England v New Zealand 2nd Test: Day 3 preview

Well, well.  What a difference an hour makes.  England were cruising along and making all the talk that New Zealand’s total was a pretty decent one look silly.  But this being England, they’re never so vulnerable as when they look to be in a good position.  From 177-0 to 253-5 is not a collapse exactly, but it is a reversion from a position of strength to the game being very much in the balance.

Doubtless the main headlines will be about Cook becoming the leading run scorer for England in Tests, and while the unquestioning adoration of England’s skipper from so many media sources has been enough to infuriate many over the last two years, today is certainly a time where he deserves all the plaudits coming his way.  And there’s an irony in that – Cook perhaps won’t receive the credit he deserves from some quarters precisely because of an inability for some to ever offer up a word of criticism when it’s warranted.  And the reality is that it is unfair, this is a huge feat for him.

Cook the batsman is and always has been a separate issue to Cook the captain.  His poor form over a lengthy period tended to cause debate about whether he would ever again be the batsman he had been, not a dismissal of his abilities over his career.  But his last two innings have probably removed that doubt for most; he looks very much back to his best.

And to that end, to be approaching 9,000 Test runs at the age of 30 is an outstanding achievement, and it was pleasing to see Cook receive the recognition of that from the crowd – though not at all surprising; if you aren’t going to stand and applaud a player becoming his country’s leading run scorer when will you?  Whatever anyone might think of him as captain, he deserved that for a career that has been excellent and is some way from being over.  Cook is now in 13th place in the all time run scorers list, and with all above bar Chanderpaul (just) and Sangakkara (not too far off) retired, he’ll be catching and passing many of them.  There was an interesting comment on Sky when he achieved the record that it had stood for 20 years, and that Cook’s record would stand for a lot longer.  I’m not so sure about that.  If Joe Root ends up as good a player as he currently looks, then he might have something to say about it over the next decade.

Adam Lyth of course was the star of this particular day, his maiden century on his home ground repaying the faith of his local supporters.  He should now have the Ashes series to try and cement his place as opener on the back of it.

Earlier, England had demonstrated a familiar cluelessness in terms of how to deal with the tail, as Craig, Henry and Boult happily lashed them to all parts, while England refused to attack the stumps in favour of banging the ball in.  Is this actually a plan, or do the bowlers do their own thing?  It’s not worked for some time now, yet they still do it.  Of course, any team can suffer from the lower order batsmen having a bit of a slog, the point is that it happens to England repeatedly.  Nasser Hussain, astute as ever, made the point that they should look to how Broad is got out for the template – yes a short ball or two to ruffle them up, but then bowling straight and full.

Broad himself got one of the more peculiar Michelles* of his career, going at 6.34 runs an over.  You’d probably take that overall, but when batsmen are derided for recklessness so often, perhaps the same thing could be levelled at Broad on this occasion.

The late flurry of wickets means that England will have to bat exceptionally well against the still new ball in the morning in order to achieve parity.  The weather forecast has improved for the next few days, but it looks likely to be cloudy and good conditions for bowling.  That doesn’t mean New Zealand can feel confident, the third innings so often falls away dramatically, especially under the pressure of trying to set a target, but their approach on day one appears to have been somewhat vindicated by the present match situation.  Weather permitting though, a result looks very likely.

The old cliche about the next session being critical does apply.  If England don’t bat at least passably well they will find themselves in considerable trouble.  It’s been a hugely entertaining series so far, thank goodness that if New Zealand win there’ll be a decider.  Oh hang on…

*Does this really need explaining?



88 thoughts on “England v New Zealand 2nd Test: Day 3 preview

  1. Tuffers86 May 30, 2015 / 7:10 pm

    I’m pleased for Cook, there was actually a pertinent stat I noticed on cricinfo about him being the third or fourth best run scorer as an opener in test cricket. As a batsman, as an opener he is that good.

    I just think the veneration he has received in the last 18 months took the shine off today. The day he warranted it.

    Happy for Lyth, I hope he can survive the summer as he looks tidy. He is chirpy to boot, and I like that trait.

