

23:00, Jan 16 2013

It was mostly possible to lose contact with New Zealand sport while on a few weeks furlough in south-east Queensland.

But there was a momentary blip in the sunshine state when the Courier Mail devoted about 200 words to the Black Caps' first innings of 45 against South Africa.

And while relying on the printed word, New Zealand's second-innings scoreboard was never published, so I had to assume the worst.

There was one small opinion piece about how John "Buck" Buchanan once lorded over a great era in Australian cricket and was now plumbing the depths over the Tasman with New Zealand.

You would expect a ton of borax directed our way from resident Aussies, but no. Few knew about the 45 and it seemed no-one cared, even when cradling a Toohey over a barbie.

I could have explained that we are loading our team with expatriate South Africans and Australians, or those of South African descent and already we have dumped a South African wicketkeeper.


Queenslanders were simply luxuriating in their moderate temperatures of the 29 to 30 degrees Celsius-bracket while the other states boiled and burned.

The only 45 the Aussies knew about was the temperature in Birdsville one day.

Anyway, they had dozens of tributes to digest all lauding the late great adopted Aussie Tony Greig.

And with Sri Lanka perishing in their test matches in three days, three has sort of become the norm.

When did a test match last go into the fifth day?

Our Black Caps' batting might be ordinary but facing that potent South African pace attack on those fast tracks would not be for the faint hearted. Steyn and co seem so fast and swing the ball so alarmingly that I applaud our guys for nicking a couple.

My sole sporting expedition was to a highly entertaining Big Bash Twenty20 cricket bash at the Gabba between the Brisbane Heat and the Sydney Sixers and a rampaging Brett Lee. The inner suburb of Woolloongabba does not have the car-parking woes of Palmerston North; it doesn't have parking at all.

So everyone takes the buses which go like the clappers on those exclusive bus lanes and deposit all 14,260 bodies at the Gabba's main gate. A few days before, Warney had played there and 25,600 turned up.

It was galling to return to Palmy and drive past a deserted Fitzherbert Park devoid of cricket while an important Manawatu-Hawke's Bay match was being played at Manawaroa Park.

The Aussies like to talk up their tennis but relatively speaking, it has gone down the plughole from the days when they ruled the world's courts.

For a time in Brisbane I contemplated escaping the wee rellies and forking out precious Aussie currency to take in the Brisbane International Tennis.

Without any daylight saving, the sun rises at 5am there and so do the raucous black crows signalling it is time for the wee kids to employ your bed as a trampoline.

But right from the start a disturbing habit set in at the tennis - the default. Brisbane tried to promote the tournament as being only one step behind Wimbledon but it is like any other tourney at this time, a loosener before the Aussie Open.

For three years in a row Maria Sharapova has entered and every time she has pulled out on the eve. The semi between Serena Williams and world No 1 Victoria Azarenka was tempting, and the joint was sold out.

Then Azarenka came out and told the crowd she had an ingrown toenail, to a chorus of deserved boos. The men were at it too but to Andy Murray's credit, he turns up each year and wins the thing.

But on another tack, can anyone tell me why thousands gravitate to the Gold Coast and most of them splash about in swimming pools rather than brave the waters of the coast?

What is a few rips, sweeps and dumpers between friends?

Manawatu Standard