WTC Final, New Zealand vs. India, Open Thread

So we’ve just had Day 1 on Day 2 of the World Test Final or something like that, although I’m actually impressed that the ICC have included a reserve day, especially as inclement weather wiped out the whole of yesterday and affected today.

India will definitely be the happier of the 2 sides having been inserted in dank overhead conditions and finishing only 3 down. It certainly wasn’t a pretty performance by their batsmen, but one of grit and skill against the swinging ball. In years past, an Indian team would have fallen in a heap in such conditions, but this Indian team is a completely different proposition.

As for New Zealand, they’ll be disappointed not to have made further inroads into this Indian batting line up. They’ll be especially disappointed how they wasted the new ball in the first hour and despite the fact that they bowled much better for the rest of the day’s play without much luck, that first hour might be crucial to the outcome of the game.

On a final note, it was disappointing to see the umpires set such a low bar for light readings which they’ll need to adhere to for the rest of the game. This is the World Test Championship final after all and we want a result. Sure it was gloomy, but far from dangerous.

We wont be covering the game in much depth as we’re all busy at the moment, but please do share your thoughts on the game below.


67 thoughts on “WTC Final, New Zealand vs. India, Open Thread

  1. John Harris Jun 20, 2021 / 6:31 am

    The game and the concept of a world test championship is not appealing to many cricket supporters

    An ICC idea that has few followers – irrelevant even


    • Marek Jun 20, 2021 / 11:07 am

      Do you have any evidence for that?–especially from the countries whose teams are playing.

      I agree that it’s a flawed concept–particularly over one game–and I’m not at all convinced that it’s the answer to the problem it’s said by the ICC to be combatting.

      But I’m interested in this game, and I wonder if you’re universalising your own opinion a bit.


      • dlpthomas Jun 20, 2021 / 11:21 am

        I’m certainly interested in this game but I do wonder how many cricket fans outside of India and New Zealand are following the game. Its footy season in Australia so I don’t think many people here care much.


      • Sean Jun 20, 2021 / 8:35 pm

        I’m genuinely interested in the game, but we’re a bit otherwise preoccupied at the moment.
        Agree that I don’t think the format necessarily works, but I do think it’s important to put some sort of context to Test series..

        Liked by 1 person

    • Marek Jun 22, 2021 / 10:49 am

      The weather gods seem to be expressing an opinion on that subject too!

      Now all they’ll need to do, having produced sunshine right through April for the Championship, is make it rain right through the Hundred…


  2. dArthez Jun 20, 2021 / 7:21 pm

    The game between New Zealand and India seems to be developing nicely. Slight advantage to New Zealand now, but as India demonstrated, if the stars align, a collapse can be quickly induced. They need to inflict one on New Zealand tomorrow, or else thinks are starting to look really bad for them.

    Meanwhile South Africa are so good that they might reach 60 with only 6 wickets down on Day 3 (second dig) against the West Indies. Will be a miracle if they even get to three digits. Pathetic would be a compliment.


    • Sean Jun 20, 2021 / 7:36 pm

      I’m currently watching the Wi v Sa game. The standard of batting has not been good…


    • Marek Jun 20, 2021 / 10:08 pm

      …whereas yesterday it was wonderful!!

      55 minutes to go, one SA wicket left/ What do we reckon, WI 25-4 if they get all the overs in…?!


      • Sean Jun 20, 2021 / 10:15 pm

        Yep, could get very ugly if the Windies have 30 mins of Rabada and Nortje steaming in..


    • dArthez Jun 21, 2021 / 4:30 pm

      I am sure South Africa will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


  3. dArthez Jun 21, 2021 / 5:03 pm

    30 minutes later, West Indies are in complete disarray, and Maharaj has taken a hattrick. Only second South African to do so.


    • Marek Jun 21, 2021 / 9:42 pm

      Some sobering statistics. Two-match series, seven complted innings. Only two players in total scored 90 runs in the series or averaged more than 32. No West Indian batsman managed to average 25.


