New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Dunedin, 4th day

Cook and Compton lead fightback with tons

The Report by David Hopps

March 9, 2013

Comments: 62 | Text size: A | A

England 234 for 1 (Cook 116, Compton 102*) and 167 trail New Zealand 460 for 9 dec (Rutherford 171, McCullum 74, Fulton 55) by 59 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Alastair Cook and Nick Compton brought up their century opening stand after lunch, New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Dunedin, 4th day, March 9, 2013
Alastair Cook and Nick Compton outstripped England's first-wicket record against New Zealand, the 223 previously set by Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavare at The Oval in 1983 © Getty Images

Alastair Cook and Nick Compton struck centuries as they committed themselves to righting the wrongs of England's first-innings batting debacle. But that told only half the story. For Cook, a 24th Test hundred, timed to perfection with the new ball still five overs away, was simply a restatement of his undoubted quality. For Compton, the final stages of a maiden Test hundred possessed all the mental anguish that a first time should.

These were hundreds born of mortification as England, guilt-stricken by a first-innings deficit of 293 and with five-and-a-half sessions to save the game, closed the fourth day only 59 runs behind New Zealand and with still nine wickets remaining. But if Cook added further lustre to his Test record - one to rival Sachin Tendulkar at the same age - with what has become his customary languorous elegance, Compton scraped through the 90s in more than 12 tension-ridden overs.

Compton, who fell for a duck in the first innings, had steeled himself to track Cook's progress for much of the day and if his innings was the more unobtrusive, his defensive outlook possessed a seasoned feel which illustrated why England's director of cricket, Andy Flower, kept faith in the solidity he could bring at the top of the order. He must have been born with his back to the wall.

But when Cook logged another hundred, Compton found himself on 90, and it felt an age away. Cook urged him to maintain his tempo, impending new ball or not, and when that new ball came, with him still six runs away, he would have been immediately run out on 94, risking a single to mid-on off Trent Boult, had Bruce Martin managed to hit direct.

Cook must have felt like a guiding light for his inexperienced partner, but that light was then cruelly extinguished two overs before the close with Compton on 99, the England captain's five-and-a-half hour stay ending when Boult had him caught behind.

It was appropriate reward for Boult, who was the likeliest of the New Zealand attack and who conceded less than two runs an over all day, but it piled the pressure on Compton. When he next looked to the non-striker's end for encouragement, he found only the gangling figure of the nightwatchman, Steven Finn. Two balls later - with 11 deliveries left in the day - he worked Tim Southee through midwicket, shouting with delight and applauded from the boundary's edge by his tearful father.

Smart stats

  • Alastair Cook's century is his 24th in Tests and takes him two ahead of Kevin Pietersen on the list of England batsmen with the most Test centuries.
  • Compton's century is his first in Tests and the 100th by an England batsman against New Zealand. Compton now averages 44.28 in ten innings.
  • The 231-run stand between Cook and Compton is the 18th double-century opening stand for England and their first against New Zealand since Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavare added 223 at The Oval in 1983.
  • It is the 13th time that both England openers have scored centuries in an innings. The last time this happened was against Australia in Brisbane in 2010.
  • The strike rate of 125.42 is the highest for a fifty-plus score for Brendon McCullum. Overall, the strike rate is the sixth-highest for a New Zealand batsman against England (fifty-plus score).
  • The 77-run stand between McCullum and Bruce Martin is the sixth-highest eighth-wicket stand for New Zealand against England and their second-highest against England in Dunedin.
  • The lead of 293 is New Zealand's third-largest against England (completed innings). The highest is the 298-run lead at Lord's in 1973. Click here for a list of matches when New Zealand have batted first and here for a list of matches where New Zealand have batted second.

Cook and Compton settled to a laborious task without much ado, outstripping England's first-wicket record against New Zealand, the 223 previously set by Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavare at The Oval in 1983.

Their resistance on a cold and cheerless day gave the crowd another reason for forbearance. It was Saturday, but the mood was so workmanlike it felt like Monday morning. New Zealand's bowlers ran in eagerly, their spirits high and their lengths fuller than their English counterparts, and the captaincy of Brendon McCullum was business-like, more proactive perhaps than his predecessor, Ross Taylor.

