Eng v NZ, 2nd Investec Test, Headingley, 5th day May 28, 2013

Swann's ten beats NZ and the rain

129

England 354 (Root 104, Bairstow 64, Boult 5-57) and 287 for 5 dec (Cook 130, Trott 76) beat New Zealand 174 (Swann 4-42) and 220 (Swann 6-90) by 247 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alastair Cook could have been forgiven for scratching his head with confusion when he woke on Tuesday morning. With his team 1-0 up and sure of a series win, he might have expected some plaudits and praise. Instead, despite having come close to a three-day Test win against an opposition that had the better of the Test series in New Zealand only weeks ago, he found his tactics criticised and condemned.

Nothing illustrates how far this England team have come since New Zealand beat them in England in 1999 to sentence them to bottom place in the Test rankings. Success is not just expected from England now, it is demanded, and with style.

In the end, England won by 247 runs in almost exactly 10 sessions to wrap up a 2-0 series victory and largely vindicate their approach. Graeme Swann claimed 10 for 132 to emulate Derek Underwood, the last spinner to take ten wickets in a Test at Headingley back in 1972.

Only 11 overs were possible on the fifth morning in between the forecast rain. When play did start after a 45-minute hiatus, it did not take England long to remove the only remaining specialist batsman. For the fourth time in the series, Stuart Broad dismissed the New Zealand captain, this time clinging on to a sharp caught-and-bowled chance as Brendon McCullum mistimed a drive off the bottom of the bat. The dismissal meant McCullum scored only 31 runs in the series.

But the wicket came at a cost to England as Broad appeared to cut his knee diving for the catch - blood was visible through his trousers - and left the pitch for treatment shortly afterwards.

England might have had Tim Southee on 26, as he edged one from Swann that did not turn, but Jonathan Trott, at slip, could not hold on to the chance in his left hand. To rub salt in the wound, Southee slog-swept the next ball for six.

It was far from the only aggressive stroke he played. Despite a man waiting for the stroke on the midwicket boundary, Southee pulled Steven Finn's first ball for six and drove Broad for a thumping straight four. Doug Bracewell also pulled Finn for a six in an eighth-wicket stand of 56 in only 41 balls.

Swann made the second breakthrough with another delivery that slid on with the arm and again took the edge of Southee's bat. This time Trott clung on to another tricky chance by his left boot. It made Swann the first spinner to claim a five-wicket haul in a Test at Headingley since John Emburey did so in the Ashes of 1985.

But just five more deliveries were possible before the rain - for a while spitting - grew harder and the umpires led the players from the pitch for an early lunch. After a long delay, play resumed at 3pm. Just eight balls later Bracewell was given out to an inside edge but it was overruled using DRS, with replays showing the ball had deflected off the pad, not the bat. But, in Swann's next over, he had the same batsman smartly caught by Ian Bell at silly point off bat and pad. It gave Swann a ten-wicket haul for the third time in Test cricket and his first in England.

Neil Wagner and Trent Boult resisted for another eight scoreless overs but the return of James Anderson brought immediate rewards. With his third delivery, he drew Boult into a push that took the outside edge and carried to Matt Prior. It gave Anderson his 307th Test wicket to take him level with Fred Trueman's tally. Now only Sir Ian Botham and Bob Willis have more than Anderson for England.

The results means England go into the Ashes with four wins in their last eight Tests and unbeaten in that period. But they can take more than victory from this game. The re-emergence of Finn as a bowler of pace and hostility and proof that Swann has rediscovered his best form following elbow surgery means England go into the Ashes with a balanced, settled attack capable of troubling most line-ups on most surfaces.

There are one or two issues with the batting - the survival of Nick Compton at the top of the order will remain a debating point - but, with Kevin Pietersen back in the nets and Joe Root emerging as a fine player, England can feel pretty well prepared for the Ashes.

Their tactics in this match were questionable, however. Had they enforced the follow-on or declared their second innings earlier - even a lunch-time declaration on day four would have given them a vital extra half-hour - they might have secured victory without gambling on a break in the clouds. As it was, they endured a nervous day watching it drizzle and hoping to squeeze in any more play. Ultimately they required about 90 minutes play on the final day, into which they squeezed 22 overs.

Perhaps England betrayed some of their anxiety on the final morning. Andy Flower, the England coach, could be seen having an animated conversation with the groundsman minutes after the rain stopped. It would be unwise to try speculate in too much detail as to Flower's intentions, but it seems safe to assume he was making the point that, if the rain was only to relent for short periods, England needed play to resume as soon as possible. As tends to be the case, Flower got his way despite a counter-argument from his New Zealand counterpart, Mike Hesson.

In different circumstances, criticism might instead have been directed at Yorkshire rather than England. On most Test grounds in the UK, the floodlights could have been utilised for play to continue on the fourth day, but there are no floodlights at Headingley. It is also worth noting that, in a summer where every other Test will be all but a sell-out - even the Lord's Test against New Zealand - this match has been played, at times, in front of vast banks of empty seats. For all the rich history and fine atmosphere, the future of Test cricket in Yorkshire remains precarious.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cric_J on May 29, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Although they took a wayward route instead of a straightforward one , but there it is , England have won the match. Nothing matters more than a win. And that too a big one. Swanny was brilliant and deserved his 10 wkts to the core.

    I ,for one , was always in favour of what Cook did ,that is bat again. The lead was a mere 180 and it is always agreeable to give the bowlers some rest even if they hardly bowled in the first inngs. Moreover ,we have seen late resurgence from teams in the second inns. Why , wasn't it Eng in the first test in India where they made over 400 after being bowled out for under 200 ? What I mean is that players like Taylor and McCullum can take the game away if they get to a 170 odd score. So what cook did was safe and not "daft".

    What was absurd was the way Trott batted on the 3rd day and the time of the declaration. Cook was pretty quick by his own standards which proves that he himself wanted to get the runs quickly. He is a young captain and will get better.

  • Meety on May 29, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Winners are grinners, & Cook will be grinning. Could of been ugly had the rain been more persistent, but it doesn't hide the fact that England have lifted, & NZ dropped off. Before the series, NZ were a genuine chance of drawing or winning, but from about stumps Day 2 of the 1st Test, have been off the pace. Good warm up for the Ashes, although with a month of CT cricket looming, it'll all be wasted!

  • landl47 on May 28, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    I guess there will always be disagreements. I gave my view yesterday that England's game plan was right; they established dominance and didn't give NZ a chance to get off the hook by cricketing means. The weather co-operated, but even if it hadn't England dominated the game. If there's a bigger game plan, it's to get England into the frame of mind of playing hard-nosed cricket and grinding down the opposition.

    Cook's first duty as captain is to get everyone on the same page and playing their best. Even if tactically he's not the most aggressive out there, that matters much less than uniting the team- the United XI, as RandyOZ says, but in this case meaning an XI that actually is united. Cook has now captained 11 games in 4 series, one series at home and three away. Series record 3 won, 0 lost, 1 tied; games record 6 won, 1 lost, 4 drawn. If he keeps those kind of numbers up, he'll do all right.

  • CricketingStargazer on May 28, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Job done. Far too much panicking over the last two days. Wins by 170 and 247 runs in the series and New Zealand's total of 220 today was comfortably their highest of the series. England wanted a seraching examination to prepare them for a tough year and have had some decent experience in the art of taking wickets under pressure yesterday and today.

    This series reminds me a lot of the 2004 series (when New Zealand were ranked #2 and expected to be tough opposition) during which New Zealand put England under a lot of pressure at times in each Test, but ended up losing each one by a wide margin and being whitewashed. You always knew that New Zealand had a bad session or a bad day in them and it was a matter of keeping up the pressure.

    For the New Zealand fans though there is quite a lot of positive to take from the series: the attack has performed well and the team has some good, brave batsmen, who just need to get more support. New Zealand will not be #8 in the rankings for long.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    @ Shan156 - Mate , I genuinely feel we overdo the resting of players - period. I'll end up repeating these views in other threads etc but if you look at our batsmen for instance in the NZ home series - Root was named man of the series. Was it pure coincidence that he has played the most 1st class cricket of all the England batsme this year? I agree that players rest needs to be managed carefully but to me that doesn't mean rest wherever possible which almost seems to be Eng's policy. Stamina and mental toughness isn't built up on rest IMO. I'd also say (guessing) that if our players played every 4 day game (no other formats) they'd play 4 days cricket out of 8 on average. It doesn't seem too much to me. Also KP has gone through his most worrying length of time out through injury after (I guess) having his least busy (playing) periods of his career. Undercooked? Just a thought

  • 5wombats on May 30, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    @maximum6 - ".I like him light and frothy". LOL I've seen Bell described as a lot of things - but never like a cup of coffee!.... What is that? - a Belluchino? :-) :-)

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 29, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    For me, upon reflection,a day and a bit after the end of the match the great thing was that Swann took 10 for and is obviously okay. In the series the best thing has been that all 4 main bowlers have had a telling effect at some stage or rather. Since it has been the attack that has been the stellar part of the last few years this is good news. This is not to say that the batting has not been good at times but it has not always worked and one or two players just have not fired. I would not want to harp back to Bell but really since his 235 v India he just has not been there.he needs to go back to being him and not an imitation of him. As a player he has plenty of shots and should just remain that even if at times he lacks seriousness.I like him light and frothy. Otherwise moving forward,please ditch the conservatism.! The side has the talent so please play expansively and joyously!

