England in New Zealand 2012-13 March 27, 2013

Fulton, McCullum and Prior lead honours

England and New Zealand marks out of ten, for the Test series held in New Zealand



Matt Prior
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.


Nick Compton
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.


Jonathan Trott
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.

Ian Bell
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.

Stuart Broad
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.


Alastair Cook
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.


Kevin Pietersen
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.

Joe Root
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.

Steven Finn
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.

James Anderson
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.


Monty Panesar
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.


Jonny Bairstow
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.

New Zealand


Peter Fulton
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.

Brendon McCullum
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.


Trent Boult
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.


Tim Southee
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.

Hamish Rutherford
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.

Kane Williamson
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.

Neil Wagner
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.

BJ Watling
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.


Bruce Martin
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.


Ross Taylor
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.

Dean Brownlie
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 ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alistair on March 28, 2013, 10:43 GMT

    Pretty good assessment I reckon. Maybe Trott and Bell could have been 6s as they each only played to potential about once. I think the overall marks for NZ are higher which reflects reality, they played above what anyone thought they had in them, England well below what most unbiased judges would expect - hence, NZ come out with much more credit. Looking at the three tests, NZ were better in 2 but only looked like winning the third, England much better in the 2nd and looked like winning that. So perhaps the right result would have been 1-1. But bizarrely, while 0-0 looked like a disaster for England before the tour (hence their obvious, although denied, complacency) they'll go away feeling chastened but relieved, NZ, for whom 0-0 would have felt like a triumph before the series, will feel pretty disappointed! All of which is why we carry on following sport, for its capacity to surprise as well as inspire.

  • j on March 28, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    England were undercooked with hardly any proper 1st class warm up games and regardless of what they say didnt take NZ seriously, despite the fact they are a tough side at home. Cook will learn from this tour.

  • Owen on March 27, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    'Joe Root needs to develop as a natural short leg' ???? You don't develop into a natural (insert any occupation), you start out as a natural and develop from there! All in all though, slightly too high marks for some of the English players i reckon.

  • Michael on March 27, 2013, 16:12 GMT

    Fairly realistic appraisals throughout this assessment. Cook really needs to learn a few ticks as captain because he was totally outcaptained by McCullum who showed touches of brilliance-Williamson in the closing overs of Aukland was a masterstroke. Cook just seems to captain from the manual of 'Conservative Captaincy for Beginners.' Even Strauss might have started yawning. The Aukland insertion was incomprehensible and he was rescued in the end-a drought across NZ should have started alarm bells ringing,as well as a brown pitch. The rapid reduction of the slip cordon each innings was pathetic and antiresourceful and the use of sweepers in the first 50 overs of a Test innings should be illegal! Dreadful. Hunches, intuitions and a desrire to attack at all costs marked his opposite number. Cook needs to learn that. There is little to suggest that Prior would not be that.

  • John on March 27, 2013, 12:43 GMT

    @Mitchell Burke: Prior and De Villiers have both played enough tests to have accurate averages: Prior 45, ABD 50, so the difference is 5 runs an innings, not 10, and the majority of ABD's runs have come when he hasn't been W/K. As W/Ks there's no comparison. Prior's a wicket-keeper, ABD's a long-stop.

    If your side needs a batsman who can catch the ball standing back, ABD's your man. If your side needs a W/K who is also a top class bat, then Prior's it. Both England and SA seem to have what they need at the moment. How long ABD's back will hold out is another matter.

  • John on March 27, 2013, 12:25 GMT

    The marks are a bit generous to England. I'd mark everybody except Prior, who I thought was outstanding, down one point. NZ pretty much spot-on, with Fulton, McCullum and Boult being the top performers.

    With regard to captaincy, it's odd that a captain as attacking as McCullum probably cost NZ the win and the series in the 3rd test by delaying the declaration too long. Once NZ were further ahead than anyone has ever made to win a test, that should have been enough, but instead he batted for another half-hour. Fancy Monty to last another half-hour at the end? No, nor me.

    For England, the two players who are consistently bashed in these forums, Bell and Broad. showed again why they belong. Broad got more wickets at a better average than Anderson and Finn and batted for 2 hours, as opposed to 2 balls, in the crunch. Bell played one of the great rearguard innings to help save the game- something he has done before.

  • John on March 27, 2013, 10:33 GMT

    Re NZ - as I said there are cases for players being marked up. I think esp Boult and Southee who performed on mostly batting friendly pitches could have been marked 9 and 8 respectively. Re Southee -I presume the Author means "Unlucky" rather than lucky re the 1st 2 tests.

    @christy29 on (March 27, 2013, 9:33 GMT) I think Martin's figures were flattering due to the way Eng played him. They were either played him with contempt or showed too much respect. Thought Wagner was a solid performer. I definitely don't think he was marked too high.And even in the final test/inns he took the wicket of Bell who looked unmoveable at the crease and at the time most fans would have had that as a pivotal moment with NZ going on to win

  • christy on March 27, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    I think Wagner and Bruce Martin's mark are too high, Couldn't deliver when we needed and didn't look incisive against good batsmen. I think Jesse Ryder should come in for brownlie, Mclenagan for wagner and Vettori in for Martin and a variation is dropping Brownlie to bring in a pace bowler like Gillespie or Bracewell. My 2 cents

  • Dummy4 on March 27, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    do you think ab de villiers would give prior a run for best wkb in test atm? probably a better bat at least, 10 runs/innings i'd say.