England v New Zealand – 2nd Test Day 3 Report / 4 Preview – General Moan


This has been every bit a rollercoaster of a test match as the last. First you think England are taking control, then the BlackCaps have fought back, and may even have edged in front. Then,when things seem to be going New Zealand’s way, they lose a wicket or allow the 9th and 10th wickets to score some runs.

The approach after England had battled to parity was typical of the New Zealanders on this tour. They thought that aggression would overcome some of the patent difficulties that they are having in keeping out the England bowlers for any length of time (save the second day at Lord’s). So after the early losses of Latham and Williamson to really good new ball bowling by Stuart Broad, they counter-attacked. I always feel this England side hate a team doing that more than most. Others see it as a sign of desperation and just wait it out knowing in all likelihood the chance will come, while we seem to start following the ball. That positive attitude is becoming a bit of a cliche already in this series, almost as if we are somewhat talking down to the visitors. But McCullum showed early on that he can play the other way, and stick around when the ball isn’t there to hit. The Guptill/Taylor partnership was particularly important in giving the visitors a platform.

Early on England’s batting subsided. We went from 177 for no loss to 250 for 8, when we are told this middle order is rock solid and with no vacancies. I can’t start calling for heads because George Dobell might get upset (boy, am I going to remember that impolite response on Polite Enquiries) but if a middle order batsman has made scores of 11,1,0,0,1, 29 (out in first over of a new day), 12 (out early on a new day) in the run-up to the Ashes, you aren’t entitled to be a tiny bit concerned. No-one is calling for the days of dropping a player at the hint of a bad trot, but nor should this be a cosy club either. Also, it’s not as if we’re the only ones here a bit concerned with the way Gary Ballance is getting out. It was the case with Sam Robson last year, and Trott in the West Indies, in that the manner of dismissals seemed to alarm the journos.  Last night’s dismissal of Ballance alarmed me. I fear for what Johnson and Starc might do, as well as Harris, to that hanging back technique. That cockiness was cited by many as a useful line to take to keep the KP fans at bay  – “just tell him there’s no vacancy” – and Strauss might have known this wasn’t plausible as a long-term strategy. The form of our middle order is irrelevant (pretty much) in the KP debate. It’s not the location of battle chosen for us.

England nipped out two early wickets, with Latham being followed to Williamson who has looked really out of sorts since he passed 100 at Lord’s. Yes, I know have some Century Watches to catch up on before you ask.  Then Taylor and Guptill counter-punched, and when they went in short succession, BJ Watling and Brendon McCullum fought hard again, with Watling confounding received wisdom by outscoring his more renowned partner and going through to a tremendous 100. Watling has been as obdurate and resourceful as his form in his home country indicates. He’s been an absolute star for this team, and he’s not the sort to sell tickets, but to score runs. I’m a big fan.

McCullum was subdued, and having escaped an LBW when he got the merest of gloves on the ball while stone dead, he then copped one of those “Umpire’s Call” decisions that gets poor old D’Arthez steaming. Absolutely steaming. It looked wrong, didn’t it? But then I was a (bad) batsman and I’m not coming at this from a neutral position. Half-way up middle is what I need.

New Zealand finished the day on 338/6 with 435 runs in the day, and Watling still unbeaten. Craig is also looking solid. Alarm bells ringing, and England will have to break their chase record to win this test and the series. Rain may bring the draw into play, but if there are no stoppages, it would take New Zealand batting until mid-afternoon to mean survival would be all that mattered. England haven’t chased down a total over 200 in my memory for quite a few years, so this doesn’t look good.

This New Zealand approach is relentless. They look to score, they take calculated risks, they will come up short, badly short, on bad days. But they are no jokers. I get the feeling some people are patronising them a little, but I’m not. This is compelling entertainment as the visitors try to emulate Australia circa 2001-2004 but on a lot less resource. It’s just fantastic. They may be trend-setters, not anomalies. They just keep scoring runs. They are a team you can fall in love with.

I’ve not read the papers or below the line much this week. I’ve not been motivated much to do this blog either, if truth be told. I’ll do more in a general piece later in the week, time permitting, but I felt no joy at Cook’s breaking of the record, got more and more pissed off with ECB TV, thought that banner shit to celebrate the record was astro-turfing of the most contrived kind (remember when Downton moaned about someone setting 10000 runs in tests as a personal ambition) and yes, I felt the record had come about because the competition had been eliminated and we’d not been told why. They can yawn all they like, but I don’t trust them any more to do their jobs. So when I should have been happy as larry at a great win, I felt more disillusioned that I was being told to forget all that went before and “fall in love with this team again”. No-one tells me how to think, and one blinding moment does not erase the disgrace that the ECB had been up until that test. The same Ben Stokes that was lambasted for his dire form last summer, and the punching of a locker, is now put on some Flintoff pedestal on the back of one, albeit glittering, performance? Cook has been almost back to his best so many time, that I’m working out which one I’m too believe (and it was probably India 2012 if truth be told, and he’s not near that yet), although, yes, I know he’s in better nick than he was last year. But let’s see this against the Aussies, when we’ll really need his runs.