But for all New Zealand's vigour, a stodgy brown surface showed no signs of deterioration. Cook essayed an occasional attractive square cut or clip off his legs, so intent upon not driving down the ground that only one single in his hundred came in such a manner; Compton just bedded in, his mental approach as upright as his stance, his footwork decisive but rarely expansive.

There was a hint of swing for the left-arm quick, Neil Wagner, the least accurate of New Zealand's fast-bowling trio, and when Cook squirted Bruce Martin's slow left-arm off his pads to reach his fifty, there might have been a semblance of turn, but any excitement was tempered by the low bounce that made it easier to counter.

England's openers took time to settle. Cook, on four, needed an inside edge to survive Southee's resounding lbw appeal and New Zealand lost a review against Compton, on 16, when the same bowler appealed for a catch down the leg-side, replays suggesting that the ball had brushed his thigh pad. Wagner also found enough inswing to give Compton some uncomfortable moments. But after staving off 22 overs before lunch, they were in orderly mood throughout an attritional afternoon. That both have the temperament to bat long was not a matter for debate, but while Cook's Test record has few equals at this stage of his career, Compton's talent remained unchartered.

It was all an abrupt change of tempo from New Zealand's enterprising start to the day as they added a further 58 in less than nine overs before declaring with nine down. McCullum, 44 not out from 42 balls overnight, flogged England to distraction, thrashing another 30 from 17 balls.

McCullum swung Stuart Broad over deep square-leg to reach his fifty, the ball sailing over two Union Jacks at the back of a temporary stand and a bus as it flew out of the ground. He then pulled and drove James Anderson for further sixes. To compound Anderson's misery, McCullum escaped potential catches by Cook, at first slip, and Compton, at deep cover, by inches before he skied Broad high to mid-on where Anderson held an awkward catch.

McCullum's mood also rubbed off on the debutant left-arm spinner, Martin, who pulled about with gusto until he was caught at the wicket for 41 off Finn attempting another leg-side hit. It was an enterprising start to the day, but it was about to be replaced by something more serious and, ultimately, more significant, too.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 10, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

@Staunch_for_NZ on (March 9, 2013, 19:47 GMT), I don't want to put NZ down because they have played well but, after the first session on day 5, it's clear that England have not been saved by the weather. They are now ahead with just 2 wickets down so, with more time available, could well have pushed for a win themselves. NZ bowled well enough in the first innings but I think any realistic evaluation would have to admit that England did most of the damage themselves. Now that England have their eye on the ball, even Finn is scoring plenty of runs. Lets also not forget that NZ got significant help from England's butter fingers. You can't rely on that happening every time (I hope). On this pitch, it was always going to take either a magical bowling effort from someone or else for the batsmen to throw it away to get a result. England made a good fist of the latter in the first innings but they've regained their focus for the second.

Posted by SaracensBob on (March 9, 2013, 21:21 GMT)

Re SnowSnake's comment. A draw might be better for NZ than Eng in regard to ICC rankings but in the immediate context of this series it will hurt the Kiwis badly. Everyone (with the possible exception of the NZ'ers) predicted this series as a 3-0 Eng sweep. To catch Eng cold and put themselves in a winning position at the end of day three was great for the Kiwis. After day four that winning opportunity seems to have gone down the pan. I can see Eng batting out the final day and posting a big score as a marker for the two matches to come. There are still 90 overs of cricket to be played and all 4 possible results are on. However, I wouldn't be putting money on anything other than the draw.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

Although I'd have preferred to see Joe Root open with Cook in order to accommodate an all-rounder at Six or Seven as part of a five-man attack, this is one of those rare occasions when I'm only too delighted to have had to eat my own words. Apart from those harum-scarum singles he scrambled in the 90s, Compton displayed admirable sang-froid in an innings of increasing authority. He's certainly not one of nature's strokemakers, but if he can average 40-45 on a regular basis he'll be a more than worthy successor to Andrew Strauss.

This is now England's game to lose. That'll only happen if they repeat their mass batting hara-kiri of the first innings, but this game has been a salutary reminder of the foolhardiness of underestimating sides like New Zealand, who, after all, managed to draw recent away series against both Australia & SL &, but for some truly mind-boggling umpiring by Steve Davis (yet again) & Ian Gould, would've won in Bangalore to level their series against India as well.

