NZ XI v Eng XI, Tour match, Queenstown, 3rd day

Prior, Swann stretch England's lead

Andrew McGlashan in Queenstown

March 1, 2013

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

England 256 for 9 (Prior 68, Gillespie 4-87) and 426 lead New Zealand XI 349 for 7 dec (Rutherford 90, Anderson 67, Watling 66*, Brownlie 63) by 333 runs

Nick Compton gloved a pull shot to fall for 1, New Zealand XI v England XI, Tour match, Queenstown, 3rd day, March 1, 2013
Nick Compton gloved a pull against Mark Gillespie in the first over after lunch © Getty Images
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England's top order produced another uncertain display in Queenstown leaving some of the batsmen short of time ahead of the Test series to follow a poor morning with the ball which allowed the New Zealand XI to score at six-an-over.

Nick Compton and Kevin Pietersen could not make substantial contributions for the second time in the match. It was left to Matt Prior and later, an aggressive Graeme Swann in a 60-run partnership with Ian Bell, to ensure that England did not stumble completely in their attempt to set a matchwinning lead following Tom Latham's aggressive pre-lunch declaration. By the close of play, England had a strong advantage of 333 to set up an interesting final day.

Compton is entering a crucial Test series on a personal level. He needs to kick-on from the solid performances in India and show he can convert starts into match-dominating scores. On a gentle surface, although one on which the New Zealand XI bowlers, especially Neil Wagner, found more help than their England counterparts, there was a good chance for Compton to ease any nervousness. But he gloved a pull against Mark Gillespie in the first over after lunch.

Kevin Pietersen will shrug off his lack of time in the middle. He played one cracking square drive before pulling Wagner down the leg side where BJ Watling took an excellent catch. Jonathan Trott, however, was more visibly frustrated at his failure at an extended stay - nibbling outside off against Gillespie - and could be heard berating himself as he walked back.

There are no concerns over Alastair Cook, so his run out, in the bigger picture, was not a worry but more a quirk as it came soon after the first such dismissal of his first-class career - his run out in the Kolkata Test. He did not appear worried.

Prior, pushed up the order to No. 5, played with the fluency that makes him so watchable as he collected 11 boundaries in a brisk 68. His keenness to attack anything outside off ended his innings when he edged Wagner, the left-arm quick moving into pole position to take the final place in New Zealand's Test squad.

Wagner bowled sharply during the afternoon and England's play against his short-pitched bowling was not always convincing. Gillespie's aggressive late spell that accounted for Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad - the latter fending a short ball to gully - to take his haul to four may have come too late.

Before lunch, the home side had raced along after the second new-ball was taken. Latham, the New Zealand captain, however, closed the innings at 349 for 7 and kept the match very open.

England's bowling was profligate, particularly from Graham Onions, who returned with figures of 1 for 131 from 22 overs. And that wicket only came when Corey Anderson, the Canterbury allrounder, who had belted 67 off 62, including 22 off one of Onions' overs, clubbed to mid-on.

Onions had problems with his delivery stride, sending down five no-balls in six overs, as he drifted further from Test match contention. Broad, who had already moved very close to securing that position, wasn't without faults either as he conceded nearly a run-a-ball to somewhat dent his solid figures from previous day.

A considerable amount of damage to the bowling figures was done by Anderson despite a side strain he picked up on the opening day that ruled him out of bowling for the rest of the game. He was quick onto the pull (for which there were plenty of opportunities to play) and dispatched Onions for a six into the only stand at the ground. In total, 58 of his runs came in boundaries.

Watling, the Test wicketkeeper, was a steady partner in a rollicking stand of 105 in 18 overs and, like Dean Brownlie and Hamish Rutherford, will take confidence into the Test match.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 2, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

@zenboomerang - you have to consider what Prior has done on the domestic scene too I saw him a couple of times in the BB and he didn't look overly impressive. If Jos or whoever is doing a better job in the domestic game and is doing ok in the international arena , would you not say it's a risk bringing back a keeper who has not done that brilliantly in his previous long stint? I would say to give Wright a go at 3 in the ODIs and he is kind of in the same boat. The one difference is that he has been immense for Sussex and has shown enough in the T20s for England. As for Prior's pay.Not sure what he gets & while it's wrong if Wade gets better paid etc , it's still better than what Sussex would pay him.He could renage on renewing his contact with ECB but I think he's kidding himself if he thought the reason he wasnt picked for IPL was because he couldnt play the whole tourn.They just didn't see him as being good enough and for once I think they're right

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 2, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

@zenboomerang That is exactly what people said last time. So he got a long run in the side with poor results that got steadily worse. I repeat, 2 innings over 22 in has last 13 matches. Would you tolerate that from Kieswetter, or GO Jones, or Nixon, or ... and still say that he's the best for he job?????

