They Said We Were An Item, But My Thoughts I Tried To Hide Them – 2nd Test, Day 1

A single day’s play and the mood music sort of changes. After an eventful first test where key moments, and catching/fielding, went the way of the home team, today England did that thing that statisticians and analysts might call “regressing to the mean”. That is they dropped catches, didn’t appear to bowl the right lengths, didn’t hit the stumps on run out attempts, didn’t use reviews wisely, so that at the end of the day New Zealand cashed in and are in a very strong position. This on a pitch that, although good for batting, isn’t without a little bounce which I would imagine Kyle Jamieson in particular is going to really look forward to.

I would be lying to you if I said I watched all of the play. I have a dog to walk and a house to maintain while my wife is away, so that is (a) how I missed all the wickets that fell (two, I confess, while napping on the sofa – if you have read my non-league football stuff you will know that three grounds have tried to charge me OAP rates so I am getting on) and (b) this partial report on today is being written at 11 pm at (tautologous) night. By now you may well have seen the highlights, or read the other reports, so go knock yourself out, they probably watched it all!

There seemed to be a feeling that things were going England’s way when Kane Williamson pulled out with covid. Now no-one seems hugely bothered with this and New Zealand are not packing their bags to leave, the main concern (other than his health) was that this might weaken the visitors and perhaps emblematic of a change in fortune for England. The visitors brought in Henry Nicholls who might have played instead of Mitchell in the 1st test, and made Tom Latham captain. Matt Henry came in for Patel and de Grandhomme was replaced by another Bracewell (Michael – making his debut). England are unchanged from the team that started at Lord’s, with Leach back to fitness. England won the toss and chose to field. New Zealand would have done the same. I’ve never been a fan of that defence of a decision.

New Zealand got off to a solid start, running excepted, and the runs began to flow. After an hour of watching England get some bounce, but not a huge amount of threat against Tom Latham and Will Young, my dog indicated I had better leave right now (an evergreen joke that one), and while I had a strong desire to stay, showing jealousy for those who might be able to still watch, I left, and said to the TV, England, don’t let me down. [enough, enough Will Young].

England got two wickets in two balls just before lunch, but then Conway and Nicholls stopped the bleeding, with Conway in particular cruising along at a fair old clip. Again, one got two in four or so overs, with Stokes and Anderson repeating the wicket takers. By then England had already dropped Nicholls, with Nasser on comms in forgiving mood. At 169 for 4, and a debutant due in next, and a perceived long tail, England appeared slightly in front, but that would be the last success. Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell reprised their Lord’s partnership and finished the day unbeaten on 81 and 67 respectively, and an unbroken partnership of 149.

Chris said to me, when I commented that the piece didn’t exactly write itself today, that it was a normal day’s test cricket, and we’ve been used to 200 plays 170 and such like. There is a point to that, and a lot of my thoughts, as they are, go to similar days, and it has a first day of 2004 at Trent Bridge feel when after the end of Day 1, New Zealand were well on top. They had made 295 for 4, but England struck back and won the game (a 4th innings century of great class by Graham Thorpe – and we all wish him well). Games can turn around, and series can turn around. Lord’s Day 3 was a great example of that too. But there needs to be early wickets with the new ball, and some consideration of what it takes to get those dismissals, because the bowling and plans seemed pretty confused in the absence of much swing. Potts finding out how tough test cricket can be, Leach expected to perform miracles on a Day 1 pitch, Broad going at a fair old rate.

Finally, and I need to get off to bed, test cricket is a huge leveller. The only thing England didn’t catch at Lord’s was covid, today they really missed chances, most notably Joe Root spilling a simple chance to dismiss Mitchell when he had only 3. I can’t comment on a wobble or not, because, frankly, I didn’t notice it, but it is really, really interesting how the commentators started to make excuses for a dolly drop. I am not asking them to berate Root. I was a crap crap slip fielder, it is hard. One wonders if this were Pope, Foakes or Crawley missing an easy chance whether the world would be so forgiving. Root knows, he doesn’t need molly-coddling, but it’s just symptomatic sometimes of how the game works. I shouldn’t let it bother me, but I wouldn’t write a blog if I could just turn the other cheek. Other chances went down, a bit harder, but England will live to rue them should they end up on the wrong end of this.