Posted by The_Heavy_Ball on (March 9, 2013, 20:45 GMT)

Most of the pieces are dropping into place for the Ashes. If Nick Compton can continue in this vein then England have a settled opening partnership that are technically correct and can deal with greentops and dustbowls alike. It all makes for a good-looking batting line up (in spite of the horror 1st innings), and the bowling attack is only fractionally adrift of the Saffers. Now Nick needs to start again as if the score is 0 for 0 and go on to a big daddy innings.

Posted by whoster on (March 9, 2013, 20:34 GMT)

Really chuffed for Nick Compton. He made an encouraging start in India, but still had plenty to prove. With open talk in the media about Root being earmarked for the opener's spot; plus the sheer pressure of going out to bat with such a huge deficit (and being on a pair), he responded brilliantly with an innings full of watchfullness and discipline. As for Cooky, it's what we've come to expect! Another fabulous knock full of authority and calm. Still plenty of work for England to do - and they'll probably have to bat into the final session to be safe. Great to see England respond in this way. People can say "it's only NZ" or "it's a flat pitch," but nothing's easy with a 293 deficit - top work from Cook and Compton. New Zealand have played really well, and with a couple of quick wickets in the morning, they'd still be in with a big chance.

Posted by mzm149 on (March 9, 2013, 20:28 GMT)

NZ back to earth after floating in air for 2 days.

Posted by seantells on (March 9, 2013, 20:04 GMT)

this is great batting , all about test cicket

Posted by Staunch_for_NZ on (March 9, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

NZ can win today with 98 overs to go and a new ball to start with. There will be plenty of nerves in the English camp with 2-3 very early wickets. NZ have won all sessions apart from this innings, but the NZ bowlers never gave in. NZ have no nerves to worry about and are still in the box seat....pity about the loss in overs with weather...NZ would have then put together a higher score, instead of smashing some quick runs, then had plenty of time to bowl England out....England is saved by the 60 odd overs lost in the match....still it is a pleasure to watch every ball or listen while watching my own son playing his premier game Y7 .....thanks boys for entertaining us.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 9, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

@CricketingStargazer on (March 9, 2013, 11:42 GMT) I agree that Nick needed to show a bit more than he has done already but still maintain that past form should not keep you in the side if you're horribly out of nick (and someone else is banging hard on the door) and I think Eng overdo that. As I've said several times , there are cases when you can keep a player in a side in the hope he'll regain his touch. We did that with Cook. I think it's different when you're losing matches etc and there have been a few in the last year or so who IMO should have been axed.

Posted by Thefakebook on (March 9, 2013, 17:57 GMT)

Rick_T on (March 9, 2013, 12:12 GMT) Mate NZ will not win this match they lead Eng by only 59 runs not 226 read the headline will you?(Whose comment is absurd now?) Let me give you some examples SA in SA recently beat Pakistan twice after 1st inning lead of 250+.OZ crushed Sri Lanka in similar way in Australia.And India beat OZ in 2nd test in similar way.BUT NZ squandered 1st inning leads to teams like WI(minus CH GAYLE) and Bangladesh in NZ couple of years ago.Enough proof for you sir?I hope we are good.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 9, 2013, 17:15 GMT)

@cric_J There were plenty of people suggesting on here that this was the danger match for England. People did warn that New Zealand had the chance to catch England cold and win. And there are far more scenarios tomorrow that see a New Zealand victory than an England win (just suppose that Nick Compton is the first wicket to fall in the first couple of overs tonight). England need to bat until lunch losing no more than three wickets and then assess the situation. It is still not impossible that England could be 220+ ahead before Tea and in a position to try to make something happen. It is also possible - more likely even - that a collapse in the morning could see this match done and dusted by Lunch.

