“Duck” – New Zealand v England – 1st Test, 1st Day Review

Root, Stokes, Bairstow, Ali

“58 doesn’t look a good score right now, if that isn’t stating the obvious.” Scott Styris, who has to be the weak link in the commentary team, has just said this. 58 all out doesn’t tell the whole story. It could have been worse.

Let me tell you how my night unfolded. I had been at a leaving do last night, and had a couple of drinks so was expecting a nice night’s sleep. But I’m a light sleeper and woke up around 1:30 and looked at the phone. Opened up the Cricinfo app and saw we were 12 for 2. Saw that Cook was out, and thought how the fans in the media were going to explain it away (had to be a terrific ball), and that Stoneman was still in (and Root not so he wasn’t batting 4). OK, this happens a lot to England, nothing to see here.

Then the frequent noise from the phone vibrating to signify the comments on the blog kept me awake. I saw Sri’s comment saying 18 for 6, and thought he must be joking. Still lying in bed I couldn’t get back to sleep. At 23 for 8 I got up, went downstairs because history beckoned, and England were now relying on Craig Overton, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson to (a) get us above New Zealand’s test cricket record of 26; (b) get over England’s lowest score and (c) try to get it in the region of embarrassment rather than total humiliation.

I may be a major curmudgeon, but Stuart Broad’s attitude really peeved me. He flapped as he does when he thinks he needs to score fast, and played loose. When he edged one to Williamson, who took a blinder, he smiled. Great catch, but why are you smiling? I can’t remember ever smiling when I got out as a club player, so why now? I know, I know. It’s me.

Craig Overton was getting stick on Twitter for ruining everything with his 33. He played good shots without appearing to be as loose, with some selectivity in his shots. He made 55% of our runs coming in at number 9. From my perspective I have to say thank heavens. 30 all out would have really been a scar that this team would have to live with. The partnership took us from 27 for 9 to 58, and was ended with Jimmy Anderson trying to guide a ball over the slips, but instead prodding it to point. It summed up the hapless, hopeless nature of this team.

I’m watching Trevor Bayliss floundering under questions from Ian Ward, absolutely bereft of ideas, solutions, and thoughts. What could he say? Questioned on the “ridiculous” schedule by Ian Ward (I wonder if his Sky bigwigs will have a quiet word with him over that) he basically shrugged his shoulders. “What can you do? Don’t know? I don’t have the answers?” He faced up, I’ll give him that, but I hope this supposedly calm, methodical man threw the tea cups in that dressing room. I’ve just seen all the wickets, and his comment that our feet were like lead summed them up. Nick off, nick off, miss a straight one, nick off, miss a straight one, prod one back to the bowler. What a disaster.

Back to the action, I went back to bed early in the New Zealand innings, but still saw the chance off the first ball. Raval prodded a ball into the offside, and set off. Latham was slowish off the mark, our cover fielder (I think it might have been Malan) picked it up and with a clear view of the stumps, from 8 yards or so, missed. Latham was yards short. It was a missed opportunity, and to get out one of the form players, and getting Kane Williamson in second ball. But on such moments do fortunes pass. England got Raval early, but then struggled. Williamson batted superbly for 91 not out, and although Broad got his 400th test wicket, there was precious little to smile about. England’s test cricket, and especially its away test cricket is in a tail spin.

New Zealand finished the day on 175 for 3, already 117 runs ahead, seven wickets remaining, and a shot England team in their sights. England’s selection of five seam bowlers, if you include Stokes, seems muddled in itself. No-one is pining for the removal of James Vince, but to pick an additional seamer after the statements from the team about Ben Stokes and his ability to bowl is classic England. They are not confident in him being fit to bowl, so he is really in this team now as a batsman, and it puts Root at three, where he doesn’t want to bat (and we can discuss the mentality of this until the cows come home) and Malan one place too high (and please, let’s stop Malan at three in its tracks). Stokes is a bit bigger than the team these days.

Of course the New Zealand bowlers did a great job today. Both of them. Boult got 6 and Southee 4. They bowled full, they gave the ball a chance to swing, they exploited the weaknesses before them, and got their rewards. But as Rob Key said, this wasn’t a 58 all out day, this isn’t some green seaming menace, it was a combination of bowlers on form and batsman being out of it. (Also, a quick point, I thought Key was excellent today on Sky’s coverage. He was clearly fuming, and wasn’t going to let anyone get away with this being explained away by just good bowling, as ECBTV is given to do with its mild criticisms at best. He did it in a measured, pretty calm manner but always showed his frustration and anger.) The New Zealand bowling attack has a reputation that doesn’t always match its results, especially against the “big” teams. Maybe my arrogance is given away there, considering us a “big team”. We’re not. Nowhere near it.