  • Shan156 on May 29, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    @JG2704, I understand what you mean. I am in agreement with the sentiment that Eng. should not be so conservative. But, we don't know what the bowlers were going through. Perhaps, one or more of the bowlers were carrying a niggle and wanted more rest? True it does not bode well for harder days ahead but that is the problem with too much cricket these days. Player workload has to be managed carefully. Following this series, we play the ODI series and the CT before the Ashes. These bowlers will most likely feature in those games as well. Of course, I didn't mean that a conservative approach will help us retain the Ashes but I am sure good workload management would. If we play our best XI, I am confident that we will retain the Ashes comfortably. Perhaps, with that and the tougher days ahead in mind, Eng. could have played 1 or 2 backup bowlers in this game.

  • JG2704 on May 29, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    @ Shan156 ctd - I don't think we can say that this will help more lead us to win the Ashes. If we win it's because we're the better side but I will say I think we need to be the better playing side because if the sides were evenly matched I know exactly who I'd prefer as captain. Re the batsman getting more practice. Sorry bud , but it's 1 inns and no doubt Eng's management will cite this but then contradict themselves by not allowing them to play county games. Re giving the bowlers more rest. They bowled them out in about a session. If they need rest after that then it does not bode well for harder days in the field to come. I've already given 2 recent examples where teams did not enforce the follow on and came unstuck. I always say , do what the opposition is least comfortable with and any NZ fan ,player would have been happy with Cook's decision here , just like I was when BM declared. The difference here is that Eng had more luck than NZ had .

  • sonicattack on May 29, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - yes, you make some good points about 'ruthlessness' - I'm probably too much of a pessimist! Like you, I thought that it Cook nipping off the field when he did could only have been to consult with Andy Flower. Coaches have a much greater say these days, don't they? I also noticed David Saker having a quite animated chat with, I think, Steven Finn, from the boundary.

  • cric_J on May 29, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Although they took a wayward route instead of a straightforward one , but there it is , England have won the match. Nothing matters more than a win. And that too a big one. Swanny was brilliant and deserved his 10 wkts to the core.

    I ,for one , was always in favour of what Cook did ,that is bat again. The lead was a mere 180 and it is always agreeable to give the bowlers some rest even if they hardly bowled in the first inngs. Moreover ,we have seen late resurgence from teams in the second inns. Why , wasn't it Eng in the first test in India where they made over 400 after being bowled out for under 200 ? What I mean is that players like Taylor and McCullum can take the game away if they get to a 170 odd score. So what cook did was safe and not "daft".

    What was absurd was the way Trott batted on the 3rd day and the time of the declaration. Cook was pretty quick by his own standards which proves that he himself wanted to get the runs quickly. He is a young captain and will get better.

  • Meety on May 29, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Winners are grinners, & Cook will be grinning. Could of been ugly had the rain been more persistent, but it doesn't hide the fact that England have lifted, & NZ dropped off. Before the series, NZ were a genuine chance of drawing or winning, but from about stumps Day 2 of the 1st Test, have been off the pace. Good warm up for the Ashes, although with a month of CT cricket looming, it'll all be wasted!

  • landl47 on May 28, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    I guess there will always be disagreements. I gave my view yesterday that England's game plan was right; they established dominance and didn't give NZ a chance to get off the hook by cricketing means. The weather co-operated, but even if it hadn't England dominated the game. If there's a bigger game plan, it's to get England into the frame of mind of playing hard-nosed cricket and grinding down the opposition.

    Cook's first duty as captain is to get everyone on the same page and playing their best. Even if tactically he's not the most aggressive out there, that matters much less than uniting the team- the United XI, as RandyOZ says, but in this case meaning an XI that actually is united. Cook has now captained 11 games in 4 series, one series at home and three away. Series record 3 won, 0 lost, 1 tied; games record 6 won, 1 lost, 4 drawn. If he keeps those kind of numbers up, he'll do all right.

  • CricketingStargazer on May 28, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    Job done. Far too much panicking over the last two days. Wins by 170 and 247 runs in the series and New Zealand's total of 220 today was comfortably their highest of the series. England wanted a seraching examination to prepare them for a tough year and have had some decent experience in the art of taking wickets under pressure yesterday and today.

    This series reminds me a lot of the 2004 series (when New Zealand were ranked #2 and expected to be tough opposition) during which New Zealand put England under a lot of pressure at times in each Test, but ended up losing each one by a wide margin and being whitewashed. You always knew that New Zealand had a bad session or a bad day in them and it was a matter of keeping up the pressure.

    For the New Zealand fans though there is quite a lot of positive to take from the series: the attack has performed well and the team has some good, brave batsmen, who just need to get more support. New Zealand will not be #8 in the rankings for long.

  • JG2704 on May 30, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    @ Shan156 - Mate , I genuinely feel we overdo the resting of players - period. I'll end up repeating these views in other threads etc but if you look at our batsmen for instance in the NZ home series - Root was named man of the series. Was it pure coincidence that he has played the most 1st class cricket of all the England batsme this year? I agree that players rest needs to be managed carefully but to me that doesn't mean rest wherever possible which almost seems to be Eng's policy. Stamina and mental toughness isn't built up on rest IMO. I'd also say (guessing) that if our players played every 4 day game (no other formats) they'd play 4 days cricket out of 8 on average. It doesn't seem too much to me. Also KP has gone through his most worrying length of time out through injury after (I guess) having his least busy (playing) periods of his career. Undercooked? Just a thought

  • 5wombats on May 30, 2013, 10:00 GMT

    @maximum6 - ".I like him light and frothy". LOL I've seen Bell described as a lot of things - but never like a cup of coffee!.... What is that? - a Belluchino? :-) :-)

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 29, 2013, 22:28 GMT

    For me, upon reflection,a day and a bit after the end of the match the great thing was that Swann took 10 for and is obviously okay. In the series the best thing has been that all 4 main bowlers have had a telling effect at some stage or rather. Since it has been the attack that has been the stellar part of the last few years this is good news. This is not to say that the batting has not been good at times but it has not always worked and one or two players just have not fired. I would not want to harp back to Bell but really since his 235 v India he just has not been there.he needs to go back to being him and not an imitation of him. As a player he has plenty of shots and should just remain that even if at times he lacks seriousness.I like him light and frothy. Otherwise moving forward,please ditch the conservatism.! The side has the talent so please play expansively and joyously!

  • Shan156 on May 29, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    @JG2704, I understand what you mean. I am in agreement with the sentiment that Eng. should not be so conservative. But, we don't know what the bowlers were going through. Perhaps, one or more of the bowlers were carrying a niggle and wanted more rest? True it does not bode well for harder days ahead but that is the problem with too much cricket these days. Player workload has to be managed carefully. Following this series, we play the ODI series and the CT before the Ashes. These bowlers will most likely feature in those games as well. Of course, I didn't mean that a conservative approach will help us retain the Ashes but I am sure good workload management would. If we play our best XI, I am confident that we will retain the Ashes comfortably. Perhaps, with that and the tougher days ahead in mind, Eng. could have played 1 or 2 backup bowlers in this game.

  • JG2704 on May 29, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    @ Shan156 ctd - I don't think we can say that this will help more lead us to win the Ashes. If we win it's because we're the better side but I will say I think we need to be the better playing side because if the sides were evenly matched I know exactly who I'd prefer as captain. Re the batsman getting more practice. Sorry bud , but it's 1 inns and no doubt Eng's management will cite this but then contradict themselves by not allowing them to play county games. Re giving the bowlers more rest. They bowled them out in about a session. If they need rest after that then it does not bode well for harder days in the field to come. I've already given 2 recent examples where teams did not enforce the follow on and came unstuck. I always say , do what the opposition is least comfortable with and any NZ fan ,player would have been happy with Cook's decision here , just like I was when BM declared. The difference here is that Eng had more luck than NZ had .

  • sonicattack on May 29, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - yes, you make some good points about 'ruthlessness' - I'm probably too much of a pessimist! Like you, I thought that it Cook nipping off the field when he did could only have been to consult with Andy Flower. Coaches have a much greater say these days, don't they? I also noticed David Saker having a quite animated chat with, I think, Steven Finn, from the boundary.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    @sonicattack on (May 29, 2013, 10:47 GMT), certainly Cook follows a long line of conservative captains but that doesn't mean that he can't assert himself if he wants to and I am one of many who hoped that he would. One thing that bothered me greatly was the impression I got that Cook was simply dancing to Andy Flower's tune. Obviously Flower is going to have a significant input but when Cook nipped off the field just before NZ were bowled out the first time it felt like he was asking Flower what to do. I could be wrong about that but I can't think of another obvious reason for him to leave the field just then. England's policy is theirs to make but it seems to me that whether to enforce the follow-on should be the captain's decision and Cook should have already had all the information he needed to make it.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    @sonicattack on (May 29, 2013, 10:47 GMT), certainly noone would mistake this England team for those WI and Australian sides of the past but they themselves have said that they want to get more ruthless. If you aren't going to get ruthless playing at home against the #8 side having bowled them out 207, 174 and 68 in the last three innings, when exactly are you going to? One of the reasons quoted for not enforcing the follow-on was that England thought it might be tricky batting last on that pitch, yet apparently they still felt that NZ might be a chance of scoring 400+. How can they say that they have faith in either their batsmen or their bowlers in that case? With no weather about, England's tactics would have been no big deal, although still unnecessarily cautious. With the threat of rain and a possible washout on day 5, they were, in my opinion, quite irresponsible. I still think that England played very well and deserved the win but were tactically poor.

  • 5wombats on May 29, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    JG2704. You're right it's funny how the "we won, so what" lobby get the featured comms! But I don't mind about that. What I mind about is being ok with a negative approach. Play cricket at any level in Australia - you don't get negativity. You get ambition and aggression that brings power and energy to force the game forwards. Anyone who doesn't play like that just gets trampled. This is why Australia are so fearsome and why nobody sensible would ever write them off. Does anyone here seriously think that any Australian team would have risked the possibility of not winning in the way that England did here? Of course not. They would have backed themselves like they always do. I don't remember Mark Taylor or especially Steve Waugh ever taking a backwards step and that's why that was a great Australia team, it wasn't just the fine players - it was the absolute will to dominate and force the game from any position. That's why this current England team is not great - it displays negativity.

