New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington

New Zealand facing a test of their stamina

George Dobell

March 13, 2013

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

March 14, 2013
Start time 10.30am (2130 GMT)


Stuart Broad produced a lively innings of 37 from 42 balls, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 5th day, August 20, 2012
Stuart Broad's batting form has fallen away sharply © PA Photos
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Had the first Test been decided on a points decision, there is little doubt that most judges would have awarded it to New Zealand. After bowling out England for 167 - their lowest first innings score since 2009 - the hosts replied with 460 to take a first innings lead of 293; their third highest against England in completed innings. While a flat pitch and some determined England batting prevented a repeat in the second innings, it was England who benefited most from the first day having been lost to rain.

But the fact is that the match was drawn and, bearing in mind the history of England improving after a faltering start, New Zealand may come to reflect that they have missed their best opportunity to strike a telling blow. Worryingly for New Zealand, this pitch is expected to provide more assistance to the England seamers.

It certainly proved that way in 2008. After New Zealand won the opening Test in Hamilton, England struck back at Wellington with Tim Ambrose recording his only Test century and claiming the man of the match award as England leveled the series. They subsequently went on to win it by prevailing in the final Test in Napier.

It remains to be seen how much the effort in Dunedin took out of the New Zealand side. While they should have taken confidence from some aspects of their performance, the concern is that their three seamers bowled 114 overs between them in the second innings in their pursuit of victory. With so little time to recover between the games, Wellington will offer a stern test of their stamina. The ability of Steven Finn, who went into the Dunedin Test with few pretensions as a batsman, to resist the New Zealand bowlers for nearly five hours in the second innings might also prove sobering for the hosts.

Still, any fears New Zealand had over the potency of England's seam attack should have been eased by the Dunedin performance. Indeed, in three first-class innings on the tour to date, England have yet to bowl out their opposition with the New Zealand XI in Queenstown declaring in their first innings and completing a testing fourth-innings target with three wickets in hand in their second innings.

Form guide

New Zealand DLLWL (Completed matches, most recent first)
England DDWWL

In the spotlight

Had Martin Guptill been fit, it is highly likely that Hamish Rutherford would not have played in the first Test in Dunedin. Rutherford seized his chance with some style, though, and in scoring 171 set a new high for an opener on debut against England. Only Mathew Sinclair, who made 214 on debut against West Indies in 1999, has made a higher score on New Zealand Test debut. Rutherford's excellent start has buoyed home hopes that a line-up containing Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and, one day, perhaps, Jesse Ryder, might have the potential to develop into the strongest batting unit in New Zealand's Test history.

Stuart Broad's form has been the subject of much debate. But while the focus has tended to fall on his bowling - he claimed his first Test wickets since August in Dunedin - his batting has - arguably - fallen away more sharply. Since he last made a half-century - in January 2012 against Pakistan in the UAE - he has had 16 Test innings, passed 20 only four times with a highest score of 37 and averaged only 13.60. Perhaps more remarkably, in that time the average balls he has faced in a completed innings is just under 20. Such statistics do little to support the claim that he can be viewed as an allrounder and suggests that he may be batting too high at No.8.

Team news

New Zealand will be unchanged and England are likely to follow the same route. For New Zealand, Doug Bracewell has not recovered from the foot injury sustained while cleaning up glass after a party while for England Kevin Pietersen is expected to play despite what Andy Flower described as "a little bit of pain in his right knee." Flower went on to say: "Most of the players play with something sore most of the time. I don't anticipate it being a huge problem for us at all."

New Zealand 1 Peter Fulton, 2 Hamish Rutherford, 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Dean Brownlie, 6 Brendon McCullum (capt), 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Tim Southee, 9 Bruce Martin/Ian Butler, 10 Neil Wagner, 11 Trent Boult.

England (probable) 1 Alastair Cook (capt), 2 Nick Compton, 3 Jonathan Trott, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Joe Root, 7 Matt Prior (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 James Anderson, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Monty Panesar*.

Pitch and conditions

The pitch is expected to have more pace and bounce than Dunedin, with some claiming it is the quickest in New Zealand. The last time England played here, Ryan Sidebottom and James Anderson both gained swing movement and claimed five-wicket hauls and it is worth noting that Chris Martin, with 60 wickets in 14 Tests, is the highest Test wicket-taker on the ground. Bowlers capable of generating bounce should enjoy it.

New Zealand have not won any of the last six Tests on the ground. The last two - against South Africa in 2012 and Pakistan in 2011 - have been drawn, though the weather played a role on both occasions.

