Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Where The Lords Test Was Lost

I have been working the last two nights so listened to Mondays second innings debacle on Radio Sport and I have not seen any of the dismissals on TV. Listening to Talk Back hosts and callers on Radio Sport last night not one of them hit on where the test was actually lost. You have to go back to the start of day three for that. NZ were 303 (or thereabouts) for 2 with Williamson and Taylor well established at the crease - an opportunity to bat us into an invincible position. I was expecting the test match doctrine of bat once and bat them out of the game to apply - especially in view of the 270 overs still to go in the match. A score of 600 should have been a minimum and ideally 650 plus which would have seen a lead about 260 - even if we had to bat until lunch on the fourth day. Instead we had two strangles down the legside - Taylor and Anderson - and two dumb shots - McCullum and Southee - especially given the state of the game. These soft dismissals were compounded by Williamson getting bogged down once he got to 100 and only Watling came out of the days play with any credit. While 523 is a good score in the context of this game a lead of only 130 odd was a poor outcome and we finished day three pretty much on level terms which was an unsatisfactory position. In the England second innings Cook showed how winning test cricket should be played and why at his best he is along with Amla and Williamson one of the best test batsmen around. Stokes took advantage of some uncharacteristically loose bowling, especially from Southee who it appears may have lost the plot. In fact of the bowlers only Boult came out of the fourth days play with any credit at all after the first hour. Once the game turned and England were given a sniff of a chance any long term follower of New Zealand cricket would have been sensing the sort of outcome that we ended up with. The most disappointing aspect being the inability of the team to put their heads down and bat time - only Watling did this. I will be looking for a big improvement in this area during the second test as well as a better test bowling effort especially from Southee and Craig who both must be prepared to bowl longer spells including containment when necessary.

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