That’s the fear. England are going to face, in all likelihood, a minimum 400. This will mean someone, or more than someONE, hanging about and batting England into the game. That’s not been their strong point. Day 2 is going to be very interesting.

Post Script – Mark Taylor, who I absolutely loved in the comms box last time, was clearly a special appointment and was today subbed in by Darren Gough. I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest, as he came across as a thinking observer with several really good points throughout the day. There was a bit more “bantz” than at Lord’s between the others, maybe because the day wasn’t quite as gripping, but I think there has been a decided change in tone in the Sky team, and I may be in a minority, but I like it. They need to keep that up, in my view. There was one funny part where Gough thought a pint of beer at the test was around £5, and the Sky producer put the prices up and showed they were £6.80. Gough then said he wouldn’t know, as he doesn’t remember the last time he had to buy one in the ground. A serious point to note is, of course, most of the pundit and former player class have absolutely no clue what punters have to pay for stuff. Gough isn’t alone in this, and I’m not having a go. Someone on twitter thought I was being anti-northerner and anti-working class pointing this out, which just shows, now 8 years since this blog went fairly mad, that there is still capability for a Twitter person to shock and sadden me with stupidity. Me? Anti-working class. He’s never met me, obvs.

Comments on anything you want, and I have no idea who is doing Day 2, below.

71 thoughts on “They Said We Were An Item, But My Thoughts I Tried To Hide Them – 2nd Test, Day 1

  1. man in a barrel Jun 10, 2022 / 11:47 pm

    Game nicely poised but the home team need to do some work. Nice summary

    Like

  2. dlpthomas Jun 11, 2022 / 2:03 am

    I think it was 4 missed chances – 2 that should have been taken, 1 very hard and 1 that bisected 2 fileders in the slips and no one went for it. England often come out and bowl well after a day like this so, as always, the morning session will be important.

    Like

  3. Metatone Jun 11, 2022 / 9:34 am

    A normal scoring Test looks like a big test for the new regime.
    This is what we’re not good at, while the Lord’s test was exactly what we have been good at.
    (low scoring game, swinging conditions)

    Thought Andy Bull’s piece was interesting – obviously conditions and our stupid schedule without summer cricket are a problem but could regulating pitches more closely help?

    Like

    • Mark Jun 11, 2022 / 10:11 am

      New Test match, same old question? Can England’s top order batsman other than Joe Root make any runs worth a decent total. It’s the recurring question that comes up every time.

      If New Zealand are still batting this afternoon England’s top order will have to make a lot of runs. They already may need to now, if Root fails. Where do England score 250-300 if no decent contribution from Root?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marek Jun 11, 2022 / 1:09 pm

      You mean you don’t have faith in Zak Crawley scoring more than a stylish 36-ball 29 before being caught at third slip driving at one two feet outside his off stump? Ye of little faith!

      Fun statistic of the day: Mitchell and Blundell (and yes, they’ve had an innings more) have now batted for almost 200 balls more than the entire England team. Unsung Daryl Mitchell will now quietly be averaging 50 in tests even if he’s out to his next ball, and unsung, not-as-good-as-Watling Blundell averages 38 (including, for those people complaining about Pope batting out of position, a match-saving hundred away to Australia as a makeshift opener).

      Like

  4. Marek Jun 11, 2022 / 1:34 pm

    Metatone–re the Bull article, I know it seems to be heresy to say so these days but to me the scheduling argument is a huge red herring. Even last year, the pitches were fine for batting on in April and May (and quite a lot of spin was bowled), and this year the main people they disadvantage seem to be exactly the kind of player that the ECB should be disadvantaging from the point of view of the test team: 73 mph seamers.

    I agree that pitches are a much more pressing concern–but even then I think a much bigger issue than either of these is the softness of attitude and the excuse making among among county players and in English cricket generally. Sure, some county pitches were very difficult to bat on–so you need application. That’s actually exactly like test cricket: you dig in and find a way through, not take a wild hack at your third ball because “you’ll get an unplayable ball soon enough anyway”. Sabina Park in 1998 was unplayable; current county pitches are not!

