NZ XI v Eng XI, Tour match, Queenstown March 2, 2013

Watling chases down uncertain England


New Zealand XI 349 (Rutherford 90, Anderson 67, Swann 2-53) and 334 for 7 (Watling 89*, Root 2-42) beat England XI 426 (Bell 158, Cook 60, Neesham 4-72) and 256 (Prior 68, Gillespie 4-87) by 3 wickets

England's bowlers will know plenty about BJ Watling going into the first Test, after the wicketkeeper guided New Zealand XI to an excellent three-wicket victory with eight balls to spare in Queenstown, to leave the visitors in far from perfect form heading into the series.

It was England's first defeat in a first-class warm-up match on tour since they lost by eight wickets against an India Board President's XI in Vadodara in February 2006. The attack, except for Graeme Swann, struggled for consistency on a surface that, while offering a hint of turn, remained true for batting throughout.

At tea, England were favourites with New Zealand XI 167 for 5. Watling and Corey Anderson, who together bludgeoned a 105-run stand in the first innings, produced a repeat performance in the second innings by adding 89 runs in 19 overs. Graham Onions again came in for punishment, as a two-over spell went for 23, on another dispiriting day for him. He claimed forgettable match figures of 1 for 213.

Joe Root was given an extended bowling spell during the evening session, partly because Swann was off the field for a few overs, and also probably with a view to have him filling in for a few overs during the Tests. Root struck twice to keep England in the hunt. Anderson advanced down the pitch to Root and ended up yorking himself. After a 46-run stand for the seventh wicket, Jimmy Neesham picked out Stuart Broad at deep square-leg.

However, Watling, who was dropped in the gully on 47 by Swann, shortly after he came back on the field, provided a calm head as the home side ended up winning with time to spare. Neil Wagner, after being added to New Zealand's squad for the first Test earlier in the day, did not need to be shielded from the strike and played some handsome strokes, including a top-edged hook for six off Broad, and a boundary that leveled the scores, to ease the pressure on Watling in their match-sealing stand of 52

England declared overnight, leaving the New Zealand XI a full day to chase the target. As in the first innings they made a solid start, seeing off the new ball through an opening stand of 56. Hamish Rutherford showed his intent by upper-cutting Broad over point for six, before departing playing a similar shot off Chris Woakes, which was taken by Nick Compton at point. Broad returned for a second spell and pitched the ball a touch fuller, which brought reward when Carl Cachopa was caught on the crease and lost his off stump.

For the next 23 overs either side of lunch, Tom Latham and Neil Broom resisted solidly and kept the score ticking over. Onions was given another extended chance to bowl himself into form, but never suggested he would find his groove.

Swann broke the partnership when he removed Latham while playing the sweep, and there was a touch through to Matt Prior who held on while in the process of appeal for lbw. Broad, who again maintained his pace throughout each spell, removed Broom offering no shot and when Dean Brownlie fenced to second slip the game looked to be England's. Instead, they will travel to Dunedin on Sunday with another reminder of the fighting qualities of New Zealand cricketers.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on March 3, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @landl47 on (March 2, 2013, 22:58 GMT) - Agreed re JB. I always thought he was better as an outfielder even if he is a WK.

  • JG2704 on March 3, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    @Shan156- Re my comms on Jonny doing better than KP was likely to have done. I stand by them. Jonny scored 95 and 54 (ave 74.50) in that game. From my observations , in tests KP rarely , if ever follows up a big score in one test by a similarly big score in another. On his last load of big scores vs India he followed up his 200 in the 1st inns (2011) with 29&63 , his 175 in the 4th test was followed by 2&0 vs Pak , his 151 vs SL was followed by 32&13 vs WI. To me someone like Bell is more likely to go on a run of good or bad form than KP whom will look woeful in one match and exquisite the next and vice versa. Think Eng somehow had Patel down as a better bowler than he actually is. To me they had him down as a 2nd spinner (3rd when Monty was playing) but for me he's nearer to Trott than Monty in terms of quality. I hope Nick performs well but if he doesn't , hopefully he can do it for Somerset in the CC