Posted by zenboomerang on (March 2, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer... Seeing that Proir hasn't played an ODI for 2 years doesn't give us much information on how good he would perform today... Matts last series was the WC in Ind & SL - not a happy hunting ground for Eng - the series before for Matt was against Oz 3 years ago which again wasn't a great series for the team...

Considering he is one of the worst paid Eng players he has reasons on why Test cricket is hurting his finances for him & his family... If Test cricket is Eng main focus, why do they pay their top players on their basic contracts only half what Oz cricketers get?... Wade gets more than 4 times the payments that Prior gets & he is just starting his career... lol... So what is important to the ECB?...

Posted by Rally_Windies on (March 2, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

NZ declared , conceding 1st innings and still won ?

i bet that has never happened in 1st class cricket before? has it ? time to ask Steven !

Posted by mux164 on (March 2, 2013, 5:59 GMT)

well done watling, its a shame ronchi didnt get a game though, which i thought he was selected but i guess nz selectors wanted watling to have ANOTHER chance.

as for the test now they wont select their best team so its a forgone conclusion

Posted by RodStark on (March 2, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

Bairstow has so far played 5 tests and only done well in one of them. No doubt he's talented, but hardly demanding a place instead of Compton who's played 4 tests and (without checking) done okay in all of them.

I AM starting to worry about the depth of England's fast bowling. It seemed so good a year or two ago. Hope Broad, Onions, Bresnan, and Tremlett are able to get back into form. Woakes doesn't look too good so far.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 2, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

@Fiona Miles on (March 1, 2013, 16:34 GMT), Matt Prior has played 68 ODIs. How is that not being given a go?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 2, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

@RandyUK on (March 1, 2013, 15:55 GMT), good thinking! Get your excuses in place now - over 4 months before the series starts while neither team is even in the country - and they may not sound quite so pathetic when the time comes.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

England proving yet again how mediocre they are!

Posted by steve19191 on (March 2, 2013, 0:32 GMT)

sorry greatgame but you cant just pick and choose the stats that back your claim without taking into account who they keep wicket too. AB stands back all day long while Prior stands up to the slow boys which as any keeper will tell you is the litmus test of any keeper.

I think AB is the better bat and Prior is the better keeper, as too who I would pick in a world XI mmmmmm tough one for sure but Prior edges it on his keeping.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 1, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

@ Greatest_Game: Congrats. The irrevelent comparisons you listed are akin to a U.N. investigation into how many people eat cornflakes in two different countries. How 'dismissals per innings' tops your list is a good one: think it could have anything to do with bowlers hitting the stumps for their wickets, or even perhaps bowling to a plan? :0

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

Sorry JG, got you and landl mixed. I think Nick Compton will come good (I have been following his career with interest for some years). Matt Prior, will never come good for England in ODIs - he will never be picked again - or T20 (he has a dozen games with similar results). Of the wicket-keeper batsmen to be tried in ODIs by England over the last 7 or 8 years, probably only Chris Read has a worse record (no doubt someone will prove me wrong, but I have his catastrophic performance in the Champions Trophy in India engraved in my mind).

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 1, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

Fiona Miles. I also question why Prior plays only tests, or as you wrote, " we have the greatest wicketkeeper batsman (why) we dont use him in other formats..."

However, Prior is NOT the "greatest wicketkeeper batsman." AB de Villiers is, & the stats prove it.