So, what is going on? What’s the reaction here? Being honest, I don’t really care that much, but yet I am angry as hell. A contradiction wrapped up in resignation. England deserve this. Totally deserve to have their test team humiliated. They paper over the cracks at home, and then fall apart away. In an era when the game is global, they seem the ultimate home cooking boys. In an era when the international calendar gives you the opportunity to play on many surfaces, we look all at sea when we cross the Channel. It goes for our Lions team too.

There’s a Doug Stanhope clip on the Grand National where he says “…and they die, horses die, and no-one gives a shit!” I keep thinking of that line when I recall the media reaction to the Ashes. No-one gave a stuff. The same squad with a couple of little changes, is exactly the same. Failure was rewarded. Analysis was for the fools. Any reaction would not be appropriate. The same players would go to New Zealand, which is always seen as a nice, comfortable, popular tour, go out and play themselves back into test nick. You can see this attitude a mile off. “It didn’t matter in the Ashes, it matters less in an after the Lord Mayor’s show tour of just two tests with New Zealand.” The England team should have had a major shake-up, to see if we can find someone with requisite ability and temperament to play for the forseeable future. Instead the only change is to bring back someone on an affray charge for fear of his lawyers suing the ECB for restraint of trade, and we all have to be happy about that (while ignoring several important double standards). There’s a lot of focus on the joke practice matches, and yes, I know the intensity can’t be replicated, but this was as far away from a proper match as you could get, on both occasions. I wouldn’t be too tough on this if it hadn’t been held up as a fig leaf for the less than difficult winter so far. But England and the ECB want it all ways.

So what now? England need to salvage some pride. The game isn’t quite gone, but it needs a miracle to salvage it. It will need England to probably score 500 minimum in the second innings, and that really looks unlikely. What they should be afraid of is the fact that people will stop getting angry, and instead laugh at them. It might, just might get to the worst stage of all, where we pity them. Stocks is usually a good gauge of the way the press are thinking, and their current solution is to sack Bayliss from the test role. While I am not going to die on the hill of keeping him, it’s the players. It’s nearly always the players. Creating a good environment appears to be now an environment of tolerating failure. If Root isn’t hopping mad, then he bloody well should be. If Farbrace isn’t tearing into people, then he bloody well should be. Bayliss looked like he was going to cry when he was being interviewed. He appears a really nice guy. I don’t think it’s time for a nice guy, he needs to make it really clear. Like him, their jobs should be on the line.

Your thoughts, as always, welcome. We’ve been through some crappy England days on this blog, but this one feels worse, for some reason. Not patronising or belittling New Zealand, who were great, but they looked like a team up for test cricket. We looked like a team who frankly, aren’t. That’s a disgrace.


47 thoughts on ““Duck” – New Zealand v England – 1st Test, 1st Day Review

  1. Baz Mar 22, 2018 / 9:35 am

    My only worry is the impact or lack thereof on encouraging the next generations of cricketers. Be it in cricket, football and recently rugby these are supposed to be the inspiring role models for the English game.

    We struggle with All Stars cricket while the ECB and counties worry about balance sheets and the media. In the mean time THE team representing the English game is floundering from Test Lows to ODI highs


    • AB Mar 22, 2018 / 9:49 am

      Look on the bright side – I coached a net session for (no-privately schooled) U12s and U15s last night, and not a single one of them knew that England were even in New Zealand at the moment, and I guarantee the same number of them will now know we were 58 all out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AB Mar 22, 2018 / 9:46 am

    Just waiting for some moron in the guardian to claim that we were worse than this in the 90s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sir Peter Mar 22, 2018 / 9:56 am

    Goring on steroids


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 10:15 am

      So what will Christchurch be?

      This had a Shiplake College feel, with ladders being pulled up!


  4. Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 10:11 am

    If he had gone into the dressing room and thrown tea cups he would probably have hit the cast of thousands of support staff. They out number the players about 3 to 1. You can’t throw a cat at the dressing room without hitting a flunky with a laptop or a clip board.