    • dArthez Jun 22, 2021 / 2:49 am

      Yeah, extremely poor standard. Obviously this is not normal cricket season in the West Indies (and that in turn may affect quality of the pitches), but still. It is just that the bowling averages (in these and other series) are obscuring the massive drop in quality both the sides have suffered in recent years / decades.

      Also: How did England even manage to lose several Tests to the West Indies in recent years?


      • dArthez Jun 22, 2021 / 9:36 am

        Four South African bowlers averaged less than 15 with the ball. The ineffective Nortje (judging solely by averages) still managed to take his 8 wickets at less than 20 a piece.

        Such stats are reminiscent of pre-WW1 bowling averages. Not of anything resembling a hint of quality in the late 20th or early 21st century.


  4. dlpthomas Jun 23, 2021 / 2:49 pm

    Kiwi’s on fire this morning – could be a great finish despite the weather


    • dArthez Jun 23, 2021 / 3:23 pm

      Number of people in decision making positions that will say: “great advert for 6-day Tests”, as they are won’t to do when Tests are over in 3.5 days, with regards to 4-day Tests: 0


      • dlpthomas Jun 23, 2021 / 4:35 pm

        for some reason I’m too nervous to watch


        • dArthez Jun 23, 2021 / 6:07 pm

          I can imagine. One fears that somehow New Zealand stuff up. Funnily enough with the World Cup, I somehow knew that England would win.


          • dlpthomas Jun 23, 2021 / 6:36 pm

            I watched and it was fucking amazing. What a win and great to see Taylor and Williamson there at the end.


          • Miami Dad's Six Jun 24, 2021 / 1:35 pm

            I had it on during “work”.

            NZ did well to bowl India out really, as I didn’t think it was doing loads, and all of the Indian top order got a decent look in. Jamieson really emerged as NZ’s go-to bowler as he racked up 24 overs (Boult and Wagner only got 15, Southee 19) – although all their seamers offer different things and are in their own ways excellent.

            I do wonder if Sharma, Shami and Bumrah, all of whom could be described as number 11s, is too long a tail outside of home conditions – although in theory Pant, Ashwin and Jadeja at 6/7/8 should mitigate that somewhat.

            Well done NZ, well deserved. They panned England, then had enough to beat India.


  5. glenn Jun 23, 2021 / 7:02 pm

    I enjoyed the world test final – I hope it continues.

    England have a particularly hideous new T20 kit!


    • dArthez Jun 24, 2021 / 4:36 am

      That must be a marketing trick. The ECB will probably stoop that low to popularise anything related to the 100.

      Was a great final, and until the last session, not certain who would prevail. Actually, would be good to hold such events in places where both teams are not normally playing (England – Australia in India would be interesting for example).


  6. Miami Dad's Six Jun 24, 2021 / 1:25 pm

    Hidden amongst the excellent sport yesterday was a grotty T20 between England and Sri Lanka.

    I see we won, but I can’t be bothered to even look at the scorecard.

    Free-to-air second match tonight with no football on might get my interest, so long as I can catch the first showing of Neighbours today.


    • Miami Dad's Six Jun 25, 2021 / 9:44 am

      Update: I didn’t bother.


    • Miami Dad's Six Jun 25, 2021 / 10:07 am

      I’ve just looked at the scheduling to see when England’s next match of note is. Christ it really is bonkers this summer – another t20 vs Sri Lanka, followed by 3 ODIs. Then we’ve Pakistan white ball touring for a similar knockabout with 3 ODIs followed by 3 T20s. Then in August we’ve the Tests against India (no white ball stuff), followed by a 2 match tour to Pakistan.

      My main thoughts:

      * I get the T20s in the build up to the World Cup, assuming it happens at some point – but the ODIs? Scrap them outside of WC years.
      * We’ve had 4 “big cricket” countries tour the UK this summer (plus Ireland, and maybe the Netherland/Scotland on the doorstep too) yet have insisted on bilateral series. How tough would it have been to have a 4/5/6 way mini tournament, with a proper final and everything?