    I think Ballance is going to be the next decade’s Ian Bell. He seemingly has built up an army of detractors. Patience is key.

    Speaking of Bell, he needs to step up tomorrow. He needs to produce something like Latham’s innings and string some partnerships together with the lower order. He’s looking very scratchy though. Pundits and observers always note that he rarely looks out of nick, but he really is battling something.

    Fed up of seeing opposition tails wag.


    • d'Arthez May 30, 2015 / 7:39 pm

      In terms of runs scored as an opener, he is 4th, behind Gavaskar, Graeme Smith and Hayden. Hayden and Gavaskar average a shade over 50. Smith a shade over 49.

      In terms of average, Cook is 6th on the list for Englishmen (cut off of 2000 runs). Sutcliffe, Hutton and Hobbs taking the first three spots. Amiss 4th, and Boycott 5th. The first four averaged well over 50 as openers.

      With a cut-off of 500 runs, 29 foreign opening batsman have made 500+ runs in England. Only 11 of those had worse averages than Cook in England (42.96). Mark Taylor with 1584 runs is the foreign opening batsman who made the most runs in England. He got 31 innings (1 NO) in 18 matches.

      13 of those 29 opening bats are Australians. 6 are from the West Indies. 5 are South Africans. India and New Zealand have 2 opening batsmen on the list. Pakistan the last one.

      Cook’s record is one of longevity, rather than greatness. Sutcliffe, Hutton and Hobbs would definitely be higher in the picking order if I had to assemble an all time England team.

      Liked by 2 people

      • d'Arthez May 30, 2015 / 7:57 pm

        And just to add: Cook is also 4th on the list of most centuries by opening bats. Behind Gavaskar (33, 203 innings), Hayden (30, 184 innings)), and Smith (27, 194 innings). Cook is on 25 now from 191 innings.


      • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:00 pm

        Cook is on 27.


      • d'Arthez May 30, 2015 / 8:04 pm

        2 of his tons were when he batted at three Arron.


      • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:07 pm

        Heh. Would never have known. Bet if you were in the press box with the usual suspects, you’d be the only one that knew he was 4th for that reason!


      • d'Arthez May 30, 2015 / 8:13 pm

        Gavaskar also had one ton batting at #4. 236*, which is incidentally his career best.

        Hayden and Smith have no centuries batting lower down the order. Hayden never did, and Smith did on just 9 occasions, several of which were after sustaining injuries.


      • Tuffers86 May 30, 2015 / 8:13 pm


        That’s fair enough, I skimmed past the stat when it cropped up. Thanks for the extra analysis.


  2. paule May 30, 2015 / 7:26 pm

    Cook is a fine opening batsman but his record, like that of Gooch will always leave a sour taste. You’d think you could break records without firing gifted team mates to the detriment of the team. Then again, perhaps not.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rohan May 30, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Hehe, I liked the asterisk! It’s like a Senna, they shouldn’t need explaining, but sometimes they do! Anyway good to see the Michelle rolled out, I like that one, what are the others that relate to cricket?

    Just watching the highlights and Atherton and Gower are both banging on about Cook bending his knee into the drive, and how this shows he is back to his very best. Interesting that they have only just picked up on this, yet theleglance/vian, our erstwhile blogger today, commented on this months ago. I do think that between Dmitri and Vian, we very often gain far more insight, and at a far earlier stage, than we do from many in the MSM. The Botham comments about Cook trying to play ODI cricket and how this scrambled his brain/technique, in terms of leaving the ball, are a case in point. It was mentioned on here months ago, yet the MSM have only just picked up on it.

