David Lloyd: I think it was a heart breaking pitch and it's going to continue to be so. It is just one of those pitches on which you can't see bowlers making any inroads. You've got to bend your back for little or no reward. England toiled this morning, looking at yesterday's six wickets it may have been a false reflection, because it was so difficult today. In the commentary box we saw it as ordinary conventional attack with no bit of magic - either a wrist spinner or an unorthodox spinner like Harbhajan [Singh] or [Muttiah] Muralitharan. It was just ordinary stuff on a pitch that was unforgiving. England tried, Michael Vaughan tried all sorts of things, he brought Kevin Pieterson on and in fact he got that wicket of Ross Taylor. I can't see this as anything but a draw, unless something absolutely dramatic happens to this pitch.
I just reflect on the one-day pitch, which was excellent - it had pace, it had bounce, and it is right next to this strip. But, he has taken all the grass off the grounds man, and he has ensured that there is absolutely no pace; it's as dead as a doornail.
AM: Nonetheless, you can't take anything away from Ross Taylor effort, it was his maiden Test century and he is a man who has a reputation for being a one-day player - but he really knuckled down and made most of the opportunities today.
DL: Quiet unfair, he is 23 years old and in fact he will turn 24 on Saturday, so he has got an early present. I think he played particularly well, and for a young player like that, let's not forget he was denounced. It is ridiculous to criticise him for having a top score of 17, he is young and he worked it out to how to play here. And, I think that's what you've got to do here, chat it out with Martin Crowe on how do you play out here. He [Crowe] said, you work it out for 45 minutes as to how to play, assess the bounce an the pace, and the lack of the pace and if you get that then they should never ever get you out. So, Ross Taylor did all that assessment and he played very well. As a young kid you get rid of the one-day tag and just become an international player.
AM: At 282 for 6, England were in decent position but then Daniel Vettori is No. 8 New Zealand and he is not a man who gives his wicket away lightly.
DL: I think the stats are his average in the last 32 Tests is 42, and it his highest average for anybody batting at No. 8. He looks a very well organized player and he has worked really hard at his game over the years. I remember Vettori, his first game back in 1997. So he has developed his batting side of his game and his bowling will take care of itself. And coming at eight, coming in behind [Brendon] McCullum, and you look at that card, it is solid 470 with Nos 7 and 8 scoring half centuries. I wonder whether England can match that if they get that far down.
AM: Well, England's No. 8 presumably will be Ryan Sidebottom, he bowled particularly well on this dead pitch, and at last he is getting some luck going his way. He took four wickets today, and he has had loads of dropped catches in the last few Tests but they stuck this time.
DL: I think it is fitting that he finished up with four wickets, he was the best bowler and he put the most effort. I think if you look and analyse England's attack, Sidebottom has been playing one-day cricket, so he has got some rhythm, he has got some stamina and he has got some confidence by being at the crease in one-day cricket. The other two, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard have to really pull their socks up. England selectors, they have got a new set of selectors, they will be looking very very carefully at Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard - they have been way below power, way below pace and they looked unbelievably stiff first things this morning. That is just telling you, Sidebottom is the one who is in cricket and these two have been out of cricket, and this is a Test match.
AM: Harmison, we have spoken about him to death, but Hoggard is a different kettle of fish entirely. He has had a tough year, he has been injured a great deal, but presumably he has got quite a lot of credit in the bank from the England selectors after his performance over the previous years.
DL: Well, listening to Martin Crowe, who is very bullish and I think they say it how it is here in New Zealand. He would leave them both out immediately, and get some new lads in, get some younger players in. I am absolutely certain that England will stick with the pair of them and in particular Mathew Hoggard, as you say he has got a lot there in the bank - 248 Test match wickets and he is closing in on Brian Statham's 252 wickets. But they looked stiff and that would be infuriating to me. This is a Test match and they are clearly not ready to play a Test match. Maybe, modern day and they would say 'Test match two and three and just watch us go'. Well, I will be interested to see if they do go - 31 years of age Mathew Hoggard and 29 years of age Steve Harmison, they should be absolutely in their prime.
AM: It was an interesting comparison when Chris Martin came into bowl, he was clocking at about 86 miles per hour, which was about six miles quicker than Harmison. Does that put in perspective for England?
DL: Yes, that does exactly that. But also the two different styles of attack. The thought from England to see the pitch is slow and open the bowling with swing, potential swing, to pitch it up and let's see if it swings. New Zealand looked at it totally differently, Kyle Mills and Chris Martin are very tall and they tried to hit the pitch hard and they bent their back. Okay, this is a slow pitch but let's see what we can get out of it with the new ball and in effect they couldn't get anything out of it, absolutely nothing. England openers had no real alarms, a couple of appeals, but nothing really going for New Zealand except for the effort that they were putting in.
The pair of them, [Alastair] Cook and [Michael] Vaughan got over that 45 minutes, got over the new ball, got used to the pace and bounce and it is going to be a long haul for New Zealand bowlers as it was for the England bowlers.
AM: Well, Cook and Vaughan have been given the chance to build on the partnership that they started in Sri Lanka, and it is looking promising so far.
DL: Yes it is. Andrew Strauss has come back into the team, Strauss is an opener and he will freely tell anybody that he is a stranger at No. 3. But, he has got to comeback into the team somewhere, so he comes in at three and he should give it a go. The opening pair looked fine, the experience of Vaughan, who has looked a class player again and I am sure he is looking for a big innings, certainly in this Test match. Young Cook continues to learn, he learnt today against Chris Martin, who sets off round the wicket at him and they have seen something that they think can get him out. Something like Chaminda Vaas, left-arm over, and they have gone round the wicket with a right armer. But he [Cook] has come through all that.
Again, I think, after fielding for about 139 overs for the pair of them to come and strap the pads on to bat, I think they have done pretty well. But turgid sort of day, I would think, for the spectators because this pitch is going to beat everybody.
AM: So there you have it, a draw is on the cards but there are still three days to go. You've been listening to David Lloyd on Cricinfo Talk
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