New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 2

It’s an odd experience, writing a match report for a game I’ve barely seen, hurrying to get it finished before I go to work in the morning.

The story of the New Zealand innings seems to have been one of slow, attritional batting against England’s seamers bowling dry. Probably not a bad one to sleep through, now I come to think of it.

Broad did most of the damage, getting rid of the dangerous BJ Watling and Daryl Mitchell (not that one). Archer, Curran and Woakes combined to take the last few wickets, dismissing New Zealand for 375.

One thing which truly angers me is that Ben Stokes bowled 11 overs today. Stokes is, after Anderson’s injury and Root’s dramatic loss if form, probably the first name in the team sheet for the Test team. Or at least would be, if England didn’t have such a maverick selector. Therefore, and I know this may sound crazy and nonsensical to Joe Root or anyone in England’s medical team, they should STOP TRYING TO FUCKING INJURE HIM. He has what seems to me to be a large amount of strapping on his leg, and frankly I don’t think I would even risk him fielding. He is the only Test-quality batsman England have right now, and losing that to an avoidable injury would be an absolute disaster.

Of course, the normal thing to do when a bowler is injured would be to lean more on your spinners. Leach’s exclusion from the team always made this unlikely though, and in the end Root and Denly only bowled 6 overs between them. It is a consistent thread through Root’s captaincy, and Cook and Strauss before him, that there’s almost never any inkling of long term considerations in their decisions on the field. They will drive a player into dust in order to increase their chances of winning the game in hand, when that player could make a greater impact through the whole season if they were handled with more care. The most obvious example would be the end of Flower’s tenure as coach, when the whole team virtually imploded, but England and the ECB don’t seem to have learned any lessons in the years since.

England had 18 overs to face at the end of the day, and battled through to the end without conceding…

Just kidding. Obviously, England lost two cheap wickets and will have to bat really well tomorrow to have any chance tomorrow of drawing this series. Sibley fell cheaply again, and (admittedly after only 3 innings) he isn’t impressing so far as a potential England opener. Denly, who seems likely to open in South Africa, didn’t do any better. Oddly, Zak Crawley didn’t come out to bat today. The batsman, who was apparently in contention to open the batting for England in this series, is down at 6 in the batting order. I just can’t understand that decision.

As will surprise no one after seeing only 6 overs if spin were bowled, the day ended 4 overs short. Nothing will happen, of course, but we do like to keep mentioning it.

On a positive note, at least we aren’t Pakistan fans, as they are watching Australia absolutely cream them. Smith and Warner have apparently both beaten some of Don Bradman’s records, and it’s looking like a really one-sided bloodbath over there.

If you have anything to add, especially if you actually watched the game last night and can offer some real insight, feel free to comment below.


21 thoughts on “New Zealand vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 2

  1. nonoxcol Nov 30, 2019 / 8:27 am

    Can’t say I care all that much, but for my money Joe Root is the worst England captain since the 1980s. Combine that with one of the most pronounced and prolonged depreciations in batting average I’ve ever seen in a top class player and this should be called for what it is: a disaster of epochal proportions. He’s about to lose one if not two blokes with 400 wickets, his gun all-rounder is well on the way to becoming a specialist batsman and he treats his gift of a potential Ferrari like it’s a production line Vauxhall. His response to defeat is what I’d expect from someone who knows he’s untouchable regardless. By all accounts his body language is terrible and he sounds almost as petulant and uninspiring as Cook at mid-2010s worst. Perhaps he has indeed learned from the master, having spent most of his career under him. If he was captaincy material he’d be responding like Allan Border when the Aussies were in the pits and he was their only world class batsman. Instead he has a public whine at a bloke with only five Tests behind him.

    I look forward to a respected writer addressing some of these things in a “We need to talk about”’type article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dArthez Nov 30, 2019 / 8:33 am

    Let me copy my comment from the previous post on Warner and add a bit to it:

    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. This against a side that was ranked #1 in the world three years ago.

    Warner is averaging more than double at home than what he averages away from home (66.46 vs 33.17). Among the batsmen with the most skewed stats ever. Bowlers tend not have such skewed stats, since they can easily be dropped, or they will pick up a few wickets at the end of an innings to massage their stats.