    And that’s why England, with their f-c programme that is the most extensive in the world outside India and their fabulous resources (even after Tom Harrison has negligently frittered away 90% of them!), lag behind some other countries. The point about Mitchell and Blundell, say, is that they’re unremarkable players in many ways: in domestic cricket they average 37 and 35 respectively–or around the same as Lees or Lawrence, less than Vince or Roy, a fair bit less than Bairstow and barely half of Pope. But they sure as hell don’t give away the game easily.

    That’s the biggest thing England need from McCullum and Stokes–toughness. And REAL toughness, not this running-down-the-pitch-to-every-ball and risking-putting-yourself-out-of-the-next-test-by-sliding-into-the=boundary-boards machismo, which might work for the white-ball team but I think is fairly unlikely to work for the test team. You look at McCullum’s team when he was captain: six of the nine specialist batters he used had a strike rate of between 37 and 52. Of the other three, one was himself and a second was Taylor who I suspect scored fast, like Root, mainly by dint simply of being very good. And the five most regular ones all averaged 38 or more. THAT’S what England should be aiming at, not obsessing over letting Crawley “express himself”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jun 11, 2022 / 2:17 pm

      I agree with this Marek.

      England can’t complain about lack of preparation. England players have had some County cricket in the early part of the season. The weather has been dry if not warm. Most matches have not been rained out. The pitches have been perfectly playable. It’s about a lack of mental toughness. In recent years. It hasn’t mattered if England played on good quality Test pitches or difficult ones…. they usually struggle to make first innings runs. 300+

      It’s why I’m cautious about spending big money on a so called Svengali Test coach name because it is not clear to me that the England players have the desire to do the hard yards. In fact they don’t seem to like being criticised at all. McCullum at least comes from the school of maximising the talent you have through a work ethic.

      Is there another major Test playing nation (and England are rapidly heading for non major status) that is so reliant on one batsman?

      Would Crawley have been a better player if he had he been brought up in NZ? I doubt he would have earned the same amount of money. One of the things that worries me about Rob Keyes is when he was doing his Sky podcasts during the Ashes he kept saying players needed to be more positive, and stop worrying about nicking off to slip. He claimed players were told what they were doing wrong, rather than what they could do well. But his emphasis was always on looking to score, and be positive in defence. Hmm?

      Sure you have to look to put the bad ball away and push the singles, but not give your wicket away. Make the opposition get you out, rather than get out. Surely the role of the top three England batsman is to regularly see off the new ball and get some kind of foundation set for Root, Stokes, and Bairstow?

      Like

  5. dlpthomas Jun 11, 2022 / 2:28 pm

    England looking toothless this morning. Asking New Zealand to bat could be seen as aggressive cricket but at the moment its not looking very clever.

    Like

    • Mark Jun 11, 2022 / 2:36 pm

      Yup, NZ are rapidly heading towards 500 plus. Oh well, England will have three days to bat!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Jun 11, 2022 / 5:09 pm

        553. It will be interesting to see how the Kiwi’s bowl on this surface. I don’t fancy our chances of saving the game.

        Like

  6. man in a barrel Jun 11, 2022 / 7:00 pm

    England cruising and enjoying some good fortune… Take it when it comes

    Like

    • dlpthomas Jun 12, 2022 / 5:38 am

      Pope has been dropped twice and he also top edged 2 that each went for 6. Hopefully he can make the most of his good fortune and kcik on from here. The games changed a bit overt he years but the one thing that hasn’t changed is “catches win matches.”

      Like

      • Mark Jun 12, 2022 / 9:50 am

        I always think batting and bowling shows you how technically good a side is, but catching shows you how ruthless a side is.

        When you have been in the field for the best part of two days and then you go out to bat chasing 500 it’s very dispiriting when a few mistakes by the batsman are punished by the fielding side….snapping up every catch. Suddenly you are 30/2 or 45/3. The side that does that regularly create an aura about them.

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  7. dlpthomas Jun 12, 2022 / 11:54 am

    Nice to see Lees get 50. He’s looked better this series than he did in the West Indies.

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  8. Mark Jun 12, 2022 / 3:38 pm

    Well the top order have certainly made some runs this innings. Although currently at 4 runs per over I’m not sure how typically this pitch is to normal Test match batting conditions? It sounds more like 20/20 test cricket. This seems to be the way Rob Key wants us to play now. See ball…. hit it. Entertaining while it lasts.

