England v New Zealand – 1st Test, Day 3 – Open Thread

New Zealand 303-2 (Williamson 92*, Guptill 70, Latham 59, Taylor 47*) trail England 389 (Root 98, Stokes 92, Buttler 67, Moeen Ali 58 – Boult 4/79, Henry 4/93) by 86 runs with 8 first innings wickets remaining.

Dmitri doing the match update stuff today, so maybe this won’t be to everyone’s tastes!

The events of the past 15 months have seen my attitude to cricket change considerably. I had been a truly passionate supporter of England, and while I always appreciated the great players around the world, I would get to dislike some of them based on the fact that they weren’t from my team. You can’t help who you are. Now, with the nonsense of the past 15 months, with no sign of any meaningful contrition, I watch the matches with a more neutral perspective. This time a couple of years ago the performances this evening of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson would have driven me mad. Instead I watched as a man struggling with his body, and to some extent his game, in Ross Taylor battle gainfully, fighting hard, grafting. I love that in a player. Then there was the almost too perfect Kane Williamson, looking every part the true class batsman he is. It was almost inevitable he made runs, looking totally in tune with his game, and rarely, if ever, looking threatened. I’m preparing the next instalment of Century Watch for the inevitable… (that’ll curse him). It’s early days, I know, and this will be just two tests, but do you remember how, in the mid 2000s, every time Mohammed Yousuf came to the crease, you knew he’d score runs? I felt like that with Kane today.

A lot of comment both here and on Twitter was focused on the Cook captaincy. It’s a default setting we have, that if things go wrong, it’s our beloved captain who is to blame. We knew what we were getting when we appointed him. Solid opening bat (at the time) with a penchant for run gluts, but also technically based, and vulnerable to flaws. The appointed vice-captain who had the label “not a natural captain” when he deputised for Strauss in Bangladesh. This is not a surprise, and I save my ire for Headingley Day 4 disasters rather than today. Those of us at The Oval in 2012 saw just how a pedstrian, out of sorts, bowling attack can struggle whoever is captain. Even his attempts at tactical changes, such as the leg trap and bowling round the wicket are almost by-the-numbers. I’m at the stage that having a pop at his captaincy isn’t worth it. He’ll have his days (Grenada Day 5 wasn’t just Jimmy Anderson) but he’ll have a lot of bad ones. This wasn’t in the same league as those that actually lose tests.

The match is set up well. England’s score was brilliant considering we were 30-4, and I thought it was more competitive than it looks right now. I was watching the Brisbane test on the flight home on Tuesday and saw how smug we were to have bowled out the Aussies for 280 odd, because it was a flat deck and the tail had put the runs together. We know what happened next. This score looked better because we scored quickly and there was a view that the pitch has something in it. New Zealand batted well, some chances were missed (rare is the game where every chance is taken), and they are pouring it on. Yes, if Wood’s over-stepping hadn’t been caught, the day might have been different, but that’s the game. The perceived weakness in the Black Caps, the supposed flaky opening partnership, put on a really decent platform (admittedly, I was catching up with sleep for most of it – still suffering) and now everyone is worried about McCullum. I’d be more worried about the bloke who is 92 not out and has a big double to his name in the very recent past.

For added reading today, have a laugh at Martin Samuel’s Daily Mail column – this is a football writer (and I despise him for that) trying to justify his varied sport portfolio and he spent yesterday bemoaning people going on and on about you know who, and wrote a whole column, it seemed, on you know who. I’m no fan of Newman, but when you have him and Lawrence Booth on your books, what’s the point of Samuel just showing up and writing this stuff? I’ve not read Selvey, so will go and look at it. I got a whiff of Simon and Smiffy at lunchtime on TMS, and FICJAM was in marvellous condescending form. I also had plenty of fuel to my anti-Lord’s fire with the constant looks at the spectators there today – I’m sorry, if you dress like that for a sporting event, there’s something up – and if you chucked, or allowed, a champagne cork on a football ground in this country you’d be banned for life (first for smuggling it in).

Lastly, from Vian and I, many thanks for the visits and comments. It’s the 22nd of May and this blog has had more hits in a calendar month than any here on BOC, or HDWLIA. This is, of course, down to the new writer, who is now outshining me at every turn 🙂 . I’m going to get The Analyst to write a piece like this on him any day now. Seriously, it’s been brilliant how his style has been received here and I know he’s going down really well. It’ll be his turn tomorrow night/Sunday morning…..

Cheers all, and looking forward to tomorrow’s play.

Comments below.





134 thoughts on “England v New Zealand – 1st Test, Day 3 – Open Thread

  1. Gambrinus May 22, 2015 / 9:15 pm

    Thanks for this whole blog really. Nice to see Williamson and Taylor putting together a good stand, but from an NZ (sort of!) perspective even better to see a 100+ opening stand. Saying all that, mind, all I could “see” today was occasional glances at Cricinfo and the Channel 5 highlights.

    Being an eternal pessimist, I can still see NZ collapsing to 350ish all out, but I’d love it if they could get through until lunch without losing a wicket.


  2. SimonH May 22, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    Unless there is a dramatic fightback on Day Three, I’m expecting the “young, inexperienced side” thing to start making its regular recent appearance.