    I think a lot of this boils down to laziness and the fact that many in the MSM (with regards to cricket) played profesionally, to varying levels. Some of those who had very good careers and even played for England, I believe, rely on their past glories, no matter how long ago they were. They do not feel the need to research or find out about new players/the opposition, or even look into why a player may be in a run of poor form. They just rely on their reputation from their playing days and hope for the best. This series has clearly highlighted this to me, for example, some Sky commentators were obviously clueless about Watling and they are only just picking up on Cooks travails of the past 2 years! It really is quite simple, as my friend who is a journalist put it, ‘if you want to do well, gen up beforehand’! Well duh……

    Anyway, very interesting day ahead tomorrow and I cannot pretend to be disappointed England lost quick wickets; I actually think it’s good for the game and the chance of more attacking, attractive cricket and a result.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Zephirine May 30, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Is Ms Pfeiffer aware of her contribution to the language of cricket? Perhaps some helpful English thesp has mentioned it to her while filming.


  4. SimonH May 30, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    I’ll always consider averages a more meaningful statistic than absolute volumes of runs (or centuries or wickets or anything else).

    Here are the averages of openers who played more 50 Tests:


    Cook is the 13th highest ever – a very fine achievement.


    • Rohan May 31, 2015 / 7:04 am

      Boycott used to bang on about centuries. He always stated that a good indicator of a class batsman was a test century every 4 innings. As opener Cook has 25 centuries in 107 tests, which is almost 1 in 4, so he hits Boycott’s marker.

      Incidentally, I remember Boycott banging on about this, back in the days when test cricket was on BBC TV. He was challenged about this particular method of measuring a batsman’s worth by Gower. Gower bought up Boycotts own ratio, which is roughly 1 century in 5. The ensuing debate and discussion was excellent.


      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 8:41 am

        Uh Cook has played 203 innings. Not 107. So that is a ton roughly every 8 innings. The likes of Kallis (45 from 278) and Tendulkar (51 from 329) got to 100 every 6.5 innings they batted (and yes, that includes Tendulkar playing on for 2.5 years after the 2011 World Cup).

        Ponting 41 from 287.
        Sangakkara 38 from 225.
        Dravid 36 from 284. 4 tons were as an opener, 28 were as #3.

        If you restrict it to batsmen who mostly played as openers:

        Gavaskar 34 from 214.
        Hayden 30 from 184.
        Graeme Smith 27 from 203 (same as Cook at the moment)
        Boycott 22 from 193
        Sehwag 23 from 180

        Technically Cook has 2 tons batting at #3, while Gavaskar has 1 ton (236*, his career best) while batting at #4. Sehwag has one ton batting at #6.


      • Tuffers86 May 31, 2015 / 8:48 am

        It kind of has merits but I think it only really applies to the openers and top order. After No 4, centuries can become harder to achieve. Boycott has always been a proponent of when openers get in, they should always make hay.

        I think you have to takes runs, averages and conversions together.

        Stephen Fleming was a wonderful batsman and a good captain who had a good amount of runs, an alright average but an awfully low No of centuries. Where would you compare him to say, a Mike Atherton or Nasser Hussain?


      • Rohan May 31, 2015 / 8:59 am

        Apologies, I meant every test match, not innings! A century every 4 test matches…….


    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 10:02 am

      Batting at 5 or lower:

      Steve Waugh, 31 tons from 245 innings. About one in 8. Not out in 44 innings. Average 52.1
      Chanderpaul, 27 tons from 207 innings. 40 not outs. Average 57.7
      Michael Clarke, 23 tons from 132 innings. 17 not outs. Average 59.6
      Azharrudin. 20 tons from 127 innings. Just 8 not outs. Average 45.8
      AB de Villiers. 18 tons from 123 innings. 16 not outs. Average 57.2
      Ian Bell. 16 tons from 105 innings. 19 not outs. Average 51.0
      Clive Lloyd. 16 tons from 140 innings. 13 not outs. Average 47.5
      Border. 15 tons from 141 innings. 28 not outs. Average 51.7

      The one in eight rule seems to apply pretty decently for the best bats batting at 5 or lower as well these days. These are hardly “average” players that come out on top on this particular metric.

      Leyland and Ames are the only batsmen before WW2 to have made 5 or more tons batting at 5 or lower. In fact 45 out of 68 batsmen who have made more than 5 tons batting at #5 or lower, have started their playing careers since 1981.