    Like

    • dannycricket Jun 12, 2022 / 4:55 pm

      A quick, hard, true pitch might be good preparation for many pitches around the world, not least those in Australia or South Africa. Ultimately, England have previously been capable of collapsing on the most batting-friendly pitches, and so we should be grateful for what we can get.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jun 12, 2022 / 5:36 pm

        I’m certainly not opposed to quick, hard, true pitches Danny. I used to enjoy watching Test cricket at the Oval on those types of surfaces. I felt it was the best balance between bat and ball. I guess I’m more intrigued as to how the modern player plays on these type of surfaces.

        Also interesting to see how bowlers cope with these conditions. NZ have some good bowlers and they have found it difficult to stop the scoring. England seemed to ball a lot of short stuff. Are there any bowlers of genuine pace on show? 90+ mph?

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    • dlpthomas Jun 12, 2022 / 5:13 pm

      Speaking of 20/20 test cricket, Stokes slogs 46 of 33 balls and then holes out. I’m not sure what he was trying to achieve – we’re 148 behind and down to the very long tail.

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    • Marek Jun 13, 2022 / 10:53 am

      I suspect that he’s trying to be a living embodiment of the new management’s “no fear” attitude, a bit like Morgan did with the white-ball team in 2015 or so. Which means that how many he scores in a particular innings is less improtant than the attitude it engenders.

      The big question is how this will help on a dustbowl in Ahmedabad, on a very fast pitch in Perth or somewhere where it’s swinging round corners. Or for that matter, in a situation where the pressure is higher–one of the things about the white-ball team has been that more often than not they’ve faltered in the most important situations, however dominant they are in bilateral series.

      Like

  9. dlpthomas Jun 12, 2022 / 3:42 pm

    This is really good stuff from Pope and Root.

    Like

  10. man in a barrel Jun 12, 2022 / 4:14 pm

    Does anyone have the stats for how many times Pope hooks and middles the ball? He top-edged at least 3 in this innings

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    • Rob Jun 12, 2022 / 10:35 pm

      Does not matter anymore with the modern bats. And if it goes for six as Pope manages – all the better – who wants to see a Cook lite hit one up in the air or the Australians at Lords in 2009?

      Previously it was only someone with the strength of a Robin Smith who could top edge a six – or off someone with Jeff Thomson like pace.

      You would have to be pretty old to remember McCabe having to absolutely cane it down to get a boundary – if not wonder at Rowe hooking Willis at Sabina Park and the ball still rising as it crossed the boundary.

      Like

  11. Marek Jun 13, 2022 / 11:03 am

    Re the McCullum and Stokes approach–everyone’s been focusing on the effect it will have on players who are already naturally aggressive, but actually I think the biggest effect will be on players who are a little more reticent or defensive. The ones they have the biggest potential benefit for are Lees, Leach and Foakes, I would say (and actually for Broad and Anderson too if it gets them bowling a more aggressive lengths).

    Whereas for Pope, Bairstow and (especially) Crawley it could be rather a trap.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Jun 13, 2022 / 12:00 pm

      Is my memory playing tricks on me or was Bayliss criticized for trying to get England to bat with more aggression? Hopefully the “McCallum-Stokes Approach” will not be all out aggression everytime but rather not being afraid to play aggressively when the situation requires it

      Like

      • Mark Jun 13, 2022 / 12:33 pm

        This is very much the Rob Keyes approach too. He was very vocal during the Ashes that England batsman were afraid to be positive. And needed to be more positive in defence.

        As others have said this also depends on pitch conditions, and how the opposition is bowling.

        If NZ can score some decent runs today and build a good lead it remains to be seen how this positive approach may work with England on the final day? It could certainly be very entertaining.

        Like

        • dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 2:47 am

          Just to be “Mr Negativity” for a little bit longer, I also wonder how successful the “McCallum-Stokes Approach” (trade mark pending) will be when Root is no longer in the form of his life. Finally, this has been an amazing test match,largely because both sides are still trying to win.

          Like

  12. dlpthomas Jun 13, 2022 / 11:46 am

    Foakes has done well this series with both bat and gloves. Hopefully this gets him an extended run in the side.

