Reality far exceeded Jimmy Neesham's wildest imagination.
A batsman who bowled, coming through the New Zealand age-group ranks, the test debutant has been tasked with doing things the other way round as a Black Cap.
But it was with his first love that the 23-year-old marked his appearance on the test stage, scoring a second innings hundred as New Zealand claimed a memorable test series win over India at the Basin Reserve yesterday.
"A hundred on test debut is something I've probably thought about more than any other thing in life, up to this point," Neesham said after his 137 not out.
"I sat down in the corner of the changing room afterwards and it started to sink in a little bit. It was obviously an amazing feeling and to literally witness history in front of your eyes during your innings on debut is something that will live with me forever."
The other not out batsman as Brendon McCullum sought to become the first New Zealander to score a triple century in test cricket, Neesham looked the more relaxed of the two.
McCullum had needed 19 for his milestone at the start of the day, while Neesham had begun on 67.
But with his captain two runs from history, it was Neesham who achieved his childhood dream first.
"It sort of ended up quite well in that I was almost the entree to the main course and for the crowd to warm up and have a little practice session standing up and clapping and then just to sit down. Next ball, or a couple of balls later, for Baz to bring up his 300 was a special feeling," he said.
But if it's the second innings that he's remembered for, it was the first innings that convinced Neesham he belonged here.
Eighty-six for six isn't a great score to wander in at, but Neesham looked comfortable from the start.
"You figure out what you're made of in that sort of situation and to get through to 30-odd  and then get out through a lack of conviction on my part was disappointing. But it also gave me a re-affirmation that I knew I was good enough to get runs at that level. To come out in the second innings and continue on from there was good."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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