    This is the culmination of a culture of failure, and indulgence, (Broad was treated to a pre match eulogy by Sky) and a belief in nets over real competition in the middle. How much actual competitive cricket does the average England batsman play? How much bowling in match conditions does he face? It’s also the reality of what 20/20 has done to batting techniques.

    Also, isn’t it funny with all the new crack pot modern theories that if you just pitch the ball up and get players driving carnage is guaranteed? But no, we are told that is old fashioned and somehow the bats are different these days and they will slog you out of the ground if you pitch it up.

    Expecting a Strauss building speech sometime in the next few days. The problems are deep rooted, and the finance of the game is making solutions almost impossible to solve. Never mind, the Lords test is only a few months away and that what really counts. I’m sure the great and the good will assemble for a show of strength…..Mick Jagger and Stephen Fry will be there so alls well.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 10:13 am

      If you are thinking of putting this entirely on the administration side of things, let me point out my defence of these people.

      Straw man, followed by Sir Walter Raleigh’s cape for the boys on the board. Peak Selfey.


      • Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 10:23 am

        One of English crickets biggest problems in recent years is tossers like Selvey are the ones holding the game to account. Brown nosing of indulged players, while attacking others whose faces don’t fit the karma has created a team of spoiled Selvey brats.


        • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 10:25 am

          People are saying lack of practice was contributor not the whole story. Anyone who is, clearly isn’t right. But just carry on. Also, I’ll bet the game he referred to was competitive and not a fucking beer match.


          • Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 10:43 am

            Selvey in fire fighting mode.

            He can pull matches from 2004 out of his arse all he likes. He is missing the bigger picture as ever. A culture of excuses and indulgence has created this. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

            But as I say…… Lords will be around soon so all will be forgotten. Free media passes for 39, Selvey, and Pringle. Trebles all round.


  5. Silk Mar 22, 2018 / 10:31 am

    I’ve stopped laughing.

    What sobered me up was the realisation that nobody in a position of power in English cricket gives a shit about us losing away Tests.

    Which is a shame, to put it mildly.


  6. Zephirine Mar 22, 2018 / 11:02 am

    At last I understand the expression “getting all your ducks in a row”….

    Dmitri, I had no idea that you get buzzed when we post, I promise to stop posting in the early hours of the morning.

    I don’t believe money should be, or is, the only motivation for people, but I would like to see the central contracts revised so that players get a lower basic wage and then paid considerably more for winning a match than for losing it.
    OK, that would have been very unfair on Collingwood at Adelaide, for example, but in general it might sharpen the mind.
    At the moment, all they have to do is make sure they get picked, show up for the requisite number of hours and then collect their match fee.

    And of course, the more cricket they play, the less each match matters. Any injured pride can be left at the airport, on to the next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 12:14 pm


      Post when you like. It’s just great we have reactions again after a long couple of months. The buzzing doesn’t wake me up (in fact, if the phone is left alone, it goes into sleep, and will only notify me when I pick it up).

      We know how much test cricket matters to the people here. Hits are through the roof, comments up, reactions up. There is still the palpable sense that this means something.


  7. Andy Mar 22, 2018 / 11:08 am

    What can I say – I didn’t realise the match was on.

    Only realised when I heard the score on the radio while making breakfast. Then had forgotten by the time I got to the car…

    I just don’t seem to be drawn into matches any more. Partly it’s because of the Toddler Terror at home, but part is because of the way England behave and play.

    I was more aware of Scotlands match against WI than Eng v NZ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Mar 22, 2018 / 3:50 pm

      I too completely forgot it started today.


  8. LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    This month’s Cricketer has just popped through my letterbox. It’s a corker.

    The highlights:

    A piece on the issues at the ECB, written by Simon Hughes himself. I guess you can imagine how even-handed and fair it is. To the ECB. All the sympathy with them, none (or little) with the counties, existing fans etc. etc, There are some cracking excerpts you’ll all love. My favourite was the one where “we have to do something or the game will just wither and die.” There is absolutely no attempt to determine the reasons why the game is in such a shape….

    Mike Selvey delivers a piece from one of his Twitter hobby horses. Namely Mooen Ali getting the man of the match award at the Wellington ODI, denying Kane Williamson who made a very very good hundred. Anyone, anywhere, take man of the match awards seriously? Really?