  • Rar0 on March 3, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    @Min2000: Great comment. I have a lot more faith looking at this NZ team than I have in a long time. Yes England will step up and with Finn and Anderson will be a much tougher task for New Zealand's usually brittle batting line up. A lot is going to depend on NZ's pacemen, whether it be three or four of them. If NZ can keep it to a low scoring affair they are definitely in with a chance of a victory. And to be honest I don't see the chances of a draw being very high.

  • Min2000 on March 3, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Rutherford -- your dad bagged a pair in his first test in the West Indies facing Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner. Anderson and Finn are good bowlers for sure, but whatever happens your debut is going to be a picnic compared to his.

    Fulton - you have received a lot of criticism but I hope that you prove everyone (myself included) wrong.

    Taylor, Williamson or McCullum - we'll need runs out of you lot if we are to score 400+ in our first innings. Get it done.

    Brownlie and Watling - you are exactly what this NZ side needs in the middle order. I have faith in you both.

    Southee, Boult, Bracewell and Wagner - that's a pretty decent quartet. Not blindingly quick but all can bowl 140 and if the ball is swinging then we have a real shot.

    Team talk over.

  • VillageBlacksmith on March 3, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    NZ are a good side & beat Aus recently (no big shakes I know but they did) and they will fully test Eng home & away.. Watling looks good.. And Yes Swann shd def bat (and bowl!) before Broad and JB will be back in the side soon I hope... The selectors have out-bored even me and keep picking bell so lets hope he delivers in 2013/2014... I will now be supporting him, but will be pushing for JB if he does not deliver big runs before the ashes... Nice to see the ashes opponents looking cluelessly Shambolic ... Lets Hope Arthur keeps his job for the next 2 yrs!

  • Robster1 on March 3, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    See administrators, proper four day warm up matches are so much more worth it.

  • Lermy on March 3, 2013, 1:01 GMT

    A great game, and this could be the best first class result a NZ team has against England on this tour. It gives them a bit of hope, but with Finn and Anderson playing in the tests, the NZ batting will be under so much more pressure.

    If Boult and Southee hit their straps together they could knock England over cheaply. If England score heavily though, I suspect NZ will not be able to match them, and I'd say NZ lucky to score 300 and 250 in any test. However you never know, since the NZ test line-up will be stronger as well.

    Should be intriguing to see what happens. England 80% favorites. NZ have a chance. Hopefully they will compete better than they did in SA.

  • Chris_P on March 3, 2013, 0:43 GMT

    Take the result for what it was. Practice match where England played around with some options that would never be tried in tests. Good effort by both teams, these type of games are only positive for cricket, & touring teams grab a lot from these. The pitch seemed easy to bat on, something I doubt will occur in the coming test series where the seamers will step up. Overall, this was a very positive result for cricket in general, kudos to both sides.

  • dummy4fb on March 2, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    Really hoping Watling carries this form through to the tests. I'm glad the selectors are leaving him down the order and not opening as he seems to have more worth in the middle/lower order. Would like to see a big series from him, Williamson and Boult, to show that our youngsters are capable of winning matches. And good luck to Rutherford.

  • landl47 on March 2, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    @JG274 Fair point regarding Bairstow, he has been unlucky. Were it not for his family situation I think he'd have got the spot that Root took. Joe is to be congratulated for seizing his opportunity, but it's tough luck on Bairstow. However, at 23 he's got plenty of time to establish himself. I rather hope someone else becomes W/K after Prior, I love watching Bairstow in the field. Keepers often aren't great fielders and vice versa (Prior is hopeless in the field and Collingwood was all at sea behind the stumps), but Bairstow's fast, athletic, has wonderful hands and is a great judge of a catch. I'd play him in the ODI side just for that- great fielding lifts the whole side.

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