BATTING: AB career bat ave - 50.5. Prior 43.19. Since debut in '07, Prior ave 43, except 2011 he ave 64.87, BUT from 2012 to today -ave 38.85. de Villiers, since 07, ave 56.36, since 2010 ave 64.82, as keeper, ave 60.46. ICC bat rankings: de Villiers no.3, 879 points, Prior no.14, 693 points. Batting records: AB holds/appears on numerous lists of records. Prior - I can't find any

KEEPING: Prior ave 1.646 dismissals per innings - de Villiers ave 2.093. Records: MOST CATCHES & MOST DISMISSALS in a match - AB (shared.) Highest inngs total WITHOUT A BYE, AB is twice on the list, Prior not. MOST BYES IN AN INNINGS: Prior has 2nd, 3rd, & 9th most. As keeper, runs in innings & in series, AB beats Prior.

Stats don't lie. QED

Posted by JG2704 on (March 1, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer (14:22) - I got really confused for a moment there as I used the head and shoulders comm. re Compton in response to Y86 , so at first I thought you were talking about Nick and started wondering about what Nick had to do with Kieswetter and playing ODIs etc. Re Prior , I agree. I'd say he should be open to a recall if we struggle in the WK dept AND Prior shows consistent form for Sussex but right now Jos is just starting to show what he can do at international level. Oh and re the pitches , I think we would have a huge advantage over Oz on turning pitches but like you say the curators etc have a hard enough time (due to weather) getting a game to start etc let alone preparing one to suit.

@Fiona Miles (16:34) - As others have pointed out- Prior has been given a chance and not done too well. See Cricketing Stargazer's comms on (March 1, 2013, 14:22 GMT) or even look up his stats for yourself

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

@sephotrig Yes. The Oval is the one place that tends to turn and, sometimes, a lot. I remember the Muaralitharan Test because he was unplayable and took a ridiculous number of wickets. I'd not thought of 2009. I'll check that one out with my DVD of the series. Dropping Nathan Hauritz was not one of Australia's brighter moves. The last two summers though have been so wet that spinners have been almost redundant in England (to the infinite relief of one or two counties such as Middlesex). It's a pity because there are so many decent young spinners coming through now.

Posted by sephotrig on (March 1, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer, another turning pitch in England would be the Oval test of 2009 Ashes, where the Aussies went in without a recognised spinner and where found wanting.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

Hi @RandyOz. Good to have you back. You mean, like sending England to Brisbane to prepare a Test in Perth and sending them to Hobart to prepare the Brisbane Test? Nothing like using time zones and cross-country journeys, is there? Alas, doctored pitches in England will remain a thing for visitors with green-tinted lenses: you get what you get and even the curator has little control in our climate, so no need to get nervous. The only time that I can remember a raging turner in a Test in England was when Muralitharan was in his pomp and found an Oval pitch that wouldn't have been out of place in Colombo.

Posted by GrumpiusMaximus on (March 1, 2013, 16:52 GMT)

A great advertisement for cricket in general, this warm up game. I've been listening in on the radio (I'm English) and England's mediocre performance at the top of the batting is a worry - but I'll put it down to a lack of practice. Obviously Compton still has a lot to play for but Cook will battle even if he's not on form. KP is mercurial as ever but he'll stay in.

I feel sorry for Bairstow. He hasn't done a thing wrong but Root has impressed enough to take his place. I hope Bairstow can come away from his lack of selection and continue to play at the level he is capable of. Onions has been disappointing but he's ring-rusty too - a great shame he wasn't picked ahead of Broad in India because with more middle practice he could be back to his destructive best.

The NZ bowling attack has impressed me. It might not have the ball-to-ball consistency of SA or England but it does look dangerous and shouldn't be underestimated.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 16:34 GMT)

Nope not convinced, Prior should have been given a go before now in the shorter format,still Test is the more important format in that apart from KP very happy with they way we are going and looking very promising for the Summer.Have my tickets but would like to ask CA that they send a more motivated squad than last year.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 1, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

Sure Randy... makes you want to cry really does it? Especially when countries like Australa are simply bursting with talent at the moment, just as they showed in the first test against India. Oh wait... wrong year (*facepalm*).

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 1, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Now it seems the poms have learned from the Indians and are doctoring pitches

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 1, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

Onions is a true demonstration of the depth ey? 1 wicket and going at 6 an over. Looking good England.