    Then comes Henderson.I think his presence in the magazine is an abomination, but thankful it is because there’s always some old shite spewing from his gob. Today it’s the benefit system for cricketers. No, it’s not all bad. Long-serving county stalwarts deserve it, and he flashes the keyboard to name drop a few old-timers. But no, his ire for receiving a benefit year go to two players. One of the reasons cited is that they are international cricketers who will hardly go to the poorhouse (but no, all the megastars that have got benefits haven’t tipped Henderson over the edge). No, it’s two players in particular.

    Nick Compton
    Adil Rashid

    I mean you could not make this up. Two of the media’s biggest whipping boys since KP was packed off, and they are the two Henderson is enraged about.

    What a world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Mar 22, 2018 / 12:20 pm

      You know how some people find it hard to watch their Ashes 2005 DVDs because of Strauss. I’m ok on that score.

      But, next time I watch, I may have issues shouting at the telly when that goon Hughes turns up.


  9. rpoultz Mar 22, 2018 / 12:31 pm

    To be honest waking up this morning the score was more than I could have hoped for. It’s just laughable really. Looking forward to the same team being selected for the first test of the summer though


  10. LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    From Newman:

    “But he should have been out on 64 when Chris Woakes deflected a Ross Taylor drive back onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end with Williamson way out of his ground. TV umpire Marais Erasmus effectively branded Woakes a cheat for appealing by ruling not out on review.

    ‘It was out. He got a finger on it,’ said Bayliss. ‘Everybody knows Woakesy is not the sort of bloke to cheat anyone. But I would have liked a stronger appeal.”

    Not seen this, but without evidence, he can’t give it. Or do we have to take the fielding side’s word for it? Come on Newman, speak sense.


    • rpoultz Mar 22, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      I didn’t see this either but from what I can gather there was no evidence to support giving it out. Can’t see what the 3rd umpire has done wrong if that’s the case. Still at least we know when Woakes appeals its definitely out. Dangerously close to the football player getting a red card and the line of ‘his not that sort of player’ there too from Bayliss.


    • Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 1:06 pm

      Newman trying to find some excuse as usual.

      On the plus side for him……it’s given him his pre Lords test piece in the summer. He can interview Cook…. yet again…… and we can be all bored silly my him telling us he nearly quit (yet again) after the NZ tour.

      Newman can then write 500 more words on steel not bending and so forth. Rinse repeat!


    • Rooto Mar 22, 2018 / 7:48 pm

      Even Lovejoy at his most obnoxiously cliquey this morning (“I know Chris Woakes. He’s not the type….” etc) recognised that it was impossible to give without some evidence. And he was a complete see you next Tuesday all morning. What’s Newman’s excuse?


  11. Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    In all the years of coming on here I think this is the greatest paragraph ever written…….

    Dmitri…….“I saw Sri’s comment saying 18 for 6, and thought he must be joking. Still lying in bed I couldn’t get back to sleep. At 23 for 8 I got up, went downstairs because history beckoned, and England were now relying on Craig Overton, Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson to (a) get us above New Zealand’s test cricket record of 26”

    “At 23 for 8 I got up, went downstairs because history beckoned.” …….Why? What did you think you could do?

    I’m only joking. Those who have followed England for decades can only understand this line.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 1:22 pm

      Not sure I follow.

      I wanted to see what would happen if we were bowled out for either of those two lowest scores. I thought one of the mardy commentators, like Hussain, or Botham, were on to give them a right slagging off. Instead we got Bumble. Pulled more punches than a bent fighter.


      • Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 4:01 pm

        Only someone who follows England for decades would care enough to get up and come down at 23/8. It’s not a criticism in any way. It’s a shame the people who run English cricket couldnt muster the same devotion. It’s what loyal fans do.

        Players and owners don’t understand this.

        I awoke from a snooze. I went off to sleep during the Broad eulogy. I think they were even commiserating with him for having the new ball taken off him. (A claim that turned out to be false.) I saw 27/8 and thought it said 278. By the time I reaslised the true score the ninth wicket fell. I went to bed.


  12. Miami Dad's Six Mar 22, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    Sack Bayliss as Test coach now. Let him and Morgan continue their 50 over thing for the World Cup, but just get rid of him in the Test set up, and let someone else with vision and knowledge of red/pink ball English cricket take over. It’s the perfect time to end a load of careers.


