“And Liberty She Pirouette” – New Zealand v England – 1st Test, 3rd Day Open Thread

Well this game is very nicely poised. There is something for everyone in this game. There’s defensive and attacking batting, moments of calm serenity when nothing much happens, followed by a crescendo of wickets falling, because, well, this is England we are talking about after all. There’s fast bowling, medium paced bowling, spin bowling. There are great catches, and massive errors. Debutants mixed with experience. Players making their way, against players nearing the end, fighting against the dying of the light. The venue looks brilliant, a festival approach to test cricket in a market that while it still clearly loves the format, wants to bring it to the people in a slightly different way – taking it from the impersonal multi-sport stadium to the park like atmosphere at Hagley and Bay Oval.

In short, it makes you glow for test cricket. Hell, I even like the graphics bug at the bottom which my colleagues feel is too obtrusive. It looks quite classy, if you ask me. Surely you don’t need to be middle-aged to love this? Surely there’s something here for every cricket lover. You get to watch Kane Williamson, a modern great, against Jofra Archer, a phenom who will either hold England together, or flame out. You get to admire the sheer struggle and effort that Joe Denly is applying to his test career. You get to watch Tim Southee, with Lockie Ferguson breathing down his neck, rip out our lower middle order and bring England to heel, just when it looked like the game was being ground down.

There is, as always, a problem. Life. That’s the issue isn’t it. It’s not because I don’t want to devote the time to the game, to watch more of the action, but it’s because I can’t. Boiler issues, work issues, lawyer meetings (they go on for longer than a cricket match and are much less exciting) and an airport run this morning means I’m not going to be able to give you the match report. I watched the first hour last night. I watched as the commentators built up Ollie Pope, only to be made look a little silly when he flashed at a wide one and nicked off. There was Ben Stokes, playing shots of amazing authority, getting out when a hundred beckoned. Sam Curran, in because we presume he can bat, getting out for a golden. Jofra showing he’s no clue as a test batsman. Then Leach and Buttler restoring some honour and taking the score to something that means there is a game on. 350 doesn’t daunt great teams, but it certainly keeps those just below top level on their toes that errors mean danger, and Raval and Taylor will look at their dismissals and think, that’s giving it away (and yes, I know, we’ve gone on about attacking shots not working being more tut tutted than having your defensive technique defenestrated). Raval, from the highlights, tried to hit out against Leach and barely succeeded, so it appeared he wanted to keep trying until he failed.

With the wicket of Williamson towards the end of play, England hold the advantage. New Zealand are 200 behind but without their two major run producers (Williamson and Taylor – Latham has also had some good form in the past twelve months), but there is plenty of batting to come and that lead is by no means safe. It does appear that the Black Caps should not bat England out of the game, but that there is a good game to be had. It was also funny that Sam Curran got the wicket with a surprise short ball at “only 126 kph”. David Lloyd appears not to be a fan.

I’ll get to watch a bit tonight, so hopefully I might even be able to live blog some of it (absolutely no promises).

Since I last wrote a fair bit has happened. Three of us had an interesting evening with Nick Hoult and Izzy Westbury on Tuesday, in which I spoke more bollocks about blogging than usual. It was certainly interesting to be in the minority of one in not being amazed by Ian Smith’s commentary at the end of the World Cup Final (too screamy for me), while still liking Smith’s overall work. We had the T20 series, and Shiny Toy Vaughan overlooking the Malan hundred, and calling me a muppet for alluding to his management loyalties (the point being if Vince had scored Malan’s ton, he’d be singing from the rooftops).

It was lovely to see, and yet he’s not blocked me. Wonder why we call him Shiny Toy?

David Warner has proven his brilliance on flat decks against a ball that is softer than England’s lower middle order. Simon Hughes kept his job despite a faux pas that spoke volumes about his sheer lack of self-awareness, and for many to jump on someone for a mistake that wasn’t malevolent, but dumb.

India are dominating, playing a day night test, seeing Agarwal make a double hundred, making Shaw feel even worse for his doping violation. Each batsman has appeared to fill their boots against Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, India are almost certainly in the WTC final already, and this day night test might work well, and thus we’ll see more of them, and India might even believe they created them!