    In terms of skewed stats he is right up there with Ashwin, Anderson and Ntini – Anderson reduced to a stock bowler most of the time overseas (6 five wicket hauls in 106 innings), Ashwin can’t even play a full series overseas (unless it is in Sri Lanka), and Ntini’s 24.04 vs 37.27 speaks volumes.
    Would be a fun exercise to come up with an international XI whose players only play well at home, where you can pick the player of the team before the match even starts by just looking up where the venue is.


    • Marek Nov 30, 2019 / 12:08 pm

      To keep things current: first-change bowler Chris Woakes, ave 23 at home and 62 abroad..

      I shudddered when I saw Danny tweet that statistic about Woakes having England’s lowest average and strike rate this year. Five of his six tests have been in England and the other on a pitch that George Dobell tells us had three times the amount of grass than a normal test pitch.

      My worry is that they see he appeared as penetrative here as the openers, and decide that therefore he’s perfect for SA next month or the 2021 Ashes. Just no.

      To me the only way Woakes should be anywhere near the test team except on an English-style pitch is if Stokes is not playing or can’t bowl. Even then I’d be inclined to play Curran ahead of him.


      • dannycricket Nov 30, 2019 / 4:57 pm

        I don’t disagree, I was more having fun with stats than making a serious point. If you limit it to just the games he played in, he falls to 6th behind Stone, Archer, Curran, Broad and Leach.


  3. Mark Nov 30, 2019 / 11:39 am

    Luckily for England the ECB don’t care a jot about overseas tours. It’s been going on for quite a while. Cook survived losing a 5-0 whitewash Ashes, and Root survived a 4-0 Ashes hammering. (The Ashes had been safely regained after only three test matches.) In fact the media celebrated we only lost 4-0. Add in poor results in India, and an inability to beat such giants of the game like WI and Bangladesh you see it is not a priority.

    The people running English cricket are only interested in those bits that make money. Overseas tours are not a good cash earner. They don’t get the ticket receipts from the grounds, and the tv rights are sold by the home nation.

    When nobody gives a shit you leave the door open to mad eccentrics as selectors and management with their clip boards and laboratory theories. England just don’t value wicket taking bowlers if it means conceding a few runs. “Bowling dry” is now digested with a bowlers mothers milk. If you are in any way wayward but potent your card will be marked.

    Years ago Bumble said we needed express pace or mystery spin on flat pitches abroad. We don’t seem to create many of those on green seamers in May and September. Who would have thought? And when we do get a genuine fast bowlers we bowl him dry!!!

    Then there’s is the injury list. Stokes seems to be permanently carrying an injury these days. During the Ashes he was picked as a batsman who might bowl a few overs. Almost every game we are told he is nursing a twinge. Is this going to be good long term?

    They always say you become a better player when you are out of the side, and missing this tour has done Bairstows stock no harm at all.

    Never mind….. the great news is that they want Anderson and Mark Wood back for the South African tour! What could possibly go wrong with two bowlers who have been injured for a while on the same tour? Look on the bright side folks….. Anderson says he sees no reason not to be on the next Ashes tour as a strike bowler at the age of 39!

    What ever the result of this test match… no one at head office cares. They are too busy counting their stock options on the new 16.4 coming soon to an inner city near you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebogfather Nov 30, 2019 / 3:17 pm

    Just as well that this ‘coughs’ 2 Test series doesn’t for whatever reason rate
    In the ‘ICC Test Sham-pionship’, no points thus no point, so ECB are sate…


    • dArthez Nov 30, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      Which is annoying. Obviously, the powerful boards will insist on easy home series, and easy opponents for the away series.

      Thus avoid playing say Pakistan in the UAE, not too much among themselves (if they can help it, finances need to be considered too), playing Bangladesh in Bangladesh (although for India that would not make much difference compared to home), avoid playing New Zealand if you can help it, and cash in on the likes of West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, who are not even shadows of their former selves.

      I mean, the ICC have done everything in their power to ensure that it will be India vs. Australia / England for the Scampionship.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dArthez Nov 30, 2019 / 6:58 pm

    3 more wickets and you have quite possibly a debutant opener and the makeshift wicketkeeper batting together, probably trying to keep England afloat. Crawley and Pope are set up to fail. That is not fair on either of them. For that reason alone, it would have been sensible to get Crawley to open or come in at 3. Even if Crawley would not shine (it is debut, you can’t expect miracles from a debutant), then at least you don’t have a completely inexperienced 6 and 7 trying to bail you out of trouble.

