Sunday, 7 January 2007


What can you say about last night's result? "Comical, embarrassing and alarming" is a good start. Stephen Fleming came up with those adjectives and perhaps it was his frustration with the performance which allowed him to open up a little and reveal a difference of opinion between him and coach John Bracewell. Fleming noted that changing the team around so much made it difficult for the batsmen to "get a feel for Sri Lanka's testy attack". Let's hope this marks the end for the rotation policy.

Paul Lewis in the Herald has pointed out that one man was involved in both of New Zealand's two lowest scores in ODI history. John Bracewell. Lewis also states that:

[L]ast night's batting effort, if it can be so called, was topped by the controversial Craig McMillan (29 not out). In the eyes of many cricket fans, if McMillan is the man guarding the citadel, it's a good reason to sneak out of town under cover of darkness. Or, at the very least, to fetch your car and beat the traffic.

He is a bit harsh here. McMillan at least showed that he deserved his recall. His performance was one of the few highlights for the Black Caps. Mark Gillespie's brilliant return with the ball was another and he is staking a real claim for a permanent spot in the squad. Shane Bond might not have returned the figures, but he did do one thing which pleased me no end - he got his swing back. His first spell last night saw him bowl consistently very fast (every ball hovering around 150kmph) and with a nasty swerve on the ball. Two crushing inswinging yorkers were more deserving of an upheld lbw decision than several of those given against the New Zealanders (Adams and Taylor in particular).

The selectors should also be rapidly coming to the conclusion that Adams lacks penetration and that Mason is a real liability unless there is something in the wicket. The fact that both these players are in the squad to play on the batsman friendly wickets of Australia is a real concern.


David said...

Finally a New Zealand cricket fan who looks for the positives in an otherwise despairing performance! I fully agree, Bond's performance was inspiring, and Gillespie's efforts, particularly at the death as much as his wickets was worth noting as well.

Suhas said...

Hi Mike, I've posted my views on the game as well as an article on the rotation policy on my blog. Feel free to read and comment. I feel I'm doing a Richard Boock, though, with the pessimism over the last game.

Karel said...

A few points to make regarding Saturdays game. Firstly, i think our bowling performance was patchy BUT we showed character to fight back after Jayururiyas onslaught. People seem to forget, Sri Lanka are a class outfit and top international teams are always going to get scores in the mid 200's. 250 odd isnt a huge score on Eden Park (with its small boundries), its merely a good score. And international teams are always going to get good scores, no matter hwo good the bowling is. Teams regularly get scores of that kind against the Aussies with Lee, McGrath etc. So im not worried about that. Thought Gillespie was great (liking him more and more), despite your worries on Adams i thought he showed character to knuckle down after a first over going for 17 and we missed Vettori. If he was there i think we could have restricted tem to round 230 odd.
The batting was woeful though and again, ill reiterate that McCullum should NOT be opening. With him there and Vettori at 5, its almost as though we've done that old school yard trick and reversed the order! Fleming was underdone (thanks Bracewell), Taylor still looks raw (why didnt we blood him in during the champions trophy!) and the Marshall twins are, quite frankly, not yet good enough. Lets get some specialist bats in there for gods sake! We miss Mills, Oram and (dare i say it) Styris.
Boocks article is pretty bad but again, i think its just frustration over Bracewell. This guys gotta go. Its getting more and more apprent he hasnt a clue. And hes too pig headed to realise.
My Batting Order for the Tri Series:


I have a feeling about McCmillan and think the tri series should be his make or break.
Going from past victories, we always seem to do best in Aussie when we play a lot of all rounders, and bowl a lot of dibbly dobblies that frustrate them.

Karl said...

I think the positives from the game were McMillan, Gillespie and Bond. McMillan played the innings he needed to - he knuckled down and wanted to stay in. I'd put a big tick next to his name - in the past he would have gone into that sort of situation and tried to reverse sweep someone.

Vaas is one of the best bowlers around and he showed why on Saturday. He was superb.

The big lowlight was New Zealand umpire Gary Baxter. Woefully inconsistent, not giving decisions to Mason and Bond that were close but giving them to Vaas when they weren't close.

The other lowlight was Fleming's form. He was struggling for form prior to his break. He didn't need a break - bowlers need rest to let their bodies recover, batsmen need time in the middle to get used to seeing the ball and get their timing back. New Zealanders play almost no cricket as it is, so why take your best batsman out for longer?

And to Karel - James Marshall scored a superb 150 against Canterbury on Saturday - the perfect response to being dropped!

Karel said...

Fair call. But i say this - scoring 150 against a domestic attack is a whole different kettle of fish to international level.
James Marshall's played 5 tests at an average of 23 and 8 ODI's at an average of just over 10. Ive seen every single innings and not once has he looked even remotely comfortable.
Just how many chances do you get?!