England in New Zealand 2012-13 February 24, 2013

Giles pleased with comeback win

ESPNcricinfo staff

With England's focus switching to Test cricket for the final leg of the New Zealand tour, Ashley Giles, the limited-overs coach, was able to reflect on the end of his brief with some satisfaction. New Zealand may not be ranked among the toughest opponents in the world but two series wins, including a comeback from 1-0 down in the ODIs, represented a positive conclusion to Giles' first two months in the job.

Giles took over from Andy Flower in the short formats in January and began his reign with a 3-2 defeat in India. In the opening match, England managed to beat India at home in an ODI for the first time in 14 attempts and, although the series was lost, there were encouraging signs in traditionally inhospitable conditions - particularly as key players such as Jonathan Trott, James Anderson and Graeme Swann were rested.

When England were beaten in the first match in Hamilton last Sunday, it stretched their run of defeats against New Zealand to five in a row, but they came back strongly to claim a first ODI series win in the country since 1992. The performances of the bowlers, in particular Steven Finn and the returning Anderson, as well as further evidence of Joe Root's rapid progress, brought impressive wins in Napier and Auckland and means Giles can return to England confident that he has the squad to mount a challenge during the Champions Trophy.

"We always knew India would be a difficult challenge. [Losing] 3-2, you can't say it was a good result but it's better than results of late there," Giles said. "There were some positive signs from a side that probably didn't have our most senior players in it.

"Coming here, we knew New Zealand would be very difficult to beat, on their home soil. They like to play it up that they're always the underdogs, even here. But they play a very tough form of cricket, and have some very good cricketers. So to win both series is great for me, and the team have worked very hard as well."

In conditions not dissimilar to those likely to be encountered during the Champions Trophy, to be played in England in June, Anderson and Finn collected 12 wickets between them and both managed impressive economy rates of less than four. Perhaps more importantly, as England look to balance their one-day side with a seamer who can also bat at No. 7, Chris Woakes claimed six wickets at 22.66. Finn also successfully trialled a new, shortened run-up, in an attempt to cure his stump-kicking problem, which appeared to augment his pace and control.

"To have gone 1-0 down in this series and come back and win it is very impressive," Giles said. "The performances, particularly with the ball in the last two games, have been outstanding. Steven Finn, in this last match, was fantastic. He and Anderson are going to be a handful."

The only New Zealand player to consistently hurt England's attack was Brendon McCullum, who hit three blistering half-centuries. Such was the force of his batting, however, he sustained a side strain during the final ODI. Although he is expected to be first for the first Test, starting on March 6, the question of who might lead the side in the case of McCullum's enforced absence has reopened the vexed issue of the captaincy, which was removed from Ross Taylor in controversial circumstances last year.

Taylor subsequently opted out of the tour of South Africa, where Kane Williamson was reportedly named as McCullum's Test back-up. However, speaking after the announcement of the Test squad, the coach, Mike Hesson, said that there was no official vice-captain. "We've got a leadership group of three and we haven't formed that leadership group for this series," Hesson was quoted as saying by Fairfax, adding that a decision on who might step in for McCullum would be made when the squad convened in Dunedin on March 3.

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  • John on February 27, 2013, 11:50 GMT

    I'm cheering on Phil Hughes to make a big score. That way he stays in the team for the Ashes. Unfortunately it doesn't look to good after the first test. Maybe one of the counties can sign him up for the early part of the season again? lol

  • Shanmugam on February 26, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    @LePom, I agree. I, for one, am cheering the Indian team. I hope they soften 'em up before they land on our shores. Aus. fans were ecstatic that they also beat India 4-0 at home and it was not a big deal. Now, let's see if they are good enough to replicate Eng.'s performance in India. I think it will be a long tour for Aus. I just hope they don't lose a few players to injury after such an arduous tour. Otherwise, they would use that as an excuse for the thrashing they will receive at our hands this summer:-)

    Jokes apart, I think Aus. would give us a good run for our money in Eng. Their spinner may be a joke but their pacemen are quite good and if they are all fit, it is going to be tough for our batsmen. The bigger problem for Aus. in Eng. is the quality (or lack of) of their batsmen. To face Anderson and Finn in Eng. in cloudy conditions would be a big test of their skill. Swann also would be licking his lips in the anticipation of bowling to the lefties in their team.

  • Peter on February 26, 2013, 2:53 GMT

    Lmaotsetung - good point. I guess most Indian fans don't get the fact that most English fans will be cheering the Indian team on at the moment, if only for the sake of the discomfort the thrashing will give the likes of RandyOZ.

  • Peter on February 26, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    @ xylo - How good are South Africa at present? N.Z. without Ross Taylor just beat them in South Africa in a 1 day series (almost managed a white wash too).

    So, if NZ beat S.A. with what, by your logic, is their D side (and away from home), either S.A. are completely useless, or NZ are better than you are giving them credit for (which makes England better than you are giving them credit for as well).

    The answer is of course the latter. The schedule in NZ is a pretty tough one for a touring team. There was only about a day gap between the last T20 and the first 1dayer, and, with England having substantially different teams for both formats, it was inevitable that there would be some players coming in underprepared, and that the whole team would take some time to gel.

    N.Z. took their opportunity pretty well in the first game, but it was always going to be their best chance of a win in that format.

  • Sean on February 25, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    Yep was a good achievement by England. Happy days

  • GeoffreysMother on February 25, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    If you are a cricket fan first and a national supported second we should be happy that the two series (if not the games) were close. Given it's small player pool it is a shame that injuries to Guptill, McClenagan and Soutee and Taylor being rusty did not make it an even closer series.

  • Shanmugam on February 25, 2013, 5:16 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, "Why are people like you so determined that others feel no pleasure at their team winning?" Exactly. I can understand someone placing their team in a pedestal when they win? I can even comprehend, to some extent, why someone would talk low of their opposition? Although these are not good thoughts, they are still understandable. But, why would these so-called "neutrals" try to ensure that Eng. fans feel no pleasure when we win is beyond me. If anything, after two "dark' decades. namely the 80s and 90s, it was only since the 2000s did we start to experience wins in a consistent basis. Why should we not be elated when our team wins? Why should our elation matter to these guys?

  • John on February 25, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    A team, B team , C team, Z Team....common term used by Indian fans to explain their team's pathetic performances. Your tears feed my joy in knowing it still hurts after the whitewash pf almost 2 years ago and the recent 2-1 test win on Indian soil!!!

  • John on February 25, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    @xylo on (February 25, 2013, 2:35 GMT), given that we've heard pretty much no excuses coming from NZ fans, I'm guessing that you are a "neutral" who is bitter that their team has performed so poorly against England of late. As far as I'm aware, the only major omission from the NZ side in the first game was Jesse Ryder and he is out for a reason. That was easily offset by England's omission of KP though, so get over it. Why are people like you so determined that others feel no pleasure at their team winning? Is it because yours wins so infrequently that you don;t get to feel much pleasure yourself?

  • Martin on February 25, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    @xylo if that was a B team in game one can you give me the names of the eleven better players that would have made up the A team, and if it was a C team for games 2 and 3 the names of the twenty two better players that would have played in front of them ?


    didn't think so.

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