Cricket: Pietersen's wicket caps Martin's long wait

By David Leggat

Bruce Martin has waited 13 years for his chance to prove he can foot it on the biggest stage.

So when he induced a false shot from one of the game's batting giants at the Basin Reserve yesterday, you can imagine the inner yelp of delight mixed with a healthy dose of justification.

Kevin Pietersen had taken him on, looking to take charge. Martin's left arm spin nagged away. Occasionally Pietersen, or others, succeeded. But when Pietersen holed out to deep mid-off at 73, Martin had his man.

He finished with four for 130 off 48 overs but you sensed one wicket had him purring more than the others.

"He's a big player and it's nice to test yourself against a guy like that," Martin said last night.

"He's pretty ruthless the way he can get forward and get back. He's such a big fella I was finding it hard to get past him at times, he's such an imposing figure with the bat.

"I wanted to try and get in the fight a little bit and get in front of him and let him know I was there. I was happy to pick him up in the end."

Martin was 12th man against Australia in his first season with Northern Districts as a 19-year-old, then ... nothing.

Dan Vettori was already there and there weren't many occasions when a second spinner was deemed necessary. When it was, "Bucko" was down the list.

"Everything seems to be going well," he said of his first three test innings, which have produced nine wickets. "I've had 13 years to visualise playing test cricket. I've been playing this test cricket for a long time in my head, so it's nice to get out there and have a crack."

Vettori had sent him messages of encouragement. Their actions are similar. Both ND men, they went through academies together.

"It's just how I bowl," he said.

"I just happen to look a bit like him, without the glasses."

You could say he has had time to prepare for this series and all it would entail in terms of the lift in intensity.

"I've played 115-odd games so I've played against some pretty good players over the years.

"It's just blocking out the noise of the crowd and all that other stuff you think about. It's just another game against players that are a little bit more patient and a little bit better than what you're used to."

Worth the 13-year wait and those feelings that maybe his time might never come?

Too right.

- NZ Herald

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