See Saw – 2nd Test Day One

All in all, both teams will be fairly content and also slightly annoyed with how that day’s play has ended up. England made a good start, suffered a collapse and recovered sufficiently well for their total to be, if not decent, then enough to be in the game. New Zealand ripped through England’s batting, but will be frustrated that Dan Lawrence, with the support of Ollie Stone and Mark Wood, got England back into it in the final session.

England’s batting has been a concern for a while, and nothing that happened today made any minds change about that. Rory Burns and Dom Sibley looked good – the former going on to 81, the latter frustratingly getting out when set. Once the first wicket fell, just after lunch, England suffered a familiar collapse. Both sides are missing players, and the loss of Watling and Williamson in this Test means that when New Zealand reply they are weaker than is normally the case, but for England it’s an ongoing issue.

Burns and Sibley attract plenty of criticism, and neither record is a stellar one, but they do look two of the more solid players in the England order, albeit far from being the kind of class seen in years past. The immediate problem is when they fall, and if Root doesn’t score heavily. It’s unsurprising that England lose wickets in clusters. Nor is it an obvious case of transferring players in and out of the side – there’s no queue of Test class players champing at the bit for selection. Stokes is missing, and he’s a loss, but Buttler is hardly a reliable performer, even with recent good scores, so it can’t be said that it is just the missing players that has caused that. Zak Crawley looks hideously out of form, but while one Test innings of note is no reason to give him a sinecure, it does at least suggest a sufficient aptitude to be worth persevering with. As for James Bracey, it’s hard to have any feeling other than sympathy at present – two consecutive ducks at the start of his career say little about how good he is, but a lot about how cruel cricket can be.

Dan Lawrence is an interesting player. Very bottom handed, he does move across the crease and appears an lbw candidate, but as he kept pinging Boult and Wagner through midwicket and not missing, it’s not a problem. There is a very long list of players who have batted that way and been successful, not least most recently Steve Smith. Looking ungainly matters little as long as he scores runs, and while it’s way too early to have any knowledge how things will go for him, he played really rather nicely here.

For the visitors, Boult and Wagner are known properties – high class quick bowlers who are a major reason New Zealand are in the World Test Championship final, but with Tim Southee missing this one, it was Matt Henry who came in and was the catalyst for England falling apart in the afternoon. It’s curious how often visiting bowlers look like they’re made for English conditions, and often much more successful than the “traditional English seamer” sometimes selected. But he might as well have been born in Christchurch, Dorset rather than Christchurch, Canterbury for how at home he looked.

Praise be, we got 90 overs in today. It went into the additional half hour, but that’s what it’s there for. Far too many excuses are made for teams not to manage it (umpire reviews, wickets), but today it was done. That it is worthy of note says it all.

And lastly, the crowd. 17,000 of them. How good was that? They clearly were enjoying themselves, and that snippet of normal life, an echo and a harbinger, was perhaps the greatest part of the day.


15 thoughts on “See Saw – 2nd Test Day One

  1. man in a barrel Jun 10, 2021 / 7:03 pm

    I think the umpires have been pretty good so far in both matches. The lbw shout against Lawrence on over 51 looked pretty good to me and the commentary team but Richard K was totally right to turn it down. Worthy of some d’Arthez points?

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 3:00 am

      I like the idea of “d’Arthez points” or maybe they could be units of irritation.
      eg I’m 5 d’Arthez’s after that LBW

      Meanwhile in the West Indies, 19 year old Jayden Seales, picked after 1 first class game, has 3 wickets on debut.

      Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez Jun 11, 2021 / 12:38 pm

      d’Arthez points? Was it that questionable? 😀

      There is a flaw in the rules pertaining to the DRS protocol. Incorrect umpire’s decisions are defended too much. For example, the umpire may not give an lbw because he thought it was not hitting the wicket (but that it was pitched in line, etc), only for the batsman to be saved on umpire’s call on whether or not it pitched in line. Same with lbws that are not given because the umpire thought there was an edge. The umpire could be missing a small edge, with the batsman ending up surviving on any of the three lbw criteria’s umpire’s call. Alternatively, when a batsman ‘edges’ it through, when he did not hit it, the benefit goes to the bowler for the lbw. The batsman can then be dismissed on umpire’s call, even if the umpire thought it was not pitching in line, or that it would have hit the wicket. I suppose that would be improved by requiring the umpires to state to the television umpire why a decision was not given.

