England v New Zealand: 1st Test 5th Day – Open Thread

England 389 & 429/6 (Cook 153 not out, Stokes 101, Root 84) lead New Zealand 523 by 295 runs.

England have, it seemed, turned the game around. From a position of weakness two contrasting centuries have put the home team in the position to win this match, if things go our way. Alastair Cook’s epic knock, one that he played on a fairly regular basis a few years ago is the “welcome return to form” that we hoped from for our opening batsman for a while now. He looked better from the start, scored at the pace we are used to from our opener (around 120 runs in a day) and laid the foundation for the others to express themselves.

My main take from the day is that it was a joy to see Ben Stokes and Joe Root play their games and not the game. Too many times when England face difficult situations, they revert in on themselves. They seek to defend their way out of trouble. I sometimes believe it is because they are frightened to get out playing attacking shots. Somehow, in England, it is always worse getting out to a positive shot because you make a mental error, or hit it too well and it carries to outfielders, than having your technique undressed. Always worse to be the talent not “fulfilling themselves” rather than the “grafter” who isn’t good enough to score. So beware all those lauding Ben Stokes today for the way his attacking game turned the match, for many of them were lining him up and calling him all sorts last year. Stokes is going to infuriate me every bit as much as Freddie did with the bat, but you have to get over it. When he clicks, as he has twice now in this match with the bat, he’s going to change a match. He bailed us out in the first innings, and turned it in the second.

Joe Root’s role must not be underestimated either. With Ian Bell falling to the third ball (I was walking the dog at the time), he came in at a time of real danger with a wicket then being the recipe for perhaps a BlackCap win today. With Cook looking solid at the other end, Root got himself in and kept the score ticking over (Cook was actually scoring at a decent pace by his standards) and then he accelerated. He’ll be kicking himself that he never went on to three figures in both innings, but he’s our middle order rock, and while I think 5 is one spot too low for him, it looks like that’s where he will stay.

Before we get on to the main man, I thought I’d say I was disappointed with what I saw from the BlackCaps bowling today. It was a tough morning, but I wasn’t buying the narrative that it was THAT tough. Sure, it was decent enough, but maybe this attack has been a little over-rated, maybe based on ODI form rather than tests. As for the spinner, Craig, I’ve been really disappointed. He appears to have been easily dominated at times. Still, that would be nit-picking.

Now to the main matter of the day. Alastair Cook has made 153 not out. I am not going to churlish, nor am I going to be a hypocrite. I think the way he has been projected, the way he has acted, the way he has been protected and the way he has been canonised has been every bit as big a disaster in its handling and its duration as the KP saga with which he is intertwined. If it is true that he is keeping you know who out of the team for whatever personal reasons he cannot tell us, then the opprobrium I have for him, and others here, is well deserved. That said, you cannot argue with the facts. That was an excellent innings today. An excellent innings. I can sit back and say that without any fear, nor any rancour. I’ve been hard on him for his protected status and I was not wrong that his form at times last year did not mean he should be the automatic choice he was. Those who tell us to do one today are the short-termists, not me.

So, to repeat, that was an excellent knock today, it’s what we need him to do, it does not make him a great leader of men, it did not merit the widespread sychophancy eminating from the press and Sky Sports box for how much his team loves him. As I said, I’m more neutral towards this team than I would like – I can’t help it, sorry – and so I look at these things more dispassionately, and Cook’s knock was one of his best given the context of the match. But I couldn’t cheer it to the rafters. Rather appreciate it for what it was – a very good openers knock – rather than those who oppose KP, who seem to spit blood every time he did anything any good, and disparage him at every turn.

I know others here are more passionately against this team, and I can understand that. I will not condemn that. Because when you see those bastards in their box, no doubt believing this vindicates their tough choices, I get it. But today was a good day to look to the future, with the rock opening and allowing them to express themselves. We’ve shown less fear in this game. That I welcome.

Comments for Day 5 should follow below. Century Watch will follow this test match.


106 thoughts on “England v New Zealand: 1st Test 5th Day – Open Thread

  1. metatone May 24, 2015 / 6:23 pm

    I said it during the day, but I fear the NZ bowlers are tired. If you’ve been playing 20 over games, then a 5 day match is likely to be more than your body is used to.

