Tom Blundell was the only New Zealand batsman who left the Melbourne Cricket Ground with his head held high on Sunday as Australia thrashed the Black Caps in the Boxing Day Test. The hosts beat New Zealand by 247 runs in the second Test to wrap up the three-match series by taking a 2-0 lead with a game to go. The hosts had previously won the series-opener by 296 runs in Perth.
Blundell, nonetheless, was the only Kiwi batsman who showed some fight during the heavy loss. The right-handed batsman stood firm from one end and went on to score a fine fighting century. He, however, got little support from the other end. It was Blundell’s second century in Test cricket and first while opening the innings.
A bigger battle
Tom Blundell was fighting it out at the MCG not only for his nation but also for a young girl who is going through a much bigger battle. He was batting with a multi-coloured batting grip and the reason and it was his way of supporting a six-year-old Hollie Beattie who is battling cancer. The grip, designed by Hollie with the help of Kookaburra are being sold by Players Sports to help raise money for her cancer fight, according to Fox Cricket.
Hollie’s father John is a foundation staff member of Players Sports and the company who have been selling the grips for $9.99 to raise money for her treatment. New Zealand stars Neil Wagner and Tim Southee also used the grip in Melbourne while Southee has previously donated a test shirt signed by the team following the victory against Sri Lanka in Colombo earlier this year.
“When he [Blundell] got to 50 we were sent a photo of him holding up the bat and then to hear he got 100 was exciting. We played the audio for Hollie on the radio and that was exciting for her,” Hollie’s mother Joanna told the Herald.
In July last year, Hollie was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. After initial chemotherapy cycles in December 2018 and following repeat tests, the family heard the devastating news that chemotherapy has failed to make an impact on the disease in her bone marrow.
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