  • on May 29, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    @ sonicattack... I like your final comment regarding the ex-captain commentators... and isn't it ironic that one of the biggest critics also happens to have been one of the least successful captains of them all.

  • sonicattack on May 29, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, well, I would like England to be ruthless, but I don't think that they are good enough - perhaps consistent enough - yet to be as ruthless as you might wish them to be. We all remember and talk about the great WI and Aus sides, now they could be as ruthless as they wished as they were wonderful, consistent cricket teams, England has some way to go! Yes, Cook is a conservative captain, not sure why anyone thought he would be any different, schooled in the Andrew Strauss mould. Can you think of a England captain who has not been conservative (during there playing career, not as a commentator, by which time they have all been radicalised!)

  • SquareLegs on May 29, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    To be fair to Yorkshire, Headingley does get the difficult fixtures, these days. Lords will practically always sell out, because of its status as the HQ of cricket, because a Lords Test is a social event even for those who have no interest in cricket and because there is easy access for foreign visitors. A May fixture against NZ during an Ashes summer is not the easiest fixture for any other ground to market. I think (and I should say that I am from South of London, so have no axe to grind) that the atmosphere and history of Headingley makes it a much more interesting ground to attend than, for example, Cardiff or the Rose Bowl.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @Un_Citoyen_Indien on (May 29, 2013, 8:21 GMT), while it was off-spinners, Murali in particular, that brought the issue of bent elbows to a head before the ICC changed the laws, it has been stated many times that the rule change was to accommodate many fast bowlers as much as spinners. While it may not be as obvious, many fast bowlers flex their elbows as much as or even more than many spinners, Murali included.

  • JG2704 on May 29, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    @5Wombats/JMC etc - Agree with all you say on this subject. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the "giving the bowlers rest" comments. I've not gone through it with a fine toothcomb but I reckon English bowlers would have bowled for less than 2 days in 3 combined inns. Also is it my imagination or have I seen more excuses of being undercooked than burnt out when we've underperformed? I half watched yesterday's play and saw the rain was getting heavier in the afternoon. I wonder if this match was in the oppositions back yard whether they'd have got on at all and would the umpires have stayed out there through the rain? BTW - I like the way that all the featured comms are pro Cook' s stance.

  • JG2704 on May 29, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    @ Biggus on (May 29, 2013, 2:44 GMT) Interesting comms. It's always a case of doing what the opposition side/fans least want you to do. NZ vs Eng final test - BM (IMO) made the wrong decision and did not enforce the follow on and then (IMO and many others) batted too long. I said so vociferously at the time and some fans said I did not understand the game etc but I always said that NZ setting Eng too many runs (at the expense of time to bowl them out). I mean our top 4 consisted of Cook,Compton,Trott and Bell so there was no chance that the dourest top 4 in world cricket would bat at that pace. Eng rode their luck. NZ deserved the win but they didn't get it because they batted on way too long BTW - Enjoyed your response to Ben P

  • JG2704 on May 29, 2013, 9:12 GMT

    @Shan156 on (May 29, 2013, 1:53 GMT) To me following on in these shortened games is a must. While I'm pretty much always for making a side follow on , I'm not so rigid in thinking that this is always the way. Had the weather been set fair for day 5 then I'd be perfectly happy with the decision to bat again and even would have accepted Cook's (over) cautious declaration. However not making a team follow on when there is rain and a realistic possibility of a full washout to me adds a dilemma of when to declare. If you don't allow for the rain - which does come - then you are in danger of not giving yourself time to bowl the side out and if and if you allow for rain which doesn''t come you can increase the chances of losing. So it wasn't the case of NZ batting out the draw but more a case of the rain meaning Eng could not bowl them out 2nd time around. If NZ follow on then at least they have to bat out of their skins to stand the remotest of chances.

  • poms_have_short_memories on May 29, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @Shan156, Touche. I, myself, consider Ian Bell to be England's best batsman, technically anyway. Another reason I admire Bell is that he was made to look a bit of a fool by McGrath and Warne early in his career, but had the mental toughness to come back as one of the better batsman in the world today.

  • 5wombats on May 29, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    @jackiethepen (May 29, 2013, 5:13 GMT) From your previous posts I know that you are a critic of "the Flower Approach". In the past I have taken issue with you over that - but not any more and not this time. I completely agree with you here. I was not aware of what you describe as a "howler in India in the first Test" - but now that I have looked it up my God you are right! Why did Monty not play in that Test!?!?! That ridiculous omission, the inflexible mess in the UAE, the c..k up at the Oval last year and now this add up to just one conclusion - this management set up makes mistakes. It's alright to make mistakes so long as they are learned from and don't get repeated. But it's the conservative habit that gets me. That's the problem. The mistakes made are just the symptoms, not the cause. The cause is conservatism. Eliminate the conservativism and maybe some of those mistakes won't get made. Dead right; "what on Earth were England doing"? Being conservative, and it nearly cost them.

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on May 29, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    A big fan of Graeme Swann here. In my opinion, he's the best spin bowler the world has seen since Shane Warne. Here's hoping he goes on to pick up at least 400 test wickets by the time he retires. Too bad he made his debut so late, a bowler of his abilities should end up with no fewer than 600 test wickets given enough time.

    On a related note, I wish the ICC would abolish the 15 degree rule for bowlers at the test match level. The biggest offenders are these so called "mystery spinners" (don't want to name anyone but they're all off spinners by the way). Such spinners may be permitted to play limited overs cricket though.

    Swann is just a brilliant, old fashioned English Off-Spinner. He doesn't need a "doosra" to be the bowler he is. Just a classical off break, unwavering control over line, length and the degree of turn and that marvellous arm ball is all he requires. Oh, and he's also a fighter. Proved it by coming back from a serious elbow injury, plus he can bat better than Broady.

  • on May 29, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    What a strange nation we are when it comes to cricket ! Following yesterdays win, a lot of the commenters on here and in today's daily papers now seem to think we are the best thing since sliced bread and that an Ashes whitewash is a foregone conclusion. Root to open, KP back, Swann fully recovered from his elbow operation, Cook back in the runs... Yeah.. everything in the garden is rosy... Or is it ? Let's not forget all we've done in reality is beaten the team who are 6 places below us in the ICC Test Rankings and are only rated better than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Was it such a big deal ?

  • brusselslion on May 29, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    @gsingh7 on (May 28, 2013, 22:49 GMT). Thanks for getting my morning off to a good start.

    Following on from your dismissal - how many more puns can I get in? - of Cook's batting ability after England's 1st innings, I see that you are now tipping Australia to win b2b Ashes series. Given your prediction record over the past 2 years, this can mean only one thing.

    BTW: Do you follow tennis? If so, could you please let me know who you think will win the Mens and/or Ladies French Open. It's a cast iron cert that your tip will lose his/her next match, and I want to make sure that I've got a few bob on their opponent. Thanks in advance.

  • Biggus on May 29, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    @ben.p.-Mate, you're seriously overestimating my influence if you think that some comment I post here as some apparent 'mind game' is going to have any effect whatsoever on the conduct of the upcoming Ashes series. Those English posters who are familiar with me (5wombats, yorkshirepudding and some others) know I don't play it that way, and I try to enjoy cordial relations with opposition fans, so you're projecting your suspicions onto the wrong person. Not enforcing the follow-on when you've just rolled the opposition in 40 overs and you have an excellent spinner in good form is simply odd! If you're not going to enforce it in that situation when, pray tell, will you? I fully understand the frustration of some England fans, you have one of the strongest England sides I've ever seen in 40 years watching the game and still they seem to lack the conviction in themselves to press their advantage to the fullest. We'd be thrilled for Eng to do that Vs us, true story, take it or leave it.

  • Greatest_Game on May 29, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @ jackiethepen wrote "We almost failed to win certain victory." Cook & Flower did seem determined to snatch a draw from the jaws of victory, & Eng were simply lucky that they got the break in the weather. The team did more than enough to win, but the management failed in it's judgement & tactics, & by luck of the draw stumbled over the line. They failed to go out and grab certain victory, & left it to the weather!

    What does such a gamble do to the confidence this team has in it's leadership? How would Root have felt if his maiden ton was pointless because management threw the game away? These are not tactics that inspire players to go out & fight for every run. Eng's greatest asset is that this is a mature, settled team that will not easily panic, that will knuckle down & keep focused. Prior's stand in NZ staved off certain defeat, but the confidence & grit he showed easily melts away without unity of purpose & absolute confidence in strong, astute leadership. Once bitten...

  • ben.p. on May 29, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    If Headingley has no floodlights, why do England play Test cricket there? Who is really to blame? On the tactics side, I think it was entirely right not to enforce the follow on. We didn't want to overwork our bowlers, and the Ashes had got everything to do with this series. Any argument otherwise is either naive or dishonest. England had won the First Test, they weren't going to be defeated in this one, and they had nothing to lose and something to gain in batting again. Biggus is conveniently ignoring the circumstances, or perhaps his post suggests that Old Dingo is starting the mind games already.

  • hotcric01 on May 29, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    Congratulations England and Cook!Cook is a great leader and a batsman.They completely outplayed NZ. All Eng bowlers showed their class.good luck for ODI series and CT.