    We’ll see if Broad and Anderson can magic something up tomorrow – otherwise one might conclude that apart from a few spells of rough swing this was another Chief Exec’s pitch from Lords…


  2. thelegglance May 24, 2015 / 6:25 pm

    The glee from certain quarters at Cook getting runs is a bit weird. He batted beautifully today. Good. We want our opener back and today was the first sign of that in ages, irrespective of the hundreds in the Caribbean. His balance was far better, his weight distribution excellent. When he starts bending his front knee and driving through the covers, it’s usually a sign of him being in touch.

    Stokes was magnificent. I sincerely hope they do allow him to play that way. As you say, he’ll frustrate sometimes – well ok. That’s the price you pay for him being able to do that.

    England have definitely been more positive in approach. If they declare overnight I’ll really think they’re turning a corner in their attitude. I’m not holding my breath though.


    • paule May 24, 2015 / 6:29 pm

      Indeed. Sensible supporters acknowledge that England’s best XI has space for both Cook and Pietersen. Sensible supporters have also noted that Cook isn’t a good captain. Anything else is agenda driven. Pick your best eleven players and your best captain.


    • LordCanisLupus May 24, 2015 / 6:36 pm

      Even I won’t want them to declare with a lead of 295. 330-340 perhaps?


      • metatone May 24, 2015 / 7:08 pm

        @LCL 295 + 42 perhaps? To account for BMac?


      • thelegglance May 24, 2015 / 7:41 pm

        It’s only been achieved a dozen times in Test history. Chances are it’s more than enough. But if they thrash for 340 and declare then it’s no big deal.


      • d'Arthez May 24, 2015 / 8:05 pm

        340? In 80 overs? That is on the attacking side, since runrates throughout the match have been close to 4. I honestly can’t see England going for that.

        Sri Lanka were set 390 in 90 overs (RRR 4.33 /over) . With the added advantage of having a second new ball available if there was no real risk of losing it at the 80 over mark. The average runrate in the first three innings are comparable, but it must be mentioned that England did some hefty declaration batting in both innings. And Sri Lanka only batted at 3.26 in their first dig. New Zealand, despite murky conditions on Day 3, achieved 3.98.

        I expect it to be closer to 370 in about 75 overs. At best. Unless of course New Zealand bowl England out before then.


  3. Rooto May 24, 2015 / 6:28 pm

    I’ve missed most of this match due to work and my daughter’s birthday. But going just from the facts of the scorecard, I can’t fault anything you’ve said here. Word perfect. I totally agree, but will leave the analysis to others, and leave the GU blogs alone for a few days. It’ll be unpleasant there.


    • Zephirine May 24, 2015 / 9:19 pm

      I’ve just looked at the G BTL, it’s ghastly. I’ve never understood why some people log on purely to insult and belittle other posters, seems like a thoroughly depressing activity, but they’re there and in full swing.

      Someone actually said how dreadful the criticism of Cook had been “you’d have thought he’d committed a murder or something” – the exact words that I’ve used several times about the group hate of Pietersen.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Arron Wright May 24, 2015 / 9:29 pm

        It really is plumbing new depths, isn’t it? Not sure why “aquitted” is being given the oxygen, seeing as he is the most blatantly obvious troll I have ever seen on the G, and is really trying to make it as unreadable as the Telegraph comment section (if he isn’t also “William Francis Gerald” I would be amazed). He is mocking people who have commented there for years. As for DDB, words simply fail me.


      • Simon K May 25, 2015 / 8:21 am

        You can get away with a lot of awful trolling rubbish so long as you don’t express moderate criticism of Mike Selvey (a crime for which I am still on pre-moderation)


  4. Boz May 24, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    “We’ve shown less fear in this game. That I welcome.”

    after the last 18 months I do not understand how anybody can have any interest in this organisation and its future.

    probably everyone except Cook showed less fear – Cook is an egoist – and whilst welcome it is not the solution to the many problems in English cricket – is this Farbrace? – Actually, it accentuates them but does not readily lead to their resolution. Everyone who follows the game is still ‘outside’ cricket and there is no talk whatsoever, especially from Strauss, about that changing. Then this is no different from society at large where those that have, have and those that don’t can fuck off!


    • LordCanisLupus May 24, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      And I will call them on it whenever, wherever. There is no softening towards the ECB at all on my part. No way at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zephirine May 24, 2015 / 7:04 pm

        Sky at one point was showing all the suits hobnobbing away in their special box – Strauss looking quite at home, Harrison, Graves was somewhere. Collier was there. All chatting between themselves and exchanging notes on their phones but none of them really watching the match.

        Even though the commentators made a few snide remarks, it still seemed as if they think of these administrators as people with real power, I suppose as ex-players they can remember when such people could make or break your career.

