New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 1 review – Highway to Hell

I’m going to admit that I haven’t even watched a single ball of this Test Match so far. As soon as I saw the sorry excuse for a team that Ed Smith and his merry bunch of idiots had put together, I simply felt that there was no point and decided to watch the NFL. I’m thankful for my choice on reflection.

It’s difficult to know where to start really, although the decision not to bring a back up wicketkeeper in case of injury is probably the most calamitous. Wicketkeepers and decent wicketkeeper batsmen at that, are England’s strongest suit at the moment, hell we could probably field a half decent team of purely wicketkeepers, but you know what, Ed Smith doesn’t abide by sane decisions. He likes to look like a maverick after all. I’m still waiting for Stuart Broad to open the batting in some sort of bizarre cricketing masterstroke by Ed. It’s all good and fun except when your sole wicketkeeper gets injured and you have throw in a young, inexperienced batsman who is trying to navigate his way in Test Cricket behind the stumps. Well bloody done Ed! Also, what does it say to the various other excellent wicketkeepers in the country? Ben Foakes might have had a slight slip in standards with the bat last year, but he is still the best wicketkeeper in the country, so what he has he said or done to offend clever Ed so much? Bairstow although lacking the technique to score big runs in Test cricket right now was out in New Zealand, so why send him back home? The mind just boggles. So, as a result of this tremendous forward planning England had to completely reshuffle the batting unit resulting in players batting out of position again. Incompetence par excellence by the selectors, this was fuck up number 1.

Fuck up number 2 then came when England decided they didn’t need to play a spinner. If you have the West Indian fast bowling attack of the 1980’s, then it might just be forgivable. Unfortunately, England don’t. Jack Leach hasn’t set Test cricket on fire with his bowling (his batting is another matter), but he has been tidy, hasn’t conceded too many runs and chipped in with the odd wicket, so why the hell would we drop him for another military medium pace bowler? Who decision was this? Was it the captain? Was it the coach? Was it Father Christmas? Whoever it was deserves to be made to listen to Simon Hughes podcasts every day for the rest of their life!

That leads to fuck up number 3. Without a spin bowler, England had to bowl first whether they really wanted to deep in the hearts or not. Yes, I believe there was some long grass on the wicket, but the pitches in New Zealand have generally been fairly flat for the last couple of years, certainly not green seamers with wild swing for the quick bowlers. So, having elected to play 5 quick bowlers with no spinner and to bowl first at New Zealand then they needed to have an exceptional day with the ball and to make deep inroads into the New Zealand batting line up. Narrator: ‘They did not’. I haven’t seen any of the game so I’m really not sure how well England bowled or didn’t, but the fact remains that on a day curtailed by rain, New Zealand are only 3 down with Tom Latham scoring a decent century to put the hosts right in the box seat.

So, onto today’s play, England once again will need to make early inroads if they want to make a game of this at all. If New Zealand score 450/500 then it’s quite likely that they will have batted England out of the game, especially with a number of batsmen playing in different positions than they’re used to. Oh, and Ben Stokes is injured too, so things keep getting better and better.

I might watch some of the game tonight, but then I might not. For those that do, feel free to comment or laugh at England’s ineptitude below.


18 thoughts on “New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 1 review – Highway to Hell

  1. The kitchen cynic Nov 29, 2019 / 8:04 pm

    Did that plagiarism business ever get explained away?


    • Gareth Nov 29, 2019 / 9:23 pm

      Actually I believe it did.
      One of the consequences of Ed’d dizzying intellect is that occasionally his genius, existing as it does in six dimensions, can cause the odd wormhole in space to appear. Shortly before he finished writing the article it went back in time and someone plagiarised it, and (to date) has not apologised.
      James Taylor has taken a break from shining Ed’s shoes to nip down WHS Smith for some invisible ink for Ed’s future novel, War and Peace, to ensure nobody in any time zone can nick it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. dlpthomas Nov 29, 2019 / 11:14 pm

    Good start by England – 2 wickets this morning(including Nicholls who had been dropped by Pope shortly before). Game on.


    • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 12:04 am

      Sorry, it was Watling he dropped but it was a hard chance


  3. dlpthomas Nov 29, 2019 / 11:48 pm

    So despite over-night reports, Stokes is bowling. Not sure I see the point of this. Why risk further injury to his knee when you have 4 other seamers and have taken 2 wickets this morning?


  4. dArthez Nov 29, 2019 / 11:58 pm

    New ball taken. Both Broad and Archer get a spell of 2 overs with the new ball.

    Yeah, I knew there was a reason why they had to play 5 seamers …


    • Mark Nov 30, 2019 / 12:30 am

      Only another 70 odd overs and England can take their third new ball in a row!

      Neve mind, they have got plenty of seamers to bowl them.