    So, let’s get this out of the way now – these two teams are virtually identical in combined ages with NZ slightly the younger side. The two youngest players in the match are both NZers (Latham and Henry). England are much the more experienced side in terms of Test caps – NZ average 32 caps each to England’s 42. NZ’s experience is distributed more evenly throughout the side though – England have just one player (Root) with between 12 and 75 caps whereas NZ have five.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 22, 2015 / 10:03 pm

      If it wasn’t such an excuse for the realms of incompetence that we all know about and I don’t have to sum up here, I’d have some sympathy with the “inexperienced England” thing.

      Buttler is still getting to grips as a WK. Stokes and Ali are both young at being bowlers, rather than batsmen who turn their arm over. Root and Ballance haven’t actually been in the side that long. Wood is a debutant, as is Lyth.

      All that said, the reason it’s all such a mess traces back to the failure to have a proper review and fix things after the 0-5 Down Under – total ECB incompetence – so my sympathy is in short supply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • BoerInAustria May 23, 2015 / 5:32 am

        Firstly, a great read Dmitri – good to have you back
        Secondly, agree with Metatone, the lack of post 0-5 review is still unbelievebale (especially the fact that there is an opening bat on debut!)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. metatone May 22, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    The bowlers bowled quite an even number of overs. 16/17 for the top 3, 13 for the other 2.
    Strategically, you then have to ask, why weren’t the strike pairing more threatening?
    Wood can’t be judged on a single day – so far good speed, but needs that touch of movement more often. (Although maybe on a rougher outfield he’d get more reverse.) And as I’ve said elsewhere:

    “Maybe teaching someone with pace to move it will prove less likely to cause “Total Back Destruction (TM)” than the usual Loughborough approach of taking a good mover of the ball and trying to up his pace..”

    TLG is right to say Moeen is doing everything we could ask of him. Stokes didn’t really impress with the ball, but he is the 5th bowler and certainly bowled enough over to give the frontline bowlers a breather.

    So – for those who kept better track through the day:
    Did Cook spell the strike bowlers properly? To get the most out of having 5 bowlers?
    Or does the fault like more with those senior bowlers?
    Will be interesting to see how the 2nd new ball goes.


    • Timmy May 22, 2015 / 10:41 pm

      Anderson bowled to short early on. That’s the problem with Anderson, If he thinks there is no swing his natural tendency is to pull his length back and thus kill off any swing. 389 on the board, I would have hoped he bowled fuller for more than an over and a half!

      Cook’s captaincy can be summoned up easily, he lacks any imagination or purpose on the field. It’s not that he was poor today but more of a spectator.

      I am not a mind reader by any means but when you watch a close up of any of the leading captains I get the sense their minds are always ticking, playing out scenarios of the next few steps to take in the match. They stay ahead of the game.

      When I see Cook I see a man barely able to keep up. It’s as if he has a copy book of bowl X for so many overs then move to Y for so many overs. You need a captain with a natural feel for the game. With Cook when things don’t go to plan and nothing in the copy book to help him you know his guessing his way through. He may have better luck playing Bingo!


      • BoerInAustria May 23, 2015 / 5:43 am

        Cook by all accounts is not a natural leader, and by all accounts the environment he has played in (almost exclusivly the england squad under Flower/Strauss and then Moores) is not where one will be exposed to pro-active play and captaincy. And this would have been one of the main “cultural” issues with KP who wants to impose on the game. Good though to see some of the youngsters having this approach.


    • Pontiac May 23, 2015 / 12:05 am

      How can Anderson not be conscious of the summer’s heavy schedule, and that England will be bowling last in this match that will be followed with only a little rest to the next match?

      If anything, why not have Root in there for more than just a couple overs – more like 5 or 7 – and why not an over or two of comedy legbreaks from Gary Ballance right before tea and the close. Every little bit helps.

      Serious intent would be not giving Broad the new ball – start with Ali and Wood for those 3 overs and keep Wood on into the new ball with Anderson for at least a couple overs.


      • Timmy May 23, 2015 / 7:12 am

        The schedule is a problem. But if Anderson is aware then bowling short is even more ill considered!

        You want the maximum opportunity of taking wickets with everyball. So pitch it up. NZ bowlers erred on the full side but at least if there was swing to be had they got some of it.

        I feel like I am repeating what I said during the WI tour. WI erred on the fuller length, got swing. England pulled lengths back after a few overs got no swing.

        Sun’s out in my part of London, should be a cracking day.


  4. Rohan May 22, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    Great to see you and Vian trading literary blows Dmitri. I really enjoy reading both of your entries/thoughts! You both have an uncanny knack of exposing the flaws that many of us don’t initially spot and in the process, provide great insight into what is wrong with our beloved game and national team.

    I really enjoyed listening to Boycott on TMS today. Especially when he tore the Anal-ist to shreds for writing a book on batting. I think a particular favourite was something along these lines ‘I hope he spoke to a batsmen about batting, because if not, what he knows about batting is next to useless and wouldn’t even fill one side, let alone a book!’ This was said with plenty of feeling and emotion, bordering on contempt for the Anal-ist, which the Anal-ist deserves. Couldn’t help but feel this was Geoffery righting a few wrongs, based on what the Anal-ist has been saying in the MSM recently……

    Lastly, I agree Dmitri, great to watch Taylor and Williamson bat, especially from a newly adopted neutral perspective of sorts. Although it still pains me that I feel unable to get behind team Cook, I mean England.


