Sunday, 9 March 2008

Just brilliant

What a result! After only 16 wickets fell on the first three days, who would have believed that the last two days would bring 23 wickets, bugger-all runs and a New Zealand victory?

One fascinating aspect of this game for me was how many of those wickets were the result of brilliance in the field or with the ball. For England, Sidebottom and some stunning fielding saw New Zealand off. While the pace bowling of Martin and Mills was just superb. Hardly a batsman was done through a poor stroke or misbehaviour from the pitch.

There are so many positives to take from this game that it is hard to know where to begin. But for me the most impressive of those positives came from watching Jamie How, Ross Taylor and Kyle Mills. All three showed that they have the skill and determination to succeed at test level. To have one young player make an impression in a match is something to savour; to have three make an impression takes the breath away.

In retrospect England may rue Ryan Sidebottom's bowling yesterday. If New Zealand had not lost all those wickets, would our declaration have been so brave? And would England have treated the pitch so tentatively? That sniff of victory in England's noses meant that they came out unsure whether to attack or defend, and by the time the right option became clear panic had set in.

With no real space between test matches England have some hard thinking to do. Harmison was a bystander in this match, but who can England call on to replace him in Wellington? Anderson didn't impress in the one-dayers and wasn't exactly a star for Auckland (2-95 as his side lost by an innings) and no-one else has had a decent run-out. Meanwhile questions will be asked in England about the performance of their top order in the second innings.

For New Zealand the only question mark is the one hanging over Mathew Sinclair's head. Grant Elliott scored a century in Auckland and might be a chance to make a debut on his home ground.

I am getting ahead of myself though. I shouldn't be thinking about Wellington just yet. Instead I should take a good few days to savour Hamilton.

4 comments:

Ipsit Rath said...

Yeah great win for the Blackcaps. Nice to see the squad of second string players doing well. The progress of Jamie How & Ross Taylor has been quite phenomenal. Hope they keep the form going for the next test.

Golandaaz said...

"In retrospect England may rue Ryan Sidebottom's bowling yesterday. If New Zealand had not lost all those wickets, would our declaration have been so brave? And would England have treated the pitch so tentatively? That sniff of victory in England's noses meant that they came out unsure whether to attack or defend, and by the time the right option became clear panic had set in."

Completely agree. India were faced with a similar proposition at Lords last summer. They had more nerve than England in the end, when they escaped with a draw on Day 5. However I had argued similarly whether it was in India's interest to get England out in their 3rd innings.

Stu said...

A classic Test match! Even though the quicks did all the damage, watching Vetori probing for wickets on day 5, brought back memories of the good old days when we Aussies had a spinner that could do that! Go Dan!

The Atheist said...

Fluke...