  • jackiethepen on May 29, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    England were sweating on this result which explains Andy Flower berating the ground staff at Headingley to get a move on after rain. As it is England only just beat the rain. For those who say the end justifies the means, I ask why? If this is the approach Cook will never learn - and neither will Flower. The truth no one wants to face is that not only is Cook a conservative captain he is a nervous one and relies heavily on Flower to tell him what to do. The other truth is that Flower made a howler in India in the first Test and the same with this one. To allow Trott to grind away oblivious to the team's needs, to let the declaration go on for so long, to then allow the middle order to throw their wickets away for needless runs, these are incredibly poor tactics never mind not enforcing the follow on. Australia must be delighted. What on earth were England doing? Comments seem to be too reliant on stats for comfort and the margin of defeat. We almost failed to win certain victory.

  • proudpommy on May 29, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    A win is a win. Being able to win in just over ten sessions is a great effort, well done Engalnd!

  • cric_J on May 29, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    It is weird that before this series started all the concerns about the Eng team for the Ashes surrounded their bowling. Well , they have been put to bed now. The batting although, which looked solid , now does appear a bit brittle. Cook, Root and Prior are just fine. I am sure Trott will do his best to stick to the crease and bog down the Aussie bowlers. KP will be .....well KP. And that itself is enough. So the 3 concerns are Bairstow,Bell and Compton and that who will make way for KP. I am pretty confused at present about it. Altough I am sure it will be Bairstow for the first 2 tests who misses out.

    Also I would like to thank the NZ fans for being tremendous sports. They agree about their team's follies and accept defeat graciously and with dignity. Hope this NZ team climbs up the rank ladder pretty soon.

  • on May 29, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    all i am waiting for are the ashes, to see who is better the younger australian side or the dominant, veterans from england

  • Biggus on May 29, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    OK, the first thing I want to stress is that I'm not seeking to throw fuel on an already sizeable fire, but I will however add my opinion as an Australian with a view to the upcoming Ashes series. If Cook uses a captaincy approach such as he used in the recently concluded test Vs NZ during the Ashes we'd regard it as rather a godsend. Given that most of us view the upcoming contest with some trepidation any 'play safe' approach by England will only likely give us chances that we would not have otherwise had, and certainly wouldn't give were the positions reversed. Personally, I feel that the 'tactics vindicated' line that was advanced after the game has more to do with keeping up appearances and isn't a true reflection of how they were feeling at the time. Cook certainly looked worried to me during the small amount I watched, though it's hard to tell for sure with those eyebrows, and I'd be very surprised (but relieved) if they took that approach Vs us during the Ashes.

  • Greatest_Game on May 29, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    An England Captain has. at long last, triumphed against Graeme Smith. Cook has snatched away from him the title of Most Conservative Captain. His reluctance to declare was surprising given that he had the World's Most Skilfull Bowler primed & ready to mow down the Kiwis.

  • iceaxe on May 29, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    Disappointing result for NZ. Bowling far better than batting. Nice to see Taylor finding form with the bat. Am rather concerned about McCullum though. Hopefully his back comes right (as well as his form).

    Credit to England. They took a risk with the weather, but still came up with the win.

    Bring on the ODI's. Go the Black Caps!

  • crickethasbeen on May 29, 2013, 2:02 GMT

    Anyone else find it surprising that leftarmers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner were not instructed to bowl round the wicket in the second innings? Wagner's 17 overs were I think all over the wicket, which didn't make it any easier for all NZ's RH bats to face Swann in the second innings.

  • Shan156 on May 29, 2013, 1:53 GMT

    @JG2704, I differ with you on Eng's strategy of not enforcing the follow-on. I think Cook did the right thing. Yes, there was a chance of NZ battling out a draw but Cook may have realized that NZ's batting did not show the same resilience as in NZ. Cook may have thought that Eng. did not need too many overs to bowl NZ out. It was a risk but the benefits perhaps outweighed the risk. Whatever Eng. say, they had one eye on the Ashes. They probably wanted to give the batsmen some more time in the middle, give more rest to the bowlers, and eliminate any remote possibility of a defeat. It was a conservative move, yes, and perhaps England should shun that approach if they want to be great. But, if this would lead us to win the Ashes comfortably, I will take it.

  • Shan156 on May 29, 2013, 1:46 GMT

    @poms_have_short_memories, in the last 10 Ashes tests, Ian Bell has scored 577 runs at 41.21 and Clarke has 641 at 40.06. Very similar stats. Yet, the Aussies consider Bell is useless and Clarke is Bradman.

  • Shiner2348 on May 29, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    All I listened to most of the weekend was so called expert journos denigrating tactics by a solid England performance.Just enjoy these wins English cricket as never been so good.I have lived in Australia for 40yrs so I know how the press out here likes to gloat when the aussies are winning which makes the last few years here very nice indeed they are so quiet it's deafening long may this continue and roll on the ashes at least we get it for free out here unlike you poor lot back home who need pay tv.Now that's an utter disgrace

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    @sonicattack on (May 28, 2013, 20:36 GMT), what more we want is for England to be ruthless, which they themselves have stated they want to be. Cook's tactics increased NZ's chance of a draw. The fact that that draw didn't happen does not negate that fact. If Cook's decision-making is going to be so conservative then there may well come a time that it hurts England. Will you then be complaining about the tactics when you're here now saying that it's OK?

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 0:18 GMT

    @jackthelad on (May 28, 2013, 19:43 GMT), why should we admit we were wrong when we weren't? The issue was always that there was a risk of day 5 being rained out. The fact that it wasn't doesn't negate the fact that it could have been. Even with the weather as it was, if NZ had managed to bat on a bit longer then they still may have forced a draw. You might say that England were always going to bowl NZ out for a lowish total but, in that case, it was obviously completely unnecessary for England to get a lead of 470. England played well and they won but the fact that they won does not mean that Cook's tactics were the best tactics under the circumstances.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    I have to say, I also have an issue with Flower apparently putting pressure on the groundsmen to get the players out on the field. Those groundsmen know their job. If time on the final day was an issue, as many of us suspected that it would be, then Flower should have thought about putting pressure on Jonathan Trott on day 3. That's his job so he should do that and let the groundsmen look after the ground.

  • jmcilhinney on May 29, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    @sonicattack on (May 28, 2013, 17:13 GMT), that's all well and good but a few balls weren't bowled on the first day so the follow-on figure was 150 so enforcing it was an option. The issue is about being in a position to win and not taking it. Besides, the follow-on is not the only issue. Personally, I don't mind that the follow-on was not enforced but, with that decision having been made, to bat so slowly on day 3 and then bat so long on day 4 just didn't make sense. It's been said that the fact that England won vindicates Cooks tactics but that still doesn't mean that those tactics were the best option. If the follow-on had been enforced and England had won then that decision would be just as vindicated. England won by 247 runs so surely that vindicates those who have been saying that Cook should have declared much earlier.

  • cyborg on May 28, 2013, 23:42 GMT

    England showed their bullish nature , NZ will feel and sleep better for me now , because now Australia have seen England blue print for victory , Swann will fail eventually , just rubbed NZ into the dirt , thanks

  • Bring_back_Wright on May 28, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    Someone made a good point yesterday about England playing according to statistics - to set fields where players hit the ball etc, but don't take into account stats regarding the weather. To expand on that: NZ have only chased down 300+ targets twice and never away against a top 8 side. In our entire history, we have only got past 350 4 times in the 4th innings - all in lost causes where the pressure of approaching a target isn't a factor.

    So what chance would you put on this horribly out of form NZ team chasing down a target of 350 against arguably the second best bowling lineup in the world (and probably the most well-rounded) on a wearing pitch, away from home? I'll say 5%, but I think I'm being generous. And what chance would you put on weather ruining a days play when it is forecast to? Significantly higher I would imagine, even with the unpredictable weather.

    The tactics are fine if your goal is not to lose, but considering the circumstances, England should aim higher IMO.

  • Bring_back_Wright on May 28, 2013, 23:12 GMT

    First off, congrats to England, clearly the better team.

    However, in regards to tactics, I don't think they got it right. Follow-on or not, they should have comfortably won the match after the 1st innings. Yes they won, but the point is they didn't give themselves the best possible chance of doing so by batting to slowly, for to long.

    I can't help but compare them with SA against Aus in Perth. When SA smelled blood, they attacked and batted Aus out of the game in an afternoon. When Eng put themselves in a similar position against a weaker team, they consolidated. Yes, different circumstances I know, but in a meaningless 2 test series against the no. 8 side I would have thought England would be aiming higher.

    As an outsider looking in, I think England need to be more ruthless if they are serious about dominating test cricket. They have the talent, but great teams know when to turn the screws.

    Cont.

  • gsingh7 on May 28, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    nz justify their 8th place in tests yet again. lost 2-0 to india , sa , england on the trott. though \were unlucky not to thrash england 1-0 in nz. poor captaincy fron cook , rain cud have had final say.yet nz bowlers exposed weak english batting core without kp. aus bowlers will find it easy to dispose this batting lineup with disdain. looking forward to pattinson, starc and cummings and bird do their thing and win ashes ,b2b.

  • Bishop on May 28, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    NZ haters posting here seem to have a Test cricket memory of about 10 days. Honestly, we had a bad series and lost badly to a quality opposition in their own backyard. But all these comments about NZ "disgracing" Test cricket, and that they should only play Bangladesh and Zimbabwe from this point on are ridiculous. If every team that had a bad series was similarly relegated, we'd be in good company - Australia lost in India far worse than we lost here, and let's not forget India's disastrous tour to Australia a couple of years back.

  • wgtnpom on May 28, 2013, 22:29 GMT

    So England's highly criticxised approach has been vindicated by a comfortable victory. The ins and outs of this series will be forgotten very quickly in view of what's coming up next and all we will have will be the history books. Yes I was confused and worried about how England were going about it but I'll tell you this for nowt - if we win the Ashes the same way there'll be no moaning, more likely Sir Alistair...