  5. Zephirine May 22, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    We’re very spoiled now, with both Vian/TLG and Dmitri/LCL. And it is appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BoerInAustria May 23, 2015 / 5:45 am

      indeed – a worthy match for Hughes and Smith!


      • amit May 23, 2015 / 7:06 am

        The genius that is ed smith, has surely realized the the barrier to entry as the ECB spokesperson (or their good books anyways) is quite “low”. If the “anal-ist” can do it, so can he 😉


  6. PepperSydney May 22, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    I drifted off to sleep around lunchtime, Eng time, convinced and confident that NZ would be perfectly fine without my conscious observation, and , I was right!!…

    For some reason, I dreamed that Stauss was gnashing his teeth, watching that NZ run score go an and on and on.. . oh the agony, and how well deserved! I did want to watch Cook’s fielding ‘expertise,’ it ‘s always gobsmackingly inept, and about as mysterious as Runes carved in sand, there has never been , to my knowledge , a thread of rationale running thru any of his directions, or placings..

    apropos of Mystery, I cannot figure out why, after winning the toss, McCullum took the ball. can anyone set me right here? is it a locale thing, this year?? I’m not thinking it was wrong, I just don’t know why.


    • Zephirine May 22, 2015 / 10:51 pm

      Maybe for the psychological advantage of exposing the weakness of the England top order straight away at the start of the series? If so, it certainly worked, until Root and Stokes thought otherwise.


      • PepperSydney May 22, 2015 / 11:01 pm

        a good a reason as any, Zeph!!.


    • Pontiac May 23, 2015 / 12:12 am

      If it’s a NZ style pitch, then your best shot is with the new ball straight away. Furthermore, if it’s a draw, then batting last means that Anderson and Broad (but particularly Anderson) will be coming off a heavy workload and not so much rest to the next match. And 4/30 was looking pretty good – maybe as a neutral it’s easier to perceive that both sides have players who are pretty good at what they do and are allowed to play well once in a while; Stokes and Root played very well.

      Furthermore, batting second would give the NZ batsmen coming from the IPL an extra day to straighten themselves out w.r.t. time zone before going into bat – this based on the presumption that the constant concentration required for batting is more affected by that kind of thing than bowling and fielding.

      So, well, there are a few reasons anyway.


    • dvyk May 23, 2015 / 6:31 am

      Someone suggested another reason was to give the batters a bit more time to acclimatise and get over jet lag after the IPL. But I also suspect having a deutant + a walking opening the batting would also have played a role! And their bowlers seemed to have Ballance’s number too.

      The Aus press is reporting Gillespie will be next coach. The fool. I guess he knows how to look after himself — Strauss is after all completely and utterly out of his depth and on some level knows it. The worst that JG will see happening to him is Straussy photobombing him any time they win. He’ll do what he wants and take the money and run at some point.


      • dvyk May 23, 2015 / 6:32 am

        excuse me — walking *wicket*.


  7. Benny May 22, 2015 / 11:34 pm

    I can probably bore on this subject but, as Dmitri begins, I love cricket itself and have had such enjoyment watching great cricketers, whichever country they come from. For so many years, it has been exciting to watch our England guys marching out to play. It just hasn’t seemed as simple as that for the past few years. So many average cricketers being built up by ECB and their press minions e.g. Cook, Prior, Broad to name three. Sorry but I remember Hutton, Knott, Trueman and many other true greats.

    Now it all feels so orchestrated and artificial. I’ll enjoy seeing NZ do well. Williamson, McCullum, Boult, Southee are the real deal. I’m optimistic about England’s youngsters but wish they were free from the influence of Cook, Strauss and the other members of a bygone era.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 12:44 am

      I am not an England supporter, nor do I have the age to have seen the likes of Hutton bat, Knott keep or Trueman bowl.

      There is no inherent reason why England cannot produce performers like that these days. It is not like the English DNA has become lacking in quality or something as ridiculous as that. It has everything to do with the mismanagement of the game. Though the ECB is good at taking money from others, whether “customers”, “stakeholders” or “minor teams” such as South Africa, New Zealand and Sri Lanka, they don’t seem to have a clue on how to spend the money in an effective manner to grow the game. Lawyer fees, PR fees, and payouts for sackings, don’t strike me as a particularly great long term strategy.

      Diplomacy is seen too much as a virtue. The new kids always have to praise the powers that be. Only Bell, Broad and Anderson retain a modicum of independence in terms of what they’re allowed to say. The same could possibly have applied to Cook, if he had not been co-opted by management. And increasingly it seems as if that is all he aspired to.

      A diplomatic denial that an issue does not exist, does not make the issue go away. We have seen that with Cook’s captaincy, Cook’s batting, issues concerning injury management, scheduling, IPL, game approach, and entitlement complexes (Root on Sri Lanka being a prime example in 2014. Giles Clarke with “the right sort of family” hints at it as well. Half of Cook’s interviews). The ECB seem desperate to turn back the time, while the rest of the world moves forward.

      Blunt characters will simply embarrass the management, and that is deemed unacceptable; but that also destroys notions of accountability and players taking responsibility for their actions. The problem with that attitude is of course, that players then can only reach the heights that management really strives for. And I hate to say it, but that is average at best, with the occasional burst of “better than average”.