    But rest assured, if they fail, they will be judged for it. Unlike perennial disappointments that litter this lineup (Bairstow could play for 2 years despite struggling to average even 20, and happily refusr to address the massive black hole in his batting technique. The less said about Cook in his last 3 or 4 years the better). The only one who I’d consider undroppablen this lineup is Stokes.

    And even if they do not fail, they could still get the Foakes treatment. Yeah, I suppose that is a special team environment.

    Oh, and can someone explain to me why the supposedly exciting brand of cricket England want to play involves the most attritional and boring bowling tactics imaginable?

    Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez Dec 1, 2019 / 6:29 am

      The only tacticcs I discern are with regards to future team selection. Sadly, you don’t win too many games by doing everything in your power to discard some of your own players.


  6. dlpthomas Dec 1, 2019 / 2:52 am

    Good first session by England. Now lets see if they can keep it going. (talk about tempting fate……)


  7. dlpthomas Dec 1, 2019 / 4:15 am

    Burns gets a good hundred and promptly gets runs himself out. Really stupid cricket when a big score was there for the taking.


  8. Rohan Dec 1, 2019 / 4:36 am

    I agree entirely about Root. For me it’s simple. As far as I’m aware never captained his county. Learned to captain by watching, therefore, Root as captain = Cook as captain.

    That said I’m chuffed that he and Burns both got centuries! Well donr


    • dArthez Dec 1, 2019 / 6:30 am

      He captained once. Yorkshire promptly could not defend 400.


      • dannycricket Dec 1, 2019 / 11:46 am

        His nickname at Yorkshire was ‘Craptain’. Clearly it should have been FEC, or ‘Future England Craptain’.


  9. dArthez Dec 1, 2019 / 6:35 am

    If Pakistan’s best effort of the series comes from Yasir Shah, the batsman, you know how extremely poor Pakistan have been.

    At the moment 2 scores of 90+ in the innings, and Pakistan have not even made 270.


    • Marek Dec 1, 2019 / 12:26 pm

      Well, to return to your home and away point above, that gives them a Woakes problem!

      Yasir has been unutterably dire as a bowler everywhere in the southern hemisphere–and also wildly inconsistent in England. Regardless of his batting, he shouldn’t be anywhere near the test team except in Asia and WI.

      It’s not even his first tour to Australia, and it’s not as if there’s no alternative–they have one of the best young spinners in the world playing domestic cricket instead of playing in Australia.

      So expect Yasir to be lining up for Pakistan as the sole spinner in England come July 30th! Facing Woakes, probably…


      • dArthez Dec 1, 2019 / 4:00 pm

        His average figures are almost identical to Ntini’s. If he were to retire now, he’d be in serious contention for the spinner’s slot. He even has a ten wicket haul in England (10/141), and yet he still averages 40+ there.

        Many spinners struggle away from home. Murali famously struggled in Australia and in India, but it should be noted that offspinners generally struggle in Australia, and that those Indian batsmen are literally among the best players of offspin the game has ever seen; Sehwag averaged close to 100 against offspin), at home he averaged 19.56, but on the road he still averaged a more than respectable 27.79, including the games in India and Australia. For Kumble it is 24.88 vs. 35.85. That is a massive difference as well, but he still picked up more than 2 wickets / innings he bowled in (for Murali that is slightly over 3). Obviously, a role of an Asian spinner abroad is usually not that one of a matchwinner, but to help to get the overs in, by bowling tidily, and allowing the pacers to work around them. Murali was clearly an exception to that rule.

        Surprisingly enough Shah sits on about 2.5 wickets / innings away, but more than half of those wickets came in Sri Lanka and West Indies (49 wickets in 6 Tests). If you exclude those 49 wickets, he averages 3 wickets per Test in England, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh and New Zealand.

        But as you said, picking a spinner for a tour to Australia is always a tough question. There are not that many who have done reasonably well in the last few years (the only non-disaster I can think of is Maharaj).


  10. thebogfather Dec 1, 2019 / 4:45 pm

    Where’s the dayfree post? I’m living my nights via TMS, with a feeling so sorry for himself Aggers, a grumpy yet tiresomely dull Simon Mann, Mark Ramprakash blaiming the batsmen he was until recently responsible for, and Steve Finn – wonderfully self deprecating yet full of knowledge and interesting thought, along with some tales from his past. Oh, and the ever excellent Jeremy Coney and less so Brian Waddell


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