        We outside cricket are much less awestruck by them.


      • Simon K May 24, 2015 / 7:30 pm

        When I saw those shots it reminds me why I can’t really stir myself to support England, because however enjoyable they are to watch on the field you know that lot are behind it. That’s always been true of course, but it was easier to forget at certain times in the past. (Perhaps it helped in 2005 that England lost the Lord’s test and did better at the less fusty grounds.)


  5. pktroll (@pktroll) May 24, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    I said in the Day 4 thread that despite having criticised him an awful lot, that was his finest innings since India. Despite his fanboys in the press bigging up those very scratchy runs v India this was completely different gravy.

    A comment from a Pro-Cook guy I ‘know’ went on about the celebration on the team balcony and how that it meant that they were all there for him. That is beside the point about his captaincy. It should never be about how he bats, despite his utter lack of form from the start of the home Ashes until recently. The absolute lack of performance from the team as a unit with the indifferent results as well as tactics out on the field are a far bigger issue for me (and no doubt many of you). It also overlooks the very mediocre cricket that England played in the 530odd that NZ accumulated in this very test.

    One can’t fault the cricket that England played today and I wouldn’t consider offering NZ less than 350 unless they get bowled out quickly. NZ have the option of having a go for a little while. They don’t have a top 5 who are anything other than positive, but the likes of Williamson and Taylor can drop anchor too.


    • Zephirine May 25, 2015 / 12:28 am

      There was celebration for Cook on the balcony, and fair enough, it was well deserved, but there was a hell of a lot more celebration for Stokes.


  6. pktroll (@pktroll) May 24, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    I would also like to point out that I was disappointed with Southee out of their seamers and it is clear that NZ see Corey Anderson as a batsman who bowls. Boult is still a quality bowler but it needed more consistency from the Black caps as a unit for them to wear down England.
    Craig also looked rather limited. It should also be remembered that Henry is on debut. The lack of depth rather told as the day went on.


    • d'Arthez May 24, 2015 / 8:09 pm

      They really missed Wagner. A real workhorse. I discussed it with an Indian friend (who is a big Black Caps supporter), and he is as puzzled as I am that Wagner did not make the team.


      • Pontiac May 25, 2015 / 1:01 am

        Agreed. When India toured NZ recently, Wagner was always the stock bowler who managed to worry out a wicket when needed.

        Nathan Lyon is also a lot more dangerous than Craig. Sometimes you can score 2, 3 an over off him all day long, but he always imposes risk at 4.


      • SimonH May 25, 2015 / 10:38 am

        I’m not convinced NZ need personnel changes (except a fit Neesham which of course they aren’t going to get on this tour) as much as the current bowlers bowling better. They’ve lacked intensity and are perhaps missing Shane Bond.

        Wagner is a good cricketer but Henry has bowled well here and I can’t see them leaving out Southee to get Wagner in. Craig has disappointed but he out-bowled Lyon in the UAE. Playing four seamers at Headingley is a possibility but they’ve usually played a spinner in recent years even when they didn’t have a quality one.


  7. Rohan May 24, 2015 / 7:45 pm

    Evening LCL. Great read and apologies to you and TLG for posting the same thing multiple times on the last thread. Both my iPhone and iPad were playing silly buggers……

    As good as Cook’s innings was, and it was very good, I was watching it with a tinge of dread. Dread because I could foresee his fanboys using it as a platform to assert that he is the right man to captain. If this test is drawn, or even England win, many (MSM and the public) will only remember his century and not his terrible captaincy.

    The rose tinted specs will come out and all will be okay with Cook and we will be lampooned for daring to question his captaincy, after his magnificent century and leadership. I sincerely hope this does not happen, but it would not surprise me. The two, his captaincy and batting, must not be confused or muddled up, they must be discussed as separate issues. One is good, the other worse than bad…..


  8. dvyk May 24, 2015 / 7:46 pm

    One of the advantages of having been managed so disgracefully badly for the last year or more is that it can eventually turn around quite suddenly. Botham was probably being sensible when he said Cook’s bating had been ruined by playing ODIs for so long (kinda rings a bell that kind of talk — i think it’s called windbaggery)…. So he looks like he has in fact finally turned a corner that he would have turned in the middle of last year had he not been used so stupidly.

    Peter Moores must be asking himself why his team didn’t perform like this in the Caribbean — he’d still be in a job, unless he was already earmarked for sacking, given he should never have had the job in the first/second place.

