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England and New Zealand marks out of ten, for the Test series held in New Zealand
March 27, 2013
Outstanding in every department. Rarely made a mistake with the gloves, and is a world-class batsman in his own right. The match-saving hundred was a fitting denouement to a series which has elevated him to the top of his trade. He is the heartbeat of the team, a vital lieutenant for Cook, and has rightly been promoted to vice-captain.
Started the series needing to show he could convert starts into substantial scores and left, on the back of two hundreds, knowing he will open in the Ashes. Having started with a duck he responded impressively with a gutsy ton in Dunedin, and then looked fair more at ease in Wellington. Remains an intense cricketer, but fully deserves his success having done the hard yards on the domestic scene. The home Ashes will define his career.
He remains extremely consistent as the rock at No. 3, which made his wild drive in the second innings in Auckland all the more surprising. His hundred in Wellington felt inevitable by the time he reached double figures, and he never looked in trouble during any of his innings. Has settled into the slip cordon and remains useful for a few overs of medium pace.
Rescued an ordinary series with his final innings. When he bats for six hours with such determination, the soft shots he played in Dunedin and Wellington become even more frustrating for England. Sometimes feels the need to dominate too much, whereas in reality if he just bats time the runs will flow. Remains one of England's best fielders.
A good comeback to the Test fold after a difficult tour of India. His six-wicket haul in Wellington was high-quality Test bowling, a return to the full length and lively pace that has often brought him rewards. His on-field demeanour is not always the most pleasing when things don't go his way, but England are a better team with an in-form Broad. Showed amazing self-restraint in his 77-ball 6 in the final innings, and that should prove to him that he is better than a hit-and-hope batsman.
It was a curious series for the England captain, which included three unusually loose dismissals with his one substantial score being the second-innings hundred in Dunedin. His decision at the toss in Auckland will be bracketed alongside Nasser Hussain in Brisbane. Remains an evolving captain, and is not inclined to over attack, much in the way of his predecessor Andrew Strauss.
He never found form before leaving the tour early due to a knee injury. Troubled by Neil Wagner early in the trip, his half-century in Wellington was a scratchy affair, but grinding out runs when not at your best is a skill. England need a fit and focused Pietersen for the challenges ahead.
The dream start to international cricket was always going to slow at some point. It came in the first two Tests here, but that wasn't helped by being run-out in Dunedin. In Auckland, though, he produced a brace of fighting innings; in the first he was left with the tail and in the second was trapped by an excellent delivery. Must keep working on his offspin, and develop as a natural short leg.
An inconsistent series for Finn after impressing in the one-day matches. Struggled to find the ideal length for the pitches on offer, and provided release deliveries for the batsmen. His six-wicket haul in Auckland flattered him, but compensated for the days when reward isn't gained. The short run-up remains a work in progress. His batting was a notable plus.
Not the happiest time for Anderson, who struggled to produce the swing expected of him. Remained a threat, but often appeared frustrated by his lot, and there were lingering concerns about his fitness. Ended the series two wickets short of 300. Lord's, in May, would be a fitting place to complete that milestone.
Thrust into the main spinner's role after Graeme Swann's departure due to injury, Panesar did not look the confident, chipper performer who had been so impressive in India. Contained effectively, but did not provide much threat. Reinforced the view he is not comfortable with the No. 1 role and is negated by pitches without bounce to help him. His five-ball innings at the end was the highlight of his series.
Difficult to mark. Incredibly tough situation for him having had one first-class innings in seven months. Unsurprisingly struggled, with an lbw in the first innings, followed by a prod to slip in the second. Needs to be allowed to play plenty of first-class cricket.
One of cricket's great comeback stories. Out of Tests for four years, then signs off his return series with back-to-back hundreds. Was rarely elegant, but that doesn't matter. Showed some brutal strength in the second innings in Auckland, and he clearly took the England attack, who did not adjust to him, by surprise. Savouring every moment of his belated second chance at Test level, he has earned himself a lengthy run.
It was an outstanding series for the captain. He led with passion and a sense of endeavour which is not always seen by modern captains. Streets ahead of Alastair Cook in terms of his intent. Was able to play his natural game at No. 6, although he is too good not to be contributing more hundreds to the cause. One of the abiding memories of the series will be McCullum limping between overs on the final day, so desperate to stay out and show his team the way.
If there were any doubts about his position they were silenced at Eden Park with a career-best 6 for 68. Swung the ball late, attacked the stumps and, like the other two, ran in all day for his captain. Appeared to put on a yard of pace as the series progressed. Left-arm seamers are priceless for any captain, and McCullum is fortunate to have a substantial crop at his disposal.
Impressive in the final Test, before he ran out of steam at the very end, and a little lucky in the previous two matches. He produced a high-class display of swing bowling on the third day at Eden Park which left some of the England batsmen unsure how to play him. Consistency remains the issue. Batted with more common sense in the final match.
Faded somewhat after a spectacular start with his 171 in Dunedin, but has the temperament to succeed consistently at Test level. Strong through the off side although needs to reign in his desire to chase everything wide. Sometimes looks uncomfortable against the short ball, but is happy to take a blow instead of risking dismissal.
A solid series of development for Williamson, who showed signs of settling into the No. 3 role. His 91 in the final Test was a classy innings, and the back-foot drive, one of his signature shots, shows his pedigree. His offspin became an unexpected threat in the final innings of the series and with New Zealand now fielding a four-man attack, it is an area of his game that makes him even more valuable.
A lion-hearted performer who was unsure of his place before the series began. Enjoys a heated battle with the batsmen, and played a key part in giving Kevin Pietersen a difficult start to the tour. Produced some excellent spells around the wicket, particularly in the final Test, which England's batsmen found difficult to cope with.
Had an understated and effective series behind the stumps, although his keeping still needs refining. Produced a gutsy half-century in Wellington which took valuable time out of the match before the weather arrived. Has warded off the attentions of Luke Ronchi for the time being.
Made a terrific start in the first two Tests with nine wickets, but couldn't add to his tally in the decider. Buys his scalps through subtle of changes of pace rather than any great turn, but he isn't afraid to give the ball a rip. A useful lower-order batsman. No reason why he shouldn't go to England even if Daniel Vettori is fit.
Still doesn't look settled after the fallout with Mike Hesson and was never fluent. Tendency to play across the line early in his innings. New Zealand can't afford for him to drift, but perhaps the end of the season will allow him to draw a line under everything that has happened. A very reliable slip fielder.
Made a start in each innings but could not convert into anything substantial. After the progress he made in South Africa this series was a little backward step. Could be the batsman under pressure if there is any tinkering in the order.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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