      In the distant past of course it was much harder for #5s to get a decent conversion rate. Especially if you have to bat with the bowlers, who more often than not were rabbits. These days that is quite different, and of course T20s and ODIs have also improved the abilities of batsmen to hit boundaries.

      The real drop seems to occur at #6.


  5. Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:03 pm

    Heigh ho…*

    “Immediately the crowd stood and applauded. No, it was more than that. They cheered, real hats-thrown-in-the-air cheering.

    The Black Caps applauded, too, for they are a team generous of spirit. A large banner was unfurled, celebrating his achievement, just as had been done for Anderson. And still they stood and cheered until eventually the game had to proceed even as the noise had yet to subside. This was genuine acclaim, recognition of a great England cricketer, from the harshest critics in the land. Somewhere his detractors were kicking their cats.”

    *Does this really need explaining?


    • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Do you think writing “Nurse, the insulin drip!” below that florid love note would get modded?


      • thelegglance May 30, 2015 / 8:16 pm

        It’s truly bizarre that they think anyone would be surprised or object to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:34 pm

        I suppose that, after over-selling Southampton last year, he had to find an even higher register. And fair play, he managed it somehow. Hats in the air… oh please. Being as it was Headingley, surely the cheers for Lyth were louder. Certainly seemed to be on the highlights.

        And the last paragraph (which I have quoted below) really is a pool of speculative, presumptuous dogwank that belongs on a Cook fan site, not a newspaper.

        “Hypothetically, were he to match Gooch’s late-flowering achievement, he would in the fullness of time, accrue 15,304 runs, more than Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis (13,378 and 13,289 respectively), Rahul Dravid and Kumar Sangakkara (13,288 and 12,203) and another seven batsman currently in front of him in the list. Only Sachin Tendulkar, 15,921, would stand, omnipotent, above him.”


        I’m glad I became more of a general cricket fan than an England fan in the last few years. I just don’t think this stuff is nearly good enough for readers with a global perspective.

        Liked by 3 people

      • metatone May 30, 2015 / 9:03 pm

        @Arron – I think what’s interesting to me is that one of those on the list is still active – and to my mind when you compare Cook and Sanga, it shows the trouble with cumulative stats. Or at least, I know which one I’d pick to bat for Earth against the Aliens…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 9:28 pm

        What I object to is that we had two years of evidence that Cook was struggling. We have two Tests of fine batsmanship (Barbados resembled summer 2014 more than it does summer 2015) and now we can exhume the Tendulkar comparisons again? Who’s to say he won’t struggle against Australia (again), South Africa and Pakistan, and make this article look almost as daft as the Steven Finn one from the World Cup? Why can’t they wait and see, for crying out loud? No-one else receives this treatment on the basis of one great century and a general upturn in form. I see no guarantee that he will make 10,000 runs, let alone 12,000. And if we’re talking about openers who “flowered” spectacularly after the age of 30, then the two that spring to mind in the last 25 years (Gooch and Hayden) did so after a ban and after a long period out of the side, respectively. Graeme Smith, who is the most obvious comparison in terms of age, style, achievement and general significance to his country, retired just after turning 33. I just don’t see this late flowering happening for someone who’s been at the grindstone non-stop for a decade. That a feature piece in a national newspaper doesn’t even acknowledge this alternative possibility, preferring to wallow in sentimental numberwang, simply exasperates me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus May 30, 2015 / 11:04 pm

          My one comment tonight. When KP was booted out of the team he had 8181 runs. I think he was around 140 ahead of Cook (back of fag packet maths suggests 8047 was what he was on).

          While there is 0.0000000001 % of my being that thinks that this played some part in his exclusion, then I can’t cheer. I really can’t. I’m really sorry if this makes me a bad man, a bitter man, or someone who is kicking my imaginary cat. He would have been on top because he would have outlasted him. My thoughts are that the ECB are really very happy at who broke the record today.

          As for ECB TV today. It’s not Channel 9 yet, but bloody hell, it’s getting close.