Posted by cric_J on (March 9, 2013, 16:27 GMT)

Excellent effort from the English openers.Cook was crafty and classy as always. Looking at him and Amla , you feel as if they would never get out !And Nick Compton did just what he needed to assert his name for the opening slot.Commendable effort .Hope he goes on to get some more tomorrow.I was pretty sure England would bounce back and am pretty pleased to be proven right by the lads.Looks like the sudden "demise" of English cricket, which was suggested by a few here was just momentary and rather fictitious.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 9, 2013, 15:08 GMT)

It is only human to err-making 167 in the first innings falls into that category. The mark of how good an individual or a team is lies in how they undo the mistake and bounce back. 232 before losing a wicket was emphatic as an an answer. England are back on track again and Cook added another feather to his cap while Compton picked up one of his own too. To reach 24 centuries so young is more than impressive and this was another trade mark composition full of watchful defence punctuated by rifling cut shots and deft release shots and the other trademark slog sweep. Mind over matter was once again to the fore. Compton was another study in concentration and application. He might have been a Trott clone. It was an emotional time for the 29 yr old as he tried to run himself out twice in the nineties but eventually to the relief of all bought up the hundred.His father was obviously the most pictured spectator, his face a reflection of the occasion. England in this mood look great.,

Posted by skilebow on (March 9, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

pommyadders - disagree with you completely. What utter rubbish. How does it show weakness?! u make it sound like a boxing match. If anything it'll hurt NZ more. If Finn can stick around for a while then the kiwis will start to think they still have to get out all the eng batsmen bar one even after they get his wicket

Posted by 158notout on (March 9, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

Geoffrey Anthony Plumridge - 6 for 91 one of the best pace bowling performances you have ever seen? Surely the 5 for 37 at the Oval or his Test turning 6 for 46 against India at Trent Bridge were even better! ;-) I suppose it just shows what a truly decent Test paceman he is.

Posted by gudolerhum on (March 9, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

Really glad to see Compo getting that century. He has been left on the fringes of the Test squad for far too long and I hope the selectors will give him a fair run in the team before they start with their usual juggling people in and out just to keep them totally unsettled, like Ramperkash, Hick, Graveney, and others, too numerous to mention. Cook continues to make runs with apparent ease. Despite a few flaws in his technique he manages to compensate really well and once he gets started there is not much that ruffles him as he coasts gently along, good to watch.

Posted by SnowSnake on (March 9, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

I think world wide flat pitches are starting to become a norm. Looking at this game, first test in SA and current test in SL; it seems most countries opt for flat pitch to avoid losing the first test. There is a difference between flat and spinning pitches. In spinning pitches, fast bowlers are largly ineffective as in the flat pitches, but you do get results in spinning pitches. In flat pitches, both spinners and fast bowlers are ineffective and more often than not you get a draw. England will likely hurt more in a draw as their ICC test raning score will go down and NZ, due to lower rank, will increase their ICC test ranking score even in a draw at home conditions. It is not surprising to find a flat wicket becuase a loss at home conditions will hurt NZ more. Since NZ cannot win, it must draw to go up the ICC ranking scale. Test cricket games have now become an academic math problem!

Posted by dscoll on (March 9, 2013, 14:24 GMT)

Paul Rone-Clarke , you are spot on. Clarke is the only Aussie Eng would take and McCullum is the only Kiwi. Catching Eng cold was enza's best chance of winning a test but it hasn't happened and Eng should now win 2-0, assuming there's a bit more life in the next two pitches.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Still do not understand why we have to put ourselves in this situation again. We need to bat til the end as McCullum and Taylor could come out and 20 20 it if need be. I expect grit and determination ala Trott from here on in. I am desperate to be proved wrong but I know Pietersen will come out and get a quick fire usless score then get out.Yes I remember Sri Lanka,but the fact that everyone else does means it stands out as an anomaly when he played for the team not himself....

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 9, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

It was a good fightback but still not sure how we got bowled out so cheaply in the first place.Cook is a very consistent player with a very adaptable technique. i feel he will go on to be remembered as an all time great

Posted by Whatsgoinoffoutthere on (March 9, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

And can I just say again; Brendon McCullum was never a Test-class opener, he's better sticking the boot in down the order.

Posted by swat1999 on (March 9, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

England have a golden chance to win the match. There is always a dram is test match thats why Test match is always been is my favourite. I really amazed how coom and compton handle Kiwis. Wel done English man

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

@jonesy2- you obviously didn't see Broad take 6/91 against Australia at Leeds, probably the best spell of hostile pace bowling I've seen in the last 15 years. Won them the ashes too. Seriously jonesy2, the comments are getting weaker.

Posted by pommyadders on (March 9, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

I hate that England sent Finn in as night-watchman.

