Thursday 28 February 2008 

Back To Form - Caroline Atkins' Tour Diary

We were one nil down in a five match series, so to lose the second game would send us down the river without much of a paddle. Personally, I spent some of my childhood in a canoe because my dad is an instructor. Still, I didn’t fancy being 2-0 down and the mood in the dressing room implied that wasn’t even an option.

We lost the toss and so found ourselves in the field for the first innings. Lincoln is pretty windy and so it’s a job to be heard and it’s also a job to hold onto high catches. Still, we had a noisy buzz going from ball one and the skyer that went up in the fourth over was brilliantly held onto by Isa off her own bowling, running backwards to take it behind the umpire. More extravaganza came from the umpire himself, as we all enjoyed Billy Bowden’s normal repertoire of unique signals.

The New Zealand innings followed a similar pattern to the previous day. They lost early wickets, rebuilt with one or two partnerships and then reached 242-8 thanks to some big hitting from the middle order. We’ve seen this before from the World Series last winter and from the previous day, so we knew the Kiwi batting line up would play brave cricket even when they lose their top order cheaply. Our death bowling was better which brought late wickets and limited the damage to 242. Our batting plan was to set about the target with a good start, get contributions from everyone and two big partnerships to see us home.

We got the good start, we had partnership number one from the openers worth 65 runs, then we had partnership number two worth 178 runs that took us home with nine wickets in hand and five overs to spare. Tails played at a run-a-ball throughout her innings of 111* and I supported her having opened the batting for England in an ODI for the first time in twelve months and finished with 69*. I was thrilled to have contributed in the middle and delighted with our punishing comeback to level the series 1-1.

We had two days to prepare for the third game so one free day and one training day. Some of us just chilled out for the day, others saw some sights and a few went swimming with dolphins. The next day we were focused on preparing for the third game with some quality net practice. We hit the beach after training to do a recovery session then spent the evening getting fed before an early night. A group of seven of us chose to go to the same restaurant, but luckily only I chose the chicken pasta as I think it was that which kept me up half the night being sick. I’ve never had stomach cramps like it and never want to feel like that again. It was so bad I couldn’t leave the hotel the next day so just wished my team mates good luck and hoped they would return with a victory. They did!

We bowled first and got New Zealand out for 199 in the last over. Beth and Squirt started the reply in good fashion before Tails (Claire Taylor) came in to add 70 to our cause then Lydia chipped in and finally Squirt (Sarah Taylor) and Jenny Gunn finished the job to put us 2-1 up. It was another successful day on tour as we had beaten New Zealand and I had managed two slices of dry toast without throwing up.

Caroline Atkins

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