          Congratulations to Adam Lyth. Classy century. Good job Cook’s scoring runs, because you won’t have the attention on you like Sam Robson did (and he made a hundred on the same ground a year ago).

          Liked by 3 people

      • metatone May 30, 2015 / 9:57 pm

        Well said. And not just because you touch on my hobby horse about how journalists seem to purposefully ignore questions about playing workload.

        (e.g. If Jimmy is in better shape than most at his age, wouldn’t it be in part because while he was out with the back injury, the rest of his body was not being hammered…?)


      • Zephirine May 31, 2015 / 1:40 am

        LCL, me too. And there’s Pietersen’s own record of most runs in all forms for England, Cook will have his eye on that too, no doubt.

        It’s good that Cook is scoring runs again because he was damaging the team’s chances severely with all those awful scratchy 11s and 17s, but, call me a churl, I really can’t get excited that he’s passed this particular milestone.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. metatone May 30, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    Game more in the balance than I expected. Due in part to how out of sorts Ballance is. Still, between Bell, Buttler and Moeen, there is enough run-scoring potential for England to wipe out the deficit and even to get a lead. NZ need 2 of those wickets cheaply, which may not be easy depending on conditions.

    Coming back to Ballance, he could be in for a very tough summer. An Ashes Test is not a good place to rejig your technique – and if the Aussie bowlers are on form I think they’ll be bowling faster than the NZ ones (who seem still a little off their best.)

    Trying to think of solutions all I came up with was promoting Bell, but he’s looked very scratchy too.

    While Root has the experience and technique to cope with being No.3 he’s been doing great in his current slot, so moving him seems inappropriate. Moeen has some experience up the order, but I think he has enough on being the front-line spinner.

    Possibly the thing to do is not pick Ballance for the ODIs, so that he can spend some time working on his crease occupation elsewhere…


    • Arron Wright May 30, 2015 / 8:50 pm

      Good lord, they can’t possibly even be *considering* Ballance for the ODIs, can they? I mean… No. Just… No. No way. No-one can be that brainless.


      • metatone May 30, 2015 / 9:04 pm

        I’d assume with Bayliss in that it’s not on the cards. But England’s ability to point the revolver at the foot has never ceased to surprise me recently….


    • Tuffers86 May 31, 2015 / 8:53 am

      I’m telling ya, Ballance is this decade’s Ian Bell.


    • paule May 31, 2015 / 9:01 am

      Well there is one fella……but it would result in his detractors kicking their respective cats…..


      • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 9:30 am

        We should form a society called Catkickers United. A few strategically placed capital letters and the gentlemen of the press box will be able to refer to us in a manner befitting their sophistication.


  7. jomesy May 30, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    Nice little sum up by sky…cook’s partnership score rate 150% better with KP than his next best.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dvyk May 31, 2015 / 12:37 am

    A few thoughts, and I apologise in advance if they are stupid.

    Ballance has serious technical deficits and he won’t sort them until he is dropped and has a chance to work on them. He won’t be dropped because, as some would already have interjected before I finished the first sentence, he averages 55 in tests. This is a pity for him, because he will obviously have to experience some heavy failure before he’s dropped. This isn’t really anyone’s fault.

    Cook is a dull plodder who is useful to a team that has him as long as he’s not the one who sets the tone. He has a similar record to Justin Langer (Cook’s avge is 0.4 higher), but if all you had to go on were reports in the English press, you’d think he had a similar record to Bradman and the demeanor of Viv Richards.

    Unlike with Langer, I doubt anyone will be queuing up to hire Cook as a coach. At least no one outside the ECB bubble.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zephirine May 31, 2015 / 9:54 am

      No, not coach. I expect Cook is already being lined up to take over the D,EC job from Strauss eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 10:21 am

    Bell did not add to his overnight score. Southee takes him out.

    257/6. Now I fear that New Zealand may be bundled out rather cheaply as well today.


    • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 10:24 am

      Bell doesn’t seem to like Sundays very much, does he?