      Group A – England, Netherlands, Sri Lanka
      Group B – Pakistan, Ireland, Scotland

      Winner group A plays runner up group B
      Runner up group B plays winner group A
      Wooden spoon game

      Finally, did none of these other countries fancy a Test match or two against the weakest England side since the 1990s?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dArthez Jun 26, 2021 / 6:23 am

        Sri Lanka are probably at their weakest since the 1960s or so. Why would they be desperate to be playing such a strong England side?

        Pakistan, I really don’t know what to make of them at the moment – the long form is still alive in the country (unlike say the West Indies), but hardly playing at home (and then only against the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh), really does not help. At home they’d probably be even better than in the UAE, and not many teams have gone there and beaten Pakistan.

        As for mini-tournaments and all that. There is supposedly a ODI championship going on, with all 12 Full Members + the Netherlands. I am sure Covid will be used as an excuse to reduce the Netherlands to playing just BD, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and Afghanistan.


        • dArthez Jun 26, 2021 / 1:51 pm

          You’re right on Zim not playing Tests in Pakistan since the terrorist attacks – thought they had. They have played the other formats there though. But obviously the real test would be facing tougher sides than Sri Lanka and South Africa at home (any self-respecting Test side should win against those teams comfortably).

          But would be great if they actually stuck to the ODI league (or even expanded it).


      • Marek Jun 26, 2021 / 12:24 pm

        The recent talk at the ICC seems to be about extending the ODI league (or rather, making it the everyone-plays-everyone format it was originally supposed to have before TV rights deals complicated it) rather than shrinking it.

        And tests–not to mention other formats–are coming back to Pakistan.(and actually they haven’t played a home test against Zimbabwe since well before the terrorist attack if my memory serves). They played all three of their home series in the WTC in Pakistan.

        As for the four separate tourists, that’s simply a consequence of the WTC and the ODI league having different schedules–hence it’s sometimes possible to have all-format tours, but not always.

        Re your abolishing T20s point, MD6–I’d actually do the opposite if there’s too much fixture congestion, and abolish bilateral T20s on the basis that there’s a fair bit of reasonable-standard T20 being played outside World Cups but relatively little 50-over. That’s assuming that we keep two white-ball formats in the international game…which I think is quite a big if in anything except the short-term: the cynic in me really wonders if ODIs are being kept artificially alive until the WC has taken place in India.


  7. Northern Light Jun 25, 2021 / 9:15 pm

    I see resting Buttler for all that time has worked out well.


  8. dArthez Jun 26, 2021 / 5:15 pm

    Seriously what is the point of this Sri Lanka series? Even Middlesex would beat this lot.


    • Sean Jun 26, 2021 / 5:16 pm

      Let’s not go crazy now..


    • dArthez Jun 26, 2021 / 5:36 pm

      The two batsmen who had strikerates over 100 lasted a combined 6 balls between them.

      Seriously this is cringeworthy to watch. 64/8, and we still have to suffer another 34 balls. Somehow I doubt that Sri Lanka will get the needed 117 runs, let alone the 26 runs to get half England’s total.

      But yeah, I accept that Middlesex’s second XI might struggle. Might.


    • Marek Jun 27, 2021 / 12:21 pm

      Ah, but would Middx 2s struggle against Middlesex’s first team? Asking for a friend…

      […retreats a safe distance behind a tree…]


  9. Miami Dad's Six Jun 29, 2021 / 10:51 am

    The first of the ODI’s today. 3 of the Lankans decided a trip to Durham was worth risking their tours for and have been sent home. I can’t say I blame them.


  10. Marek Jun 29, 2021 / 10:53 am

    Sri Lanka name a team (not through poor selection even, rather due to the combined ravages of illness, injury and disciplinary stupidity) containing two specialist batsmen, and bat first.

    Are we sure this isn’t another 20-over match?!

