England Lions v NZ, Tour Match, Grace Road, 4th day

Bracewell waiting on Lord's chance

Andrew McGlashan at Grace Road

May 12, 2013

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Doug Bracewell went wicketless on a shortened day, England Lions v New Zealanders, Tour match, Grace Road, 3rd day, May 11, 2013
Doug Bracewell: 'I'm a little disappointed with how I went in this game, I would have liked to have taken a few more wickets and scored some runs' © Getty Images

Doug Bracewell was not convinced he had done enough to force his way into New Zealand's plans for the first Test at Lord's if Tim Southee's foot injury clears up to give them a fully fit squad to select from on Thursday. The tourists also have concerns over the lack of middle time for Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor.

Bracewell claimed two wickets on the rain-shortened final day against England Lions to take his tour tally to nine, but was not thrilled with the way he bowled at Grace Road. He was perhaps being harsh on himself - he had Joe Root dropped at slip when on 23 - but is now keeping his fingers crossed that there will be a place for him at Lord's, a ground where he has only ever watched, rather than played, cricket.

"I think I could have done more," he said. "I guess I'm a little disappointed with how I went in this game, I would have liked to have taken a few more wickets and scored some runs. But I can't do anything about that now, I've just got to turn up to training, work hard, and hopefully I get picked. I've never played at Lord's, but have heard all about the slope. I'm looking forward to it."

There could yet be no need for debate if Southee's problem is more serious than indicated, although there do not appear too many concerns around the New Zealand camp. He went for scans on Saturday, which have not shown anything major, although further results are being awaited before a definitive statement is made.

It was a difficult few days in Leicester for New Zealand, after the match had begun promisingly for them with Hamish Rutherford hitting an aggressive hundred. The rest of the batting failed to impress and the bowlers struggled to make swift inroads into the Lions as Root hit 179 and fellow England middle-order batsman Jonny Bairstow contributed 68.

New Zealand will spend the next few days assessing their tactics to Root, who is in the form of his life heading into a first home Test. "I think we bowled a little short to him and on wickets which are pretty slow you can't afford to do that because it sits up," Bracewell said. "We'll look at some footage in the next couple of days and hopefully work out some good plans."

The other impact of Root's long innings - and other useful contributions throughout the order - was to deny New Zealand a second bat, which means that McCullum and Taylor have had only one proper innings each before the Test series. "From a team point of view we didn't get an extra innings with the bat, which isn't a great thing, but we've got a couple of day's training before the first Test which should be enough," Bracewell said.

Ashley Giles, who was coaching England Lions for this match, said their approach had always been to try to win rather than just deprive the opposition of another innings and was uncertain over whether New Zealand would feel any negative impact going into the Test.

"Maybe," he said, "only they can tell you that, but conditions have not been ideal - and I don't think McCullum played a lot at IPL either. The main thing for us was putting them under pressure and making it as difficult as possible. You could look at it two ways - grind them down in the dirt and make them suffer, or get them in and knock them over again."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by jmcilhinney on (May 13, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

I'm in two minds a little with regards to Giles statement about trying to win the game. I feel that, if the Lions were serious about winning, they should have batted no later than lunch and probably not even that long. They should have just gone hell-for-leather for an hour or so and then got NZ in and hoped that the batting would crumble as it did on day 2. Root and Bairstow did look to be batting fairly aggressively early on but maybe they just gave up because they realised that the weather was always going to intervene. NZ will say that it doesn't really matter, as would any other team, but I'm sure they would have liked another bat.

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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