I'm totally anti night-watchman at the best of times but particularly in this sort of situation. The game can't be won so all we are playing for is momentum for the next test and some mind games.

The pitch is an absolute road and Trott not fronting up is a show of weakness. More of the mind games will be lost tomorrow morning when Finn goes out.

We could have made a statement here and done a Gabba 2010 with a massive 2nd innings score for the loss of 1 or 2 wickets....unless Finn manages a Dizzy that wont be happening now.

Posted by Rick_T on (March 9, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

Thefakebook - Let's take another of your absurd comments. "Only NZ can squander a lead of 280+ in their home condition." Where is your evidence? You have none. Every cricket nation (Top 8) has done similar things many times.

This match has a day left to go but remember, ENG's 2nd innings is still 226 runs behind NZ's 1st innings.

Lets look at a few recent examples. In Oct 11, in UAE (PAK's home away from home), Sri scored 197, PAK replied with 511/6 (a lead of 313), then allowed SRI to hit 483 to get the draw.

This one is the other way around. In Dec 10 in Melbourne, AUS hit 98, ENG replied with 513, AUS then 258, lost by an innings & 167 runs.

AUS again in Brisbane, Nov 10, ENG hit 260, AUS 481 (lead of 221), then let ENG hit 517 for the loss of 1 wicket declared! Draw.

Edgbaston, Jun 97, AUS hit 118, ENG hit 478 (lead of 360), then allowed AUS to hit 477, although ENG did win (NZ could still win tomorrow).

And that's just a few quick ones I could find.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 9, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

What a sight to see Cook score his 24th Test Century, the make the trolls disappear back from whence they came. And Compton too, a name steeped in English cricketing greatness, has just scored his first ton, and is now only 1 behind Shane Watson! And Compton's only played a couple of tests!

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

@Jonesy2. Clarke is the ONLY player (batsman or bowler) that the current England side would take. Look at the averages of the Aussie side, good for the 1990's when high 30's was just about respectable, but these days anything under 40 is considered pretty poor, and other than Clarke - that's every batter the Aussies have. Bell averages almost 10 higher than the second best Aussie batsman, and Bell vertainly isn't the second best English batsman. Cooke is far and away the best test batter England have. WAAAAAAAYYYY better than pietersen for both volume of runs and consistency, and in test matches that is what matters. I'd rather have Cooke grinding out 6 hundreds a year than Pietersen making 3 flashy ones - which has been the pattern for the last 3 years now.

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 9, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

I knew very well that England are not going to fail again. This is what the 2nd innings part of test cricket is all about. You can see it as either an opportunity to repeat your first innings heroics or either as an opportunity to exploit after you fail in the first innings. The latter applies as far as England is concerned and well played Cook and Crompton.

I hope NZ comes out tomorrow morning with a belief they can win this match. I know the wicket has little for the bowlers but if they can get say 3 or 4 wickets in the morning session, they are in with a chance. But I feel England batting depth could be a bit too much for the NZ attack. I hope the pitches for the next 2 tests will be a bowling paradise.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 9, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

@JG I think that Nick Compton always had the ability, he just needed the confidence. A century, preferably converted into a big one, should kick-start his career nicely. It's not easy being the grandson of Denis. With Root, Bairstow and potentially one or two others pushing for a middle order spot it was fair enough that he had to deliver a big innings by the end of this tour or risk missing out. I would keep Root where he is: if he is successful here, don't move him!! Pushing Root up to open and putting in Bairstow for the 2nd or 3rd Test would have smacked of desperation and risked unsettling the whole side.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

Not a fan of 'nightwatchman' but Finn? Seriously? Thought Anderson was England's nightwatchman. Be funny of Finn-knee scores a ton of his own tomorrow! Well batted Cook and Compton; late better than never I guess.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 9, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

I have to say how pleased I am with Nick scoring a ton today but why does the England selection process have to be so black and white?

Firstly I think there are still a couple more players who should have been at least AS under the spotlight as Nick but Nick seemed to be the ONLY player whose place was in jeopardy , acc to the media

Secondly - the commentators were saying that he needed a ton to cement his place in the Ashes side.

