Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Ben on...the slightly better team won

That was an entertaining, absorbing and mystifying series. Really, Southee's outrageous hit-out to close the series seems to sum up so much – great stuff, but the wrong person at the wrong time.

So a fine series, and probably a result close to what many were predicting (but god-damn why did it have to be a come from behind 1-2?). England were certainly deserving winners. I personally had written off the series before it had begun. I didn't predict a score line, but if you had told me back then that we'd win a test I don't think I would have been disappointed. Given the gulf between the teams before the start of the series, you'd have to say that England played below their ability, whereas overall New Zealand probably exceeded expectations, narrowing the gap.

Andrew Miller at Cricinfo has done some analysis that seems to show this. He has rated the English and the Black Caps out of 10. What I've done below is arrange things to match up the players from each team that fill the same role (very approximately of course) and indicated for each role which team "won" by colour (purple for a tie).

New Zealand England
How 6 Cook 5
Bell 3 Vaughan 5
Fleming 6 Strauss 6
Sinclair 2 Pietersen 7
Taylor 8 Bell 6
McCullum 6 Ambrose 8
Oram 7 Collingwood 6
Vettori 7 Panesar 6
Martin 6 Harmison 2
Mills 7 Hoggard 4
Southee 9 Sidebottom 9
Gillespie 5 Anderson 7
Elliot 3 Broad 8
Patel 6

Surprisingly, given the result of the series, England weren't notably better performers. In fact, New Zealand wins out in six positions and England in only five.


Suave said...

I'm assuming we won't be seeing messrs Bell & Sinclair on the return trip?

Ben said...

You'll probably never see Sinclair again. (Incredibly really. When the no. 4 position is finally his for the taking, he throws it away.) I doubt you'll see Bell either. However, now that we seem to be committed to picking only specialists to the opening positions, we find our cupboard so bare that some are suggesting Bell is our only option, incredible as it may sound.

Do you see any changes to the England squad in your crystal ball Suave?

Pete Nordsted said...

Great blog we had a good result on this test match

all the best


Sportsfreak said...

Bell will tour.

The problem with him is that he didn’t get any proper cricket for 2 months leading into the series, and he’s the type of player who needs to bat and bat and bat and bat to get into form.

If it was any other tour he may be dropped but at least you get some lead-in matches in England. And as Ben says, there are no other options.

Suave said...

to be honest, the only positions that may change are Jimmy Anderson. Always has, and always will be too inconsistent.

If Flintoff is fit and firing, then they'll have to get rid of someone.

Probably Anderson, but they could replace one of the top six.
If they do, it's most likely to be Strauss or Bell.

I think they'll wait until the second test before that happens though.

Ben said...

Damn. If Anderson is out, then Bell can't tour.