      Sure, memory may play tricks on us. In a few decades’ time we may only remember only Broad’s great spells. And forget that he was rather poor most of the other times (Anantha Narayanan did some analysis on this, and it seems that this was more true of Broad than just about anyone else). Broad probably could have been a great bowler, and decent with the bat. He has not lived up to his potential thus far. And with the injuries he has sustained and carried, it is doubtful that he will.

      Now it seems that ECB management is not so much about managing players, but massaging the media narratives, and “creating value” for stakeholders (sponsors). Strauss indicated as much when he chastised Agnew for the media being “too negative”.

      Stokes seems to be the player who has the most to fear from the ECB management since he seems rather temperamental. Players should not fear management. Yet they seemingly do (Broad’s comments with regards to Flower’s phone calls point to this).

      The ECB needs a complete shift in culture, and that is not likely to happen as long as the counties are dependent on compliant and mostly docile players for the ECB XI, to help them keep on surviving. Obedience to management is deemed to be the only virtue that matters. Playing the game in the proper spirit is unnecessary. Injury management? The ECB does not care if you need a wheelchair at 33. Once you have been used and abused, you’ll simply land on the scrapheap. Prior may soon prove a case in point.

      Liked by 4 people

      • BoerInAustria May 23, 2015 / 6:04 am

        Well written, and great comments

        Again this was what the KP conflict highlighted:
        – Modern sport creates rich superstar
        – These superstars are driven by a desire to win, not conform
        – These stars are creative, but flawed geniuses
        – These stars are international jet setters (IPL / BB etc.)
        – These stars create success, that generate support
        – These stars entertain, that generate the income

        The ECB is happy to embark on the SKY / Stanfield / Big 3 journey for the money, but not prepared to engage with the winning mentalities and egos that go with it, nor lose the strict control over the players. They want (and this is where the school of Flower was/is so appealing to them) still the obedient military style “culture of Englishness”.

        Liked by 2 people

      • metatone May 23, 2015 / 8:17 am

        I’ve been saying for a while that if you add up the number of times Broad has been injured and then come back and been rubbish for a match or two with the things KP says about England’s injury management it seems clear that Broad has probably been mis-managed medically for most of his England career. Little wonder that consistency has been hard to come by…


    • Zephirine May 23, 2015 / 1:08 pm

      “Now it all feels so orchestrated and artificial” Yes.

      At the moment, Root, Stokes, Ali and Buttler seem to be able to break away from that, but for how long?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. davethevet May 23, 2015 / 12:44 am

    I think its difficult to support any of the the three richest sides, ie England, India and Oz. Its so much more fun to support the others and watching NZ today was a pleasure and they really do look a bit better than us. Im pretty sure if this was a five test series NZ would win, two however makes me nervous, much less predictable.

    Such a shame and so disrespectful to NZ cricket that we only get to see this team for two tests at the beginning of the summer when its quite obvious that not only are they a better side but are also just a bit more likeable.

    Not good for business, to lose to the minnows on a regular basis though is it.


  9. amit May 23, 2015 / 4:11 am

    Kane Williamson. Can that guy bat or what!
    Serene, unhurried, not flustered at all by anything.
    Unless there’s major swing or spin early today, I do expect Jimmy / Stokes / Broad to lip it especially if it doesn’t go their way.
    Having seen BMac score the triple against us last time we went to NZ, and his pyrotechnic everywhere since then, I am so looking forward to a rampage post lunch today.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 7:38 am

    LCL, I see from Twitter you were reading ‘The Plan’ in the early hours.

    Steve James and insomnia – the perfect combination! Are you enjoying how nothing was ever Fletcher or Flower’s fault? It was [insert name of player here – usually a lazy bowler]. He was moderately pro-KP as I recall although, if there is ever an updated edition, I’m expecting some rewriting of history in that department.

    My favourite claim is that Strauss’s declarations in the Caribbean were some sort of “declaration of intent”. Losing a serious through delayed declarations becomes some sort of strategic masterstroke!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 2:03 pm

      Not a long way through it, but it’s a bit wooden, isn’t it?

      I know it shouldn’t annoy me, and I know it’s through a prism now, but how about this bit I just read….

      “the subsequent awarding of MBEs and OBEs was misguided. In my opinion only Vaughan, Flintoff, Trescothick, Strauss and Fletcher should have been rewarded. Bell’s and Collingwood’s could have come later.”

      Let’s leave Mr Obvious 158 out of it. Why only Bell and Colly’s later? Why not Steve Harmison or Matthew Hoggard, both longer tenures than Strauss. On the numbers, why Trescothick (for a series changing 90, really) and yes, Strauss scored two centuries, but Simon Jones bowled amazingly in that series. And yes, why leave Pietersen out of it at all.

      Just annoyed me as I read it. What did Ashley Giles do to annoy Steve?

      In recounting KP’s 158 James mentions him being lucky to be given not out for 0 when he wasn’t out, and then cites the two drops. Did I miss the bit celebrating him taking the attack to the Aussies. Maybe later in the book.

      However, some good stuff. Ramps was really considered the favourite for the captaincy in 1999? Now that would have been fun…….

      Liked by 2 people

  11. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 7:51 am

    From Selvey’s verdict on the Caribbean: “[WI} have an experienced new coach in Phil Simmons and a young side that no longer relies on the play-as-you-please types, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo. They are most obviously better off without them”.

