Jeremy Wells

Jeremy Wells on cricket

Jeremy Wells: Child minding and cricket - a great match

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A ball slips past Australia's wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on what appeared to be a catching chance against South Africa. Photo / AP
A ball slips past Australia's wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on what appeared to be a catching chance against South Africa. Photo / AP

I'd been waiting all week for Thursday, November 22. The stars were in alignment. I would be giving solo care to my two small children and the second test between Australia and South Africa was starting in Adelaide.

For years I've been finding excuses to stay indoors over summer to watch televised cricket. My phone doesn't really ring during test matches. In fact my phone doesn't really ring at all nowadays, a situation I haven't helped by going incognito for most summer daylight hours ever since Sky decoded itself. Darren McDonald once complained that after he got busted for methamphetamine and lost his news reading job with TV3 his phone never rang. I sympathise with his loss.

A few years ago I happened upon an exercise that goes perfectly with test cricket - child minding. Both my kids sleep for two hours every day at 12.30pm (10.30am Australian Eastern Standard Time), which coincides perfectly with the opening delivery of the day's play of an Australian test match.

I'm sure Gina Ford knew nothing about this coincidence when she devised her Third Reich-like routines for sleeping babies, but it's benefited both my children and the mood of their care-giver immensely.

Sadly, when the games are played in Western Australia I have to adopt a whole new strategy. The first ball of a Perth test is bowled at 3.30pm but the late afternoon start fills the void between the end of the superbly written Young and the Restless and the 6pm News - a place currently festering with Ellen and ubiquitous cooking shows.

So last Thursday I read the last page of Margaret Mahy's superb Lion in the Meadow to my 3-year-old daughter - "and the lion in the meadow became a house lion and lived in the broom cupboard - and when the little boy had apples, stories and a good night hug, the lion had apples, stories and a goodnight hug as well" - gave her a kiss and then tucked my 8-month-old boy into his cot. It was 12.34pm. Enough time to turn on the TV and make myself a sweetcorn toasted sandwich while listening to an elder from the Kaurna people wish the test luck.

Whichever genius at Cricket Australia thought of getting her had amazing insight because Australia had one of the most blessed days of cricket I've seen.

You'd expect most international teams to be lucky to limp to 300 when they're 50-3 but not when Michael Clarke is at the crease. Say what you want about Clarke's shaved arms or his adolescent tattoo - that man-child can bat.

While both Hussey's and Warner's hundreds were superb, Clarke's double-century was unique. Sure, the pitch resembled a footpath in Rundle Mall but Clarke can spot when the opposition has let its guard down.

When the kids woke up at 2.30pm all fresh and shiny, I made them sit down and watch a master batsman at the top of his game. I'm not sure they appreciated it but one day I'll tell them they witnessed Australia scoring 482-5 in a day.

- NZ Herald

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