    NZ have promise especially with the ball but there are problems too - no front line spinner (even when Martin is fit), and a lack of confidence amongst the top order. Fulton and Rutherford flattered to deceive at home and have now been found out (esp Fulton). One batting collapse seemed to destroy NZ's hopes for the entire series and they'll be thankful now that there were only 2 Tests despite moaning about it earlier. Anyone who provides the warm up act for an Ashes series will have to make do with two tests only - the English season just isn't long enough for any more

  • 5wombats on May 28, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    ...continued... I agree completely you @jmcilhinney; "the end does not justify the means". And; "Those of us who are most vocal about those tactics are so because we believe in the England team; apparently moreso than Cook and Flower." Absolutely nailed it there mate. I'm as passionate as the next fan - passionate enough to call a spade a spade.

  • dalboy12 on May 28, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    I need to address those who again after a lost are saying NZ should not play the top teams anymore in test cricket. Cricket actually needs a strong NZ team and a strong WI, Bang, Zim, SL etc. The more strong teams the better, and teams are only going to get better if they play against the teams doing well at the moment. Note the 'at the moment' - cos those top teams will go through hard times as well in the future. With the threat of T20 cricket, do cricket lovers really want to risk losing the likes of McCullum, Rutherford, Ryder, Taylor, Boult, Southee to test cricket. Cos if the big series are taken away from these guys then why play test cricket. Why not just earn millions playing t20. It is the big test series that keep these guys in the game. Plus of course NZs record is not actually been that bad. Test cricket needs lots of strong teams, a 10 match ashes will be interesting, as if one team does pull away (which I doubt), will the interest hold over 10 test matches?

  • 5wombats on May 28, 2013, 22:08 GMT

    @JG2704. I did post a reply to that guy but not published. Truth is - England, Flower, Cook, Trott - got lucky. Witness the desperation of Flower growling at the groundstaff! Witness Flowers' prickly responses to Agnew on the TMS podcast, witness Cooks' prickly post match interview on Sky, witness Trotts' evasiveness at interview. It's as if they are saying; "we won - we were right all along and we are above being challenged by the likes of you"! After the debacle of the UAE Test series where England, by Flowers own admission were "not prepared properly", and the debacle of the Oval last year when Flower/Strauss got it spectacularly wrong due to not taking the weather into account I now reserve the right to throw hammers (from my armchair...) at the England management set up and their "approach". And it winds me up something rotten when people try to defend and justify negativity. Setting 470 to a team that hasn't and doesn't look like crossing 300 - now that's pathetic.... cont.

  • dalboy12 on May 28, 2013, 21:56 GMT

    Well played England, Swann may just be the difference in an important upcoming series you have. You have a very bowling attack, but I still stand by my statement that your batting isn't as strong as you think it is. If they can stay injury free, those Aussies are bringing a "very good" pace bowling attack your way, they will pitch it full, move it a little and bowl with pace. You will need Cook, and co in their best form. Also I hope Cook's conservative captaincy doesn't hurt you, I'm not talking about declarations. I'm talking about setting very conservative fields and just waiting for things to happen, rather than making things happen by changing it up it bit. Should be a great a series and I will certainty watch as a neutral observer. But let's remember before then there is an ODI series and the Champions Trophy. As a depressed Kiwi cricket supporter, we grab with hope at these series as we can seem to handle batting 50 overs most the time. We even beat SA 2-1 in SA in ODIs.

  • Munkeymomo on May 28, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    @Ashiqur: If NZ play like they have done against England, they would beat all those teams in NZ. Probably away too (save for Bangladesh, too many spinners).

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 28, 2013, 20:57 GMT

    10 wickets for Swann - at Headingly! Swann just gets so many revolutions on the ball, no wonder Warne called him the 'biggest turner of the ball in world cricket' all those years ago. Any other spinner wouldn't get any turn at all at Headingly - Swann's turning it like he's still in India. That is a sign, as if we needed another one, why he is one of the superlative spinners of our time. No one comes even close, especially given the controversy surrounding others. Australia are always content with pie chuckers, and England have the Swann :)

  • poms_have_short_memories on May 28, 2013, 20:55 GMT

    An interesting little statistic, in the last ten ashes tests played Anderson has 36 wkts @32 and Siddle has 34@ 32, very similar statistics. Although Siddle has bowled at a stronger batting lineup than Anderson has, Siddle is considered by many to be useless and Anderson is considered a magician.

  • sonicattack on May 28, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    @jackthelad - very much agree with your sentiment, as I posted previously a thoroughly professional win by England, what more do people want?

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (May 28, 2013, 16:05 GMT) I'm 100% on your wavelength , even if so many others aren't. My domestic side Somerset did similar vs Warwicks and the game ended up being a draw - and that despite the weather forecast which never happened. Since that game Somerset have been on the end of several thrashings - one by an inns in 2 days vs Sussex - and I still feel more deflated about not forcing the win vs Warwicks than I do about the Sussex game and any of our other onfield woeful displays

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @Stark62 on (May 28, 2013, 16:38 GMT) Nothing to do with the weather etc.? I'm sure we should expect 1000s more to travel out of their way to Yorks to watch Eng play a rain interrupted test against NZ? Yeah you must be right

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    @Optic on (May 28, 2013, 15:38 GMT)

    Sorry , but this armchair critic saw NZ give England a sniff of saving the game a few months ago by not making England bat again and then batting on too long and we all saw what happened and that was not AS bad as what Eng did because there was no weather to take into consideration and BM and co did at least bat with urgency. This armchair critic also saw his county side recently do similar in not forcing a team to follow on and the game was drawn so my views are not without substance or examples.

    Obviously you could give me recent examples of sides enforcing a follow on and losing a game to balance it out..?

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    @5wombats on (May 28, 2013, 15:00 GMT) Me too bud.This is the 1st time I've ever hoped that Eng did not get a favourable result. Cook was incredibly lucky the weather was so much better than what was forecast (for today) on Sunday and yesterday.

    @Bob Young on (May 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT) 100% with you. Ok England won , but would there have seriously been any realistic threat of Eng not winning the match and doing it yesterday had they made NZ follow on?

  • on May 28, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    New Zealand should play more test with Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe to boost their confidence. They will lose to them but still will help them to build confidence and skills to play test cricket. Its for good not for bad.

  • on May 28, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    Cook could have been a tad bit more adventurous, given a weak opposition batting. But he got the bottom line alright. Congrats. Although, might consider putting some spark under Compton.

  • brittop on May 28, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    @RandyOZ: Clarke's "aggressive" moves are all just "look at me", like his pointless 1st innings declaration at Hyderabad.

  • jackthelad on May 28, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Thousands - perhaps tens of thousands - of armchair theorists were slagging Flower&Cook off for their tactics - is there not one who is man enough to say, 'ok, I was wrong'?

  • CricketingStargazer on May 28, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    What has been interesting if England have been as poor as some people are suggesting is that, without hitting their straps, both Tests have been over in 10 sessions. If England start to play agreesively and to their potential, one wonders just how short the matches would be.

    As many fans were yesterday comparing unfavourably England's efforts against New Zealand to South Africa's, just for curiosity I had a look at how long the two Tests in South Africa were and see that they were 8 and 10 sessions respectively, with margins of an innings and 27 and 197 runs respectively. I would suggest that actually there was not such a great difference. New Zealand made 45, 275, 121 and 211 v South Africa and 207, 68, 174 and 220 v England - again, not so different.

  • Greatest_Game on May 28, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    @ Stark62 very confidently wrote "Lastly, Aus will win the Ashes with Warner, Siddle and Pattinson being the stars."

    Don't make any bets on Warner, especially if he opens.. His stats looked great after India's miserable 2010/11tour of Aus, but are hurtling downward, from 63.83 on 13 Jan 2012 to 39.46 on 22 March, 2013. Weak against real swing - dismissed twice by Steyn at ave 8.5, Can't play spin: half his test dismissals were against spin, & he averaged 24.37 in India. In the IPL, Aussies Hodge, Henriques, SPD Smith, Watson, SE Marsh, Finch, Rohrer all averaged more, had better SRs, etc. that this "20/20 expert." He is overblown as an opener, but may do better down the order.

  • 2nd_Slip on May 28, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    With all due respect , Bangladesh's batting line up has more spine and promising talent than that of NZ. Bar Ross Taylor non of the NZ batsmen are consistent or talented enough for test cricket against the big boys. Won't be surprized if they start playing less and less test cricket against the likes of SA, Eng, Ind and Aus. Though their bowling unit is full of hard scrappers, work man like bowlers who give their all every time, their batting always lets them down.

  • on May 28, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Course this series will be one sided. Take this example, England top 4 batsman have batting averages of 49, 47, 45 and and 43 whereas New Zealand top 4 batsman have batting averages of 42, 35, 31 and 30 (minimum 20 innings) their fast bowling is good and fielding but spin and batting is very poor. I doubt in their next test series which happens to be against minnows Bangladesh, can take on their spinners after how they struggled against Ashwin and Swann recently. New Zealand Cricket is in a bad state sadly.

  • Greatest_Game on May 28, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    Graeme Smith, collector England Skipper's Scalps, has finally had a title snatched away by an Eng captain. Cook now officially the "Most Conservative Cricket Captain in the World!" Despite having at his fingertips the "Most Skillful Bowler in the World," conservative captain Cook ventured where Smith would not dare to go - challenging England's weather.