Posted by jb633 on (March 1, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

@Landl47- the problem in England with regards to creating a turner is the climate. You need the pitch to be bone dry if it is going to spin and unfortunatley that is never the case in this country. It would be intresting to see what would happen if we did actually have a good summer over here though.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

@JG I have seen articles in the press suggesting that the way to beat Australia is to produce big turners and a rather cheeky suggestion that, if the series is live at The Oval, the pitch could be a dust bowl. However, rarely I fear do pitch curators in the UK have much choice in the wickets that they produce: a wet climate does not really ever give the opportunity to prepare anything other than a track that favours seam; the only thing that he can control to any degree is the amount of grass and much moisture stays in. Were it to be a hot, dry summer though I suspect that Swann and Monty would not weep too much!

Posted by landl47 on (March 1, 2013, 14:34 GMT)

This has been a good game- a sporting declaration from NZ, England scoring at 4 runs an over and an intriguing last day in prospect. Not everyone has done well, but preparation is as much mental as physical and the atmosphere of being in a competitive game and trying to win it is far better than going through a meaningless two-day practice with a certain draw at the end of it.

I'm not too worried about the third seamer situation. Broad is a pretty good third seamer and seems to be recovering some of his pace. His main problem is bowling to a plan- he throws in far too much short stuff. A short ball is effective when it's a surprise. Because one every couple of overs troubles the batsmen, it doesn't mean that four an over will trouble him more. If Broad pitches it up and bowls in the high 130s he, and England, will be fine.

Posted by landl47 on (March 1, 2013, 14:24 GMT)

Meety, you raise an interesting point. Generally speaking, wickets in each country tend to favour the home side. That might be because the home side learns to play on the wickets that are prevalent in the country in question and therefore do better on them, rather than because the players are particularly talented at playing on that sort of wicket. However, what happens when a side has players that do better on another country's wickets? England has two of the better spinners in the world at the moment. If they played regularly on subcontinental wickets, Swann and Panesar would have stats putting them among the greats of the game.

Australia has just lost a test in which all 20 of their wickets fell to spin. Doesn't logic therefore dictate that if England wants to win the Ashes, the wickets should be rank turners?

It will be interesting to see whether 'more spin' is the brief for England's curators. I bet Swann and Panesar, after careers bowling on unfirendly wickets, hope it is!

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

@JG it is not so much that he is not head and shoulders above, it's that his last 13 matches in ODIs showed a run of form that would have had people calling for, say, Craig Keiswetter to be lynched. Two scores over 22 in 13 matches doesn't justify anyone keeping his place in the side. He had already had a long run with mediocre results. And, as you so correctly point out, it is far better for England that he concentrate on Tests and do that well than try to play him in everything and that he does nothing especially well.

Kieswetter had a much better average (over 30 against 24) at a better strike rate in ODIs than Prior, not to mention more centuries and more 50s in fewer matches and we have discarded him as not good enough.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

It will be funny if NZ XI end up winning this one... but if they are anything resembling the first team then they should collapse and be all out for 150!

I like Tom Latham, I know he's just making up the numbers here but I hope he gets a decent crack at the top team soon. A lot of cricket in that young guy.

Posted by weasel_zapper on (March 1, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

@Meety, we gave them pitches with pace and bounce in the shorter stuff to lull them into a false sense of security before the tests... But yeah we probably need one of those slower pitches to be competitive, England could easily rip through us once again on a belter (still could on a flat track of course given the fragile nature of our top order). I'm slightly more optimistic for a good performance after seeing this, great to see Rutherford and Watling get a few after the terrible time they had in the last two ODI's, hopefully these guys will carry a bit of confidence into the 1st test.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 1, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

@yorkshire-86 on (March 1, 2013, 9:22 GMT) Maybe because he was top of the county averages in 2012 - the most recent season - by a merry mile?

Posted by JG2704 on (March 1, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

@Beige_and_blue on (March 1, 2013, 7:01 GMT) - Meety is Australian but one of the dwindling number of posters on here who can give an impartial view on all cricket , but read into his post what you like

@Fiona Miles on (March 1, 2013, 7:58 GMT) - As CS has already pointed out , Prior is not head and shoulders above any other WK option in shorter formats and besides he'd ended up being rested half the time these days

Please publish this time - nothing of offence or untrue

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

@whoster Totally agreed. He looked very good last summer and put in some tremendous performances for a struggling Durham side. On one level, the selectors are telling him that he is in their thoughts and plans. On another maybe he is doing himself more harm than good. I think though for players who have shown that they have the talent and the ability the selectors are remarkably loyal (fickleness in selection really ended with the arrival of Duncan Fletcher) and one or two bad days will not damage his chances next summer if he is needed and is showing good for for Durham.

