Nothing Can Quite Prepare You For Your First Ball In Test Cricket, Says Craig Oveton
There is no denying the fact that Craig Overton would have loved to start his international career with a win but England’s latest Test player would be pretty much delighted with the way he performed in his maiden international game after being informed of his debut just one hour before the game started.
In his latest column for The Times, the 23-year old Overton has revealed that he was told only an hour before the second Ashes Test that he would be making his debut.
“Often these days players get told the night before that they are making their debut, but it was only about an hour beforehand that Joe Root, with a huge smile on his face, came over and said I was in,” Overton wrote. “I didn’t really mind how I found out, and this way it meant I got a decent night’s sleep with a nice lie-in because it was a day-nighter.”
He further wrote about his experience of the game, stating how intimidating it was for him to bowl his first ball in Test cricket in a jam-packed Adelaide ground. In fact, he was so nervous that he just wanted to bowl his first delivery on the right length without hoping for any result.
“Nothing can quite prepare you for the experience of standing at the top of your mark for your first ball in Test cricket with David Warner at the other end,” he recalled. “In that moment, in a stadium with twice as many people and five times as loud as I’d ever experienced before, all I cared about was landing it on the cut strip. Anywhere vaguely straight would do. I managed that and he pushed it to extra cover, no run, and I settled down from there.
“The rest of that first spell was a learning experience – and a pretty brutal education at that. The crowd were so loud and different from anything I’d experienced, but you have to settle yourself and remember that it’s the same game you’ve played before, just against better players, meaning that you have to lift yourself beyond a level you’ve been before,” he added.
But as the game progressed, the all-rounder started making his mark in the game. After going wicketless in his first two spells, he managed to do what none of his teammates could do in Brisbane- taking the wicket of Australia skipper Steve Smith. Recalling his maiden Test wicket, Overton said he is over the moon after dismissing one of the modern greats.
“My second spell settled me, then the first ball of the third was a moment I will never forget as I ran one through Steve Smith’s defences and bowled him for my first Test wicket. Virat Kohli, the India captain, is pretty handy and I’m lucky enough to have Rooty on my side so don’t have to worry about him, but Smith’s as big as any wicket in world cricket right now and I’m over the moon. He’s a modern great so it’s one to tell the grandkids about, for sure. He had given me all this chat about the pace I bowl, so it was huge to get him,” he said.
“In the press after the first day I had said that I had beaten Smith for pace so he and the others were pretty keen to politely explain that I hadn’t seen real pace yet. I enjoyed a good spray and that gets me going and gets me into the battle. They also reminded me that I was yet to score a run in three innings on tour and an “Audi” (four consecutive noughts, resembling the car maker’s emblem) was looming, so it was a great feeling to get off the mark,” Overton added.
Overton went to dismiss Tim Paine and Pat Cummins to mark his arrival with a strong note before impressing with the bat. He top-scored for the visitors, scoring an unbeaten 41 to help England cross the 200-run mark.
Overton’s debut, however, ended on a sad note as England lost the game by 120 runs. Chasing 354, England were well into the game when they began the final day on 76 for 4 with Joe Root batting on 67. However, they could not take the fight to the hosts on the final day and were eventually out for 233. But Overton said the English camp is proud of the way it fought back after being on the backfoot in the first innings.
“We lost again but are proud of the way we fought back after being so poor in the first half of the match. Chris Woakes and I put on 66 as we looked to build a respectable score and grind their bowlers down. That contributed to them not enforcing the follow-on and then Jimmy Anderson put in a masterclass under lights. In those conditions he is phenomenal and we returned on the fourth day feeling right back in the game,” he said.
“It did not end up working out but we have taken a lot of confidence from it. We remain very confident and will be better in Perth,” he added.
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