ALL BLACK FORWARDS
Mark this one down as a mangled paraphrasing of Newton's laws of physics: for every action there will be an equal or opposite reaction.
Whereas the All Blacks forwards were passive and underwhelming in Sydney's west a fortnight ago, in Newcastle they were ferocious and overwhelmed their willing but overmatched Pumas counterparts.
Ardie Savea was the pick of the pack, but you'd be hard-pressed to find fault in numbers one through eight. The scrum was monstrous, the collisions were won and the universe was righted.
The sharpest edges of the rock under Ian Foster's beach towel might have been rounded off, but the rock itself is still there. Given how dominant the All Blacks were on Saturday night, it should not have required two Will Jordan pieces of opportunism to puff out the scoreboard, but a bit on that in a different section.
Not sure what gave more joy: Phillips sheer power and shot making, or the unaffected, almost childlike way he celebrated it?
Phillips' century in the second T20I against the West Indies was remarkable for its non-stop ferocity but T20 is such a fickle game that the man himself knows there will be plenty more days when his approach doesn't work.
So when it does you enjoy it. Boy, did he enjoy it.
Phillips has also added another building block to…
NEW FOUND BATTING DEPTH
It shouldn't be understated just how rare it is in New Zealand's long and mostly inglorious cricket history to have a situation where really good batsmen are not getting the sort of opportunities their talent would once have demanded.
New Zealand will go into the first test of the summer against the West Indies with a top six of Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling. There's 66 test centuries of excellence among that lot.
We have now had a glimpse of the talent Devon Conway brings to the table. Down south, Will Young scored a century for New Zealand A. He has scored three centuries in his past five first-class matches, while averaging 95 in that span. Neither have played a test.
Daryl Mitchell and Phillips have both played a single test and marked the occasion with half centuries.
Players like Martin Guptill, Jeet Raval and Hamish Rutherford have scored centuries at test level and are still contributing on the first-class scene.
Colin de Grandhomme has scored a test century, averages 37, but is injured. James Neesham has test centuries, plural, and is unwanted in the five-day game.
There is serious competition for places. Taylor has said he wants to play through to 2023. That's great to hear, but the No 4 spot can no longer be his of right.
That's a strangely healthy situation for New Zealand to be in.
The two least impressive performers for the All Blacks, to these eyes at least, were Richie Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett. The great-on-paper twin-playmaker theory in practice looks like a Hydra.
When it was wheeled out in time for the World Cup it looked like show of strength: a way for Steve Hansen to drive both his Ferraris at the same time. It didn't work then and it doesn't work now. It just looks like the soft option for selectors who can't make a call about which car to park in the garage.
It is reached a point now where it's easy to forget just how good a player Barrett used to be. His lack of impact from fullback has not had the effect, either, of making Mo'unga's light shine brighter. His ratio of good tests to tests played is poor for a guy who has dominated Super Rugby across multiple seasons.
The All Blacks dominance of the scrum and breakdown should have laid the ideal platform for Mo'unga and Barrett to wreak havoc on Saturday night. It didn't happen.
It might be time to concede that, as a playmaking package, it's never going to happen.
Hard to imagine any sportsman could come across as more of an entitled plonker than the Rawalpindi Express did last week.
His jeremiad about the treatment of Pakistan's unmanageably isolating cricketers was so lacking in a fundamental understanding of what's important in this world that it could have been a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Plenty of others have waded in effectively about why Akhtar has made such a dick of himself, so we'll keep this brief.
Shoaib, you are a Loser.
VAR (v DRS)
It was instructive having the start of the international cricket season playing out in the middle of a dramatic (aren't they all?) Premier League weekend.
It was an insightful exercise in how one sport has got its use of technology so right, and how one sport couldn't have got it much more wrong.
The fluid nature of football makes video intervention more delicate than the stop-start world of cricket but the real key to a smooth transition to the digital age of officiating is the challenge system.
In football, the onus remains on the officials to get every decision 100 per cent correct.
That's unrealistic and not how it should work. The imperative with DRS makes much more sense: to overturn clear and obvious mistakes.
Put VAR in the hands of the managers. Allow them to challenge bad errors. If they get one wrong, they get no more challenges.
It will give referees the confidence to make decisions. The game will flow again and fans – homebound at the moment but to return in small increments shortly – can claim back that feeling of being able to celebrate goals.
DRS is not perfect but only Luddites would argue that it hasn't improved cricket. VAR on the other hand, has detracted from the football experience.
Having read Andrew Alderson's recent piece on Lou Vincent, do you think he should have his life ban lifted?
P Lowe, East Coast Bays
Am I allowed to fudge this one? No…
I'm genuinely not sure how to answer this. I've always been moved by Vincent's plight because I view him as a victim just as much as he was a perpetrator, but that doesn't alter the fact he cheated in the worst way possible.
He corrupted the very essence of sport, which is the belief in a genuine contest. He did it multiple times in multiple countries in multiple competitions.
He also owned up. He took his lumps. His case was heard by cricket authorities, not the courts, and the England and Wales Cricket Board was more vindictive than the Old Bailey would have been, you suspect.
I can't see any harm in Vincent coaching kids (unless he tries to convince them to use his old Mongoose bats), and I can see a lot of good in using him as a resource to keep young players on the right path.
He's never going to be invited back into polite cricket circles but that probably doesn't interest him anyway. So my remarkably inelegant solution might be this: reduce his 11 life bans to a finite term; perhaps 10 years, which would end in 2024. Until then, just turn a blind eye to whatever harmless cricket activities he's engaging in.
The guy deserves a break.
Really clever reportage here from inside the NBA bubble. From GQ.
His was a life near impossible to capture within the limitations of a traditional obit (see The Grim Sweeper), but this Guardian piece on Diego Maradona covers most of the bases well.
Maradona died, aged 60, you might have heard.
He's the greatest footballer I've seen by some distance, but one that was never destined for a long life.
What has fascinated more than his death has been the reaction to it. Aside from the odd embittered Englishman (who rarely get as worked up when "their" own players try to win penalties or milk the ref et cetera), it's been near-universal adoration.
Reports of the dissolution of Maradona's off-field life have been many and varied but it was obviously not just Argentines who didn't care if this footballing god had feet of clay. Somewhere in our consciousness there must be a tacit understanding that pure genius comes with a heavy price tag.
Given New Zealand's relative isolation from the fanaticism that envelops most of the footballing world, it's difficult to get a true sense of Maradona's cultural footprint other than to say in the Latin world, it transcends even Ali.
The pint-sized France wing was a livewire player best known here for playing a pivotal, try-scoring role in Les Bleus stunning 1999 World Cup semifinal win over the All Blacks.
Four years later, I was one of a small group of journalists interviewing him in the lobby of a Bondi Beach hotel. He was candid about his struggles with depression in the intervening years.
Maradona and Dominici provide salutory lessons that being a sporting hero can never insulate you against real-world issues and illnesses.
Test cricket is back. Beauty. New Zealand v West Indies, Spark Sport, from Thursday.