    This series exposed a fault line in Eng cricket. If a player receives an award, or is bestowed a title, they immediately go off the boil. Prior got the Player of the year award and promptly stopped scoring runs and started dropping catches, causing red faces amongst his promoters for the "World's Best Wicketkeeper-Batsman in the World" title. Anderson was awarded the "Most Skillful Bowler in the World" title and promptly stopped taking wickets, managing 2, at Headingly, against NZ's fragile batting.

    Beware the fickle cricket gods. They dislike hubris from coaches, fans & media. Silly titles irk them, & their wrath is unforgiving.

  • The_bowlers_Holding on May 28, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Chris61 on (May 28, 2013, 17:55 GMT) Sir Ian Botham was knighted for the tens of millions he has raised for Leukemia sufferers after seeing children blighted with this terrible affliction when he was still playing; he has walked many, many miles eg. Lands End to Jon O'Groats and the knighthood was not for services to cricket.

  • msdhoni123 on May 28, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    If Cook keep playing like this for the next 7/8 years he can beat alll records set by Sachin in Test cricket. Look this guy already got 28 centuries in his 7 years span. BUt now hes better and hes matured as a cricket players so if there is anyone who can beat Sachin record in Test cricket right now its got to be Cook. This is coming from an Indian fan. Respectt##

  • ashes61 on May 28, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    The Ashes side? Assuming no injuries picked up in the irritating, unnecessary pyjama stuff, I'd stick with this team. Drop Compton? It would be the easy step, but when did an ENG Test opener last begin his Test career steadily & solidly, follow up with two centuries in consecutive Tests (his 5th & 6th) and yet become a candidate for the axe after his 9th??? No - just a quiet word from Flower & Cook can relax him & he will bloom again. Yes, Root's an opener, but he's thriving at 5! And I really fancy Bairstow against these Aussies, especially after some free-flowing scoring in the relaxed pyjama stuff coming up. What about KP? Well, what about him? If he gets decent runs in at least two 4-day county games (which reminds me, has he got a county at the moment?) I'd certainly keep him in mind in case of injuries. But I wouldn't break up this XI, except for Bresnan/Tredweell if needed as odd replacements, each of whom would do a good job.Plenty of OZ loose stuff for Compton to wallop!

  • Erebus26 on May 28, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    NZ's batting was disappointing (at least Southee and Bracewell provided a little entertainment this morning) and I feel questions have to be asked of the batting coach which I believe is Bob Carter. There is some talent there - Taylor, McCullum, Williamson and Rutherford. In the past NZ always produced players that overachieved or made the most of their ability - guys like John Wright and Mark Richardson are two examples, but I feel most of the batsmen underachieved on this tour. Whilst England did bowl well I don't really think they had to work hard for their wickets. Swann's ten wicket haul was practically a gift and would've been relieved to hit some form after all his injury woes. Can't be critical of NZ's bowling - Southee and Boult bowled impeccably at times and Wagner was full of heart. Williamson showed he could also give the ball a rip despite being a part-timer.

  • hhillbumper on May 28, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Always good to hear from our Indian and Australian friends.For the Indian fans we just beat you and as for Australia don't worry we will get to you soon.

    it was a good series and England have put some work in.Bell is a worry who needs some runs.Compton looks like he has run his race.Root to opener might be an idea and would make the batting line up a bit more forceful if pietersen comes back to replace him.

    how are the Aussies bearing up at this time?

  • Chris61 on May 28, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    Well played England. Is being world #1 one of England's newly specified objectives? If so, Cook/Flower compromised this by indulging Trott & delaying the declaration. Bit like declaring in an ICC Trophy match.

    Btw, in the Most Wickets in Career section on this site, #7 is Sir RJ Hadlee & # 13 is IT Botham. Was Beefy knighted purely for his batting or was the list compiled by a republican influence such as Atherton M?

  • ashes61 on May 28, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Congrats ENG on a good series win, playing some good cricket in both matches, albeit with one or two mini batting collapses. I'm in the camp that believes ENG's tactics could have backfired as a result of over caution (especially the unnecessarily huge lead) in the light of the weather forecast. The aim, surely, is still to win by the highest possible margin in the shortest possible time isn't it? However, having eventually won between the raindrops I won't labour the point! Mightily impressed by NZ over these 5 Tests, as they came to the first series from a low point as far as Tests are concerned. Good luck to their new young players - a VERY promising seam bowling unit & an enterprising skipper. Now let's get the pyjama stuff out of the way for the summer's feast. Although some AUS players have acclimatised early I think they're weaker than NZ and, man for man, there's a huge gulf in class in the ENG/AUS sides, as strong as it was the other way round in the 90s. 5-0 rain permitting.

  • Kitschiguy on May 28, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    @ brusselslion: Some homework on English nick-naming conventions for you - Cooky, Compo/Comps, Trotty, Belly, Rooty, Jonny/Jonny B, Matty P, Broady/Stuey B, Swanny, Finny, Jimmy, Kevs/KP :)

    Good performance by England and some really great cricket all round. It's nice to get in some well-played cricket and some cricket played in the best spirit before the Aussies get here.

    Cook's captaincy excellent as always - none of the comedy declarations you get from Clarke.

  • G-Rocker on May 28, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    New Zealand is making Test cricket a joke... Bangladesh & Zimbabwe should play more Tests and the test status should be given to Ireland.

  • jackthelad on May 28, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    @maximum6 - you seem to have been seduced by the spurious (and soon to be over) excitements of slam-bash cricket. Cricket is a game of enormous variations - of pace, of planning, of response - it is not a kind of beach volleyball. All you are saying, in fact, is that you don't understand cricket. Or like it. Cricket is played in the open, over several days, and every hour can bring changes in approach and tactics, which have to be responded to - it is, in a sense, the nearest thing to chess that a field game can get. Are you a chess player? Are you, even, a cricket player?

  • brusselslion on May 28, 2013, 17:19 GMT

    @RandyOZ (May 28, 2013, 16:15 GMT): "Cook's captaincy is ..very cautious and not as aggressive as Clarke, which could prove to be a decider during the Ashes." I thought that it was Australia's all round superiority that was going to be the difference? Relying on better captaincy now. Surely, the truth isn't starting to sink in i.e. England's batting is vastly superior to Australia's and Swann is in a different league to Lyon.

    @wibblewibble (May 28, 2013, 16:08 GMT: Ah.. you didn't read my wrong 'un, mate!

  • The_bowlers_Holding on May 28, 2013, 17:15 GMT

    NZ showed again they have a good attack but batting is prone to collapse against decent bowling especially away from home, I expect them to beat India in NZ (BCCI will probably cancel the series for a T20 series somewhere). As for all the Aussie and neutral Indian posters if you are so confident re:Ashes the odds are great currently 7/2 (England 4/9), put your money where your over eager typing finger is.

  • sonicattack on May 28, 2013, 17:13 GMT

    Frankly, I don't understand all the talk about the follow on....it appears that the rules say that if the first day is lost f/o is reduced to 150, haven't a clue why this should be, and given that many posters are being critical of England and are saying 'if this' or 'if that', well, I'll say that if only a few balls were bowled on day one the f/o would have remained at 200 and no one would be moaning. It was a thoroughly professional win by England, and some posters are just like the ex-England captains on Sky, as Nasser Hussain admitted, 'we all become much more tactically aggressive when we're no longer captain'...or words to that effect!

  • BravoBravo on May 28, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    @Stark62: As long as British Throne is there, Test Cricket won't die. You picked up 2020 for the demise of Test cricket, ironically it seems a very logical time for the RIP of 20/20 (T20) and probably you meant the same. Hoever, hearing about mockery of cricket and sadistic display of game in IPL, T20 needs to be shelved forever even in 2 years. Congratulations ENG for a massive win, well done.

  • on May 28, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Not the best test series to be sure (May series rarely seem to be) But the past year has proved just how powerful test cricket is. Great performances by so many teams and players in the last 12 months. Cooke, Anderson and Swann for England. Clark and Siddle for the Aussies (with Pattinson now and then when all his arms and legs work at the same time) Ashwin, Dhoni, Amla, Smith, Philander, Ajmal. Test cricket has proved it's primacy again and again as the real test of character - without which the other forms would likely not exist at all.

  • whatawicket on May 28, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    cooks captaincy a bit of a worry ?. well there's a comment and a 1/2 i have never felt or thought of that. but wait a minute who said that, oh i see well we can take that with a pinch of salt.

  • Selassie-I on May 28, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    I think these comments about NZ are over harsh and unwarrented, they gave us a great game at Lords and over in their backyard, really pushed us, thanks Kiwi's! I admit, after collapsing once they seemed set to do it again and again, but do remember they went into this test with no frontline spinner due to injury, then had a paceman down.

    RandyOz - yeah, until Clarkes overagressive bravado kicks him in the face and you score a horrific loss after he declares behind or something just as silly.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 28, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    England only just avoided being hoisted on their petard. Boycott and Barrington were dropped for slow scoring in the '60's. Why not Trott? England won and one has to be grarefor it but 247 runs was the margin which is 247 times more runs than we needed. Seriously great sides and great leaders can maoevre into small spaces. With England it's more like moving a battleship in a small estuary. I will remain critical until I see that sort of economy of purpose which makes a side win in small spaces because our attack can do it and with KP back the batting should be able to also, if the leadership is so attuned. I want bairstow in for Compton basically because I do want to see the score go backwards, and Bairstow can really give the ball a thump.Entertainment is the business, not sleeping pills.

  • jackthelad on May 28, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    I said at the start of the day, hearing the yapping of a thousand muppets, that Cook has played rather more Tests than the whole of his detractors could muster in their dreams. Perhaps we should allow a professional some professional judgment of situations, and stop trying to pretend we know anything about what it's like in the middle?

  • Stark62 on May 28, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    I think Test cricket is dieing in Eng, hence this will lead to the death of Test cricket too.