    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 10:38 am

      Neither does Buttler. 266/7. Southee strikes again.


    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 10:42 am

      And neither does Moeen Ali. 267/8 now. Southee again.


  10. Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 10:47 am

    90 for 8 since Cook was out. 31 for 6 with the new ball. Barbados was only two Tests ago.

    What you really want to do in this sort of situation is rule out picking a middle order batsman with over 8,000 runs at 47.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. hatmallet May 31, 2015 / 10:55 am

    Obviously a poor morning so far. England playing very tentatively – the style of play seen at Lord’s already seems a long time ago. New Zealand have bowled very well.


    • hatmallet May 31, 2015 / 11:14 am

      Wood and Broad doing a decent job now though. Second highest partnership of the innings.


      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 11:26 am

        Wood goes to Craig. Craig has had an excellent game thus far.


    • hatmallet May 31, 2015 / 11:41 am

      NZ not bowling well anymore. Neither pushing Broad back nor getting the yorkers right.


  12. man in a barrel May 31, 2015 / 11:04 am

    The problem with Cook is that he takes no account of the match situation when he bats. A sunny Saturday at Headingley demands that someone takes the initiative because you never know when the clouds will come over and let the ball talk. Cook scratching around so slowly meant that England only had 200 on the board when the new ball was taken. Good seam bowling to new batsmen is only going to mean one thing at Headingley if the clouds roll over.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 11:52 am

    Waitrose XI all out for 350. One innings shoot-out. Slight advantage Waitrose XI, considering the bowling conditions.


  14. thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 12:09 pm

    Wouldn’t fancy anything over 200 to chase here. Even 150 won’t be easy with the pressure.


  15. thebogfather May 31, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    Will OurLeader manage his attack and fielders to restrict NZ to below 200?


  16. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    Bizarrely, England were set 350 to chase by Sri Lanka in the 2nd Test of that series last year.


    • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 1:17 pm

      Favourites?? They’re nailed on if they get that many. 4th innings run chases of that degree are pretty rare. I’m going from memory here, but the median of successful run chases is only around 180 or so.


      • Rohan May 31, 2015 / 1:33 pm

        Is that median for all test match venues, or just Headingley? If it’s all venues, I am surprised it is that low.

        I am very interested to see how McCullum approaches his innings. If he adopts his normal attacking style, then he could very quickly take the total for England to get, to within the 180 to 200 mark. A rapid 50 odd from 30 deliveries would be quite a significant contribution I would imagine, in the context of the match, batting on a fourth day pitch and all that.


      • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 1:36 pm

        That was all venues and throughout Test history. Someone did the research a couple of years ago, but I can’t find it now. I’d have thought Headingley would be lower if anything.

        Quite often there’s a perception that teams can chase more than in reality they can. Over 300 successfully is incredibly rare for example, but few teams feel safe setting that kind of target.


      • escort May 31, 2015 / 1:53 pm

        How many did England chase when Mark Butcher made a really good century to beat Australia in 2001?


      • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 2:01 pm

        It’s not surprising given the high number of very low targets, resulting from one team’s overall dominance in the match. For example, here are the successful run chases in Ashes Tests since 1989 (by target, not fourth innings runs):


        Spot the massive outlier. And only three out of 16 are above the quoted median.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 2:14 pm

        Also, eleven of those 16 were in the seven series from 1989-2001, and only five in the seven series since. Wins by wickets are becoming rarer, at least partly due to the reluctance to enforce the follow-on after Kolkata 2001, with most captains in a dominant position preferring to set a notional (unreachable) target. The only matches listed in which more than four wickets fell while chasing the target are Melbourne 2002/03 (107-5) and Trent Bridge 2005 (129-7). They are also the only matches listed in which the follow-on was enforced.


      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 2:48 pm

        Actually, the 100th highest successful chase in Test history had a target of about 208.

        27 times a target of 300+ has been chased. 4 times (out of those 27) the target was 400+.

        The median target in a successful chase has been roughly 120. Mind you, quite a few chase targets were nominal in nature (for instance, there have been 5 successful chases of 1).