I’m absolutely pig-sick with the way a great, entertaining, fantastic match has been used by those who should know better to say all in the garden is rosy. It ignores how our top and higher middle order is folding like wet cardboard on too many occasions to be comfortable. It cost us Barbados, it cost us a hole to dig out of at Lord’s and it brought the BlackCaps right back in this game. Then we saw it again with the love-in for Cook. The Dauphin has ascended to the Throne at the top of England’s run scorers, and those that are his detractors can go off and kick their cats, according to those who have the game at heart. I was always brought up to be true to my emotions and say what I think. I wouldn’t kick my cat. I don’t have one. Jake is safe too, especially after his recent leg injury! No. I’ll just turn further away from the game, and feel even more bitter about it. Hey, those who don’t agree with me may want that, keeping the game as their own private preserve. They can yawn away to their heart’s content.

OK, Day 4. Sadly I will not be in touch at all with the game tomorrow. I have a very early flight, and unless the office I’m in has wifi that I can access, I’m not going to hear a thing until I return tomorrow night (at 9ish). Don’t feel too sorry for me….New Zealand are in the ascendancy and have England where they want them. It’s a funny old game and all that, and someone might need to make a big hundred (or two or three make large contributions), but history and form indicate a New Zealand victory. England cannot let them get more than 30 more runs, in my view. Even that might be too many. Likely is already.

Also, nice to note, even after how he was treated by the ECB after the 355*, and the opprobrium he has taken, where he’d be quite entitled to tell English cricket to shove it, that KP is playing for Surrey despite having no chance of representing England again.

Hopefully thelegglance will update you tomorrow, and I’ll await his report.


137 thoughts on “England v New Zealand – 2nd Test Day 3 Report / 4 Preview – General Moan

  1. thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 6:43 pm

    I did note with some amusement that at lunchtime they had the second part of the Richard Hadlee retrospective, and Ian Smith talked about how he had personal milestones on cue cards to achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus May 31, 2015 / 6:52 pm

      And that Coney gave him a glowing testimony despite the supposed reports they couldn’t abide each other!


      • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 7:10 pm

        Yep. Hadlee was a tough bloke, and by all accounts not easy to get on with. It’s amazing really, I thought this only became an issue in cricket around 2012 or so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart May 31, 2015 / 7:20 pm

        Very unpopular in the dressing room allegedly. Took personal goals and professionalism to a new level, one that the rest of the team weren’t yet comfortable with. Ambition, it’s a cancer eh……


  2. paulewart May 31, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    Indeed. For Cook, see Gooch. The record will always be tainted, the Roundheads don’t like a fair game. As for the rest; well the crowing from the MSM just gets worse and worse. They simply do not learn. The Vaughan Interregnum feels like a rare interruption in a long history of conservatism bordering on curmudgeonliness with a hint of boorishness for good measure.


    • simonk133 May 31, 2015 / 7:47 pm

      It probably will be tainted but I never cared about it anyway. Does anyone apart from a few Essex diehards seriously think Gooch was England’s best ever? He’s as good as his average says he is, ie 42.58, ie not even the best Graham to have played tests for England. And he’s an apartheid tourist and his stodgy and inflexible captaincy helped usher in England’s long bleak 1990s. If he’s the arbiter of greatness in anything, then the thing isn’t worth much.

      Liked by 1 person

      • escort May 31, 2015 / 8:05 pm

        To be fair to Gooch, he was between 1990 and 1994 easily one of the best batsman playing the game.

        Liked by 1 person

      • simonk133 May 31, 2015 / 9:57 pm

        @Escort – agreed. There are a few like that who were greats for a while. But to be an actual great you need to do it over a full career.


  3. BoerInAustria May 31, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    “I’ve not been motivated much to do this blog either, if truth be told”

    Thank you that you did. Captures my mood exactly.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jomesy May 31, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      And much as I like (and I really do for the insight) TLG’s articles (and the promptness of them – 😉), I come here for this. The calling out as it is. Thanks LCL.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy May 31, 2015 / 7:56 pm

        Rant away if you want to LGL!

        But I’m quite chilled as NZ have this and they have played beautifully as a team to get there. Only the weather can stop them now.

        My wife, who is wonderful but has no real interest in cricket, said last night that she’d been a bit confused for a while but she now understands that…..I’m not (currently) supporting England!

        Her perfectly timed repost: okaaaay, so you’re still a cricket nut….maybe our girls will get it when they’re a bit older and they can tell me one day.


    • simplyshirah May 31, 2015 / 9:43 pm

      And mine. The boys here watched the highlights and I couldn’t be bothered so I got dinner ready. Very nice it was too. Looks like a draw. I am sick to death of Jimmy’s record and even more by Cook’s record. Now let’s face it, as much as I cannot stand Gooch, he was batting against some of the best bowlers the world has ever seen. Cook would be falling on his rear end against the likes of those bowlers. I’m pleased for Jimmy but it is all a bit OTT. If Mark Nicholas gets any more sycophantic he’d crawl right up the ECBs back side. He really gets on my nerves. Then they wheel out Cook talking a load of crap last night.

      If I watch the highlights then I am very muted now. I don’t really cheer about anything – well not unless Cook gets out. How sad is that? I feel well and truly jaded by the crap that has happened over the past 2 years.