    In the context of the disciplinary stupidity, it must be slghtly concerning that Oshada Fernando, who played on Sunday, has woken up with “a fever”…


    • Marek Jun 29, 2021 / 11:02 am

      Actually, not a good day for batters all round: England also seem to be playing their only six available ones…


    • dArthez Jun 29, 2021 / 11:53 am

      Batting Shanaka at 4 is like England picking say Mark Wood to bat at 4. Sheer lunacy. Again what is the point of this series?

      Oh and my commiserations to Marek, for having a friend that supports Middlesex 😉


    • Miami Dad's Six Jun 29, 2021 / 1:53 pm

      8 overs, 5 maidens, 4 wickets, 11 runs.

      I’m glad we rested Woakes for 2 years when we’re facing this batting line up.


  11. dArthez Jul 1, 2021 / 2:49 pm

    Honestly, who does Middlesex not have international status?


  12. dArthez Jul 2, 2021 / 2:27 am

    I asked it before, and I’ll ask again. What is the point of Bavuma? If he is really the best South Africa can pick, CSA should apply for Associate status.


    • Prime.Evil Jul 2, 2021 / 10:52 am

      You are flogging a dead horse. I do not think there are many people on this earth who cannot tell you why Bavuma is in the team.

      The point of Bavuma is to balance the books.

      Winning means fuck all now. That went out the window long ago. Whether CSA applies for Associate status or not, is irrelevant.

      Transformation is concerned with the top only – the top teams are on TV and in the papers. The ANC will go to the cricket board, rugby board, snakes and ladders board, whatever and demand “x” number of black players in the top team. The board does its best to comply; they know if they keep the ANC happy, they will go away and leave them alone to carry on with the important things in life – looting, stealing, self-enrichment and so on. Of course the ANC is very happy when the boards comply because then they can also get on with the important things in life – looting, stealing, self-enrichment and so forth.

      This situation is not sustainable and will eventually collapse – pretty much like most things in SA are collapsing. And when the gold and other minerals run out, SA will collapse. The only thing that prevents SA from being just another African country is its mining. When that goes, it’s the end of the line.


    • dArthez Jul 13, 2021 / 7:52 pm

      Comfortably losing to Ireland. What is next? Begging for mercy from the cricket team of the Vatican?


      • dArthez Jul 14, 2021 / 1:21 am

        Rain will win South Africa another draw. That is what they’re reduced to: begging for rain.


      • Marek Jul 16, 2021 / 6:38 pm

        There you are–a win even! Series comfortably drawn.

        (They did manage to concede the first ever ODI century by a no. 8, mind you….)


        • dArthez Jul 17, 2021 / 9:21 am

          The negative (the ton for #8, well deserved of course), would not have happened, if South Africa was actually remotely competent. Next time, ton for #9 in the batting order in an ODI, provided that there are actually enough runs on the board so that it is (remotely) achievable.


    • Marek Jul 13, 2021 / 10:41 pm

      Come now–you can still draw the series!


  13. Marek Jul 4, 2021 / 11:46 am

    Desperately disppointing, conservative bit of selection by England.

    I can understand the return of Woakes–he needs more cricket at the moment, not less–but are they really going to learn any more about Root, Rashid and Bairstow against the tenth-rated team in the world who are missing at least two of their first-choice players and have chosen to leave at home three more from the last couple of years? Whereas they could have learned more about Livingstone, Banton and Dawson.

    I wonder about the selection of Tom Curran too. It’s pretty clear to me that he’s not international class, so it only really makes sense as a last-chance-before-we-drop-you-for-good selection…but they’re very dangerous against weak opposition. I’d have preferred to see Garton given a go.


    • Marek Jul 4, 2021 / 12:11 pm

      …a penny for the thoughts of Dimuth Karunaratne, Chandimal or Mathews….


      • dArthez Jul 4, 2021 / 4:25 pm

        That penny is probably the complete pay package for the Lankans.