    Oh dear, look who disagrees:


    “Experienced” coach decides having best players available for selection is a good idea shock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 23, 2015 / 8:19 am

      Selvey’s line on the IPL has always been a reflection of the ECBs.
      Now that the ECB is getting more sensible about this (only took a disastrous WC!) we shouldn’t forget that a big part of the conflict between ECB/Flower/Selvey & KP was about the IPL…


      • d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 8:29 am

        Incidentally, the most recent idiocy by the ECB, will make players think twice before they give up an IPL contract, for the chance to represent Waitrose XI.

        If Alex Hales gets a decent contract (say 500k), serial mismanagement by the ECB is probably not that appealing to him. And the same may hold true for players like Billings, Vince, etc.

        Careers are short. You can’t blame the players for wanting to cash in, especially if the board does not care for anyone, beyond how they can best exploit and discard them.


      • SimonH May 23, 2015 / 8:32 am

        I recently re-read Selvey’s article after the 13/14 Ashes, that first one that indicated Pietersen was about to be sacked, and it was striking how much of it was about the IPL and how alleged dressing room disruptiveness/disengagement/disinterest hardly featured.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine May 23, 2015 / 1:25 pm

        Yes, I remember Mike Selvey basing his criticism at that time on the idea that KP had signed a contract with the ECB and was now trying to do as he pleased regardless of this commitment. It seems to have escaped his notice that contracts can be renegotiated.

        Once upon a time I would have had more sympathy with his view. When playing for England was genuinely the peak of a player’s career and meant that he was one of the best 11 or so players in the country. When players were respected for their skills and the character and initiative they could bring to a match.

        I think the England management is finally understanding how much the IPL adds to players’ skills. What it seems most people inside English cricket don’t seem to get is how much of the appeal of the IPL for players is the validation. Yes, the money helps of course, and the applause and excitement, but it’s clear from KP’s book and what many other players have said that it’s about who you play with and against and being right there with players you’ve always admired.


  12. Ann Weatherly-Barton (@xpressanny) May 23, 2015 / 9:50 am

    Wondered if you might like to see this little gem of a conversation care of Mr Simon Hughes.

    Ann Weatherly-Barton ‏@xpressanny
    ‘I’ factor rules out Kevin Pietersen from being part of the team What a really awful piece @the analyst.

    @xpressanny @theanalyst he told me he loves KP a couple of weeks ago but never heard him say anything nice about him.

    I’m gobsmacked. No mention of twitter a/c. No mention of bullying: @NHoultCricket piece: Root bullied. Constant lies.

    simon hughes ‏@theanalyst
    @xpressanny i was slagged off on the field for some of my efforts. I did not cry or run to mummy

    Missed this last night but just replied:

    Ooh that is so unkind. Is that why u r always slagging off KP? What of Cook? He certainly whinges when given ruff time?

    Gee whizz. This really is all about jealousy isn’t it? Such sourness and bitterness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dvyk May 23, 2015 / 10:04 am

      Journalists having differing points of view doesn’t surprise me, but what gets me about the way the yellow press talks about KP is that they take it all so personally. They have absolutely no concept of professional distance. Hughes’ behaviour is as unprofessional as it is absurd.

      Ian Chappell wrote some very clear words about Cook, but none of it was personal or attacking his personal character (at least beyond the way his character affects his captaincy). The yellow press doesn’t do that with KP. It’s all agenda driven personal attacks, with no admission of their obvious conflict of interest.

      Well done Ann…. (And I always find myself smiling when I see your pic of your little doggie!)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Benny May 23, 2015 / 10:13 am

      Not sure if Hughes came up with “I Factor”. Anyone who claims to be THE Analyst surely knows about Ego.


      • paulewart May 23, 2015 / 11:37 am

        It’s always the last refuge for substandard performers: resentment.


    • Arron Wright May 23, 2015 / 10:20 am

      Does someone who says “I won an Ashes, I won in India, I have inner steel, I might have done better than Eoin Morgan in the World Cup, I don’t think my place should have been questioned like it has” not possess this I-factor then?

      Liked by 2 people

  13. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 10:05 am

    Seven runs of the first over – six through point (three twos). There isn’t a point.

    Warne’s ticking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH May 23, 2015 / 10:10 am

      And then Williamson has his hundred with a three to third man. There isn’t a third man. How many runs has he scored down there?

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 10:17 am

        The lack of a third man is endemic in most Test sides. It must be something they all look at and decide it’s not worth it. Steve James came up with a belting stat from the 2013 Ashes that Ian Bell scored over 200 runs down in that region, pointing out that it wasn’t great captaincy.


      • metatone May 23, 2015 / 10:32 am

        I understand it overall – if you’ve got a man in that segment of the pitch, it’s more attacking to have him in the slips. There aren’t that many catches that go to third man.


      • metatone May 23, 2015 / 10:39 am

        Still, given that everyone has stopped doing it, putting in a third man might be a good creative move.


        • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 10:48 am

          Kevin Mitchell going off message..

          Selfey remaining firmly on…

          Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 10:50 am

            How far up Anderson’s you know what is he? If Anderson’s that special perhaps he should be captain?

            You think McCullum and Clarke let the bowler do what he likes with the field?


      • Arron Wright May 23, 2015 / 10:51 am

        That conversation is getting even more interesting/self-righteous.


      • thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 10:53 am

        Why the hell doesn’t that appear in my timeline? I’m not blocked by him.


      • thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 11:02 am

        Of course the captain will largely let the bowler have what he wants. But a good captain will still sometimes overrule, otherwise what’s the point of being the captain?

        Liked by 1 person

      • THA May 24, 2015 / 5:12 am

        “I understand it overall – if you’ve got a man in that segment of the pitch, it’s more attacking to have him in the slips. There aren’t that many catches that go to third man.”

        It’s not an either/or. The man you really want to move – and I don’t know why they never seem to do this – is mid-on. Hardly any runs go through mid-on for a fast bowler, yet virtually every captain uses one, huge numbers of runs go through third man, yet it’s seen as somehow excessively defensive to have a man there.

        For an outswing bowler, moving mid-on to either slips or third-man has the secondary effect of encouraging the batsman to shape to the legside. Good technique against away swing is to shape with the ball, drive towards mid-off, cover. If the ball moves more than expected you’re in a good position to compensate. As soon as a batsman shapes to play legside he loses most of his ability to adjust for the away movement.


  14. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 10:06 am

    Batted Kane!


    • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart May 23, 2015 / 11:42 am

        1. Third man should be dependent on the batsman’s scoring areas. For Bell and Williamson post a third man. For leg side players don’t.

        2. I’d love to see Jimmy or Selvey tell Allan Border how to set a field. Risible stuff. The captain’s job is to lead.

        Liked by 1 person

      • THA May 24, 2015 / 5:22 am

        “2. I’d love to see Jimmy or Selvey tell Allan Border how to set a field. Risible stuff. The captain’s job is to lead.”

        Think this might be what you’re looking for:


  15. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Lahore in 1965 the last time first 4 NZ batters all reached 50.


  16. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 10:12 am

    Apologies but got it from TMS !


  17. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 10:18 am

    It’s interesting. I always thought that John Arlott died ages ago and Brian Johnston relatively recently. But they both passed away in the 90s within a few years of each other… (found this out when looking up Bill Frindall, the Bearded Wonder statistician on TMS. What a shame those years have gone, never to return…


    • thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 10:28 am

      Probably because Arlott retired a good decade before he died, and Johnston was commentating more or less to the end.

      Longevity tends to make us think fondly of people, and I sometimes wonder which of the current crop in all sports will be those who in half a century will be considered in the same way.


      • MM May 23, 2015 / 1:36 pm

        Oh Ed Smith will be remembered forever for summat. Being a chuffing clever arse, mostly.


  18. metatone May 23, 2015 / 10:35 am

    Judging by the commentary, England doing better with the new ball so far this morning.


  19. Arron Wright May 23, 2015 / 11:09 am

    Boycott going barmy at Cook’s fields for McCullum.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. PepperSydney May 23, 2015 / 11:10 am

    watching Broad bowl, I am convinced that he has lost more speed since the World cup, at least 10kph slower than what he was then.


  21. emasl May 23, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Interesting chat in ommentary box as Buttler and Andesron setting fields while Cook looks on. Gower says he likes people to think for themselves but the caaptain has ro give it the nod. Says it looks bad if it looks as if they do not consult the captain. Clear they are not. The fact that Cook seems to stand their being ignored is reallybtelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Even Extras has a 50 now.

    Played Extras!

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 23, 2015 / 11:30 am

      It seems to me that just this morning NZ have scored about 24 by bumping the ball off the arse down to the boundary. I guess you can’t be arse before wicket (ABW) if the ball was going down the leg side anyway. But it’s not the usual story of extras…


    • Culex May 23, 2015 / 2:23 pm

      ABC Grandstand once named that player “Xavier Tras.” Well done Xavier!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. metatone May 23, 2015 / 11:36 am

    Scores level – not looking good for England overall.
    Rain also looking more and more likely.


      • metatone May 23, 2015 / 11:43 am

        Wood gets him to miscue… out for 42


        • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 11:44 am

          Love how the English commentators purr over McCullum, but would excoriate another rather famous reckless cricketer if he did the same things.

          Liked by 1 person

      • metatone May 23, 2015 / 11:45 am

        The worst thing is (in both cases) if NZ collapse now, the English press will round on him as it being his fault. But if Cook makes a grinding 42, that will be fine…

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 11:53 am

          The English press and commentators are in thrall to Mac, and in my opinion, rightly so. He’s a positive player, and sometimes it doesn’t come off.

          We can’t handle that in our own.

          Liked by 2 people

  24. Ross May 23, 2015 / 11:36 am

    I know I am getting long in the tooth, and it frightens me to realise how long it is since I played cricket, but I never thought that slips was necessarily the best place for the skipper to field. Bowlers do need encouragement and advice/ suggestions and support. Not that easy from slips.
    Spot on EMASL, I saw that piece about who is captain. Joe Root also having a go – but as vice captain he has more claim to that I guess. I honestly think that Cook is looking uninterested…..


  25. LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 11:37 am

    One of my hobby horses.


    We live in a world where this snobby institution encourages the sort of nonsense we see at this venue, with people turning up in certain areas with sports jackets, ties etc. It’s a sporting event being held at a private club. Our team is playing in an institution that thinks a smart sweater is less offensive than a buffoon turning up in a red and yellow blazer and red flannels that probably haven’t seen an iron in decades.

