Up here in the hills, it’s the second morning in succession without rain and this always makes it colder. A nippy 13 C (56 F) calls for at least a sweater as I wander outside with the dogs. The early morning sun strains to pierce the cloud cover, so the light itself is of a watery quality that fails to set those glimmery refractions that are so trippy when direct sunlight finds those dew-drops and other surfaces to penetrate and also to bounce off of.

A bit earlier I watched as Kumar Sangakkara got his 100 against New Zealand whilst simultaneously, Murali was ‘run out’ in the most odious fashion – leaving the crease to congratulate Kumar after he got his 100th run. Technically, the ball wasn’t ‘dead’, so Mc Callum whipped off the bails and the umpire’s finger did the rest. Bad sportsmanship? Careless move? Anyway, the outcome is that New Zealand needs just 119 to win this low-scoring match in which Sri Lanka’s batsmen have failed dismally. Showers interrupted play and the covers were brought on, but unless the rain interferes, or there is some miraculous collapse on the part of the Kiwis, it sure looks like we will be one down in the series and some serious application in the batting department will have to get underway before the next test if we want to make a decent series of this.

Meanwhile back on the ranch, the sun has burst out giving a whole other dimension to the morning. The Euphorbeacae, with its purple leaves a shimmering burgundy as the light passes through, reflects in the pond and creates the most astounding patterns in the rippling water. An Indian Cormorant (also known as the Indian Shag – Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) is remarkably unaffected by my presense, but keeps a wary eye on me and the dogs. Buster, who gives every indication of interest, is playing it cool, not wanting to spook the bird. However, his natural instincts take over and he makes his move. A running jump into the pond and the cormorant takes off – its ungainly start almost makes it a victim, but Buzzy misses it by a whisker. Rocky, who dislikes water intensely, is content to chase after the bird as it finally gets elevation and ascends beyond terrestrial reach. The dogs and I complete our walk and I check out the score.

Sri Lanka has made a game of it, but lose by five wickets. Murali is always a threat and Vaas is his usual dependable self. Unfortunately Lasith Malinga, who bowled brilliantly in the first innings, got smashed around the park and didn’t help the cause. But ultimately, it did look like Mahela’s decision to bat first, coupled with the abysmal batting display let the side down.

I get to the laptop to get this out of the way. WorldSpace is on Riff – the jazz station – and as Java sets to rolling a joint of sinsemilla we listen to the very cool sounds of someone on Hammond organ doing the solo bit on ‘Embraceable You’.

Looks to be a fine day out in the country.

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