    Even on a bank holiday, the crowd numbers were relatively low and the crowds in the sub-continent (where cricket is followed vividly) for Test cricket is pretty much reaching null. Test cricket will be gone by the year 2020 and teams like Nz, WI, Bang and Zimb, don't need to worry about being competitive in Test cricket. Players may love the format but the ££ and $$ signs are all that matter.

    Lastly, Aus will win the Ashes with Warner, Siddle and Pattinson being the stars.

  • EnglishCricket on May 28, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    Well done on the win England. Made us English fans proud and glad that you didn't care about the weather because 7/10 they are usually wrong. This series was pretty boring and England dominating with the bat but this kick starts the exciting Ashes coming up woohoo!!

  • Jadejafan on May 28, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Truth hurts. This same New Zealand team got thrashed by us last year and were clueless against Ashwin. That 0-0 draw was on flat wickets but good thing is New Zealand cannot decide on the pitches in England and was exposed. This same team lost to a team right next to them West Indies last year pretty badly. Good thing is England got this out of the way and the real contest can start the Ashes.

  • yorkshirematt on May 28, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    "Instead, despite having come close to a three-day Test win against an opposition that had the better of the Test series in New Zealand only weeks ago, he found his tactics criticised and condemned." Indeed. Throughout the 90s and early 00s the England captain would have been praised for such tactics if they meant ensuring a rare series win. But those days are thankfully long gone and we expect a much more ruthless England team

  • jackthelad on May 28, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    Dreadful set of decisions by Flower and Cook, of course - strange none of the armchair doubters are about ...

  • on May 28, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    As expected, as easy 2-0 win for England. New Zealand should play teams like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for a while since they were hardly any match especially when the ball moves about against the bigger teams. Not 1 100 from them in this series shows just how much a problem their batting is but bowling is okay. I just hope the Ashes will be a close contest can't wait.

  • RandyOZ on May 28, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Cook's captaincy is a bit of a worry for United XI fans; very cautious and not as aggressive as Clarke, which could prove to be a decider during the Ashes.

  • voma on May 28, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    @Simon Morson , i would of thought it made a lot of sense for Captain Cook to get some more batting practice . New Zealands pace attack is pretty tasty , and Englands batting has looked a bit wobbly .

  • jmcilhinney on May 28, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    @ZachAd on (May 28, 2013, 15:30 GMT), I for one will not be attacking Cook or anyone else if they lose the Ashes simply for losing. The issue here is about tactics and if Cook is poor tactically and that's the reason they lose then I'll have a problem. If they're simply outplayed then, while it will be disappointing, so be it. If England were to lose the series because they drew a match that they should have won as a result of overly-conservative captaincy, then Cook would rightly be criticised. If everything is going to be pre-ordained going into the match then we hardly need a captain at all. If England have hopes of overtaking SA in the ranking then I think that the whole team, but especially Cook, needs to learn to think on their feet much better.

  • whatawicket on May 28, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    everyone has an opinion on should the follow on be used, old cricketing commentators, say they don't know whats happening as if the same thing was not said against them by the like of Fred Trueman. a captain knows how his bowlers are feeling and although he has to have one eye on the weather that cannot be the be end of all. hes new at the captains game and he will grow into it. it must be remembered that Brendon McCullum lost the toss twice and England batted 1st with the NZ skip saying he would have put England in to bat on both occasions so we can have opposite views with skips as well as ex cricketers. just as an add on cook at 28 just how many 100s will this guy finish with i can see him playing another 7/8 years minimum so 45/50 could be on the cards

  • wibblewibble on May 28, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    @brusselslion: "Priory"??? Try "Matty P" if you want to give him his matey name. "Priory" just sounds like he is in rehab!

  • on May 28, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    @JadejaFan, unless you're just trolling, may I ask what it is you feel we're on the decline from? Is it the 45 all out at Cape Town, or the 4-0 whitewash we suffered against Bangladesh in the 2010 ODI's? No, that can't be it, it must be the test series loss we had at home against India in 2009, or the return losses we've had since then against them. Face it, our batting has been a concern for a long time now. It will improve slowly, but to suggest we're on a decline implies we occupied some lofty status in the last 4-5 years. Newsflash, we didn't. We've recently beaten Australia in a test in their backyard, something India failed to do in only catastrophic terms, and beaten Sri Lanka in a test in theirs, objectives we haven't achieved in our recent past prior to 2011. We drew at home against England and should have won the series. We will have plenty of ups and downs, but I'd bet that when India tour NZ, we'll cause your team a lot of problems without Dravid & Sachin to bail you out!!

  • on May 28, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    @ Jadejafan Is that the same Ashwin who destroyed England in India a few months ago?

  • jmcilhinney on May 28, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    I'm not quite sure how your living in Leeds is relevant. The fact is that there were never any guarantees that there would be any play possible today. I, for one, appreciate all the good things that England did during this game but if you really think that all that matters is that they won then you have low expectations. Every team should be looking to improve wherever they can and England themselves have said that they want to be ruthless but they failed to be so here. They gave NZ a good sniff of a draw where none previously existed. They are the #2 team playing at home against #8. If they think they need to set a target of 470 on a pitch that they themselves were concerned about batting last on then they have less faith in the team than those fans you call pathetic. Had they put their minds to it, they could have had the game wrapped up inside three days. Taking less than 10 session to win is obviously impressive but why take 10 when you could do it in 9?

  • Tal_Botvinnik on May 28, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    Wonder what happened to the Ozzie Fans?. #Long time

  • The-Stoat on May 28, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    Looking for positives for NZ, the bowling was great most of the time, a future of Boult, Southee, Wagner, with Matt Henry added in is world class. Williamson bowled well too and showed he could fulfill an all-rounder role, particularly in the shorter forms coming up. Now NZ just need to find some batsmen. It's sad to say, but if we swapped the english bowlers with the NZ bowlers to make two chimera teams, the results wouldn't have been different: english batsmen win 2:0.

  • on May 28, 2013, 15:39 GMT

    @ brusselslion there will always be a place in the England team for KP. England need their strongest team for back-to-back ashes series. So who will be left out from the current squad that has played NZ? Maybe Nick has to go - can Joe Root open the batting? I think so.

  • Optic on May 28, 2013, 15:38 GMT

    Some England fans need to get a grip, so many armchair experts out here shouting the odds about how this and that should have been done. England have spanked NZ and there on here still whinging like children. Sure it wasn't perfect, Trott's go slow was poor and they should have pulled out at lunch yesterday but ateotd they were proved right, we won. I live in Leeds and the fact is that there was always going to be a 2/3 hour window for England to win this thing, just because they haven't done it the way YOU want doesn't matter one jot. I bet there was so called England supporters out there wanting it to rain all day, just so they could say told you so, well those kinds of fans are pathetic tbh.

  • Jadejafan on May 28, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    New Zealand are a weak team now. It looks to me they are going through a decline and 2-0 was expected anyway and so it was. Swann getting 10 wickets shouldn't be a surprise since this ordinary New Zealand team struggles badly against. Hopefully the Ashes series will show a much much better contest than this one-sided series.

  • ZachAd on May 28, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    What a thankless job it is to be an English test captain. Face biting criticism from your own supporters when your team has comprehensively routed the opposition in a test series. God only help Alastair Cook if England lose the Ashes!

  • Jadejafan on May 28, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    New Zealand are a weak team now and series too one-sided and lack of crowd. Wasn't surprised Swann got 10 wickets since this New Zealand team struggle against spin. Hope people haven't forgotten how Ashwin destroyed the same team a year back.

  • JetmansDad on May 28, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Oh for goodness sake 5wombats, just accept that they made a different decision to the one you would have made and won the game handsomely. Unlike you I am only 50 miles from Headingley and have seen barely a raindrop all day. Typical English day really, raining hard in one place, one and off in another and not at all in a third.

    Honestly, they won the game inside three and a half days ... what is there to admit they were wrong about?

  • brusselslion on May 28, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Is there any place for KP in this team? Cooky, Nicky, Trotty, Belly, Rooty, Jonny, Priory, Broady, Swanny, Finny, Jimmy. All trip off the tongue. I'm afraid that Keviny, Pietersony or even KPy just don't work.

  • jmcilhinney on May 28, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    Well played England. They were the better team and deserved to win but, as with some others, I still don't believe that the ends justify the means. They were lucky that the rain held off enough to allow time to take the remaining wickets and, despite some good cricket played, I couldn't give England more than 6/10 for tactics. Those of us who are most vocal about those tactics are so because we believe in the England team; apparently moreso than Cook and Flower, if they believed that England needed to set a target of 470 to be safe.

  • on May 28, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    A lead of 180 isnt that much. Good decision to bat again. I thought his declaration was about 23 minutes too late (ie should have declared at lunch).

  • on May 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Well done Swanny and Finny. Never doubted Alistair Cook's decision to bat into the afternoon yesterday. Never trust the weather forecast in England. Good performance England. Let's keep in going for the Ashes

  • on May 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    You can rest assured that if this had ben England v Australia and England had been in the same position as NZ were, the Aussies would have stuck England in again.. No doubt about it... It's in their nature that once the opposition is down, you tread on their throat and attempt to strangle the life out of them. England, on the other hand, always seem to want to play safe. Cook may well be a great player, but as yet I'd call him a mediocre to poor captain.... although maybe some of that is down to Flower's inflence.. Who knows ?