    Not much sets my anger raging thatn getting off the tube at St John’s Wood for a test. All the posh nobs in the pavilion, and the hoi polloi in those horrible seats at the Nursery End.

    Rant over. I know some of the guys who do all this are really good blokes. Just hate the snobbery in stuff like this.

    That tie is like a red rag to a bull.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ross May 23, 2015 / 11:42 am

      I so so so agree Dmitri. I am getting more and more irritated by the way SKY keep showing spectators in silly blazers. I want to watch the cricket, and that includes the bits in between the bowler bowling to the batsman !


      • paule May 23, 2015 / 3:09 pm

        I used to think a regatta was the collective noun for c***s but it could well be an M.C.C.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. metatone May 23, 2015 / 11:59 am

    Rain stops play and early lunch.
    Time for one of my hobby horses.

    This passage of play is all so misleading.
    It looks like we have a decent bowling attack, we’ve got some wickets and certainly making it hard work for the batsmen. Edges, hopping around and more…

    Then you stop and think. Late May. Humid and overcast conditions. New ball.
    These are the perfect conditions for our attack.
    And without those conditions?
    Looking much more ordinary. As NZ’s score of 400-odd for 4 rather suggests…


    • d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 2:50 pm

      Exactly. For most of the day, conditions have suited the English attack. It is still about 145/3 for the day at the moment of writing (448/5 now).

      Sure, New Zealand may collapse before reaching 500. But you would think that Boult and Southee would be a handful in similar conditions as this as well. If conditions are similar tomorrow, England may struggle to get a substantial enough lead to get New Zealand worried about a 4th innings chase.


  27. LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 12:58 pm

    Top Lovejoy bantz re Newcastle United:

    The game is tomorrow, of course.

    My ribs, my ribs….


    • Arron Wright May 23, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      Naaaah, if you want a real rib-tickler, check out Selvey’s conversation with Roy Allen about DRS ball-tracking technology.


    • MM May 23, 2015 / 1:41 pm

      Likely, but sad. Still, he was damn good.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Sherwick May 23, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    Shame. Last link to the 90s gone now?


  29. thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    Most extras in a Test innings is 76. Currently on 62 in this one, just outside the top ten.


  30. pktroll (@pktroll) May 23, 2015 / 2:22 pm

    Poor Ben Stokes. He really could have had a stack more wickets over the last few tests. Please move Bell out of the slips!


  31. Tuffers86 May 23, 2015 / 2:25 pm

    Bell’s slip fielding has plummeted in past few tests. I genuinely think something is mentally bugging him or I think he is fatigued.


  32. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    Jimmy Neesham’s injury is a gain for Twitter:


  33. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 3:17 pm

    Cricket Writers on TV back tomorrow at 9am. John Etheridge tweeted a while back he’s on but I haven’t heard the others.


    • LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 3:23 pm

      I’ve been subjected to his Spanish fireman joke.

      So overcome, I had to have a sleep.


    • Ross May 23, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Selfie and Jeremy Coney…


  34. d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    Moeen took 2 in an over. WIlliamson nicking it through to Ballance at short leg. Craig second unlucky New Zealand batsman, since he was out on umpire’s call on hitting stumps. Looked good in real time though.

    So 480/7 now. Lead getting close to 100, and conditions seem to be quite suitable to the New Zealand attack as well.


  35. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 3:45 pm

    Speed-gun readings: Wood fastest single delivery (93) and fastest average (88). Broad has also topped 90 mph on a single delivery and Stokes close at 89 mph. Anderson slowest both on single delivery and average.


  36. LordCanisLupus May 23, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    It’s an interval, so time for another massive gripe of mine.

    Shane Warne is on the panel of pundits, and it is absolutely clear to me he hasn’t a clue who BJ Watling is or what he’s done in the game. I’d guess 99% of the people on this blog could give you more insight into BJ Watling than he can. Sure, he’d be better how to tell you his weaknesses and how he’d bowl to him after a few overs, but there’s no homework done. None at all. It’s winging it.

    He’s not alone, I’ll bet Botham doesn’t have a scooby who he is either.


    • d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      It is highly annoying, but the English MSM is hardly any better. Their coverage of the world game is extremely limited, and your average England fan will think New Zealand are McCullum, Williamson, Southee, Boult and some other guys. That they don’t know much about Matt Henry, I can understand. But Watling is playing his 30th Test now, so it is not like he is that fresh on the scene.

      Watling has played against every Test nation in the world (other than New Zealand of course). So no one who is paid to watch the game, has a reasonable excuse not to know a bit about the man.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 4:04 pm

    Comms just been handed ECB crib sheet – Michael Holding loyally reads out that NZ have never won in England when they made 400+ in the first innings and Gower says he is confident England will save this. The Analyst is seconding Gower on Twitter.

    If it stays this overcast without raining for hours (which is the forecast I’ve seen) and NZ bowl anything like then this going to take some saving. The amount the ball has moved today (both swing and seam) compared to yesterday has been amazing.

    Good and possibly crucial innings by Watling.


    • thelegglance May 23, 2015 / 4:09 pm

      Jaw hit the floor when Gower said that. England are in an absolute hole here. It’s been extremely tough batting today, and England will need to get 400 to make the game safe.


  38. d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    400 is probably still on the optimistic side. That would leave about 270 to chase in a day on day 5, provided there is not much time lost due to rain.