    Not out of the woods yet of course, but getting a bit closer to where they could have been a year ago if they hadn’t sacked KP and nailed on Cook as ODI captain. That grade of stupidity will continue to affect the team in unseen ways for the next decade, I reckon. (The Catholic Church thought it was being pretty smart when they placed Galilleo under house arrest, but in retrospect they realised it didn’t do their reputation much good, nor alter the facts of the matter.)


    • Simon K May 24, 2015 / 8:23 pm

      I suspect (because Newman and others have already suggested it) that Cook is quitting the captaincy at the end of this summer regardless of results. He’s doing this because (i) if we lose the Ashes again he’ll probably have to go anyway, having lost two on the bounce for the first time since 2002/03; (ii) if we win he can leave the job with a record which, despite everything, is not wholly uncreditable in terms of raw numbers; (iii) he’s sick of the job after an extremely turbulent three years, doesn’t feel like he will or can achieve much more, and would rather focus on his batting in the last few years of his career; (iv) Strauss and perhaps others are encouraging him to move on in the knowledge that the toxicity of the last 18 months is not going to go away until he does so.

      Because of this, I suspect he is batting with a less cluttered mind than in the recent past, knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel and the die is cast.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Zephirine May 24, 2015 / 9:24 pm

        SimonK, I felt that too, and there is a sense that Root has stepped into the spotlight and is taking the lead amongst the younger players. It’s kind of a team of two halves at the moment.

        Hopefully Cook won’t get resentful about that but will see it as the light at the end of the tunnel.


  9. hatmallet May 24, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    “My main take from the day is that it was a joy to see Ben Stokes and Joe Root play their games and not the game.”

    Very true. And in the same way, I found calls for Cook to take the attack to NZ a bit odd. Stokes should play his game, Root should play his, and Cook should play his.

    And Cook’s game is very effective. Great to see him playing like this again. He look far better in the 2nd and 3rd Tests in the Windies (looked horrible in the 1st Test), and even better here. I’m surprised, I didn’t think he could regain batting form without giving up the captaincy.

    The balcony stuff is a load of nonsense. When do team-mates not cheer and clap a century? They would have done the same were Cook one of the ranks. I don’t see how it is a sign of the supposed strength of his captaincy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 24, 2015 / 8:48 pm

      I’m afraid the person concerned just has no real shred of reality in terms of the overall picture of England’s cricket over the last couple of years or so. That having won 1, lost 1 and drawn 1 versus 3 ordinary opposition is not the performance of a quality team and not the sign of good management on and off the pitch. Of course it isn’t a sign of the strength of his captaincy. A strength would be an ability to figure out his mistakes in terms of the management of his bowling attack and when to make changes, especially not having brought Mo on until well after 30 overs of the New Zealand innings.


  10. "IronBalls" McGinty May 24, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    I’ve been following the game, as best as, on TMS. Fully acknowledge the quality of Cook’s innings and his contribution to the turnround in this test. However, that aside, he still represents, for me, the ECB and all it stands for, on the field. He is the public face of a nest of duplicitous weasels.
    The main thing that strikes me though is the seemingly new found freedom the team has. It’s not just on the field but in the post match pressers. We’ve had honesty and humour, and lads telling it like it is, rather than just the normal corporate bullshit soundbites!
    So…in the manner of Ed Smith…here’s one for you…is this because of Moore’s legacy finally coming to fruition, or the immediate effect of Farby???

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone May 24, 2015 / 9:09 pm

      Going by Farbrace’s time at other places, the new found freedom does seem like his style.


    • dlpthomas May 25, 2015 / 2:30 am

      “The main thing that strikes me though is the seemingly new found freedom the team has. It’s not just on the field but in the post match pressers. We’ve had honesty and humour, and lads telling it like it is, rather than just the normal corporate bullshit soundbites!”

      It’s encouraging but it’s just 1 test – lets see how long it lasts. (you can’t support England for as long as I have without becoming a pessimist)


      • SimonH May 25, 2015 / 10:49 am

        “It’s encouraging but it’s just 1 test”.

        Oh Jeez this, a million times. ‘New era’ England have put on strong batting displays in every first Test of every series so far. What they haven’t been able to do (except against India) is sustain it across the series.


    • lionel joseph May 25, 2015 / 7:29 am

      I did notice that the players have looked very relaxed around Farbrace (I refuse to succumb to hypocorism, even in an attempt to be humourous). One hopes that this is down to his nature – it certainly seems to be – rather than the fact that they’ve all assumed they wont be working with him again in the immediate future.