      Who the hell said that this was a sell out? It wasn’t full yesterday and it certainly wasn’t full today. Do these ECB acolytes need to go the SpecSavers?

      Blige me, I feel pretty crap.

      Thanks me Lord, summed it up pretty well I should say. Sad innit.


  4. Phil May 31, 2015 / 6:55 pm

    We are also facing the unusal situation of seeing both of Cook’s back to form centuries coming in games which England lost. Who knows if there is anything to make of that.


      • escort May 31, 2015 / 7:09 pm

        Of course he did.


    • pktroll (@pktroll) May 31, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      The Barbados century and his 70odd in the first innings here have been laboured in terms of the pace that they have been scored at. Although I abhor the cheerleading that has been going on for Cook in the press over the last 18 months, his second innings knock at Lord’s was a fine one indeed.

      With regards to this match,it has been mentioned that not taking advantage of seemingly tiring Kiwi bowlers as well as inertia against Craig meant that after Cook and Ballance got out, there was still quite a deficit. England lost Ballance, Root and Stokes in quick succession and it has been a completely different game since.

      Although Cook managed his bowlers quite well in the 2nd innings at Lord’s that has not been the case here where he didn’t bring back Broad soon enough in the evening session and he kept Ali on too long when Root should have had more of a bowl. It is worrying that Root has often looked the better bowler in the last couple of games.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Phil May 31, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Nah i wasn’t, I confused innings, he got his 162 at Lords not Headingly, shouldn’t post on the train after too many beers.


  5. SimonH May 31, 2015 / 7:13 pm

    Some recent form guides as to what might be possible second innings:

    NZ set SL 390 in Wellington and bowled them out for 196 in 72.4 overs.
    They set WI 308 in Bridgetown and bowled them out for 254 in 82.2 overs.
    They set WI 403 earlier in that series and bowled them out for 216 in 47.4 overs.
    They set India 407 when McCullum made his double century and bowled them out for 366 in 96.3 overs.

    The one occasion they couldn’t bowl a side out in the last eighteen months was when they had 67 overs to dismiss Pakistan and had them five down in the UAE.

    In England’s case, the most obvious parallel is with SL at Headingley last year when England had to make 350 or last 117 overs. This looks certain to be a tougher ask. England now are probably a stronger batting line-up (Lyth, Stokes, Buttler and Wood in for Robson, Prior, Jordan and Plunkett) but they are also up against a stronger bowling team – and probably a pitch offering the bowlers a touch more.


  6. thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    No matter how much Sky try and talk this game up as being in the balance (and charitably I suppose you could say they want to encourage people to watch), the likelihood is that England are already screwed in this game.

    If only some people had said that getting carried away by the result at Lords was a bit premature. If only some had said that the triumphalism and belief that England would now scare Australia was nothing but hubris. If only some had said that whilst good in itself, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. If only…sadly not even the likes of Hughes and Selvey, who as we appreciate know far more than us, were able to spot this.

    Such a shame.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. paulewart May 31, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    Anything’s possible. England do bat very deep these days. Imagine the crowing if England do win!


    • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 7:27 pm

      Possible absolutely. Records are there to be broken. But it’s not how you’d bet!


    • dvyk May 31, 2015 / 7:56 pm

      I think Team Waitrose is still more in this than it maybe appears. If they bowl NZ out fairly quickly, it’s still a 4th day pitch to get the bulk of the runs on. They’ve got the batters to get the runs if they want, and they should go for it. But they are also capable of bating out time if the weather helps a bit.


  8. SimonH May 31, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    I’ve not been in the mood for looking at Twitter recently but a quick trawl round reveals from yesterday Newman re-Tweeting this –

    And this –


    • LordCanisLupus May 31, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      So, using the logic in the last one, Justin Langer is better than Bradman; Neil McKenzie is better than Barry Richards, Shiv Chanderpaul is better than Garfield Sobers.

      Or tell me how I’m misunderstanding it.

      Liked by 3 people

    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      Interestingly Cook has also played more Tests than Tendulkar possibly could have played by the same age, even though Tendulkar started his Test career at 16. Compared to 21 for Cook. Bet you, Sky Sports HQ won’t be tweeting that.

      Liked by 2 people

    • metatone May 31, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      Playing 9 more Tests in that time (and Sachin started younger) is the issue – but it’s plain in the average…


    • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      I always thought that using the word “statistically” to justify the word “best” has to refer to average not aggregate. But oh no, not with Cooky.

      I genuinely believe, by the way, that anyone who thinks Cook will come within 2,000 runs of Tendulkar is a bigger fan of numbers than they are of cricket.

      Liked by 1 person

      • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 9:01 pm

        I disagree Arron. I think he’ll get there. Simply because the ECB don’t drop him for non-performance. So he could be well playing till he is 40. And with the schedule the ECB is imposing on the players, that just means he has to average 20 for the remainder of his career. That is perfectly doable …


      • simplyshirah May 31, 2015 / 9:52 pm

        Lies, damned lies and Statistics.

        You can make statistics say anything you want them to say. Governments’ do that all of the time. Do these morons also want to crawl up the ECBs backside so far they make their eyes pop out. Really nauseating.


    • d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 8:56 pm

      And Marlon Samuels better than George Headley.