    Like

  13. dlpthomas Jun 13, 2022 / 6:23 pm

    This continues to be a great game with both sides having a chance of winning it tomorrow.

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    • Grenville Jun 14, 2022 / 10:07 am

      I agree. England will have to refine their full throttle approach in the future, but it is making for great cricket.

      Ian Chappell always advocates trying to win through trying to win, as opposed to trying not to lose. You defend only when you can’t score/take a wicket. It is the ethical approach to sport. I want it to be the superior strategy too. I think that it is. Trying to win lifts the contest and the players to another plain. Still, I am a hopeless romantic.

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      • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 11:39 am

        Thing is NZ are one down in the series, so need to win. England can settle for the draw if they lose a few too many wickets late in the day. NZ will only get one new ball. England were batting at 4 an over the other day so 280 off about 70 overs is still possible in the modern era. Depends how true the pitch is on the last day.

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        • dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 12:09 pm

          Mark Butcher seems very confident that England are going to win but I’m not so sure. If Jamieson was fit to bowl, I’d really fancy NZ’s chances of winning. Being one bowler down and with Southee looking a bit knackered in the first innings makes things tough for them. On the other hand, this England side may have their tails up but the batting is still fragile and over-reliant on Root. So basically I have no idea what is going to happen and that’s awesome.

          Like

          • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 2:39 pm

            70/3 with Root out. Need another 229 in about 50 odd overs. I would say it’s looking less likely with the remaining batting.

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  14. dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 4:16 pm

    Explosive start by England after tea – 42 runs off 16 deliveries. I just hope Johnny doesn’t get over-excited and throw it away.

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    • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 4:36 pm

      They have scored 70 odd runs in half an hour. Only 90 needed off about 30 overs. If they don’t lose wickets it is almost all over. Amazing!

      Like

      • dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 4:46 pm

        I can see Test Cricket catching on. 102 of 9 overs since tea – incredible.

        Like

  15. dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 4:35 pm

    83 needed of 32 overs, They can bat “normally” from here. The bad news is Stokes has hurt his leg adn looks like he’s in quite a bit of pain.

    Like

  16. dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 4:56 pm

    What the fuck am I watching? This is incredible.

    Like

    • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 5:23 pm

      J Bairstow…14 fours and 7 sixes. Strike rate 147.

      Extraordinary, I don’t know what to make of it.

      Only 15 needed to win with lots of overs to spare.

      Like

      • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 5:25 pm

        All over with 22 overs to spare. Run rate of six an over. 20/20 test cricket. Who needs the hundred?

        Like

      • dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 5:27 pm

        “I don’t know what to make of it” sums it up perfectly. It was amazing.

        Like

  17. Metatone Jun 14, 2022 / 5:27 pm

    Excellent stuff by England.
    NZ will look back and think they made some mistakes. I wonder if it will scar them a bit.

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    • Metatone Jun 14, 2022 / 5:28 pm

      (cough cough Adel…)

      Like

  18. dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 5:28 pm

    Some days I pull my hair out because Bairstow is so frustrating. Other days I pull my hair out because Bairstow is so brilliant. What I am saying is I am bad and it is all Bairstows fault.

    Like

  19. dlpthomas Jun 14, 2022 / 5:46 pm

    Interesting to hear Atherton say that the results this summer suggest that the problems with the “structure” of English cricket may not be as bad people have been saying and what “many of the problems” needed was a “change in leadership” and some “optimism, energy and vibrancy.” I’m not going to disagree with Atherton but lets reassess that at the end of the summer.

    Like

    • Mark Jun 14, 2022 / 6:41 pm

      Yes it’s a bit early for laps of honour. 2 Swallows don’t make a summer. However the leadership was very poor under the old regime, and a more positive attitude can work wonders.

      This is the sort of flat pitch, with fast scoring ground that allows England to play this way. We all know that this is not going to be so easy in Asia. England have decided to play to their strengths. But on a low turning pitch these strengths could be big weaknesses.