We also have a T20 competition starting in South Africa where all the game’s greats are in action and as far as I am aware, no-one really seems to care, except the TV networks who love this stuff. Oh and Harry Gurney has decided this competition is too long and is playing in the T10 jamboree in the Middle East. Liam Livingstone has withdrawn his name from the IPL auction, which had literally millions of Indian cricket fans in tears at the news, to concentrate on something else. Which is about as relevant as me withdrawing from my bid to become Prime Minister. No more politics than that.

So Day 3 beckons. I hope you are following it, enjoying it, and loving it for what it is. A good game of cricket, in a lovely location, with plenty of meaning without it being World Test Championship. It’s the start of the Silverwood era, there are players not established, and players with something to prove. It’s well poised. It’s good sport. It’s fun.

Comments below…..


29 thoughts on ““And Liberty She Pirouette” – New Zealand v England – 1st Test, 3rd Day Open Thread

  1. Benny Nov 22, 2019 / 8:48 pm

    Not for the first time I find myself empathising with you. We’re having a new boiler installed too.

    Shiny Toy has some sort of complex – “how can people disagree with me?” Sometimes I see a post on twitter and think I must respond but then think it’s not that important and the world will go on spinning anyway

    I rather like the look of this England team. Some guys learning Test cricket, Broad out of the shadow of Anderson, Stokes growing, Archer, top order doing their job.


  2. Sean Nov 22, 2019 / 11:04 pm

    Very rare we disagree on the blog, but I still think Ian Smith’s commentary on the last ball of the WC Final was magnificence personified. Sorry D.


  3. quebecer Nov 23, 2019 / 1:42 am

    Up to now, Jofra has been bowling around 140kph. Suddenly in the 96th over he’s up at 150kph. Bloody hell. Quite the difference, and suddenly it’s a different game.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 1:57 am

      Get him wound up more often. If he’s a strike bowler use him as one. Four or five over spells.

      Also, if you have your hands on your hips you can’t take wickets.


  4. mark chapman Nov 23, 2019 / 1:46 am

    So far today England´s play is tripe of the highest order.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 1:55 am

      That said, not happy with these commentators talking about Archer as if he’s not doing what any other moody quick might do, young or old. I’ll be charitable and say they are just being insufferable.

      Watling is an utter pest.


      • mark chapman Nov 23, 2019 / 2:02 am

        Bowling a spell at 130 kph when you can do 150+ is hard to understand though.


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 2:06 am

          Broad’s last two balls were 76 and 75mph. Then a 73mph. That I’ve watched. Up to 76.

          Just an observation. If Archer has got wild because of a perceived injustice then good. Oh. The comms say it’s because he looks stiff. Stuart is a bit moody too, as we know.


          • Rohan Nov 23, 2019 / 2:15 am

            Yeah broad just bowled a 72mph delivery pace well down


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 2:18 am

            Stokes has bowled 8 overs. Now they don’t want to grind him into the dirt but no, the strike bowler needs to be ground into the dirt and be inferred that he’s mailing it in.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 2:25 am

            Meanwhile, Steve Smith dismissed for four on the Queensland Expressway. Funny what can happen.


          • mark chapman Nov 23, 2019 / 2:22 am

            I think the captain needs to find a way to use Archer effectively. Butter him up/make him mad/short spells/new ball? Best attack bowling prospect I´ve seen for us in my my lifetime – be nice not to waste him.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2019 / 2:24 am

            Agree Mark. Hope all is well with you.

            He’s not going to bowl well every game. He’s going to be ground into the dirt and become a full time 80 mph bowler. It’s utterly inevitable.


          • mark chapman Nov 23, 2019 / 2:36 am

            Wasting Archer would be unforgivable. But we do have previous.


  5. Rohan Nov 23, 2019 / 2:03 am

    First time watching this test match, just tuned in and the appearance of the pitch surprised me, almost looks like a subcontinent one on a quick first glance. Archer getting some nice uneven bounce 👍


  6. Rohan Nov 23, 2019 / 2:10 am

    Broad just bowled an over of 120kmh to 127kmh (75-79mph) pat backs, is he injured? Well down on his normal pace……


  7. dlpthomas Nov 23, 2019 / 4:13 am

    Archer has been disappointing but it is only his 5th test match. (I’ve taped the game and am only up to the tea break. I assume he will bowl like the wind after tea and make me look foolish.)