Posted by whoster on (March 1, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

It was sad to see Onions struggling so much, as he's worked so hard to get back into contention after major injury. Looks like Broad has done enough to be selected next week, though he'll still need to prove himself. Nick Compton is the one batsman who could've especially done with runs in this match, but I still think he's the man to be given an extended run as opener. This has been a pretty good workout for England against a side who haven't made it easy - so good to see Prior (yet again) and Swann helping the side out of a slightly dicey situation. With Anderson and Finn forming the new ball attack next week, England should be pretty confident - but I also expect NZ to put up a decent fight in this series.

Posted by Selassie-I on (March 1, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

@ Greatest Game - nice bit of trivia. However I believe that Prior moved from SA when he was 2, not 10.

England not doing as well as you might expect in the warm up, but let's see how the real deal goes, and of course a win is still very much on.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (March 1, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

@GreatestGame: Normally people going on about players born in SA is tired and boring, but that was nicely written. Did not know about Tolkien being born in SA either, however, *was English, but born in South Africa*. Fixed that for you.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 1, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

@Fiona Miles (post on March 1, 2013, 7:58 GMT): horses for courses mate. After almost 70 ODI games and, O.K. only 10 in T20's, averages of ~20 aren't very pretty. His SR in ODI's is 77 and people on here frequently lambast the Bell's and Trott's who are currently at ~75. I keep saying it: form and class in one format does not always mean anything for the other formats, especially with tests. Prior has indeed done well in the shorter formats in county cricket, but he's never really brought that into the international scenes consistently enough. His wicket-keeping alone would make him one of the first names on most team lists, but we're now in an era where wicket-keepers have to perform with the bat too and I guess that's why England would rather try Buttler/Kieswetter over him.

Posted by jb633 on (March 1, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

@Biege_blue- meety is an Aussie so I doubt he will be making many excuses. Simply an observer who has made a comment on the game.

The worry about the third seamer continues. This spot is the biggest threat to England retaining the ashes and us every being able to compete with SA. Simply there is nobody who looks like they have the form to nail down the spot. Broad and Bresnan are too slow and the less said about Broad the better. Woakes to me doesn't look international class and Onions is well short of game time. I hate sounding pessismistic but I really do feel that the media is skating over the problem of our third seamer. We have 4 class bowlers 2 seamers and 2 spinners and we need to find the in form seamer to become complete again. I hope Tremlett can find fitness and form because he can be devastating.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 1, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

@yorkshire-86 (post on March 1, 2013, 9:22 GMT): maybe it's his 3 first-class wickets at an average of 71.66; gotta look to future bowlers perhaps?

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (March 1, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

What is so good about Compton that makes the selectors think he is anywhere near international class?

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

@Fiona Miles He got a long run in the side when already consolidated as the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world. Between March 2009 and March 2011 he played 35 ODIs and averaged 25.8 at a strike rate of 80 and even that was sufficient to improve his career figures over 68 ODIs. Only 2 fifties in 31 innings. That's why he doesn't play now. What is really one of life's little mysteries is just why he cannot produce his Test for in the limited overs stage and why people forget that he has such a poor record. He reached 25 just twice in his last 13 ODIs!!!!

Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Got to have Wagner in the side... Enough said.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 8:23 GMT)

Wagner or Gillespie, that is the question. Despite being incredibly erratic, Gillespie does take wickets. In one over today, he went something like 4 . 5nb 1nb 1w 1nb W . 1 - something like that. I just wonder whether the NZ selectors will feel that Wagner is a little bit too similar to Southee and Boult, and that Gillespie offers a more muscly, up-and-at-'em variation. My friend refers to him as a "poor man's Ian Botham" - a sort of Mitchell McLenaghan for the first class game. If that happened, it would be tough on Wagner, who has clearly bowled his heart out. But I could see why they might do it.