      Ian Bell better than Hammond. Strauss better than Hutton. Lamb better than Sutcliffe. Yeah, some brilliant logic there. Until we get to Dhoni being better than Andy Flower …

      Liked by 3 people

    • escort May 31, 2015 / 10:57 pm

      The more you read about Cooks achievement (and it is an achievement for a one dimensional player like him) in the media and all the guff that goes with it, the hats thrown in the air applause and the like makes it all sound like a turd polishing mission.


  9. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 8:04 pm

    I can’t see England winning, unless Ravi is having a shocker, even by his standards. Seriously how he could have given the McCullum lbw, after denying New Zealand Cook’s wicket, is slightly beyond me. Test cricket is not the place to throw in average umpires. You don’t want series being decided by bog-average umpiring. And with umpire’s call backing the umpire, rather than the most probable correct decision, DRS is just doing that, when umpires give the majority of marginal calls to one team.

    Another annoyance, and this has nothing to do with the players, is how commentators are often calling these marginal decisions “good decisions” because of the team they’re favouring (and no that happens to all teams). I suspect the comments on the McCullum lbw were a bit more positive about the umpiring, than the comments on the Jordan lbw in the last Test in the Caribbean. And they were basically the exact same dismissal.

    339 is already more than England have ever chased. 10 times they made more than that. 3 draws, and 7 losses resulted from those efforts. Still I think the weather gods will have their say, and may well decide the outcome of this Test, and series.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy May 31, 2015 / 8:13 pm

      I mentioned it in the review of the 1st test in reply 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.”

      It’s like home advantage of 20 yrs ago….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pontiac Jun 1, 2015 / 12:54 am

        It’d be an interesting statistical study to see whether those uniformly tend to go more toward home side and away side.

        Anyway, if there are say 6 umpires call cases and they break 5 to the home side and 1 to the away side, if it was a completely fair 50-50 chance you’d still expect to see things break down like this about a tenth (6/64) of the time.

        This is not to say that one side wasn’t significantly disadvantaged – you just need more trials to start to raise the eyebrow. 10-2 would be extremely questionable.

        Yet another argument for there needing to be more matches in a series….

        Liked by 1 person

  10. dvyk May 31, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    New article by Ian Chappell — http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/882341.html

    He basically says the same things about Cook’s captaincy that you guys have been saying for ages. The only difference is that yellow press doesn’t attack him like they attack you guys.

    “It’s interesting to read the reports since Bayliss’ appointment. It was trumpeted that he has won the Sheffield Shield with New South Wales, the Big Bash League with Sydney Sixers, an IPL trophy with Kolkata Knight Riders, and guided Sri Lanka to the World Cup final in 2011. Well, I have a headline of my own: it was the players and the captain who achieved those results, not the coach.

    ….And as for this idea that Bayliss, or any other coach “guided” a team to a trophy – that is a myth. If a captain needs off-field guidance then the team needs a new captain because if he’s not a couple of overs ahead of the game and in charge of his team, then they’re in trouble.

    And this is where the concept of coaches can be detrimental to producing good captains. The more importance placed on coaches, the more likely it is they’ll encroach on the captaincy tasks. If this continually happens to young captains, then the likelihood is they’ll be underprepared for the task when they reach the higher levels of the game. Alastair Cook may be a case in point…..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Arron Wright May 31, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      So refreshing. The amount of credit given to Flower *irrespective of the actual players and their form/overall records* has seriously driven me bonkers over the last few years. You-know-who even said after the 13/14 whitewash that Flower had every right to feel let down by the lack of effort and application of his senior players, while taking every opportunity to tweet that *Flower* “got to no.1, won three Ashes and a series in India”.

      Liked by 4 people

    • paulewart May 31, 2015 / 8:43 pm

      Chappell was on to Cook’s weaknesses immediately. Of course his opinion couldn’t possibly matter. He actually knows a thing or two about captaincy having played for a prolonged period at the highest level….

      Liked by 2 people

      • dvyk May 31, 2015 / 9:10 pm

        When KP was sacked Chappell immediately asked if it was for “insubordination” rather than whatever nonsense Downton was saying. He also said back then that “any player who *wasn’t* frustrated by Cook’s captaincy should be demoted”. I noticed in a recent article — fully one year later, he repeated, only sharpened it to say any player who wasn’t frustrated with him “should be dropped”.

        If he wrote like that BTL at the Guardian he’d be modded.

        It’s utterly hilarious the way the MSM screams blue murder when anyone else criticises Cook — “windbaggery” bilious inadequates etc, but when Chappell says exactly the same thing they just look at their shoes.

        I’d love to see The Anal-est on live TV trying to debate Chappell on this stuff. I’d buy a Sky subscription for that.

        Liked by 2 people

    • thelegglance May 31, 2015 / 9:31 pm

      “If a captain needs off-field guidance then the team needs a new captain”

      The key line.

      Liked by 6 people

  11. d'Arthez May 31, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    Last year, in the series with Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka ended Day 3 on 214/4, after 73 overs in their innings. However, they carried a 108 run deficit, meaning that they effectively were 106/4.