  8. dArthez Nov 23, 2019 / 4:50 am

    I missed today’s play completely thus far. Have England been as dire as the progession from 144/4 to 388/6 suggests, or is there really nothing in the wicket to work with?


    • dlpthomas Nov 23, 2019 / 6:14 am

      Bit of both. The odd ball turned a bit but overall there wasn’t much in the wicket and England had periods where they didn’t look interested.

      I can’t imagine you missing any cricket – I’ve always pictured as sitting in an underground bunker, surrounded by multiple TV’s showing cricket from all round the world, frantically scribbling notes and launching the occasional tirade to anyone who will listen.


      • dArthez Nov 23, 2019 / 7:36 am

        Had a party last night, and since I was the guest of honour, could not really sneak out on that one.

        But I used to be a bit like that when cricket was a bit more competitive (say 2007-2014). These days cricket is not as competitive, and as a result I watch less. Can’t be bothered with T20s, unless the wickets are 120-140 = par. The only IPL I watch is when I find myself in an Indian restaurant when a game is on. Same with ODIs, with par scores of around 220-240 (from 50 overs). I hate contests where bowlers are glorified bowling machines, or when an over going for 10 runs is considered a decent outcome for the bowler. Most boards and the ICC have ensured that there is a lot less interesting cricket to watch for me.

        As for the tirades, I do launch them. Not just on blogs but also on chats with cricket lovers from around the world (since I am based in Kenya now, and otherwise in the Netherlands, I am forced to use streaming services to even access cricket; I am not going to pay 70 euros a month (in a country where the monthly minimum wage is less than that) just to get one or two cricket channels, and 99% of stuff I am totally not interested in). But even among the Indian fans, who have a team that is doing well, cricket has become far less interesting, since the massive decline in standards is obvious to them.

        I guess it was just one of those days for England. At least they kept the runrate in check, which will reduce the time they need to bat to save the Test (unless New Zealand fold cheaply in the 4th innings). Still plenty to play for. Hopefully I can catch more of the action tomorrow, as this Test is delicately balanced.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Metatone Nov 23, 2019 / 8:39 am

    Didn’t see any play, but from the reports and the bits of live blogging I’ve seen:

    1) Seems like it’s a 450-par pitch after all.

    2) That said, it seems Root not only doesn’t know how to handle spinners, he doesn’t have a clue how to use Archer either… time for Silverwood to either map out some plans for Root to use, or to find someone who doesn’t need plans mapping out for them for every game.


  10. man in a barrel Nov 23, 2019 / 4:54 pm

    Couldn’t leave my response to day 3 on the relevant post???

    I watched the first session before sleep overwhelmed me but England went on the defensive immediately. Watling was happy to Boycott it out. De Grand wasn’t trying anything much but loads of fielders on the boundary. I woke up and BJ had his century at almost 50 runs per 100 balls. Cricket is a game that happens when you aren’t watching!

    English bowlers were toiling away without any ideas or inspiration. Leach had done well against Raval but had no clue how to handle BJ.

    I guess England will fold for around 200 tomorrow


    • dArthez Nov 23, 2019 / 6:55 pm

      For some reason the comments are disabled for the new article.


      • thelegglance Nov 23, 2019 / 8:22 pm

        Sorry everyone. No idea how that happened. Danny’s fixed it.


      • dannycricket Nov 23, 2019 / 8:22 pm

        Sorry, I just fixed it. Something obviously went wrong on Chris’s end.


        • thelegglance Nov 23, 2019 / 8:29 pm

          Wouldn’t be the first time.

          Mind you I still think accidentally deleting the entire blog because I rejected the WordPress payment as I didn’t recognise it is my finest achievement to date.


    • thelegglance Nov 23, 2019 / 8:23 pm

      Sorry. Don’t know what happened there. All fixed now.


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