So does this mean that a decent run of scores of 50+without scoring a ton would not have been enough and by the same token , should Nick keep his place in the side because of this one ton , if he has a bad rest of the tour , NZ (home series) and start to the domestic season. I honestly believe that we give too much credence to past form over present form and certain players keep their places through run's of bad form because of what they've done in the past.

Posted by Jaffa79 on (March 9, 2013, 11:08 GMT)

Good to see Compton in the runs. He knows his game well and plays within his limitations; you don't see many old fashioned openers these days! I predict that Cook, Compton and Trott will be an incredibly dull but effective top 3 for England over the next year or so but they definitely won't be emptying bars with their batting! If Compton can bat long and take the shine off the ball, he'll be doing a great job. If he bats like this against Australia, he'll cause many a stress fracture. I can see them dropping like flies!

Posted by Rick_T on (March 9, 2013, 11:06 GMT)

Triple Centurion - Yes I agree with you. It is consistency of selection. I just didn't bother to mention it.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 9, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

Cook will definitely be disappointed at getting out so close to stumps but he and Compton both had done a fine job by that stage. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't flashy but it was just what the team needed. The win was basically off the table for England from the start of the innings so the first order of business was survival and then making sure they took runs where they were available. They're still not out of the woods yet and will likely have to bat well past tea to be safe, but the openers have shown that doing that shouldn't be too hard. I don't see this pitch suddenly coming to life and making batting difficult. I think it's clear that, despite that fact that NZ did bowl well enough, England were their own worst enemy in the first innings. If Cook and Compton are anything to go by, they won't be making that mistake again. As for the bowling, I don't think that they bowled too badly on a pitch offering little. They need to spruce up their catching again though.

Posted by voice_of_reason on (March 9, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

The pitch is flat, there's been hardly any swing, seam or spin and none of the bowlers, England or NZ, have looked threatening. This should have been a bore draw but England's inept first innings batting has given this Test a bit of excitement it doesn't deserve. I must say the ground looks lovely though. Reminds me of some club grounds I've played on in England.

Let's hope the pitches in the rest of the series have a bit more life in them.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

A much better day for England, after the earlier NZ push for runs, which had put the cherry on the icing for them. Well played, Messers Cook and Compton. Cook is surely the best opening batsman in the world at present, and I'm sure DCS raised a glass or two somewhere. Still a lot of work to do for England.

Posted by Meety on (March 9, 2013, 10:40 GMT)

@ Hammond on (March 9, 2013, 6:01 GMT) "...It is obvious that the 2nd day pitch was affected by the washout on day 1" - oh dear, you obviously saw zero footage of this match. England crumbled thru POOR batting (except KP), NZ put the ball in the right spots & England crumbled. With GOOD/GREAT application they are 1/200+ - which is more closer to what they should of done on Day 2. == == == Top fightback by England. A draw is now the main probability, although NZ would believe they have a strong chance.

Posted by MartinC on (March 9, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

@jonesy2 - to a certain extent I can see your point about Broad though he still has a very good Test record. Ian Bell though would walk into the Aussie side and be the second best batsman in the side after Clarke. He has 17 Test centuries at just under 47. Aussie selectors would die to find someone apart from Clarke who could come close to that Test record.

Clarke is the only Aussie batsman who would be a certainty to get in the England lineup - Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell and Prior would be certainties in the Aussie side. That's tells you all you need to know about the balance of power between the sides.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 9, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

@jonsey2, old chap. If we applied that criterion to the current Australian squad in India they would be reduced to just 2 or 3 players. Broad has done good things. He's even done a few great ones. Let's see what he does in the rest of this series before deciding his fate! :-)

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 9, 2013, 9:57 GMT)

Thanks @ozziespirit for what is a pretty generous tribute. The first two days of play were not pretty, but you always had to back the side to put it right. However, England have lost a wicket just before the Close, are still behind and still have some work to do. With an extra half hour today here is still time. England could lose two wickets quickly and be staring defeat in the face at lunch. Or they could grind out runs until Tea and kill the match. There is even a possibility that they could bat 50 overs tomorrow scoring 240-250 and set up a platform for a declaration to see if they can knock over a few wickets before the end. All this effort though will be wasted if England come out tomorrow and throw it away. I want to see Nick Compton silence his doubters with 150+ and see the side at least able to look at its options at lunch rather than hanging-on desperately because the batsmen think it is safe and have let things slip.

