New Zealand fast bowler Mark Gillespie walks after finishing with 6 for 110, his best bowling figures in a Test, against South Africa on Sunday. (AP PHOTO)
Wellington: Just two weeks ago, pace bowler Mark Gillespie was focused on letting his badly damaged toe heal and finding a job when New Zealand's first class cricket season came to an end.
But after taking 11 South African wickets in two Tests since his surprise call-up to the national squad for the first time in more than three years, the 32-year-old's plans for the next few months could be very different.
At his home ground of the Basin Reserve on Sunday, Gillespie took six for 113 in South Africa's 474 for nine declared as the visitors looked to bat New Zealand out of the final Test.
Gillespie was only brought back into the Test squad for the second match at Seddon Park in Hamilton, where he took five for 59 and his performances may have booked his place for New Zealand's tour of West Indies in July and August.
"I think you could go back two weeks. I was getting ready for the season to end and then get my body right over the winter and find a job, find something to do, earn some money," Gillespie told reporters on Sunday.
"And yeah, now things might be a little bit different."
Gillespie's wife, parents and brothers were in the crowd on Sunday and taking the six-wicket haul had been particularly special for him, though he was a little annoyed that Graeme Smith had declared at nine down.
"On debut [against South Africa in 2007] when I got 'five for' I got told I could have set a record if I had got one more wicket," he said.
"Then, when I got the five last week and they were talking about the 6 for 60, which is the best [for New Zealand] against South Africa, I think I ran out of gas and couldn't get [Morne] Morkel and [Imran] Tahir out.
"[So] when they declared [on Sunday] I suppose it was a little bit disappointing. I wouldn't have minded getting seven."
The hosts reached 65 without loss by the end of the third day, with Daniel Flynn on 35 and Martin Guptill with him on 28, but with South Africa already leading the three match series 1-0 and only two days remaining, New Zealand's chances of producing an amazing turnaround to level are diminishing rapidly.
However, it has been an amazing return for Gillespie who had been winding his season down prior to the second Test in Hamilton.
"I was [thinking] eight days left for Wellington ... and to me, it's just two extra days of cricket," Gillespie said of being brought back into the Test side and missing the final two rounds of New Zealand's first-class competition.
"It was a case of my body is pretty much nearly ended with the season. It has given up," he said, adding that a split toe on his left foot was deflecting the pain away from his other aches and pains in his knees and back.
"The first thing I've got to get this split in my toe healed before I can really do anything.
"It's funny because I probably had two or three hours sleep last night because my toe was just throbbing and it's quite good that yes it's a lot of pain but it deflects every other pain that you've got because it's just banging away. So it's quite good in that regard."