Posted by   on (March 1, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

One of life's mysteries will continue to be why as we have the greatest wicketkeeper batsman we dont use him in other formats, unfathomable.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 1, 2013, 7:57 GMT)

The usual people are going to make the usual coments. The reality is that New Zealand have done England the favour of fielding realistic opposition that was motivated to play. It is a rare pleasure on tour these days. Englaand are using the match to prepare players for the Tests. In these cases you win some and you lose some in that some players will always come through better than others. Ten years ago in a situation like this the dressing-room would have been filled with cries of "Don't panic! Don't panic Mr Mainwaring!" Now people just get on with it. Compton will open. KP will be KP and it would be a brave man who would bet againt Trott getting at least one fifty in the 1st Test. And, despite the occasional flight of fantasy, the bowling attack for the 1st Test has been known for at least a couple of weeks!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 1, 2013, 7:17 GMT)

Looking at the scorecard, some interesting & ironical combinations of players came together in dismissals. E.g. MJ Prior† c †Watling b Wagner. Always an irony when keeper catches keeper, but this combination has a more complex quirk of fate, as does KP Pietersen c †Watling b Wagner. They all came from...South Africa! What are the odds of England's keeper & New Zealand's keeper both being born in SA, & then 10 years later moving to the opposite sides of the planet, only to come together playing international cricket!

Another twist to the plot. DG Brownlie c Prior† b Trott - an Aussie vs some Saffas, in NZ!

Compton & Cachopa did not feature in any triple combos, but these are early days, & with Munro, possibly Elliot, Dernbach, Lumb & Meaker in the shorter formats, this could start looking like the Boer Boer war.

And while on this theme, the recent film version of Lord of The Rings was shot in NZ. J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the work, lived in Eng, but was born in South Africa!

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (March 1, 2013, 7:09 GMT)

jmcilhinney - I agree - but the option at 6 should be Bairstow, unless he has has suffered a dramatic decline. His 87 at Lords was class against the best bowling attack in the world. It would be excellent to have a wicketkeeper jn waiting also worth his place with the bat ( just as De Villiers was for Boucher).

As much of a worry though is the pace bowling reserves. The two players for every spot seems to be melting away a bit - lets hope with Onions it is just the problem of touring and not playing. Commentators now talk of Anderson and Finn as if this is a proven pairing - and it is not, yet.

Posted by Beige_and_blue on (March 1, 2013, 7:01 GMT)

Hello Meety, good to hear you making excuses for England's performances in advance; a more sensible approach would surely be to appreciate that the conditions are the same or similar for both sides and like most other countries, NZ perform best at home. Giving the respect that is deserved to your opposition instead of excuses for your own team performances is the more sensible and less arrogant approach. I fully expect this much-vaunted England side to win the series, but don't rule out some surprisingly good performances from New Zealand, and the very real possibility of a victory in at least 1 of the 3 matches

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 1, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

Strange how Englands run rate in both innings so far, is exactly the same (4.12 & 4.12)

Posted by Meety on (March 1, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

No real chance of England losing this match, (but not at 6/140 even with a shuffled batting line up...) & the reality is the result is not overly important. No runs for Compton & KP is a worry, although I think KP is the sort of batsmen that is never too far away from runs. I think Test cricket in NZ usually means that a bowler is normally not far away from taking a wicket, so I think it comes down to taking whatever chances that come your way. Pitches in NZ can often make a mismatch into a tight contest. On at least 2 occasions when Sth Africa were there, NZ held 1st innings leads in the Test series. That alone should suggest that the relative positions in terms of rankings, mean little. == == == NZ's best chance is to have one of those pitches of variable bounce that can often be made over there. It wouldn't be pretty cricket - but it would reduce the class difference.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 1, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

I've learned not to read too much into the results of warmup games but this was not a heartening day for England. Significant improvement is obviously required from what is almost bound to be the batting lineup for the first Test. I'm fairly sure that Compton will be given this series at least but, if he fails to impress, the selectors might look seriously at moving Root up to open and take another look at the likely #6 options. The bowling too did not live up to expectations, with the hope being, I'm sure, of wrapping up the NZ innings in the first hour or so. Hopefully everyone's got most of their jitters out of their system but England may yet regret having only one warmup game leading into this series. They really won't want to repeat the slow start they had in the ODI series.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (March 1, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

Great counter-attack from Prior and Swann.

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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