      I wonder if the ECB will look to prepare more of these type of pitches for home test matches going forward? Five day test matches with big scores and fast scoring run rates it might just catch on!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Miami Dad's Six Jun 15, 2022 / 9:39 am

    A few thoughts that have accumulated in no particular order:

    – Two genuinely “great” (BEST EVOR) run chases in a row, but they were “on”. Lords always flattens out by day 3, and this Trent Bridge surface was a belting batting strip throughout, especially with NZ minus Jamieson.

    – NZ threw this match away. Dropped catches, two run outs in that second innings – it’s the basics that cost you most. I didn’t think that they were particularly good, with the caveat that it’s unfortunate Jamieson was injured. Why’ve they not unleashed Wagner yet?

    – James Anderson only bowled 8 overs in the second innings, picking up batsman 1 and 11. Does Stokes not rate him unless there’s a new ball available? Was he injured?

    – It’s feast or famine for Bairstow, isn’t it? He’s got 3 tons this year though. I have always kind of thought that there was a Test batsman in there somewhere. I still don’t back him with an inducker not to leave a huge gate, but on a pitch like this the movement was so negligible that he could swing through the line.

    – How long has Crawley got left?

    Like

    • Grenville Jun 16, 2022 / 11:08 am

      My thought:
      We didn’t learn anything. We knew that England can play one day cricket on a true pitch with good carry.

      That’s churlish though. They didn’t have to go for it. I am glad that they did. It was super fun

      Like

    • Marek Jun 16, 2022 / 12:20 pm

      I would say that that’s exactly what we learned: not that England CAN go for, and get, a target like that, but that they WOULD, in a test match where the series was not yet wrapped up. After all, it’s only a year since they were set a virtually identical target by the same team and shut up shop..

      Like

      • Rob Jun 17, 2022 / 12:52 am

        (That side had no Butler – whose IPL form was so much better than YJB – Stokes or Bairstow – so the criticism is a touch harsh)

        One is interested to see if Dmitri’s review uses the title, “I had the blues, so bad that I once had a permanent frown; now I am feeling so much better that I could cakewalk in the town”

        The chase was no cakewalk – unless used in the original sense – but was impressive. Not as shocking as Greenidge and co getting 342 in 72 overs; not as much an insult to anyone’s confidence as Astle at the Jade or the Test in December 2006; but certainly better than Gilchrist and Hayden’s efforts at Hobart. Fredericks at the WACA in 1975 – nearly 200 was scored inside 20 eight ball overs – is the standard exceeded, simply because this was a fourth innings.

        Like

      • Marek Jun 17, 2022 / 10:35 am

        I’m not at all convinced that the difference is the batting line-up–because it’s generally the same top six players England have been using for a while now, with the exception of a county journeyer with a f-c strike rate in the mid-40s. That actually was my whole point–I can’t see the England of Root and Silverwood even having tried to go for this, regardless of who was in the team.

        I could have understood more if England had tried to go for it last year and either failed or given up after they lost a few quick wickets because they thought they might lose, but not trying in the first place is an attitudinal thing I think, which comes from the leadership.

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        • Grenville Jun 19, 2022 / 10:59 am

          Both of you are right. I was being much too churlish.

          Marek is spot on. We learnt that they are going to go for it. That is new.

          Rob is right. It was bloody impressive

          Like

  21. dlpthomas Jun 23, 2022 / 1:03 pm

    No match preview? C’mon guys, lift your game!

    Like

  22. Miami Dad's Six Jun 24, 2022 / 9:50 am

    Morning all,

    So although I followed it through the day, I only saw about 10 balls yesterday in what looks an even-ish day, England were well on top at 80-4, and even with the recovery since then NZ are still having plenty of work to do at 225-5.

    Daryl Mitchell is currently averaging 65 in Test cricket.

    No Stokes at all – flogged himself into the ground after just two Tests, I guess. This England attack really does look powderpuff though, although they were all at least economical after the massacre of Trent Bridge.

    Leach bowled pretty well, and with the amount of dropped chances and guff wicket-keeping he’s endured to date in his career, you can’t begrudge him a spot of luck with that second wicket.

    The NZ tail isn’t as long in this Test, with Bracewell to come and Wagner who can actually hold a bat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marek Jun 24, 2022 / 11:06 am

      Re the NZ tail, it seems a somewhat “courageous” selection to take a team into the last game of a series where they’ve twice failed to stop their opponents chasing 275 with only three specialist bowlers and two batting all-rounders who don’t bowl a whole lot!