        553 chases were successful. 498 chases resulted in a loss. 392 chases ended in draws. There were of course 2 ties as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 2:52 pm

        Good work. It gets difficult what to know whether to include, because so many are either tiny, or there’s no prospect of a realistic run chase. I’d love to be able to find the work that was done to come up with that answer, because it tried to eliminate spurious matches.


  17. thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    At Headingley, a target of 128 (all below that have been successful)and above has been set 33 times. Of those, it’s been achieved just four times, with eleven draws and eighteen defeats. That 315 isn’t even the highest – 404 was chased back in 1948 and was a world record then. But after those two rather freak matches (which is the point) the next highest successful chase is 219.


  18. dvyk May 31, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    Interesting tussle at the moment. B McC vs Wood & Stokes. And also Barmy Army trumpeter vs anyone who wants to watch the cricket in peace. At the moment the Hokey Pokey has the upper hand and has forced the sound to be turned down.


  19. thebogfather May 31, 2015 / 4:38 pm

    No-one on TMS questioning ENG tactics or captaincy…


    • BoerInAustria May 31, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      …. but comment on the batting: Swann after Bmac sweep: “This is really poor batting. If a guy is coming round the wicket, he’s trying to get you out sweeping – just play with a straight bat.”

      then – 51.6 Ali to Watling, SIX, slog sweep and times it perfectly over midwicket


    • paulewart May 31, 2015 / 5:08 pm

      Something has been done….Chap on The Guardian OBO made the most risible attempt to close down any discussion of Pietersen. We have Ben Stokes ergo no need for Pietersen……


  20. metatone May 31, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    Tricky thing is England still hold the advantage whilst time is ticking, because there is a lot of rain forecast…


      • escort May 31, 2015 / 5:33 pm

        England are in trouble then. Can Captain Cook rise to the occasion?


  21. Sherwick May 31, 2015 / 5:01 pm

    They are scoring so fast it’s ridiculous!


  22. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 5:22 pm

    McCullum given lbw. Umpire’s call on review by McCullum. Height was a big issue, and it was barely clipping. Any guesses for the umpire giving it?


    • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 5:27 pm

      Ravi is literally unbelievable. He gave that and not Cook. He should not even be umpiring a back yard game.

      (Sambit Bal thinks Ravi has been excellent this series, by the way. Astonishing.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 5:28 pm

        If umpiring is just as the ICC about giving all the decisions to the Big 3, then, yes, Ravi has been excellent.


      • metatone May 31, 2015 / 5:28 pm

        I haven’t been keeping track, but it does feel like England have had a lot of luck with the umpiring of close LBWs…


      • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 5:35 pm

        I think that’s something we should keep an eye on in the medium to long term, and I’m not joking.
        The really amazing thing is that all these umpires calls on lbw will count in his favour (including Latham’s, Root’s and McCullum’s) and only Cook’s (overturned) will go against him.


      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 5:55 pm

        Actually the only team among the Big Three that get the short shrift are India. I struggle to remember a series in which England got the worst of the umpiring decisions.

        Ditto with Australia (certainly if we exclude the Ashes from consideration).


    • jomesy May 31, 2015 / 7:05 pm

      Agree and it’s been throughout “the series”. I commented in the review of the 1st test in response to Pontiac:

      “Agree main difference was spinners….but I’ll also throw in “umpire’s call”. NZ had no luck, ENG had most of the luck.”


  23. pktroll (@pktroll) May 31, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    Since i last came on my talk of a 250 chase is very much an irrelevance. I think that the pitch is playing well when the sun is out and the outfield is lightening. Yet with a lead of 323 and wickets still in the bag NZ surely must now see this game out, though they are a little too reliant on their front two.

    Yet again, highly reactive captaincy from Cook. However I do not think it will be mentioned in the mainstream media.


  24. SimonH May 31, 2015 / 6:10 pm

    Watling has made the highest score by a New Zealander at Headingley (beating Stephen Fleming’s 97).