Posted by jonesy2 on (March 9, 2013, 9:53 GMT)

stuart broad should never have been allowed near a cricket field. only would have made the county grade due to his old man. he should try darts or something because cricket hasnt worked out for him, same goes for ian bell

Posted by VinodGupte on (March 9, 2013, 9:09 GMT)

this man cook. i mean, how? hundreds after hundreds, match after match, series after series.

Posted by nlpdave on (March 9, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

Whilst England have given themselves a chance of redemption in this test it looks as though it will still be a difficult task to come away with a win if NZ continue to serve up pitches like this one. Neither side has a bowling attack with sufficient variation to dominate if batters decide not to gift their wickets. I would certainly play Tredwell for Panesar as the latter is just too quick and insufficiently accurate to make much of an impact. This isn't the sub continent.

Posted by TripleCenturian on (March 9, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

@Rick t. The reason England have five of the top 17 in the test batting rankings and then no one else in the top 70 is simple. Consistency of selection. We do not have a queue of players not in the team with sufficient tests to qualify for inclusion in the rankings. The two places where there is no guarantee of selection are Cooks opening partner and number 6. Compton has played four tests and his predecessor has retired so not in the rankings. At six we seem to swap and change from Taylor to Bairstow to Patel to Root and I am sure there are others I have omitted. None have played double figures in tests yet so with these guys it's all about potential to come rather than past stats. Hopefully, England will work out which one is the long term future and stick with them so he can enter the top 20 in the rankings before too long

Posted by Essex_Man on (March 9, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

Superb effort by Chef and "grandson of", exemplifying the skill and steely mental strength which this England team possess.

Such a shame the first day was washed out. Would fancy an England win from here if there were still two days left.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

24 hours ago, many Australian fans were gleefully crowing at England's abject batting performance and mediocre bowling one. However, unlike recent Australian performances, England didn't capitulate second time round but have given themselves a good chance to save this test. This highlights the difference between the current teams ahead of the double-Ashes: While England are prone to consecutive bad days at the office with both bat and ball, Australia's batting problems are endemic. This, illogically, may constitute Australia's best chance should England manage to persuade themselves that Australia are a push-over.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (March 9, 2013, 7:34 GMT)

Is there a cure for 1st Inning collapse of first test in overseas series? Ahmedabad 2012 191 all out...Galle 2012 193 all out...Dubai 2012 192 all out. What is it with this team???

Posted by Rick_T on (March 9, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

158notout - Actually, if you go on the rankings as of today, no NZ bowler would make the ENG team. However, McCullum would make the team (in place of Root), Williamson would be in (in place of Compton) and Taylor would be in (is ranked higher than Pietersen). Interestingly, ENG has 5 batsmen in the Top 17 (including Prior) but no other batsman (bowlers excluded) make the Top 70.

Posted by Great-shot444 on (March 9, 2013, 7:14 GMT)

Feel for the NZ supporters here, this is there best chance to beat ENG. In this pitch and with a big lead they have lack a bowler like Saeed Ajmal .

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 6:59 GMT)


Yes, that was partly the point, that England can still win 2-0 with two dominant displays (a "whitewash" is almost impossible now).

But the other part of my point was that just because England's batting has got on track doesn't mean they have regained all the pieces for a series win. You still need to take 20 wickets in each of the remaining test (or 19 if McCullum does a Michael Clark!). And so far, in this test, we haven't seen that kind of bowling or fielding.

So, since most people are approaching this series with the question "How badly can England beat NZ?" or something of similar sort, ranking, reputation and recent results will still suggest "quite badly" whereas what we have seen in this test would suggest "not by much, if at all."

Only time will tell which is right.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (March 9, 2013, 6:46 GMT)

We just lack that foot on throat type bowler that rips the heart out of opposition teams and prevents comebacks like this. We should have won this easy from the position we were in and still can, touch wood england are the only team that can lose this game. One of the swing kings in wagner southee and boult has to move aside for a genuine quick in the 145km range to give the attack some balance and variation. Good to see our problem spot as opener may finnally have a solution in rutherford but fulton still doesn't inspire me, he did a good job and knows how to graft but his technique is just shocking, good luck to him though and the black caps, come on boys its still on

Posted by Rick_T on (March 9, 2013, 6:40 GMT)

WonkyBail - In reply to your comment yesterday regarding the absurd comments by Bangladesh supporters; you are dead right. After the 2-0 SAF whitewash of NZ, 2 months ago, many BAN commentators said that NZ had disgraced cricket and should lose their Test status and that BAN is a superior cricketing nation to NZ.