    Then we got treated to some of the most inept captaincy we may ever have witnessed. First by wasting the 7 overs with the old ball. Three wickets (Mahela, Chandimal, Prasad) were taken with the new ball. Then we got the Herath-Mathews partnership, that lasted 36.2 overs. By the time Sri Lanka was finally dismissed, the target had swelled from something that could have been around 240 to 350.

    England duly shipped 5 wickets before close. The top 4, plus the nightwatchman (Plunkett) for 57 runs.

    I don’t think that tomorrow we’ll see something similar happening. I don’t think even Cook is that incompetent. But New Zealand definitely have more potent attack than Sri Lanka in English conditions. Before that 2nd Test, Sri Lanka seamers had collectively averaged 47 in England since 2000.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. wrongunatlongon May 31, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    Cheers for the excellent rant, old bean.

    One thing I wondered today was regarding Anderson running onto the pitch. If Ravi’s got one thing right in this Test, it’s this, as Anderson was clearly in the ‘danger’ area. I wondered if this is something unique to today, or if it simply hasn’t been noted before? It definitely threw him slightly, so if he starts to get a reputation and regularly called out for it ten it could be quite a limiting factor…?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. man in a barrel May 31, 2015 / 10:58 pm

    I think I recall him being warned against South Africa in 2003, when that bastard Smith first loomed into view, but not since. I wonder if he is losing his body action.


    • Pontiac Jun 1, 2015 / 12:27 am

      A powerful amount of fatigue must be kicking in. And this will have a lot to do with how England make use of the new ball tomorrow – for instance if you see all sorts of short balls to Craig or something.


  14. dlpthomas Jun 1, 2015 / 6:26 am

    George Dobell might have been “impolite” to you but he was a complete dick to the guy who suggested that Anderson was only effective in helpful conditions. However, the fact remains that Andersons averages about 25 per wickets at home and about 35 away. This is why non-England fans will never consider Anderson a great bowler.

    The comparisons between Cook and Tendulkar are getting a bit silly. I would put it like this: Cook is Status Quo and Tendulkar is The Beatles. I love Quo – they have been around for ever and have sold a shit-load of records but only a crazy person would compare them to The Beatles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 6:40 am

      GD also thought Ravi had an excellent day yesterday.

      D’Arthez, you there?

      Something’s changed: two wins, two big milestones and the “fringe” has been vacated en masse it seems. Cheerleading is the future. Everyone get on board…


      • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 7:46 am

        The guy has given one, maybe two marginal decisions to New Zealand. He has given 5 wrong decisions to benefit England, that were overturned because they were plainly wrong. And he has given about a dozen doubtful decisions to England, none of which could be overturned because they were not conclusively wrong, just probably wrong.

        So bizarrely, a lot of people will say that New Zealand benefited more from DRS than England did. But that is not because of anything else than an inept and dare I say it biased, umpire. And the more he gets backed, the more I am starting to suspect that some dodgy dealing is going on. You know, the kind of thoughts you don’t ever want to have about an umpire.

        If Ravi was on the job, as the umpire was against Afghanistan in the World Cup, against Shenwari, then Anderson would have long been banned from bowling this innings. But no, officiating against the “minnows” is the only way to go. Mind you that was Steve Davis, another umpire I am not impressed with.

        Bring back BC Cooray. At least he made blatant errors against BOTH teams.

        Cheerleading is the death of any sport. Sure I know, competitive sports are hopelessly intertwined with nationalism and or “civilizing the savages”, but the beauty of the game ought to transcend that. Whether that is chess, cricket, football, gymnastics or curling. When it does not, the game is literally reduced to nothing but a commercial enterprise. I’d argue that football is already there, and cricket is not too far off. That is largely due to the “meritocratic” ICC.

        Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Jun 1, 2015 / 8:08 am

        To be fair, much like the Red Card in football in the big games, it’s psychologically hard for any ref to come down too hard on a star player, without some very obvious trigger (Zidane’s headbutt, etc.)

        That’s one of the reasons I’ve advocated that running on the pitch should be a 2-run penalty or something. If you make it like a no-ball, it’s much easier for the umpire to call it. And once a bowler has done it a few times, then in a game as close as this one, his teammates will be as interested as anyone in getting him to change his path.


      • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 8:23 am

        Officiating in football is a joke. You get a part-time referee to decide on “what is correct” between 22 millionaires. The referee does not get any backup, he cannot see all 22 players at once. If he makes a mistake (eg. Lampard’s goal against Germany at the 2010 World Cup), he will be crucified. The nature of decisions is often 50-50. Players play to actively deceive referees. Play-acting, schwalbes, and the list is nearly endless.

        Results cannot be legally challenged, and seemingly depend on how much you’re willing to grease Blatter’s bank account. Henry’s hand goal against the Irish in 2009 being a prime example of the dodgy dealings at FIFA. If a big team is involved FIFA back the bigger team, but if two minor teams are involved they can and will be a lot fairer (and there was a precedent for the exact same thing as happened to the Irish).

        With the severity of cards, referees have to apply a lot of subjective decision making, to keep the players on the field. If referees actually refereed according to the book, some games would end within 45 minutes due to shortage of players left.

        Ss long as FIFA does nothing to address the quality of refereeing, football will remain a great pub sport. Simply because you can argue endlessly about the rights and wrongs of the officials, and how that has impacted on key matches.