    • Benny May 25, 2015 / 10:39 am

      I wondered about that too. Maybe Moores and Farbrace should just have swapped roles


  11. James May 24, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    A good man would appreciate Cook’s century.
    I guess I’m not a good man.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. LordCanisLupus May 24, 2015 / 9:54 pm

    My question made it onto Polite Enquiries.

    It was merged with Innocent Bystander’s question.

    If truth be told, wasn’t best chuffed with George Dobell’s answer. His view was that they would move on to someone else, probably Ian Bell. George is not a stranger to this blog, and while I’m not tweeting him like a fanboy, I do respond to some of his stuff. I think George might understand that we think about things more than just some knee-jerk reaction. Ian Bell made a lovely 143 less than two months ago and is having a four game lean spell. His place, like everyone else’s, should not be a divine right, nor should it be a case of being subject to some short-term fluctuations.

    Bit disappointed, sir.


    • metatone May 24, 2015 / 10:44 pm

      Mr Dobell is a bit of a Warks and Bell fan, so he’s a bit sensitive to the wind in that direction.
      I’d note as well that it’s clear that Bell is being set up as the next “fall guy” to take the heat if things don’t go so well. And we know even being top run scorer in the side is no protection…

      And it’s late so I’ll be stupid and say something that needs to be said.
      If England do win this game, the signs still aren’t great for the Ashes, particularly on the bowling.
      We’ve looked toothless at times in late May in England with Duke balls and swing…


  13. Pontiac May 25, 2015 / 2:04 am

    Not to get overtly political, but Paul Krugman has pointed out that it’s a bit disingenuous for an organization/government/etc to take all sorts of credit for the improvement in outcomes that result from the decision to cease shooting itself in the foot. Of course, the problem is that those who supported that organization/government/etc as a point of identity will tend to continue to analyze based on identity, and not on a consistent analysis of fact or who decided to aim the Remington 870 at the wing-tips to begin with. They will tend to ascribe the results due to a change of policy to the individual actors behind the first policy without any acknowledgement that there has been a change – or even a short term fluctuation.

    While one must always honestly acknowledge the results, one must keep one’s eye on the policy, and if it turns out actually to have changed, highlight the fact, the cause, and the effect.

    So, what’s to be taken from this? I’m expecting for England to declare near lunchtime with Cook 200-something and Ali 60-something, and NZ will be presented with the challenge ‘draw if you don’t screw up, lose if you do.’ which from 4/30 ain’t all that bad.

    Cook remains a good cricket player and he’s not been terminally ‘found out’. The ECB Select XI are good at cricket. They can overcome bad sessions and some pressure. There are up and coming players who are fun to watch and who can change the match.

    As an exceptionally ill-qualified neutral, though, and one who has followed NZ tests every bit or more than England tests over the last few years – so maybe not all that neutral, but still ill-qualified to opine, but hey – I still feel as though what has made this match the interesting thing it has been so far has not been the philosophy that has driven the ECB Select XI for the last couple years. In terms of delivering value for money to the spectators, I think it’s been NZ that have been driving it.


    • paulewart May 25, 2015 / 8:01 am

      Indeed, and reading posts here and elsewhere, I genuinely think that our feelings about the way our politics is going is at the heart of much of the debate. We loved the 2005 team not just because they were winners, but because they were a breath of fresh air. The team seemed to represent how we wanted to see ourselves as a nation, young, progressive, feisty and democratic (7 of the 11 were of educated in state schools) and the players were the news, not the administrators. Britain feels like a very different place today, we’ve been put back in our box: the shenanigans around the cricket team feel like a metaphor for the new Britain: prickly, regressive and elitist.

      The above is (obviously) a personal point of view, moreover one posted from a distance, I sensed the turning of the tide in 2011 and left the UK. It isn’t overtly partisan, more the melancholy reflections of a middle-aged cultural historian.


      • Zephirine May 25, 2015 / 9:56 am

        Pontiac and PaulE, what a couple of beautifully written posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Nick Hoult says Trevor Bayliss has been offered the job of coach.


    • thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 9:17 am

      The wind up of the spring. I never clocked it at all.


      • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 9:27 am

        I really don’t know what to think. I felt that Gillespie’s “come and get me” plea was an alarm call, but maybe he’s asking for too much.

        Hoult gets the scoop most of the time, so it’s more interesting coming from him. Let’s see….


      • thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 9:42 am

        It’s a slightly more creative decision than I expected, if it turns out to be true. Less going for a big name, more going for someone who might behind the scenes have an impact. Whisper it, but I might be a teeny bit impressed if they do go for him.


        • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 9:49 am

          Presentationally, though, it is interesting. He went up against Peter Moores last year and couldn’t have blown their socks off otherwise he’d be the coach now. Again, there was always the suspicion that they needed to appoint an Englishman to justify the expensive coaching programmes, but still. He didn’t beat Peter Moores. Hmmmm.


      • thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 9:51 am

        Yes, I’m trying to remember how that panned out last year and I’m struggling. Did he have a problem with the Pietersen situation?


        • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 10:02 am

          I’m assuming that to get an interview you needed to meet the criteria set by Downton, one of which was no Pietersen.

          This could be an excellent left field decision, or, as I have a horrible, horrible feeling, we’ve appointed an overseas man who worked with Farbrace AND isn’t ever going to kick up a fuss about KP.


      • BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 10:01 am

        He was very guarded about KP etc. in this interview…http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia/content/story/797509.html

        He added: “I don’t know as I wasn’t closely involved. It’s disappointing that such a good player is no longer playing. Coaches have to coach everyone in the team. It’s not just about four or five guys, there’s 11 individuals in the team and you’ve got to try to find a way with all of them. But what went on behind the scenes with England I don’t know.”


    • Marge May 25, 2015 / 9:40 am

      Thought all along that Gilly’s ‘demands’ would be too much for the ECB, hoped they might be persuaded but obviously not.


      • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 9:51 am

        No, I’d think Strauss is one of those who likes to make an impact, and the obvious choice is the one obvious people would make. Special people make off the wall decisions. Think outside the box. Flick the Mind.


      • BigKev67 May 25, 2015 / 11:45 am

        Whatever you might think of it, it’s a high risk decision from Strauss. Gillespie would have got a lengthy honeymoon period, just because of his name, high profile and by virtue of him being the consensus choice. Gillespie would have been a safe choice – and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, as he is clearly more than qualified.
        Bayliss will get a honeymoon period too – but there’s not as much protection for Strauss if this appointment goes wrong.
        I don’t know if any of Gillespie’s demands ruled him out. I’m assuming not if the story that he would have taken the job if offered it is true. So in that case there’s something specific about Bayliss’ record or philosophy that Strauss prefers over Gillespie.
        One thing that is clear is that Bayliss has had high profile success in all forms – maybe that swung it, given Strauss’ stated preference for one coach?


      • Marge May 25, 2015 / 11:52 am

        Well, you can read the statement that he’d take the job if offered in two ways. I took it to mean that he wasn’t sure he’d be offered it anyway, given what his ts and cs would be. But maybe that’s reading too much between the lines.


  15. BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 10:18 am

    Is it just me or is the photo of Cook in the OBO like the ecstacy of St Francis?


  16. thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 10:20 am

    According to the Telegraph, Bayliss has accepted.

    Wonder if they told Gillespie first….


    • escort May 25, 2015 / 10:27 am

      i think we all probably know the answer to that question


  17. hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 10:32 am


    • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 10:34 am

      Every tweet like that, from an ECB-approved journalist, sets back the day I’ll pay to go to watch a day’s international cricket.

      Liked by 2 people

    • escort May 25, 2015 / 10:35 am

      I think it would have been a bigger ovation if he’d had the balls to declare the innings closed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 10:40 am

      Isn’t it obvious?

      Applauding a century or being pleased Cook has scored runs must mean you think he should be captain, agree that KP should have been sacked, and that the ECB is a wonderfully run organisation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance May 25, 2015 / 10:41 am

      What a dickhead. How many people score 162 and don’t get a standing ovation?

      Liked by 2 people

      • hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 10:47 am

        Pietersen. Obviously.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Maxie Allen May 25, 2015 / 4:46 pm

      In other words – the people prepared to pay £60 to watch England will clap when England do well.

      Silent majority – talk about selective use of evidence.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. SimonH May 25, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Ed Smith (you have been warned):


    There is quite a good point about concentration buried in here under the layers of partiality and gloating


  19. Benny May 25, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Just to say that, taken on it’s own, this is a really enjoyable test match – proper cricket.

    With the excellent articles and ever increasing number of perceptive comments on here and on TFT, I just don’t have time to read the guardian above or below the line. Not a problem

    Liked by 2 people

  20. lionel joseph May 25, 2015 / 10:46 am

    leaving the declaration too late


    • lionel joseph May 25, 2015 / 10:51 am

      10 to 20 runs become increasingly less valuable in these sorts of situations. To chase this score down requires someone in the top 3 to go beserk. All Cook is doing now is reducing the side’s chance of winning.


    • BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 2:51 pm

      Good Point by Jeremy Coney on BBC :

      “One of the things about the non-declaration is that New Zealand were able to get past that 80 overs left in the day mark, so there is no second new ball for England.”

      We shall see.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebogfather May 25, 2015 / 4:13 pm

        All on TMS (Oh, except FICJAM) were saying this before start of play – 83 overs


  21. escort May 25, 2015 / 10:50 am

    If Anderson gets hurt batting now then Cook will look pretty damn stupid


  22. BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 10:54 am

    Great intent from Cook / England???


    • hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 11:05 am

      Scored 49 in 10 overs before that double wicket maiden finished the innings. So not bad. I would have taken that at close last night.

      Anderson strikes second ball. Onto 399. Guptil could have scored quickly.


      • BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 11:32 am

        What was the purpose of Anderson facing some fast bowling and possibly cashing one on the hand? Declare – show intent??

        But super bowling. Brilliant game…


      • hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 11:41 am

        Yes fairly pointless to send Anderson out. Though as he got out in the same over, I don’t think England lost any overs.


  23. d'Arthez May 25, 2015 / 11:31 am

    That is 3 batsmen out on umpire’s call for New Zealand with Latham going on umpire’s call. How many were there for England this morning?


    • hatmallet May 25, 2015 / 11:44 am

      I thought it would be close on pitching but clearly hitting. Surprised to see it the other way around.

      Though the ball was predicted to be ~45% hitting the stumps so was hardly just clipping the stumps.


    • d'Arthez May 25, 2015 / 4:00 pm

      Of course the umpire’s original decision had its merits.

      But the problem is that the original call is too important. Like the Jordan dismissal in the second innings of the last Test in the Caribbean. Was barely projected to shave the bails, but because of the original decision, he was still given on batsman’s review. It would have been considered a rather frivolous review if the fielding side had referred it.

      And as I detailed in an earlier response on another thread, is that whenever the original decision is not out, the referral procedure assumes that the appeal literally had nothing going for it. That does not always have to match up with the reason(s) why the standing umpire did not give it.
      For example, an umpire may think height was an issue, only for the DRS to show that it would have hit middle of middle. He could then be “saved”by an umpire’s call on hitting in line, even though the umpire may not have thought that that was an issue.

      This is not satisfactory to me.

      I’d rather see fully automated decision making procedures than this.

      And now Corey Anderson is the 4th batsman to go on umpire’s call. I am sorry but you can’t tell me that each of those decisions had more going for them, than all the ones that were not given to New Zealand when England were batting.


      • Arron Wright May 25, 2015 / 4:03 pm

        At what point do these umpires calls start smelling fishy? Ridiculous imbalance of luck over the course of the match.


        • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 4:07 pm

          Off topic, note this performance has energised one person to go hell for leather on TFT at Maxie.


      • BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 4:06 pm

        Anderson’s review “shaving” the stumps – good prediction…


      • Arron Wright May 25, 2015 / 4:09 pm


        That was disgusting. Should be moderated or deleted. It is not a democracy, as you said. Blog owners should not have to put up with that.


        • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 4:14 pm

          The TFT “discussion” with a well-known “I’m neutral on KP” individual yesterday also was “interesting”. I’ve always understood there are differences in views, and I see some of it as blind obedience.

          Take Big Kev. Winds me up, but he’s a great bloke to talk to on Twitter! I’m almost sure cricket would be the only thing we disagreed on! I get a bit of anger towards him, but then think, he’s putting the other case. No problem with that and need to develop a somewhat thicker skin. But personally abusive. I may have lapsed at times, but I don’t do that. That’s out of order.


      • Arron Wright May 25, 2015 / 4:42 pm

        I did fear that it wouldn’t just be the newspaper sites that saw the Revenge of the Always Polite over the Ceaslessly Vitriolic.


      • Maxie Allen May 25, 2015 / 4:51 pm

        Re the TFT discussion below (sorry to sound navel-gazing – is this the commenter who called me a p****? If so, not the end of the world – when you start moderating that stuff it only fuels the fire.


  24. metatone May 25, 2015 / 1:09 pm

    In one way I’m glad – JG deserves better than the current England setup – and it’s nice that Yorkshire have him for a while yet.