  25. escort May 31, 2015 / 6:17 pm

    How good a century is that? Real hats throwing in the air kind of innings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rohan May 31, 2015 / 6:24 pm

      Great knock, worth sustained and warm applause! Are/have NZ taken the game beyond team ECB? I think they might have.


      • escort May 31, 2015 / 6:34 pm

        You would think so. Its a really good effort by New Zealand to get the game to this point at this stage. I don’t think England could do the same if the roles were reversed.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. I shall remain anonymous May 31, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Gower just tried to claim that the game is in the balance. Does anybody else think that?

    It seems to me that New Zealand are very strong favourites now.


    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 7:07 pm

      Some more stats to highlight the challenge(s) England face in this match.

      Actually, if New Zealand declared overnight, England would need to bat to the 62nd highest 4th innings total in the history of the game to win it. Quite a few higher scores have resulted in losses and draws, with the 654/5 in the timeless Test against South Africa (by England) being the clear leader of the pack.

      Incidentally, it would be the 13th highest successful chase. 344/1 by the West Indies in 1984 is currently in the tenth spot. That was Greenidge’s carnage.

      The target is already higher than anything England have successfully chased down. That record is 332/7 in Melbourne in 1928. Not exactly an experience the current squad can draw upon. Second highest is the 315/4 England achieved in 2001. Butcher’s heroics.

      10 times have England reached more than 338 batting in the fourth innings. 3 in draws (including the earlier mentioned 654/5), and 7 in losses.

      315/9 is the highest 4th innings total England achieved against New Zealand. That was in 2013.

      So yeah, depending on the weather developments, this could be asking a bit much from England.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 31, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      I reckoned earlier in the day that a 250+ chase would be in NZs favour. Legglance/Vian suggested that anything over 180 was a tough chase. That NZ are already 338 ahead means it is nigh on curtains. The only slight thing against that is once the sun comes out, the pitch plays pretty well and the pace of the outfield means that scoring rates can continue to be quite high unless it is Cook batting for long periods!


  27. SimonH May 31, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    I’ve mostly been watching with the sound turned down but made the mistake of putting the commentary back on for a while late afternoon. In rapid succession I heard –

    1) When Ronchi was out Atherton reckoned England could fold NZ up for 350 and it would be a tight contest. Has he seen England’s bowling at the tail in recent months? Has he seen the NZ tail bat?
    2) It was pointed that although 400+ runs have been scored in the day it isn’t a record at Headingley. 491 were scored in 1949. This was clearly presented as runs scored by England against NZ. David Lloyd asked Ian Smith something along the lines of ‘blimey, who were your bowlers?’ This is the match:


    So England scored 267 of those runs and NZ 224. No doubt it was just an innocent misrepresentation and I’m being utterly paranoid – but does even the past have to be roped in to puff up the glory of the home team?

    On a slightly different angle, I thought the difference in what Boult and Southee did yesterday after tea and Anderson and Broad today was quite stark. The former had cloud cover and a new ball but they really fronted up for their captain.The latter seemed the last options to be given a bowl – what was going on with Broad in particular? I was going to say what a good match he was having but then he pulls one of these disappearing tricks. There was some talk he was ill (cue migraine jokes) but he seemed to stay on the field.


  28. Zephirine May 31, 2015 / 7:48 pm

    Love Watling, he looks kind of anxious and almost apologetic while he’s batting but it’s completely deceptive. Only sorry that he got his century in front of a small and chilly crowd who couldn’t get up and throw their hats in the air for fear of losing body heat.

    Is Broad really fit? His batting was way better, which was pleasing to see, but bowling he seemed to fade after tea.

    Favourite interview moment today: Martin Guptill saying Watling had done ‘bloody well’ and then looking embarrassed for using bad language.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. man in a barrel May 31, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    I don’t remember Anderson getting warned for running on the pitch since that South Africa series in 2003. Does anyone recall him getting warned since then?


  30. lionel joseph Jun 2, 2015 / 10:13 am

    Quite an important innings for Ballance in my opinion.


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