      And sure, those may appear like small margins. But top sport is about small margins.

      Never mind that the host broadcaster is effectively feeding DRS (which is not even open source software, so can be tampered with), and that is questionable from an integrity’s point of view, but since the ICC are allergic to anything smelling like integrity, nothing will be done about that.

      Did not see any play, so won’t comment on the Lawrence decision – life is just quite hectic at the moment.


      • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 12:50 pm

        I’ve made my peace with DRS for LBW’s – its using DRS for “did he hit it” and “did it carry” that gets my dander up. I wonder if there should be a limit on the number of times the umpire gets to watch the replay. If you have to watch a reply 4, 5 6 times, then maybe should just say “I don’t know” and throw it back to the umpire on the field. I get the impression that the 3rd umpires feel they have to make a decision but sometimes, even with technology, you just can’t tell.


        • dArthez Jun 11, 2021 / 4:12 pm

          Also it would help if the third umpire actually knows the rules AND the protocol. We have seen many third umpire howlers because of one or the other. Overturning decisions when there is not sufficient evidence (which happens quite a bit with low catches, but also sometimes with bat or pad decisions when the two are really close together), is really something that grates.

          Sure, some of the rules of cricket can be pretty arcane to an outsider, but as an elite umpire, you can reasonably be expected to know them all.

          Also note that DRS, due to umpire’s call being treated as such, still favours the bigger teams. Maybe the best solution would be to reduce the umpire’s role to a ceremonial one for lbws, and let the technology take over fully. Not a big fan of that either, and it will come with huge cost implications.


  2. dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 12:43 pm

    “I can the ball is clearly on the ground.”
    Bloody hell – I have no idea if it carried but it wasn’t “clearly” anything.


    • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 12:44 pm

      Obviously that should have been “I can see the ball is clearly on the ground”


    • thelegglance Jun 11, 2021 / 12:47 pm

      They’ve essentially decided to use a flawed system to decide low catches, so very low catches just aren’t going to be given and we have no clue whether one like that was really out or not. I guess if that’s how they want it, that’s how it is.


      • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 12:54 pm

        I’m not sure what the alternative is but I really hate it when they get the 3rd umpire to review those sort of catches.


        • thelegglance Jun 11, 2021 / 12:59 pm

          It’s always going to go to the 3rd umpire, because they don’t want to look stupid if they get it wrong. In general, and possibly uniquely, the on field umpires usually have the best view for low catches, but no chance of that being advanced as a case I’m afraid.


          • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2021 / 1:07 pm

            I suppose the powers that be would argue that the on field umpire gives a soft signal and the 3rd umpire only over-turns it if there is conclusive evidence. I just think that sometimes the 3rd umpire makes a decision based on some less than conclusive pictures.


  3. dArthez Jun 11, 2021 / 4:07 pm

    Holy, Bavuma is not playing!

    Have my prayers been answered? Out with a hip injury, so I guess not.


    • Marek Jun 11, 2021 / 8:24 pm

      I thought of you when I saw that–along with “blimey, Elgar’s going to put the cat among the pigeons there, in his very first test”–and then I saw the real explanation!


  4. man in a barrel Jun 11, 2021 / 5:01 pm

    Richard Illingworth gave a poor decision against Ross Taylor in over 55. That’s not going to improve his Darthez rating

    Liked by 1 person

  5. man in a barrel Jun 11, 2021 / 5:53 pm

    Bumble and Nasser talking about spinners for the Ashes; not once did they mention Mason Crane. In 2018 Wisden, Gideon Haigh expected him to be in the team for 2020. We know how to nurture talent in England


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