The Basin is New Zealand’s most historic cricket ground, full of memories and mystique. In an unconventional start, its first match in 1868 was between a visiting naval ship and the prisoners of nearby Mount Cook Jail. The grass bank seating provides a natural sun trap for up to 11,000 spectators, providing an oasis in an inner city setting. 300 is the magic number here, Brendon McCullum holding the run record at 302 and Richard Hadlee taking his 300th test wicket.
Central to its charm is the Adelaide Oval Scoreboard, still manually operated and complete with clock and weather vane. The ground is having a facelift in 2012, with extra capacity being added for AFL games and the World Cup, but should retain its unique character. Of note – England ran riot here in 2010 to go one up in the Series.
Filling the Basin
During your stay in Wellington, you’ll see many of the physical effects of earthquakes on the city’s terrain and landscape. But the most devastating quake to hit New Zealand in recent times was the one which ravaged Christchurch in 2011.
In response, the people of Wellington hosted “Fill the Basin” a cricket fundraiser to support their South Island neighbours. More than 10,000 attended with crowds spilling on to the edge of the boundary. The game boasted many of cricket’s legends including Shane Warne and Richard Hadlee who were joined by All Black captain Richie McCaw and Hollywood stars Sir Ian McKellen and Russell Crowe. Over $500,000NZ was raised towards providing relief.