  • 5wombats on May 28, 2013, 15:00 GMT

    As I post England have just wrapped it up. But I am not happy!!! Listened on TMS again to Trott justifying that 11 off 69 deliveries rubbish he served up at the end of Sunday. No-one is ever going to admit they were wrong in this England team are they? Funny how there was a bit more spring in England's step today wasn't it? Pouring down all day here in London. Just luck that the day was not washed out. Pure luck. The long predicted weather duly arrives and threatens to stop the win and England finally decide to get on with it with some better field placings and the bowlers jogging back to their marks. None of this should have been necessary. It's unseemly. TBH I'm pretty wound up even though England won. I really was hoping it would just lash down all day then I would have liked to have seen the look on Flower and Cooks faces and with the game washed out listen to the reasons why they were right all along. Grrr......

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 28, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Well, credit where credit due: well done England and very well played. Someone pointed out on one of the threads that England's worst critics were their own supporters and the so-called neutrals... Well I'm happy to admit that. I want to see the best teams on the pitch playing and the best cricket played, and that involves tactics and decision making. This was unnecessary 'heart-in-mouth' stuff from England and could very well have backfired on another day of U.K. rain.

  • gimme-a-greentop on May 28, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    All England supporters please feel free to disagree with the following outside perspective, but maybe Cook learned his captaincy at the feet of Strauss, who I thought, after watching closely during various series, was one of the most conservative captains in International cricket (I know Smith has also justly been called that but recently he's had a team that allows him to captain aggressively with little risk). That is not a criticism of Cook either, just sometimes the pressures may lead captains to make safety-first calls. Honestly, who wouldn't? You attack when you are well placed to attack. Eng are already one nil up, so why jeopardise the chances of a series win by allowing NZ a faint glimmer of hope by scoring big in the 2nd innings and then bowling England out cheaply. Small chance with the weather and everything, but there it is. Cook is still a good captain though (and a top player) and they turned around the poor result in NZ, so he should get some credit for that.

  • on May 28, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    England should have enforced the follow-on, and in my view, the only reason they did not is because the captain wanted another opportunity to bat again so he could personally score some runs. Even the English commentators realized this, although they stopped short of calling their captain selfish. Anyway in my opinion, it boils down to simply" selfish Captain Cook," not withstanding England winning the match in the end.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 28, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Excellent captaincy by Cook again, he really has allowed both his bowlers and batsmen to find their feet at the start of the season. Having now completely floored his critics, we must remember what an intelligent captain he is: He knows his players best, better than any fan or critic, and he's proved he gets the best out of him. Swann is impossible not to mention too: The first bowler to take 10 wickets at Headingly since the 1970's. When you watch him bowl, it's like he's still taking 20 wickets in India.

  • drnaveed on May 28, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    if England wins , which seems likely , no one will remember about the blunder committed by the England's think tank, about the decision of not making NZ bat again.

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (May 28, 2013, 13:20 GMT) Not sure Cook/Flower are that bothered about not winning. As I've said before , I think they had another agenda - maybe getting some of our batsmen batting practice which to me is dangerous as it's easy to get into bad habits which could come back and haunt you down the road. I honestly find it hard to believe that if the situation was different - ie a series decider vs Aus or their jobs depending on it that Cook/Flower would not take the weather forecast seriously and either make NZ follow on or bat at a better pace and definitely declare much earlier Cook/Flower always go on about their goal to return to number 1 but if they (potentially) pass up on opportunities to win tests their words seem pretty hollow to me

  • drnaveed on May 28, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    this is a big mistake made by the england's decision makers, but one cannot blame Captain Cook alone for this mistake.they should have kept in mind that this series is not played on a sub-continent pitch, where the weather is extremely hot at times , and also , their front line fast bowlers did have to bowl more than 25 overs or so individually.but rather it is played on their home soil, so they should have known well about the weather there. furthermore, in NZ first innings, the England bowlers just bowled 43.4 overs, of which anderson bowled just 7.4 overs , broad bowled 15 overs and finn bowled 12 overs, so their was also no issues of bowlers been tired .perhaps , at this time the England's management would be all praying that the play should resume soon.yes, England is playing this series against a comparatively weaker side, as per performance in the series so far , but even than a win is a win, and no one wants to draw a test match from a winning position , like England here.

  • Cover_drive_55 on May 28, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    It looks like (not that I like the idea), the focus for Cook and Flower was to have Trott, Compton, Bell and Cook himself to spend more time with the bat before the Ashes. Trott did get some runs and so did Cook.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 28, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Agree with JG2704. What's the use in going on about floodlights and stuff? Cricket should be played to the pitch and conditions given, not the other way around. The weather front hovering over U.K. now was forecast early last week; the only uncertainty was which day (Monday or Tuesday) it would reach Leeds. The follow-on was a no-brainer as there was nothing to lose for England and everything to gain.

    Even if the rain clears for just long enough for a surprise England victory now, it does not change the fact that Cook and Flower still have yellow bellies, to go nicely with Broad's red knees.

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Sorry George - but if England win it will be because Eng's bowlers have bowled so well combined with NZ's batsmen being poor , combined with Cook being lucky with the weather - despite having little regard for the forecast. NZ could well have only been 3 or 4 down by now on another day and in that case you'd make them favourites to save the game. If England had made NZ follow on does anyone on these threads realistically think NZ would have scored 350+ AND bowled England out for less than 170?

    I'll give the team (esp the bowlers) every credit if they win the game but not Cook for his decision making which even now has given NZ a sniff of saving the game

  • DingDong420 on May 28, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    should have followed on having bowled only 40 overs. Especially with Swann in fine form

  • DingDong420 on May 28, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    should have followed on having bowled only 40 overs. Especially with Swann in fine form

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Sorry George - but if England win it will be because Eng's bowlers have bowled so well combined with NZ's batsmen being poor , combined with Cook being lucky with the weather - despite having little regard for the forecast. NZ could well have only been 3 or 4 down by now on another day and in that case you'd make them favourites to save the game. If England had made NZ follow on does anyone on these threads realistically think NZ would have scored 350+ AND bowled England out for less than 170?

    I'll give the team (esp the bowlers) every credit if they win the game but not Cook for his decision making which even now has given NZ a sniff of saving the game

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on May 28, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    Agree with JG2704. What's the use in going on about floodlights and stuff? Cricket should be played to the pitch and conditions given, not the other way around. The weather front hovering over U.K. now was forecast early last week; the only uncertainty was which day (Monday or Tuesday) it would reach Leeds. The follow-on was a no-brainer as there was nothing to lose for England and everything to gain.

    Even if the rain clears for just long enough for a surprise England victory now, it does not change the fact that Cook and Flower still have yellow bellies, to go nicely with Broad's red knees.

  • Cover_drive_55 on May 28, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    It looks like (not that I like the idea), the focus for Cook and Flower was to have Trott, Compton, Bell and Cook himself to spend more time with the bat before the Ashes. Trott did get some runs and so did Cook.

  • drnaveed on May 28, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    this is a big mistake made by the england's decision makers, but one cannot blame Captain Cook alone for this mistake.they should have kept in mind that this series is not played on a sub-continent pitch, where the weather is extremely hot at times , and also , their front line fast bowlers did have to bowl more than 25 overs or so individually.but rather it is played on their home soil, so they should have known well about the weather there. furthermore, in NZ first innings, the England bowlers just bowled 43.4 overs, of which anderson bowled just 7.4 overs , broad bowled 15 overs and finn bowled 12 overs, so their was also no issues of bowlers been tired .perhaps , at this time the England's management would be all praying that the play should resume soon.yes, England is playing this series against a comparatively weaker side, as per performance in the series so far , but even than a win is a win, and no one wants to draw a test match from a winning position , like England here.

  • JG2704 on May 28, 2013, 14:07 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (May 28, 2013, 13:20 GMT) Not sure Cook/Flower are that bothered about not winning. As I've said before , I think they had another agenda - maybe getting some of our batsmen batting practice which to me is dangerous as it's easy to get into bad habits which could come back and haunt you down the road. I honestly find it hard to believe that if the situation was different - ie a series decider vs Aus or their jobs depending on it that Cook/Flower would not take the weather forecast seriously and either make NZ follow on or bat at a better pace and definitely declare much earlier Cook/Flower always go on about their goal to return to number 1 but if they (potentially) pass up on opportunities to win tests their words seem pretty hollow to me

  • drnaveed on May 28, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    if England wins , which seems likely , no one will remember about the blunder committed by the England's think tank, about the decision of not making NZ bat again.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on May 28, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Excellent captaincy by Cook again, he really has allowed both his bowlers and batsmen to find their feet at the start of the season. Having now completely floored his critics, we must remember what an intelligent captain he is: He knows his players best, better than any fan or critic, and he's proved he gets the best out of him. Swann is impossible not to mention too: The first bowler to take 10 wickets at Headingly since the 1970's. When you watch him bowl, it's like he's still taking 20 wickets in India.

  • on May 28, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    England should have enforced the follow-on, and in my view, the only reason they did not is because the captain wanted another opportunity to bat again so he could personally score some runs. Even the English commentators realized this, although they stopped short of calling their captain selfish. Anyway in my opinion, it boils down to simply" selfish Captain Cook," not withstanding England winning the match in the end.

  • gimme-a-greentop on May 28, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    All England supporters please feel free to disagree with the following outside perspective, but maybe Cook learned his captaincy at the feet of Strauss, who I thought, after watching closely during various series, was one of the most conservative captains in International cricket (I know Smith has also justly been called that but recently he's had a team that allows him to captain aggressively with little risk). That is not a criticism of Cook either, just sometimes the pressures may lead captains to make safety-first calls. Honestly, who wouldn't? You attack when you are well placed to attack. Eng are already one nil up, so why jeopardise the chances of a series win by allowing NZ a faint glimmer of hope by scoring big in the 2nd innings and then bowling England out cheaply. Small chance with the weather and everything, but there it is. Cook is still a good captain though (and a top player) and they turned around the poor result in NZ, so he should get some credit for that.