New Zealand v England, 3rd ODI, Auckland

New Zealand 'rooted'

Joe Root's excellent run, together with an impressive performance from England's seamers, have left New Zealand outplayed and outgunned again

Iain O'Brien

February 23, 2013

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Joe Root again saw England home, New Zealand v England, 3rd ODI, Auckland, February 23, 2013
Joe Root has stood out for England © Getty Images
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'Rooted', a word in New Zealand parlance that has several meanings. The more savoury one is "something broken, or has been broken". New Zealand have been rooted among other things; in this instance by a baby faced 22-year-old.

With scores of 56 and 79 not out in the first two ODI's and being the first player to have six consecutive scores of 30-plus starting with his debut, Joe Root stood out, and rightly so, to the New Zealand crowd who hadn't seen him bat and dash about the field. He was denied a seventh 30-plus score on the trot (28 not out) only because New Zealand didn't score enough in the second innings to leave him the runs to do so. Although, had he waited for the ball to roll over the boundary and not touched down for the completed final single, it would have been scored as a four and he would have kept his 30-plus run alive. The quirks of the game.

Root has time, he has a plan and, most importantly, he has a level head that belies his age. He rotates the strike, he can hit a boundary, when needed, and can happily switch back and forth between the aggressor and the nudger.

In the same way a young Root has had success with the bat in this series, the slightly older Steven Finn has been fiery and controlled and been a star at the top of the innings with the ball. Together with James Anderson, haven't let New Zealand take advantage of the Powerplay - 18 for 1, 21 for 2, and 32-1 in three games - and have taken wickets to compound the run-rate issues New Zealand have had. Finn has shortened his run-up and looks a little more in control of his limbs at jump and delivery. Pace and bounce have been his most important allies and the pitches have suited him throughout.

New Zealand played the latest ODI, perceivably, with a lack of real commitment; it was as if they were resigned to being on the wrong side of the ledger after losing the toss and being inserted. Weak dismissals punctuated the batting innings, and maybe New Zealand were lucky to catch the England team's ODI replacements on the hope in the first ODI in Hamilton.

The replacements from the Twenty20 series were based in Hamilton before start of the series, but had no opportunity for a warm-up hit-out, only use of the practice facilities at Seddon Park. Coming in cold to any series has been the burden of the New Zealand team; it has also been the case on recent overseas tours and they have equally not performed in the early international matches.

Brendon McCullum seems to have found his rhythm with the bat. The two new balls that are used in each innings means he is more valuable down the order when the ball is older, still hard, but not swinging or seaming as much as they tend to at the top of the innings. The captain has been allowed to "get in" and then get destructive. His best was in Napier during a partnership with the ex-captain Ross Taylor. McCullum pasted the England bowlers for 74 from 36 balls in an innings that New Zealand fans will feel typifies the belligerent batsman; as a finisher.

Taylor, after a tough start back into international cricket in the T20 series, found his feet in the first ODI and took that form into the second. A revitalising hundred in front of his home crowd took New Zealand to a score (269) that was never going to be totally secure, but would give them a chance if they took a wickets early. They didn't. On a side note the perceived awkwardness of the McCullum - Taylor relationship looked a thing of the past. They enjoyed a rollicking partnership in Napier and seeing Taylor chasing a dismissed McCullum to congratulate him on his innings was pleasing to see.

Tim Southee's comeback, two games earlier than expected, having replaced the injured Mitchell McClenaghan (side strain), showed positive signs after an eight week lay-off during which he needed surgery on his left thumb from a fielding incident in a domestic match. Southee was lined up for a Test return and has impressed to the point where it's hard to tell if he has had a break at all; straight back in and having success. Good sign for him ahead of the three Test series.

New Zealand have been outplayed, and outgunned, in the last two ODIs and it's hard to see the Test series being much different.

Fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests for New Zealand in the second half of the 2000s

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Posted by ygkd on (February 24, 2013, 21:47 GMT)

I think it would be fair to say that NZ's batting has recently been more of a problem than it's bowling. Given that, chasing leather courtesy of Joe Root would probably not have been high on their list of potential worries. As a result of Root's success, NZ's wicket-taking potential is now more questionable than before. The Blackcaps really need a fit and firing Tim Southee, for taking wickets is essential. The comment by @raveekoomar makes a similar sort of point.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 24, 2013, 3:45 GMT)

@ygkd on (February 24, 2013, 3:05 GMT), exactly what are you basing your assessment that he is not that good on? Root has looked as much at home as any other England batsman and as a team they are ranked #2 in ODIs. He also looked at home in India in conditions that England have generally struggled in. Root's domestic numbers aren't spectacular but I think that everyone would agree that Root has performed above those numbers so far and has simply taken to international cricket like a duck to water. I think that Root's success is much more of a reflection of him as a player and a person than of the state of NZ cricket.

Posted by ygkd on (February 24, 2013, 3:05 GMT)

The sad reality that Joe Root is good but nowhere near that good. Unfortunately, that doesn't say much for the state of Kiwi cricket.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 23, 2013, 19:57 GMT)

@Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 23, 2013, 17:11 GMT), Ryder said that he was going to stay out of international cricket for a full year and has rightly decided that, even though things seem to be going well, he will stick to that plan. There might be a temptation to come back as soon as things feel right but it's better to let them feel right for a period of time so that that becomes the norm. If things go awry for Ryder again then presumably that would be the end of his career so it's worth being extra careful. I believe that he is looking at returning for NZ on the return tour of England. Quite what form that will take if he's playing IPL I don't know. Presumably he won't be available for the whole tour. Test matches to be played first so he may only be there for the ODIs, if at all.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:17 GMT)

No. Jesse Ryder said he was not going to come back for this series. He is focusing on the IPL for his comeback.

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (February 23, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

I thought NZ were going to bring Jesse Ryder back for this series, what happened? They could use him at the top of the order.

England win, but the first game showed NZ can be competitive and shouldn't be written off completely

Posted by raveekoomar on (February 23, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

The Kiwis seem to be over-reliant on just Ross and/or Brendon. Though their batting either individually or collectively can few times make them escape in a T20 or one dayer, its hard to see the Kiwis reeling without fast bowling options. They are sorely missing someone like Bond and Vettori. Who can take wickets and stop the flow of runs. Batsman can set up the games but its the bowlers who really need to take wickets. India learnt it during the early 2000's slowly some bowlers are picking up wickets then and their combo worked sometimes. Now where is NZ without Bond or Vettori? Surely some soul searching or looking for university talents can do some reversal i guess. Whichever way bowlers win matches. Batsmen are always demigods but its the bowler who sets up a batsman and if he picks up 3-4 wickets the team is bound to win, no matter what.

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Iain O'Brien Former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests in the second half of the 2000s
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