Wind may also play a role. Wellington is a notoriously windy city and some bowlers struggle to adapt to the challenge of running into it. Shane Bond, the New Zealand bowling coach, has admitted it is an experience that all three of his side's leading seamers are unaccustomed to having developed as strike bowlers running in with the wind behind them.

Stats and trivia

  • New Zealand and England have played each other in 10 Tests at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. England have won four times and New Zealand only once, in 1978, when an England side captained by Geoff Boycott were bowled out for a paltry 64 chasing 137 for victory.

  • Nick Compton and Alastair Cook are currently averaging 81 per opening partnership. The sample size is small - they have now played five Tests together - but only Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe - who averaged 87.81 in 38 innings - of regular England openers have a better record.

  • New Zealand have won four of their last 33 Tests against England dating back to 1986. The last one of those game seven Test ago, at Hamilton in 2008,

  • James Anderson needs eight wickets to become the fourth England bowler after Fred Trueman, Bob Willis and Ian Botham to take 300 in Tests. He needs five to draw level with Derek Underwood, currently the fourth highest wicket-taker in Tests for England.

Quotes

"We always knew the guys are fit, and can bowl a lot of volume, we just need to make sure they are fresh and ready to go."
Shane Bond, the New Zealand bowling coach reflecting on the fitness of his side's three seamers, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, who delivered 114 of the 170 overs in England's second innings in Dunedin.

"I'd rather have been batting for 170 overs than fielding, let's put it that way."
Matt Prior.

*06.40GMT, March 13: The preview had previously listed Graeme Swann in the line-up.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Charlie101 on (March 13, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

I tend to agree with maximum6 rather than slippingsillypoint . Ashwin and Ohja are no where near as good as Monty. H Singh is completely past it though you could make a good argument for Mendis and Herath being above Monty

Posted by slippingsillypoint on (March 13, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

@maximum6 MONTY in the top three spinner's in the world, Sorry nearly choked on my muesli when i read that this morning! You have to be joking, he wouldn't even be in my top 8!, in no particular order Mendis,Herath,Swann,Ashwin,Vettori,Price,Singh,Ojha are all far better bowler's than Monty, With records to back it up!

Posted by Dr_Spin on (March 13, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

Personally don't think you can use the last Test as an indicator of what's going to happen here. Having been put in to bat the Poms then had to wait a day for the privilege of kicking off their innings. While it's not acceptable to think this way, I'll wager they didn't think that there was ever going to be a result in a four day game and that was responsible for thier lacsidaisical first innings peformance where barring KP not a single batsman was actually got out. Looking forward to a better contest tonight...

Posted by lukecannon on (March 13, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

Mccullum must open. If he wants to hide from the new ball he must come in at 4 atleast. good luck NZ

Posted by SDHM on (March 13, 2013, 10:42 GMT)

Personally wouldn't be risking KP - his movement was clearly restricted at Dunedin and he looked uncomfortable. Leaves you with a pretty green 5 & 6 with Root & Bairstow and despite how poorly he played in the last game NZ would prefer to bowl at a side that didn't have KP in it, but is it worth him doing lasting damage? England have already messed up with Swann, not sure they should go about doing it again. Anyway, the batting largely took care of getting itself back up after the 1st innings debacle in Dunedin - it's the bowling I'm worried about. The pitch does sound like it should suit them more however. I'm convinced part of the reason Finn has had trouble transferring his limited overs form to Tests is the fact he's been in & out of the side, a decent run in the Test XI should help. I'd be tempted to give Tredwell a go over Monty too; Monty looked like he'd slipped back into bad habits & looked rusty too. Tredwell has played & is a more like-for-like replacement for Swann.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 13, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

Should be a great game and a genuine contest between bat and ball. I find it odd that some people would play Tredwell over Panesar. Incomprehensible to me as Monty is one of the world's top spinners-no.3 after Swann and Ajmal.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 13, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

@SurlyCynic Do New Zealand have another performance like that in them? How much has that Test taken out of them? Find out over the next two days...

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 13, 2013, 9:50 GMT)

@JG2704 I think that this is already decided. England will be unchanged, barring last minute issues, but I have to agree: if you bowl a spinner I suspect that Tredwell will get more out. However, Monty will play again aand is almost certain to play in the 3rd Test too as the man in possesion.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 13, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

All credit to England for their heroic fightback to secure a draw, but I'm just not sure they have another performance like that in them.

So the smart money has to be on New Zealand.

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