  14. dArthez Jul 4, 2021 / 5:22 pm

    As an aside, how can Robinson be fined by the ECB for a) tweets that he made nearly a decade ago (and unless he threatened to murder the Queen, probably already way past statute of limitations), when he (possibly) was not even under contract with that bunch of clowns b) the idiot whose job it was to deal with such issues still retain his job, despite clearly not being up for it?

    Oh, and will the mandatory training by provided by Overton?


    • dannycricket Jul 5, 2021 / 6:17 am

      My suspicion would be that, had Robinson appealed the decision, it wouldn’t have been upheld. That is the genius of the ‘time served’ suspension. Robinson won’t miss any more games, and the fine is very low, so he has no reason to appeal it. Had they banned him for eight Tests, he’d basically have nothing to lose by taking them to court, and he’d win, and the ECB would look like total idiots.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marek Jul 5, 2021 / 10:55 am

      I wonder about that, Danny: surely the argument is that he’s brought the game into disrepute and that the disrepute is happening now, regardless of when the actions took place.

      That said, both the fine and the ban are considerably larger than for Clarke and Kohler-Cadmore, which is probably the closest precedent in terms of the offending behaviour.

      And it certainly raises as many questions as it answers, not least how a ban can be served by including games from which you’ve voluntarily withdrawn for your own welfare and which was explicitly stated by your club not to be a punishment.

      The main other one is that there are at least two other current England cricketers who (unless something’s being photoshopped) also put out tweets using language that was just as offesnive in 2013 (It wasn’t a good period for future England players on social media, was it?!) and whose actions have been quietly swept under the carpet. It rather smacks of convenient scapegoating.

      Which, of course, brings us to the yeti of cricketing enquiries, Yorkshire’s Rafiq enquiry. Should we expect it this decade or next, do you think…?


      • dannycricket Jul 6, 2021 / 6:41 am

        He was, at the time, an academy/second XI bowler, not even in his county’s first team. No one in that position would ever be referred to the ECB’s disciplinary system for off-field behaviour. His club would handle it on their own. It seems wrong (and unlikely to be upheld) to be treated differently for whatever reason.

        Which brings us to consistency. As you say, it is a much longer ban than many others. Craig Overton, who was heard racially abusing an opponent during a county championship game received three disciplinary points, for example.

        The other aspect of consistency would be regarding other players’ tweets. Immediately after Robinson’s tweets were shared, similarly questionable social media posts from others were highlighted. Why, Robinson could ask, was he the only person vilified by the ECB chief executive? The only one suspended? The only one punished?

        The simple truth is that, if Robinson or his agent did fight against his punishment, he wouldn’t be picked for England. That is, in itself, probably legally questionable. Selection in team sports are generally opaque and an acceptable reason not to pick a player can usually be found, if the desire is there.

        The ‘time served’ punishment basically removes any desire from the player to appeal the decision. Stokes and Hales were similarly ‘punished’ after Bristol. I believe they missed the series in Australia in part because they couldn’t get visas whilst awaiting their trial. Modern Australia is surprisingly reluctant to welcome potential convicts to their shores. Having missed so many games as a result, they were retrospectively considered a suspension.

        As for Rafiq, my suspicion is that publication is being held back until after Rafiq’s employment tribunal finishes. Basically, it seems likely that it would contain material which would help his case and Yorkshire might therefore not want his legal team to have access to it. Or they think he might reveal some more information which they will want to investigate and add to the report, so it doesn’t look like a whitewash. Either way, I suspect we won’t see the report until the legal process concludes.


        • dArthez Jul 6, 2021 / 10:46 am

          But if they are deliberately sitting on evidence, is that not making a travesty of the employment tribunal? And if they need more evidence, would it not be a start to contact a few dozen people who allegedly have been ignored so far?


        • Marek Jul 6, 2021 / 10:59 am

          And in any xase, they could at least say publicly that that’s what they’re doing (it’s something that can very easily be wrapped up in a bland, lawyerly statement: “…not wishing to prejudice the ongoing legal proceedings…” etc). At the very least, they might have the courtesy to tell Rafiq!


