New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Dunedin, 4th day March 9, 2013

Nick goes past Denis

Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the first Test between New Zealand and England in Dunedin

Six of the day
Brendon McCullum likes the pull shot - England found that out during the one-day series - and he was given a few chances to play it on the fourth morning. The biggest blow, off Stuart Broad, sailed over the grandstand that runs parallel to Logan Park Drive, the main entrance, and smacked into one of the coaches parked outside. It took some time to retrieve before the ball found its way back onto the outfield via a relay throw.

Single of the day
Nick Compton would probably have been thinking about his second innings from the time his first ended with a bottom edge against Tim Southee. He had plenty of time to ponder, as New Zealand batted for more than 116 overs, but an hour-and-a-half before lunch he emerged on a pair to start England's rearguard. He did not sweat long over another duck, pushing his first ball firmly past mid-off for a very long single.

Encouragement of the day
In the 42nd over of the innings, with England's opening pair firmly entrenched, the crowd tried to give Trent Boult extra encouragement as he began another over to Alastair Cook. A group sitting under the main scoreboard began a hand-clap each time Boult was about to start his run but the results were six deliveries that provided either leaves or solid blocks. The same section of the crowd was not entirely in raptures about the pace of play with the occasional cry of "boring, boring."

Family moment of the day
Yesterday it was Rutherford, today Compton. When Nick moved to 80 he went past his grandfather Denis Compton's highest score in New Zealand - 79 at Christchurch in 1951. The 21st century version of Compton the Test cricketer wasn't finished there as he went on to register his maiden hundred. When the landmark was brought up it marked only the second occasion of a grandson-grandfather scoring centuries in Tests after Vic Richardson and the Chappells for Australia.

We've-been-there-before feeling of the day
Cook rarely plays poor shots twice in a match. He could barely believe it when he slapped a wide ball to point in the first innings, but he set about making amends in what has become a comfortingly familiar sight for England supporters. It was an innings exactly to the Cook blueprint with the cut shot, seen so many times, taking him to 99 before a sweep registered century No. 24.

Ball of the day
Armed with the second new nut Tim Southee delivered perhaps the ball of the match to Compton when he was nervously standing on 97. It reared up from just short of a length to beat the outside edge and BJ Watling leapt to take it above his head. Compton came down and gave the pitch an uncertain prod.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 9, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Denis Compton was incredible, along with Bill Edrich lit up the summer of 1947 with his exceptional batting and gave huge entertainment to the war ravaged public. He was one of the finest batsmen produced by England. He used to wield a light bat and say 'to kill a fly you swat it with a newspaper not a telephone directory'. Later in 1985, he would stave off muggers in East London with a bat. RIP!

  • Tim on March 9, 2013, 16:25 GMT

    Ha ha, oh we do love a relay throw. Nice one Brendon McCullum, despatch the pie chucker! Mind you, Broad will be back.

  • Mark on March 9, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    @SamuelH We had a period like that in the 1980s. I don't think that anyone enjoyed it much (an Australian tour of the Caribbean, for example, where only Allan Border averaged over 25; Allan Lamb's average in the mid-30s making him an England great, etc.) Having a decent balance between bat and ball is one of the better aspects of cricket in the last few years.

  • Samuel on March 9, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @pomshaveshortmemories - if all bowlers bowled like Glenn McGrath I'm sure most batsmen would average 38-40, if not less!

  • Paul on March 9, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Well batted to Alistair Cook, his concentration levels are exceptional. Although if bowlers these days bowled to him like Glenn McGrath did I doubt his average would be much higher than 38-40.

  • Mark on March 9, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    @landl That is very harsh. It's like Michael Douglas of not being the actor that Kirk Douglas was. Different people. Different accomplishments. Let Nick, who has always had to cope with this mantle of being Dennis's grandson, to mark his own path. He can never match Dennis's 300 in 181 minutes in Benoni, nor his (was it 18???) centuries in a First Class season, but they are marks from different times that will never now be matched. I never saw Dennis, except as a summariser on the Beeb, until they had to drop him, but my father did go to Lords regularly to watch him bat; I think that Dennis would have loved T20 - if he could be persuaded to take it seriously - something that I cannot quite imagine Nick playing with quite such abandon!

    Nick has now done what was asked of him and his place is safe for a while. He must be full of confidence. Let's see what marks he can set on his own.

  • John on March 9, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    Well played by Nick, but alas he will never be the batsman his grandfather was- very few people ever will. Denis lost 6 years of his career to the war, between ages 22 to 27 inclusive, and still played 78 tests, scored over 5800 runs and 17 centuries and played as though he didn't have a care in the world. Imagine what he would have achieved if had not lost those prime years.

    However, Nick has done something Denis never did and I'm sure his grandfather would have been very proud of him. His dad obviously was!