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June 21, 2008
"This is how Chris Tremlett should bowl" of the day
By his own candid admission to Cricinfo earlier in the season, Chris Tremlett is not the angry bowler the public yearns for. Yet in the 13th over of the innings, he produced the sort of lifting snorter that you might expect from a fast bowler of 6ft 8in; the type of bouncer Tremlett should be producing more regularly, you might argue. Scott Styris was the unwitting victim, trying to get out of the way but the ball followed his hands like a magnet. Tremlett's venom and accuracy was assisted by his pace: he rarely dropped below 84mph, giving every indication that the Tremlett jigsaw might be coming together at just the right time. If he can stay fit, that is.
Ironic music of the day
Not even the most hard-nosed of England supporters can not feel some degree of sympathy towards New Zealand during this tour. Frequent injuries to vital players have left them cruelly exposed, while good sessions or promising spells simply have been as rare as hen's teeth. Still, there's no need to mock, is there? Poor old Scott Stryis trudged back to the pavilion for 4, the gloomy Gloucestershire light aptly reflecting his and the team's grim position, while the loudspeakers blared Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.The irony was lost on the batsman, and not even AC/DC's rousing Back in Black could rectify New Zealand's middle-order muddle.
Bowler of the day
It is almost becoming predictable to write about Stuart Broad. Yes, he appears like a proper, orthodox batsman at No.8 as his 64 in the Trent Bridge Test helped demonstrate. Granted, he is fast and straight and impressively accurate with the ball given his inexperience. Oh, and despite his height, he's also slick in the field. But is he all that? Well, the signs are increasingly promising from an England perspective, and at Bristol today he turned in his most economical spell. In 10 overs, he conceded just 14 runs, picking up two wickets. Jamie How was bowled attempting to pull, while Ross Taylor - who barely resembled the swashbuckler of a few weeks ago when he hit 154 at Old Trafford - attempted a wild flay and was also bowled. It was the most economical 10-over spell by an England bowler since Michael Yardy's 0 for 18 in 2006.
Poor strokes of the day
That there were so many to choose from probably sums up both teams' efforts with the bat, pootling along at the sort of run-rate at which even Test crowds would slow-clap their disapproval. Taylor earns the first gong for his careless drive against Broad, who had sent the previous two deliveries wider of the crease. The sucker punch was full, straight and Taylor splayed his stumps with a thick inside edge to leave New Zealand tottering on 42 for 4. Daniel Flynn applied Boycott-like solidity in his 26-ball 2, but just when he appeared to be quite settled, he pulled a full toss to mid-on. England joined in too. Ravi Bopara wasted a promising start on 27, slapping to a diving Jamie How at backward point, while Owais Shah's loose flap to slip left England stuttering on 64 for 5.
"League" cricketer of the day
Speaking of Boycott, Geoffrey (accurately or unfairly, depending on your allegiance) labelled New Zealand's top-order league cricketers during the Test series. However, it was a league cricketer who spared New Zealand's blushes in their innings, bolstering their total to 182 when, at one point, even reaching 100 seemed a tall ask. Grant Elliott was plucked from Weybridge in the Surrey Championship to make his debut at Edgbaston on Wednesday, and today showed his ability with the bat in making 56 from 102 balls. The league's loss is most certainly New Zealand's gain.