  15. Marek Jul 6, 2021 / 10:54 am

    I see Morgan has finally found a way to test his bench strength, albeit not the bench he was thinking of…:-)


    • dlpthomas Jul 6, 2021 / 2:18 pm

      and still no place for alex hales.

      I suppose it was going to happen to some team in some code at some point in time. At least its not the test team.


  16. Anteater Jul 6, 2021 / 11:42 pm

    Thought this quote from Giles in the BBC article was interesting

    “That’s the knife edge we’re working on all the time. Looking after our people, looking after the revenues, too.”

    I felt it showed just how much the ECB has sold it’s soul to the broadcasters, sponsors, etc. OK we knew that already. Here is a series that feels like an afterthought between SL & India. But we can’t just cancel it because the whole team & staff has to isolate. Hence the interesting team selection. Would outstanding performances in these three matches really help a player or change team selection later? Or is it all just something to fill the space between the adverts?


    • Marek Jul 7, 2021 / 10:21 am

      It’s really “there but for the grace of the PCB” too. If Misbah had had the same reaction that Eoin Morgan had to the same thing happening in SA last winter…

      (Which of course is what it’s really about, because if they show now that they’ve got the jitters, they imperil a five=test income-a-thon against India).

      What Giles didn’t say, of course, is that the broadcast revenues are so vital now because the ECB has frittered away 97% of its cash reserves on the biggest white elephant ever seen in English cricket, which–it can’t be emphasised often enough–is projected to lose £60m over its first five years.

      That’s despite the fact that those cash reserves had been earmarked for just such a catastrophic event for English cricket as…having to cancel big series and thereby incurring huge losses. How some people–notably Tom Harrison–are still in post and that Colin Graves wasn’t run out of English cricket years ago beggars belief.

      English cricket–and the players and county clubs are very much complicit in this one–rather get what they deserve on this front.


      • dArthez Jul 7, 2021 / 1:26 pm

        Oh, when the right to play golf halfway across the country in South Africa was more important to the English players than any decent Covid-protocol adherence? Yes.


  17. Marek Jul 7, 2021 / 7:19 pm

    I trust that England’s red-ball top seven are being sent videos of Hashim Amla’s 37* off 278 balls this afternoon…


  18. dArthez Jul 8, 2021 / 1:36 pm

    Hope it is just a one-off for Pakistan, but the game is basically over in 35 minutes.


    • dArthez Jul 8, 2021 / 3:03 pm

      I suppose Sri Lanka and Pakistan have found one way to kill of ODI cricket. Batting so badly that even lasting 40 overs ought to be considered an achievement.


      • dArthez Jul 10, 2021 / 2:34 pm

        Maybe we can add England to the list as well. 161/7 after 28 overs is not exactly great.


        • dannycricket Jul 10, 2021 / 5:47 pm

          It is the second choice team though. Most of them won’t be in the squad for the T20 World Cup this winter, unlike Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


        • dArthez Jul 10, 2021 / 6:25 pm

          True, and from the looks of things even 160 will be a challenge for Pakistan to score. If this is the cricket one has to get excited about, …

          The series against India better make up for it, otherwise this will be the least compelling international summer England have had for years ..

          Liked by 1 person

  19. Marek Jul 13, 2021 / 10:38 pm

    Today’s “Ben Foakes must be tearing his hair out” award goes to… James Bracey for conceding the second highest number of byes in a f-c innings since 1910 (the only higher instance was two byes higher in a total 340 runs higher).

    Meanwhile the Animal Farm award for some matches being more equal than others goes to the three counties who have cancelled their Three Hundred (sorry, 50-over) matches against the National Counties. Kent, and possibly Leics, I can understand (and unfortunately the number will presumably become four soon because Derbyshire appear not to have a hope in hell of playing any matches in the next couple of weeks unless other counties lend them players)…but Warwickshire, who seem to be playing an almost full-strength team in their current county game? Commiserations to Staffs, Suffolk and Cheshire, and we can only hope that a sense of priorities prevails and the Hundred is called off too….:-)


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