    • metatone Jun 1, 2015 / 7:51 am

      I think the big frustration for me is that in denying that Anderson isn’t the same bowler in other conditions, the need for variety in the attack – and the strategy changes involved is never examined in the press**. All the more so that while Broad in theory can do it in a different way, half the time he just doesn’t…

      The WC was a great example of that – it was only when we were losing badly that the press noticed how we basically had 4 of the same in the seam setup.

      **Most obvious points – if it’s a pitch where Jimmy is effectively just bowling dry, then the guy at the other end needs to be a real wicket threat – goes for the spinner too.


    • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 8:15 am

      4500 Times… (or is now 8900 plus?)
      If Cook is the SQ, then ‘I Am The Walrus’ thus
      The MSM are but ‘Lucy In The SKY’ (with diamonds few)
      ‘What You’re Proposin’, is so sadly true

      from Downton, Down, Deeper and Down
      ‘The Fool On The Hill’ is the MSM overspill
      their ‘Paper Plane’ full of *Ughh* ‘Marguerita Times’
      ‘Dazed Trippers’ fulfilling ECB whines…

      Liked by 2 people

      • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 8:20 am

        was a reply to @DLPTHOMAS – just ignore me – bad morning! 🙂


      • dlpthomas Jun 1, 2015 / 8:23 am

        Nice one (Francis Rossi has much to answer for with Marguerita Times)

        Liked by 2 people

      • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 9:43 am

        My sadness about the great Mr James’ health led me to read that as Margarita Pracatan…


  15. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 7:24 am

    A couple of questions:
    1. Has England ever batted this rapidly over 2 innings of a Test?
    2. Has *any* side in the history of Test cricket batted at a faster rate over 2 innings of a Test?

    This is simply extraordinary scoring by NZ!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 7:47 am

      The run rate across both innings at Edgbaston 2005 was 4.48 (to 2 d.p.). That’s probably as close as England will have come.

      The next match I thought of was Lord’s 1984, when the West Indies (by remarkable coincidence) scored exactly the same number of runs (589) in just two more balls (131.5 ov against 131.3 ov), a run rate of 4.47.


      • metatone Jun 1, 2015 / 7:54 am

        Memory may be deceiving me, but I think both of those matches had better weather/pitch conditions than this one. Part of what I think is remarkable about this game is that most of the time it’s felt like a good game to be a bowler in, yet the scoring rate is holding up…


    • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 7:52 am


      That will answer your question. South Africa managed 6.80 / over throughout the match against Zimbabwe in 2005. Mind you that was a heavily depleted Zimbabwe squad, and Kallis made the quickest 50 ever at that time. South Africa declared overnight at Day 1.

      This is currently the fastest rate of scoring against England, at 4.67 for the match. Slightly ahead of 4.60 achieved by West Indies at Headingley in 1976. Australia managed 4.59 at the WACA in 2002.

      England’s best was 4.65 against the West Indies, in 2007. Again, at Headingley. 4.52 at the Oval against South Africa in 1994. 4.50 against West Indies at Lord’s 2004.


    • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 7:56 am

      Since a single statsguru link is ending up in the moderation queue, I’ll just repost it without it.

      South Africa managed 6.80 / over throughout the match against Zimbabwe in 2005. Mind you that was a heavily depleted Zimbabwe squad, and Kallis made the quickest 50 ever at that time. South Africa declared overnight at Day 1.

      This is currently the fastest rate of scoring against England, at 4.67 for the match. Slightly ahead of 4.60 achieved by West Indies at Headingley in 1976 (2 innings there). Australia managed 4.59 at the WACA in 2002.

      England’s best was 4.65 against the West Indies, in 2007. Again, at Headingley. 4.52 at the Oval against South Africa in 1994 (12 English wickets fell). 4.50 against West Indies at Lord’s 2004.

      Most of these extremely high runrates will naturally have been achieved in a single innings.


  16. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 7:58 am

    Thanks Arron. Yes, I remember that one well (who can forget?!). I think this could be the fastest rate across 2 innings in the history of Test cricket!


  17. Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 8:16 am

    There’s someone BTL at the Guardian giving it some on the “Johnson just knocked over the tail” nonsense. Few things (not involving the ECB) are more likely to cause my red mist to descend…


    • Burly Jun 1, 2015 / 12:00 pm

      In terms of England in Australia, it’s not that inaccurate. He was ace in that first Test and did a lot of damage to our top order

      After that, his victims were:

      2nd Test:
      Cook x2

      3rd Test:

      4th Test:
      Bairstow x2

      5th Test:
      Carberry x2

      In 4 Tests, he took 20 wickets against batsmen batting 6 or below (most of those 7 or below, and 11 against the bowlers) and 6 against numbers 1-5.


  18. d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 8:25 am

    Well, to be fair to him, in the last tour, it looked at times that the tail started at 2 (assuming Carberry was at 1). Certainly some Aussies might suggest that …

    But yeah, that is certainly not what happened. Mind you if these people actually had bothered to watch any of the various South Africa – Australia series since 2008/2009, they would have known better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 8:26 am

      Sorry that was meant as a reply to Arron. I am still not getting the full 100% hang of WordPress.


    • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 9:35 am

      I can’t work out Scyld these days, every tweet of his seems to hope for rain – must be some wonderful free lunches going around…

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 9:45 am

        I’ve come to the conclusion he’s simply eccentric. He writes some articles that are outstanding in their perspicacity, he’s one of few to criticise the ECB for their money-centric approach, was scathing about the ICC carve up when others remained silent….and then writes drivel like this.

        It means that it’s fun to read him, you aren’t sure until you do whether it’s a good one or the most unadulterated bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

    • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 11:30 am

      Lucky the West Indies are five hours behind. New Zealand have made a mockery of England's bowling ahead of the Ashes. NZ 455 to win— Scyld Berry (@scyldberry) June 1, 2015

      someone give me a clue as to what Scyld is on about here?


      • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 12:06 pm

        right… that’s really relevant from the Berryman then,,,


        • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 12:13 pm

          He’s saying Australia would be laughing at England. Don’t really see the issue to be honest.


  19. Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 10:26 am

    This Watling knock seems to have found its way through a time warp. I’m sure it’s actually Ian Healy c. mid-1990s. You know, one of those rare occasions when England would find their way through the openers, two Waughs and a Border/Blewett/Ponting… and then he’d turn up and ruin everything!


  20. d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 10:33 am

    I doubt Healy would have averaged 15 the year after such Ashes exploits. Unlike Haddin.


  21. d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 10:45 am

    Getting to statistically desperate times at 397/7.

    England have only made more than what New Zealand have made in 3 fourth innings chases. One was in a timeless Test. (South Africa, 1939). England will know that they won’t have to bat the 1746 balls England faced in that one in the fourth innings.

    The other two instances were Sydney 1924 (411), and the Centenary Test (417).


  22. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 10:47 am



  23. Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 10:47 am

    Anyone know why the leading wicket-taker in the match hasn’t been given the new ball…?


    • thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 10:50 am

      Cook conservatism… can’t go for 6 an over with 3 jumpers and no-catchers…


    • Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 10:52 am

      Ah, Southee just answered that one!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 10:49 am

    I think he’s feeling a bit cold…


  25. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 10:50 am

    “Anderson looking like someone not too chuffed with his lot right now”


  26. thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 10:51 am

    NZ going for the politely taking the p mode now… Cook strokes his chiseled jaw some more…


  27. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 10:54 am

    Maybe Wood should have continued…

    86.2 Broad to Southee, FOUR, and he connects with this one, on a length and Southee swings it backward of square leg
    86.3 Broad to Southee, SIX, that’s huge down the ground! What fun he’s having. Full and straight, Southee just stands and delivers with a might swing over long on
    86.4 Broad to Southee, FOUR, think Broad might be about to explode, goes for a short one and Southee pulls it very fine off the bottom edge…was actually a slower ball dragged down
    Long on goes back…he needs to be in the stands
    86.5 Broad to Southee, FOUR, that’s a proper shot, back of a length on off stump and Southee drives it through the covers…forlorn look from Broad


  28. thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 10:56 am

    The thing about the tail sometimes slogging runs and the shrugging of the shoulders about it from the commentators, ignores the point that this happens to England all. The. Bloody. Time.

    They don’t have a clue. Not a clue.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. SimonH Jun 1, 2015 / 11:02 am

    Good luck to the bowlers England select for the ODI series.


    • Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Isn’t this the ODI series?


  30. thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 11:17 am

    I know this is a really random comment, and with no evidence to support it at all….but I’m not so sure this bowling short lark is working that well. Call me controversial and all that…

    Oh they’ve declared. Well that was really impressive England. Definitely on top there.


  31. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 11:18 am

    Poor Broadie…


    • BoerInAustria Jun 1, 2015 / 11:20 am

      disappointed that the decleration left Broad stranded on 94. I was looking forward to his second century this match…

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 11:22 am

        He’s gone for 203 runs in 33.1 overs in the match. And with 7 wickets.


  32. thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 11:19 am

    Extremely disappointing to see that New Zealand declared with an innings run rate of 4.98. No ambition.


  33. d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 11:22 am

    454/8 declared. World record chase target. Also, no team has made more than 451 all out in the fourth innings (again, excepting that England – SA timeless Test).

    New Zealand’s runrate for the match was 4.92. Comfortably the highest achieved against England, beating the 4.60 West Indies managed in 1976.

    Other than a 3-day Test between South Africa and Australia in 1902, this is the second highest RR in a Test achieved over two innings. On third decimal points, Australia’s 10 wicket win in Mumbai 2001 is just ahead.

    Excepting the games mentioned above, all the other efforts happened over one innings, and against either Bangladesh or Zimbabwe.


    • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 11:26 am

      I missed out on India’s 410/1 (at 5.30) in reply to a Pakistan total of 600-odd. Rain ruined that match. It was a Sehwag special. Hardly fair to include that.


    • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 11:27 am

      Of course, it’s hard to tell if England have a chance on this surface, what with England testing out the degree of seam movement halfway down the track…


  34. Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 11:25 am

    This won’t be an original observation, but in my own defence I was among the very first to get seriously angry about Test scheduling in the wake of the South Africa scandal of 2012.