  13. rpoultz Mar 22, 2018 / 3:31 pm

    Thought it was amusing today to see commentators calling for Mark Wood…strange! Just because he bowls 90mph…apparently. Why is it then 2 80-85mph bowlers skittled England for nothing?? Southee and Boult done what was needed and that was to bowl an attacking length. As good as Anderson is he is a very negative bowler and when was the last time he really went through a side?? Broad looks done to me…he may prove me wrong though. The problem is not with the pace these players bowl its the quality of what is being sent down. Anderson will get say a 3-60 but we need him to sacrifice his economy if he is going to rip through a side going forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. metatone Mar 22, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    tfw, you forgot the match was on and first you heard of it was 58 all out…


  15. d'Arthez Mar 22, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    Zim lost to UAE and are probably out of reckoning (I doubt if a N/R in the Ireland – Afghanistan game can work for them) to appear in the World Cup.


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 4:03 pm

      They wanted 40 odd off 6 with Raza and Williams going well. What happened?


      • metatone Mar 22, 2018 / 4:08 pm

        Raza brain fade and the pressure caught up with Williams…


  16. Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    Remember the days when shiny toy was telling us about the importance of run rates and the new exciting England at test level? Compton was too slow for this new look England. Batting time was so old school.


    • Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 4:07 pm

      Oh yes, and empty suit Harrison was on that train as well. A new exciting attacking style England to market to the sponsors.


    • oreston Mar 22, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      Funny you should mention that.


      Now he tells us that what happened last night was down to the structural changes the ECB has introduced in recent years, with the result that players are “…subconsciously gearing towards the white ball game.” With his penchant for bending with the wind and occasionally saying (sort of) the right things for the wrong reasons, I think he’s missed his true calling. A career in politics surely beckons.


  17. alecpaton Mar 22, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    The following is an extract of the latest press release by the ECB:

    “It is with great sorrow that at 2.30 GMT today, we marked the sad passing of jokes about Australia’s 60 all out at Trent Bridge, aged barely 2 and a half years old. They were found flogged to death behind the sofa in Andrew Strauss’ living room.

    Mourners are advised that there will be no service to mark the passing of these jokes, and nor will they be cremated. Instead, they will be dumped in the Regent’s Canal, just out the back of the MCC’s offices.

    60 All Out Jokes

    Born 6th August 2015, in the love our Lord

    Died 22nd March 2018, in the merriment of the entire cricket following world.

    Mourners are asked not to give flowers but to write to the ECB, suggesting ways to blame Kevin Pietersen for this mess”

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Rooto Mar 22, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    Just seen the wickets. How fucking cool is Kane Williamson’s catch and reaction?

    Reckon you guys will hit a million before the end of the match…


    • LordCanisLupus Mar 22, 2018 / 7:54 pm

      No. Maybe next month. Maybe May. We really are stuffed for time at the moment.


  19. Rohan Mar 22, 2018 / 10:53 pm

    Great to have test match cricket back on and to be on here again following it. Have to say the Eng total and Williamson’s innings did not surprise me at all, but it is still sad to see how poor Eng are. As I drove into work listening to TMS, it dawned on me that we may be watching an Eng team akin to the 90s vintage and possibly entering an era of this standard for Eng…..ho hum….


  20. Mark Mar 22, 2018 / 11:13 pm

    So Ben Stokes had a pain killing injection before this test match. Hmm

    We have been down this road before with the England medical team. Is it really worth it for a two test series? I don’t know, he has played so little cricket for the last 5 months one wonders why he now needs a jab.


  21. Sherwick Mar 23, 2018 / 12:11 am

    “he has played so little cricket for the last 5 months one wonders why he now needs a jab”

    Um.. no, I’m not sayin nuffin!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. quebecer Mar 23, 2018 / 1:20 am

    To be clear:

    Cook – front foot on leg stump, edged outside off.
    Root – airy drive, caught on the crease, bat coming from outside off to mid on.
    Malan – a forward defensive where his front foot actually ended up further back than it was in his stance
    Stoneman – no forward movement and foot sliding to virtually outside leg stump while edging outside off
    Stokes – front foot withdrawing, bat angled, and coming down from slip to mid on
    Bairstow – ball not quite there to drive, drove anyway, inside of the bat connected and looped the ball, and did so at 18 for 5.
    Woakes airy drive playing all round a straight one, and did so at 23 for 6
    Ali played around a straight full toss
    Broad flashing at a wide one
    Jimmy guides one to gully because he was immensely pissed off, I’d have thought.

    An absolute lack of fundamentals, technically and mentally.

    Terrible, terrible batting.


    • Sri.grins Mar 23, 2018 / 4:37 am

      Q, it has been a reasonably successful day for the Quebec – Bengaluru rain dance ☺


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