    Runrates have been good on the first few days, so still plenty of time left in the game.


  39. d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    New Zealand 523 all out. 134 run lead. Watling unbeaten on 61*. I expect Latham to keep considering the injuries WAtling has sustained.

    Could be a very interesting 2 hours up ahead.


  40. Timmy May 23, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    Lyth Gone. 14-1

    Could be big trouble by the end of play tonight.


  41. thebogfather May 23, 2015 / 4:47 pm

    four day tests – perhaps Sirgravesytrain is the saviour of England (coma) Cricket? #LossCutters


  42. pktroll (@pktroll) May 23, 2015 / 4:52 pm

    That was a little careless from Lyth. It seemed he got drawn in by his previous boundaries when there was no need to play quite so loosely. Then again I guess that is the difference between county and test level.

    Dare I say it but Cook actually looks better balanced at the crease this innings?


    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 23, 2015 / 4:57 pm

      Well apart from a careless cut too close to his body that could easily have been a drag on!


  43. Boz May 23, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Well, that’s Lyth’s test career over – I mean how long does he need to get established? He’s had two innings – whilst Cook has had two years ……….


    • thebogfather May 23, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      He’ll get another test, newbie for the first Ashes – forward thinking!


  44. Pontiac May 23, 2015 / 5:02 pm

    Cook looks not-terribly-comfy.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 23, 2015 / 5:39 pm

      I thought he was looking better balanced earlier on but has been tested out by increasingly accurate Kiwi bowling.


      • BoerInAustria May 23, 2015 / 5:41 pm

        he lost his ballance…


  45. MM May 23, 2015 / 5:03 pm

    Predicted 500 off 100 overs for the Kiwis. Not my worst. I now predict England will lose by 7 wickets. It’ll Moeen, Lyth, and Bell for the MSM ugly stick. Extras will be retained – for now.

    Cook{y} will be safe until 2021, naturally. And his future isn’t a relevant question, FFS.

    This side is still young. Not as young as the oppo but that’s not a relevant thing either. Shut it, proles.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 5:05 pm

    Number of times a team has won in Test history with this big a deficit: one (according to David Lloyd).


  47. metatone May 23, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    On Lyth: really we have to remember what a hospital pass he was given. Tour to WI with virtually no playing time – he’s barely played in the weeks running up to this match. Then both times opening in testing conditions.

    If Cook and Ballance can survive to the close, England should be feeling confident about getting a draw. The NZ bowlers are looking a little less fresh than in the 1st innings.


    • metatone May 23, 2015 / 5:12 pm



      • MM May 23, 2015 / 5:44 pm

        Yes oops.

        I’m upgrading my prediction: England lose by 8 wickets. Everyone gets the blame apart from the very relevant captain. Noticed that he wasn’t doing that thing with his interview voice prior to the toss so that’s a positive. Farbs[y] ruling himself out at the first opportunity here – wise man.

        Jason G: don’t do it, man. Let the ECB hit their next rock bottom. They’ll pay you double at that point.

        Anyone know how much Moores[y] trousered for his failures?


  48. amit May 23, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    does anyone know if kiwis have batting replacements for BJ? Clearly Tom Latham can keep.


  49. lionel joseph May 23, 2015 / 5:09 pm

    ballance now averaging 6.5 against good bowling sides.


    • SimonH May 23, 2015 / 5:14 pm

      Heck of a good ball that got him but he never looked comfortable.

      Ballance starting to develop a bit of a pattern of making second innings runs when England are on top but failing when the team are in trouble (Headingley v SL, Lord’s v India, Bridgetown v WI, today).


    • Burly May 23, 2015 / 6:25 pm

      I’m mentioning KP just for a technical discussion, but he’s someone who frequently batted way outside his crease to counteract the swinging ball and force the bowlers to change their lengths.

      Ballance allows them to bowl at him.

      Liked by 1 person

  50. Timmy May 23, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    Ballance gone. He was all back foot for 12 balls. Quality bowling will take advantage if all you want to do is block.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. d'Arthez May 23, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    Quite a few edges and shots dropping just short of the fielders. You feel that once one does find a fielder, England are really facing the prospect of a loss in 4 days.


    • metatone May 23, 2015 / 6:23 pm

      Cook and Bell are both most vulnerable at the beginning – and now both past the worst. I think NZ are going to have to bowl better than they did in the 1st innings to get them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  52. SimonH May 23, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    Good graphic from Botham showing balls hitting the stumps in the first ten overs. NZ had about three times as many.


    • Timmy May 23, 2015 / 5:32 pm

      It’s that kind of analysis that get’s you on the wrong side of the ECB.


      • MM May 23, 2015 / 5:55 pm

        But Beefy’s a Sir. I’m sure he could sh*t the ECB all across Greater London with his royal connections!

        Liked by 2 people

  53. Zephirine May 23, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    According to TMS Gillespie has said he’d take the job if offered – Boycott saying the ECB are terrible employers, JG should get plenty of money upfront in case it all goes wrong.


    • metatone May 23, 2015 / 9:03 pm

      I’ve said before that I think Gillespie would be taking a big risk to take the job.
      However, I’ve also surmised that if they want him, he’ll be able to ask enough money to make even a year of the job the kind of thing that makes his family secure. So hard to turn down…

      (and given Strauss’ rebuilding remit, JG would probably get 2 years even if it all goes wrong)


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