    Well, giving NZ a two-Test series is the biggest scandal since then, and one or two of us (notably SimonH) were saying so even before this turned into a classic.

    Australia will be here for a one-off ODI series, disconnected from Tests, before NZ are seen again on these shores. Just let that sink in.


    • Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 11:30 am

      On behalf of our bowlers, I thank Christ that it’s only a two-Test series…


    • d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 11:31 am

      The surprise in that would be if it is just one one-off ODI series.

      I would not put it beyond the ECB to allocate a slot to Zimbabwe, fully knowing that the sporting ban of that country means another opportunity to slot in India or Australia.


      • Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 11:38 am

        Ah, well you see, it’s already not a one-off by definition. It’s the same arrangement we had in 2012, which ECB/CA promised *would* be a one-off quid pro quo for the triangular tournament preceding the 2015 World Cup. But hey, they’re doing it again in 2018 and expecting people not to notice. It means Australia will have played a full ODI series in seven out of eleven English summers between 2009 and 2019.

        It doesn’t need Zimbabwe to make it a disgrace.


  35. amit Jun 1, 2015 / 11:30 am

    So, 455 to get. Can the sheep lead by example and actually get them over the line?
    Craig, Southee and even Henry have got me smiling trough all morning session and I hope Boult does his bit to cheer us up for the rest of the day 🙂


  36. thebogfather Jun 1, 2015 / 11:48 am

    I know for a fact that neither coach nor bowling coach subscribe to that sort of bowling. and find it hard to believe that cook does either— mike selvey (@selvecricket) June 1, 2015

    not got a clue what he’s on about, but he’s now dissing Wisden…


    • thelegglance Jun 1, 2015 / 11:54 am

      Already spotted that, and it will be referenced later. If Cook hasn’t sanctioned it and doesn’t want it, then that’s embarrassingly weak captaincy not to have a) shouted at him to do what he wants and b) tell him he’s off when he doesn’t comply. If he has, it’s awful captaincy.

      It’s one or the other.


      • amit Jun 1, 2015 / 11:59 am

        Well you see, “it was Jimmy’s idea” 😉


      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jun 1, 2015 / 6:31 pm

        I just don’t believe that Cook and Broad for two are the brightest stars in the constellation. You can’t keep coming up with ineffective ideas and pursuing them despite those results. That and not having the personality to change things.


    • paulewart Jun 1, 2015 / 12:41 pm

      Let’s unpack that a little, shall we? Is he arguing that the bowlers are crap or simply disregarding instructions? Either way, it doesn’t look good for bowlers, captain or coach. Is the skipper weak? Are the coaches week? Are the bowlers bullies who don’t listen to anybody? Could, (deep breath) the critics have misdiagnosed the Ashes debacle? Could it be that the mutinous dressing room was a result of the players turning on bullying bowlers who were no longer able to deliver? Hmmm……

      Liked by 1 person

  37. amit Jun 1, 2015 / 11:58 am

    Watching the kiwis bowl, i think they miss someone who swings it at high pace. For all their skill, Boult hasn’t been touching 90 while Southee seems to be bowling low 80s. Been a touch easy for these openers as there is still time to react. I wonder if the Aussies will be kind and decide to not play Starc. Does that guy swing at searing pace or what!


  38. Arron Wright Jun 1, 2015 / 11:59 am

    Three key wickets for Craig in a NZ win and he’d be a great shout for MotM.

    Bet they’d still give it to Watling, in automatic “highest score” fashion.


    • amit Jun 1, 2015 / 12:02 pm

      I might have given it to the entire team if Kane had done his bit. But joint MoTM wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. Watling’s innings was indeed special, him being low key and all that, and so was Craig’s, who upped it when needed.
      That said, it was a mind numbing 116 in 16 overs for the kiwis in the first session while Eng have got 32 in 9.


  39. SimonH Jun 1, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    Some records that have been broken (and I suspect there’ll be others):


  40. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    Can someone please tell Andrew Samson to ***STOP UNDERMINING THE TEAM AND OUR CAPTAIN!***

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Jun 1, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      Yes. Something Must be Done. (whimpers steelilty)


  41. d'Arthez Jun 1, 2015 / 3:33 pm

    The rain is depressing. It is taking the ever so unlikely England win out of the equation, but it is also severely hampering New Zealand’s chances. Looks like we’ll just have 29 (2 lost during the changeover) overs of play today.

    That leaves New Zealand just 98 overs to bowl England out, unless they speed through their overs tomorrow. Assuming the weather is not spoiling things further.


    • ArushaTZ Jun 1, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      There will be showers around tomorrow as well. Very disappointing. NZ will have to bowl very well because I think they’ll probably end up needing ten wickets in 70-75 overs.


    • metatone Jun 1, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      I think England are set fair for a rain-draw and a series win.
      Despite the improved forecast I’d be very surprised if we don’t lose some play tomorrow afternoon.
      Even if we dodge the rain, the 40mph winds…


  42. Sherwick Jun 1, 2015 / 4:38 pm

    “If England hang on for the 1-0 series win, they move up to to third from fifth in the Test rankings and New Zealand will drop to seventh from third”.

    As everyone (who is an ECB supporter) can tell, England are definitely 4 places better than NZ. (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!)


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