So far, BAN has played 75 Test matches and won 3. Their only Top 8 scalp is the West Indies.

In contrast, NZ has defeated SRI 10 times, IND & WI 9x, ENG & AUS 8x, PAK 7x & SAF 4x.

BAN's head to head record against NZ is 1 draw and 8 losses.

When you have won a few dozen Tests against Top 8 nations, then you can start comparing BAN to NZ, or when your for/against record against NZ gets close to 50-50.

Until then, you just look foolish.

Anyway, if you want to remove NZ's Test status, what about PAK (just whitewashed 3-0) or IND (whitewashed 4-0 twice in a row away) or AUS (looking sick at the moment)?

The only country left with Test status will be SAF.

Posted by 158notout on (March 9, 2013, 6:25 GMT)

@Ken Fawcett - you kind of undo the entire point of your post with your last sentence, or was that the point?

"If it wasn't for rankings, reputation, recent results, there is nothing in the test that suggests England can win this series, let alone comfortably."

What else are you supposed to base a sports prediction on? Surely recent form is the first guide, that is then reflected in rankings and the reputation takes that and the skill of the individual players into account. Is there a player on the NZ side that would get in the England team? Maybe Southee. Possibly McCullum or Taylor but only because England are still waiting for someone to grab #6 with both hands. Otherwise rankings, reputation (of team and individuals) and recent results all point to an England whitewash. Of course this now looks unlikely but that is the nature of sport.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

Why do the English love talking about the Aussies? It's good that you feel a bit confident now, but the point in this game wasn't just the uncharacteristic collapse in the first innings of England's batting. You also don't seem to have the firepower to take 20 wickets. Bad fielding doesn't help either.

If it wasn't for rankings, reputation, recent results, there is nothing in the test that suggests England can win this series, let alone comfortably.

Posted by landl47 on (March 9, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

At least England is improving every day. After a torrid 45 minutes in the moring when McCullum and Martin scored to all parts of the ground (sometimes intentionally, sometimes not) an England record opening partnership has put the teams back on more or less equal footing again. England will have to bat for 2 1/2 sessions to ensure the draw, but Cook and Compton did that on their own today. A great pity Cook got out just before the end of the day's play, but he batted magnificently yet again. Congratulations to Compton on his maiden test century, very well deserved.

The first session tomorrow will tell the tale. If England can lose no more than 2 specialist batsmen, they'll feel they can draw this game.

Posted by Hammond on (March 9, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

The pitch is awfully flat. It is obvious that the 2nd day pitch was affected by the washout on day 1. England aren't out of gaol yet though, they need to bat another 2 sessions tomorrow to get out of this mess.

Posted by USMANRANDHAWA on (March 9, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

England proves that they are No 1 side in the world. Great effort by both the openers.Things are different than indian,england,south africa. They avail the advantage of home ground & conditions but NZ is not preparing him self like that.

Posted by mikey76 on (March 9, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

All in all a performance most of the players would rather forget. If we can get out of this mess with a draw then it will at least be a positive...we can play this badly and still not lose. On a positive note, Broad looks to be getting back to somewhere near where he should be, but our catching was again horrendous and cost Anderson a lot of runs in particular. Steve Finn for all his accuracy in ODI cricket seems not to be able to transfer that to the test arena. Some players need to take a long hard look at themselves and come back strong in Wellington. If we have any pretensions to being No.1 again then we need to put sides like New Zealand away.

Posted by mensan on (March 9, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

I said it before at the end of Day 3. And I say it here again. England can save this test match.

Posted by Mitch1066 on (March 8, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

I hope England show why they one best sides in test arena with good showing in second innings . It seam be flat pitch which won't offer much to bowlers providing u bat with guts like Rutherford did .

Posted by Mitch1066 on (March 8, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

I remain cautious but we weathered hardest bit it looks flat wicket and only offers when ball new. So uptil next new ball I think England be fine providing they bat sensible

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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