      Like

      • Miami Dad's Six Jun 24, 2022 / 2:21 pm

        Whisper it, as I know we’re meant to be enthralled by NZ cricket, but they’ve been pretty ordinary this summer. Run outs, dropped catches, an odd balance to their side, unable to defend 4th innings run chases twice – plus every innings, even the one where they got to 550, it felt like they left runs behind by chucking the final few wickets away. They’ve had a couple of injuries and a more disrupted prep, but I think it goes to show how shallow their depth is. It probably also shows that even at their peak last summer, really they’re an 7/10 or an 8/10 Test team – good, but in the grand scheme of “best team in the world” they were enjoying a low bar.

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      • Marek Jun 25, 2022 / 1:06 pm

        Is it lack of strength in depth generally, like the Sri Lanka team of ten or twenty years ago, or something more ominous which seems to be affecting most countries in red-ball cricket now–a lack of good young players coming through? Only one of NZ’s original test squad was under 29, none of the squad for any of the games has been under 27, and five of their six main bowlers will be 33 or more by the time they next play a test

        Like

  23. dlpthomas Jun 24, 2022 / 12:47 pm

    Another nice knock from Mitchell but England have been a bit sloppy this morning. There’s a bit of turn already so it will be interesting to see how Bracewell bowls.

    Like

  24. dlpthomas Jun 24, 2022 / 1:56 pm

    Great running outfield catch by Bairstow and Leach gets 5 – did not see that coming.

    Like

  25. Miami Dad's Siz Jun 24, 2022 / 2:34 pm

    Boult is bowling great, swinging the ball and hitting a good length. After getting Lees with a jaffer and Pope with a good one, Zak Crawley, no doubt pumped up on McManliness, basically admits defeat and aims a big booming drive at a length ball. Not nicked to slip this time, but bowled through the gate. Bring back…Burns. Or Sibley, or someone.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Jun 24, 2022 / 2:59 pm

      5 for 55 with 10 x4’s and 1 x 6. Baz-ball needs some fine tuning. (Bairstow vrs Wagner might not last long but it could be very entertaining)

      Like

      • dlpthomas Jun 25, 2022 / 3:16 am

        I spoke too soon (thought to be fair I got the “entertaining” bit right)

        Like

  26. Mark Jun 25, 2022 / 9:49 am

    England are continuing their attacking batting style I see despite the situation. NZ took just over four sessions to grind out their score. England have taken two sessions to get close to the NZ total. So there is plenty of time left in this match (weather permitting) Three whole days if needed.

    This has been a frustrating series for NZ. They keep getting the upper hand, but are unable to push home their advantage with either bat or ball. And their catching has been poor.

    There will come a time when Englands approach will back fire spectacularly, and they will be shot out for a very low score. However in the last two years (Root apart) England have failed to make consistent decent scores so they have decided to play to their natural attacking instincts. Time will tell if it provides them with better results.

    Like

  27. dlpthomas Jun 25, 2022 / 11:43 am

    A shame Overton didn’t get a century. Bairstow running the length of the pitch to comfort / congratulate him was pure class.

    Like

  28. Metatone Jun 25, 2022 / 2:52 pm

    Well played Overton, although the curmudgeon in me does wonder if the last thing England needs is another bowler who cements his place via batting.

    Like

  29. dlpthomas Jun 25, 2022 / 3:37 pm

    Root drops Latham of Broad (it seems like it always off Broad). Atherton says that’s the 10th drop in the slips since the first Test. So much for improved fielding. They have to sort this out.

    Like

  30. Marek Jun 26, 2022 / 11:45 am

    Bazball encounters its first moment of self-doubt: Billings drafted in as Foakes’s replacement rather than Jos Buttler…:-)

    Like

    • dlpthomas Jun 26, 2022 / 3:21 pm

      That’s a really good point – if Baz really wanted Buttler in the side, this was the perfect opportunity (assuming Buttler was available)

      Like

  31. dlpthomas Jun 26, 2022 / 3:35 pm

    10 for Leach. Amazing and well deserved. Its early days but Stokes looks like he can get the best out of his players

    Like

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