  5. Miami Dad's Six Nov 30, 2019 / 12:28 am

    I’ve watched the first session both days, and on both days I’ve been awestruck by England’s lack of opportunism. In football you’d describe it as a lack of passion for the badge, rugby you’d suggest they aren’t up for the physical battle, and in cricket it’s often referred to as “poor body language”. In truth in any of these sports it just needs one or two blokes (bowlers) to recognise key moments, stop going through the motions and bust a nut for 4 or 5 overs to swing the game your team’s way.

    Instead we’ve got 3 seamers who have bowled well enough but within themselves, one all-rounder who is being lauded for bowling today when injured yesterday (BBC), and Jofra Archer. Archer should be a real weapon but we’re wasting the new ball by giving it to him at the moment, and then using him as a stock bowler when he does come back on. I’m going to throw out there that if he’s not hitting 92-3mph a few times per spell then he’s being wasted. I’d rather have 10 overs a day from him as a luxury “quick” bowler, than 25 as a fast medium bowler who rarely looks to hit the stumps.

    Root’s time as captain is surely up. Look across the team sheet and take the example of Ross Taylor.

    Weirdly it’ll still only take a good post lunch spell to swing the game in England’s favour, but it’s been abject so far.


    • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 1:10 am

      I don’t know whether Archer is injured, moody or just not the bowler we all hoped he would be. For me, if he’s not “hitting 92 – 93” then I’m not sure I’d pick him. I know that is harsh but we don’t need another gun barrel straight fast medium bowler (and clearly everything about England’s performance in this series is pissing me off.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pontiac Nov 30, 2019 / 1:49 am

        As of now, first drinks after lunch, he’s bowled more overs in the series than any other bowler.

        This is ludicrous and at least in my opinion overshadows anything else about this whole matter.

        It’s this mentality on the part of Root and everyone whose opinion matters that thinks it’s ok to bowl the one fellow capable of 90 more than all the rest of them and wonders why he’s not doing it all the time! There’s not any science as to how he’s not doing it all the time!

        ( .. past mv^2/2 telling you that a 90mph delivery is at least 25% more effort than an 80mph one)

        Liked by 1 person

        • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 2:50 am

          Both the senior players and coach should have got in Root’s ear during the first test about over-bowling Archer. (From memory, he was also over-bowled during the Ashes but not quite to the same extent) I would also have like to see a little more on-filed support for the kid from his team-mates

          After one of the warm up games on this tour, one of the NZ players (who made a hundred) said Archer was the quickest bowler he has ever faced. But even his first spell wasn’t quick come the first test which makes me think it is something more than simple fatigue. Given England’s trach record I am worried that he’s not fit.

          “past mv^2/2 telling you” – sorry, I am on old man and I have no idea what that means.


          • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 2:52 am

            By “not fit” I meant injured.


          • dArthez Nov 30, 2019 / 7:44 am

            He is referring to physics, and the energy needed to generate the extra speed. Quick math suggests it is 21% more energy needed to generate that speed. But that is assuming the human body can do that with 100% efficiency (and that is extremely doubtful). I am not a bio-mechanics expert, but I would expect that figure to be closer to 40-50% to be honest. And that is of course not even considering the risk of injury .The slower you bowl, the less chance of injury.

            All this points to the fact that if you want Archer to bowl 92 mph consistently, you should not expect more than 15 overs a day from him. Also, to go back to the infamous 80-page diet plan, what is a bowler like Archer supposed to eat to sustain himself body-wise? Batting is far less demanding on the body after all.

            There is no need for Archer to bowl that quick in Tests. As long as he is part of the ODI team / T20 team, and will be given a central contract, the only thing he’ll be missing out on is Test match fees. And those fees can easily be recovered by playing T20 leagues. I am pretty sure that financially speaking Archer does not even WANT to play Tests anymore. Why? Because one single injury could see him lose out on 15 million GBP. Yeah, that is a real motivation to break your back.

            That is sad in a way, but then again, the ECB’s actions have happily turned 90% of cricketers in prostitutes, so if an English representational team is FINALLY getting to experience one downside to that, I am not going to feel sorry for them.

            Liked by 2 people

        • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 12:11 pm

          Archer cranked it up to around 90 mph at the end of the day so he is not injured and it’s not fatigue. I guess he is just pacing himself and who could blame him.


  6. Dominic Hyde Nov 30, 2019 / 2:36 am

    Obviious here that NZ are the better team. Painful but true.


    • dlpthomas Nov 30, 2019 / 2:51 am

      They are a very good team and clever enough to know if you want to bet England, prepare flat wickets.


      • Pablo Pabliano Nov 30, 2019 / 3:06 am

        IMHO all England sports teams struggle to find a plan b


  7. dArthez Nov 30, 2019 / 7:31 am

    If Australia had batted one more session (and they could have) Warner would have gone past 400 in all likelihood. Just goes to show how high the standards are of Test cricket these days.


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