    Bayliss could be very interesting. He was my favoured candidate of those in the last process.
    Still, reports of a £300,000 salary suggest Strauss boxed himself into a corner.
    It could all go very well, but equally… not…
    One concern is that England’s problems at this moment are more with the bowling than the batting.
    JG would have made an impact there, not so sure about Bayliss…

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart May 25, 2015 / 1:40 pm

      Would Strauss, an opening bat, after all, ‘get’ bowlers and bowling?


      • metatone May 25, 2015 / 1:45 pm

        Possibly not, it does seem to be one of the cultural divides in cricket.
        However, it’s not that Bayliss can’t look after bowlers, but a lot is going to come down on who they get as bowling coach. And who knows if they’ll be cutting corners on that after spending so much on the head coach?

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Maxie Allen May 25, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    If England had lost this match, the significance would have been downplayed by management. It’s unlikely they will downplay the significance of the victory which is now only one wicket away.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Zephirine May 25, 2015 / 4:56 pm

    This has been fascinating. It wasn’t what I’d expected – I thought England would have to fail some more and then the senior players would either be moved on or injured out, and only then would anything change. But actually what we’re seeing is a bit of a palace coup – Root and Stokes seized the initiative in the first innings and they aren’t letting it go.

    Whatever gave them the confidence to do it – Cook finding his form and being less fraught/ Moores leaving/ Strauss coming in/ Farbrace in charge/ mere happenstance/ all of these – this is rapidly turning into their side, theirs and the other younger players’. Of course Cook has done extremely well and Anderson may be about to get the last wicket for his 400. But it’s different. The changing of the guard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      I sensed that too. But let’s see where we go from here. It’s an excellent start to the summer with two teams by and large playing full-on positive cricket.

      This is what we want.


    • paule May 25, 2015 / 6:10 pm

      i fear for Stokes. He looks like a really special player but one who will always have maverick tendencies. We’ve seen what happens to those types of players of the years. Funny how quickly certain journalists have flip flopped over Stokes. Let’s hope the new coach is more Fletcher, less Flower.


  27. BoerInAustria May 25, 2015 / 4:59 pm

    How about the captain telling them “Bowl flicking straight!”


  28. d'Arthez May 25, 2015 / 5:04 pm

    England win. MOM Stokes and Ravi, in that order.


    • LordCanisLupus May 25, 2015 / 5:05 pm

      Botham thought the umpires had a great game.

      I’ll stand back….


  29. metatone May 25, 2015 / 5:06 pm

    Well, the Strauss era begins with a win over a talented (but possibly undercooked) NZ side and the recruitment of Bayliss. I find it curiously unexciting at the moment. But maybe they’ll win me around. Certainly Bayliss was my choice out of the candidates last time – and I’m happy for JG to continue guiding my county…

    I think rather sums up the feeling at the moment.

    I don’t have Sky, so all the blah, blah, blah about what an exciting match and how good Stokes has been… well, not really seen it… not really engaged…


  30. MM May 25, 2015 / 5:08 pm

    That lovely Ed Smith has just sucked up to the captain on TMS. Yuk!

    Well done Team Waitrose, fair play to them.


    • Maxie Allen May 25, 2015 / 5:42 pm

      He was fawning all over England yesterday – such a shame that an (admittedly self-proclaimed) intellectual turns out to be a young fogey wedded to the establishment.


      • paule May 25, 2015 / 6:14 pm

        I do wish people would stop buying that line. I mean has anyone actually read him? Not an original thought in his little head. He’s articulate, no more, no less.


  31. Maggie May 25, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    Well I think I understand the point of Alastair Cook now – score lots of runs in a sensible, steady way so that if it goes wrong for the chaps who score runs in a faster but more likely to get out way you’ve still got a reasonable cushion. That makes sense. I had wondered as it wasn’t obvious precisely what he did to someone New.

    And the ECB could have saved a lot of kerfuffle if they’d just waited for this to happen and then say, “Look KP, it’s working with the guys we have at the moment, so there’s not a place for you right now but we’ll let you know if things change” and nobody would have had much of a problem with it. The whole Trust debacle could have been avoided if they’d just waited on Events, which makes one suspect that they didn’t expect Events to turn out quite as well as they have…


  32. Arron Wright May 25, 2015 / 6:29 pm

    I wonder if this great win is great enough to overtake those against the woeful Indians as the greatest Stuart Broad has enjoyed with England…


    • metatone May 25, 2015 / 6:32 pm

      I think many had hoped that NZ would give England something to think about – and so we’d minimised the effect of flying back from the IPL at the last minute etc. So I’m sure that means this will be classed as the very best victory ever…


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