New Zealand v England, 2nd Test, Wellington, 5th day

Cook believes attack 'back to their best'

Andrew McGlashan

March 18, 2013

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

Whenever England travel to the subcontinent, or know they will encounter a flat pitch, they talk about 'finding a way' to take 20 wickets. Perhaps, even if only subconsciously, they did not expect to have to use such a philosophy on this tour of New Zealand but they would do well to delve back into their memory banks ahead of the final Test in Auckland.

Whether you want to term it presumption or not, it was expected that England's bowling attack, especially the quicks, would dominate this series. That was not being arrogant or disrespectful, it was a judgement based on form and rankings. The fact they have not managed to blow New Zealand away - far from it in Dunedin - is credit to the home side.

There was a glimpse in the first-innings in Wellington of when this England attack, missing Graeme Swann from their first-choice combination, performs at its optimum; three high-class quick bowlers relentlessly running in, with the spinner maintaining the pressure at the other end. Would England have been closer to victory with Swann? Most likely, but Monty Panesar, with a little more luck and maybe a tad more patience, could have had more than his one wicket.

It is vital to make use of the new ball, which Stuart Broad did superbly late in New Zealand's first innings, and England also pride themselves on making the old ball reverse. There was a spell of that, too, from James Anderson during a classy burst to Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling when he had the ball under his complete control.

"I think it was outstanding in that first innings to bowl New Zealand out for 250. On that wicket, that was a great effort," Alastair Cook said. "The guys were back to their best, putting New Zealand under a lot of pressure and not letting them get away from us. "That is one of our hallmarks. Although Jimmy didn't get the wickets, he bowled 30 overs into that wind, pretty much - an outstanding effort. It was great to see Broady back in the wickets, and bowling as well as I think he has done."

Still, it has not been easy for the bowlers and is unlikely to become any more so in the final Test. Lessons learned from the subcontinent travels of recent years - and how they dominated in Australia during 2010-11 - will need to be remembered for them to take 20 wickets at Eden Park. They are also in a similar position to New Zealand last week, coming off the back for a lengthy spell in the field, although the final-day washout will have allowed them to begin their recovery.

"Clearly, I don't think we really wanted to enforce the follow-on, when you've bowled 90 overs on a good wicket and put the effort in - with four bowlers - that the lads had," Cook said. "But the circumstance with the weather - we knew it was pretty accurate, when it's so close - we thought we'd have 80 overs to bowl them out. That was a chance to win the game, and our only chance really. We asked a lot of the bowlers to do that, and unfortunately didn't quite create enough chances."

The bowler who appeared to feel the workload most was Anderson who needed some treatment for a stiff back during the second innings although it did not prevent him of running in. Despite being the senior bowler, Anderson did most of work into the wind and Cook was keen to emphasise the commitment.

"They're just niggles, a bit of wear and tear from bowling 30 overs - and as he keeps reminding me, only seven with the wind," he said. "Stuff like that goes unnoticed. When you're watching on TV, you don't feel how strong the wind is. But you only have to stand at slip, thinking he's got to run into that - and he never really complained, not on the pitch anyway."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 19, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

@Posted by slasher on (March 19, 2013, 1:44 GMT) Winning is a habit for team Or players ? fella - the team i mentioned that will also win. Once shane warne & S.Waugh told that the fighting spirit & hungry for win in Bangladesh is more than WI & NZ. I agree what these legends said. As you say after 3-4 yrs for last 15 years nothing changed for NZ. yes some stars are born in NZ but they are shooting stars Shines & after few times Faded. The biggest enemy of NZ cricket is INJURY- thats the history. and also don't give me the injury list of other teams check out how much matches played by other team's injury players & NZ injury players. The players you mentioned just check how long they will play. still my fav. all-rounder is Chris Cairns.

Posted by Lmaotsetung on (March 19, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

@ CricketMaan - Kerrigan (the favorite to make it to the top level), Dockrell (sorry Irish fans), Briggs and Borthwick (both have considerable Lions experience and some International limited overs exposures)

Posted by slasher on (March 19, 2013, 1:44 GMT)

@AKS286 If England field that team they lose. You have to play your best players or you end up ruining your team, you lose momentum and you allow other teams confidence. NZ have players who in three to four years time can be a force to be reckoned with (Rutherford, Williamson, Southee, Boult along with Ryder, McCullum and Taylor) open the door to them now and they will push through. Winning is habit and you have to maintain it. The pitch is not an excuse its a challenge.

Posted by Shan156 on (March 18, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

@Vinay Kolhatkar, won't hurt to try turners against Aus. but I think our first choice pace attack and Swann are good enough to get 20 Aussie wickets in England. Don't want the Aussies to use any excuse. While the Aussies do possess a decent set of pacemen, how many of them would last b2b tests, leave alone b2b series?

Posted by Shan156 on (March 18, 2013, 22:20 GMT)

@brusselslion, lol at gsingh7's predictions. Please note that he is predicting a 0-5 defeat to England. Should we be expecting an unprecedented 5-0 win for England then?

Posted by Shan156 on (March 18, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

Look, an Aussie trying to seek consolation from Eng's poor results in the UAE and against SA for his team's poor performances in India. @Mitty2, Eng. lost in UAE, fair enough, Pak. were the better side but we fought well; unlike Aus. who are making India look like a great side. We lost badly to SA but we did give them a fight in 2 out of 3 tests just like you did. Probably you fared better against them than we did. But, what matters is how England and Australia fared against each other in their last series home and away. Eng. won 2-1 at home and 3-1 away with 3 innings victories. England are ranked #2 and Aus. are ranked #3. Probably will tumble after their impending defeat in Delhi. Anyway, past results dont matter when it comes to this year's b2b Ashes. Also, just like how Aus.' poor performance in India won't have any impact in the Ashes, neither would Eng. bowlers' struggles in NZ.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 18, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

@Mitty2 - Aus scored big runs vs a better SA attack but

1, Wasn't Hussey still around and impacting during that series? 2, Because Aus did better against SA than Eng did and England beat India that means Australia beat India right?

Your stats may be correct - but do you not feel things have changed somewhat recently? Do you seriously believe that Aus have little to worry about?

- RE "You had five2 012 sub continent tests as preperation and gambhir and sehwag to bowl to"


1- The 5 SC tests in prep for the India were separated by 8-9 months & 2 home series so all they will have learnt from SL/UAE would likely be forgotten by the time Eng visited India 2- If Ind series win was due to the 5 tests prep played in SL/UAE - why in the 1st test were we thrashed.

Also maybe Indias team selections vs Eng were poor as with Aus vs Ind but we could all blame team selections on results inc England

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 18, 2013, 21:03 GMT)

@Mitty2 (post on March 18, 2013, 6:27 GMT): Yeah but the whole idea of a 'dig' is you say something relevant to modern cricket. Since when has 'getting it over 140' mattered a jot in test cricket? Did the great McGrath consistently bowl fierce pace? Do the averages of England's bowlers now really reflect their potential abilities against the likes of 'switch-hit-and-out-Warner' and 'Phil-I-made-1-50-in-India-Hughes'? Has Wade found a pair of gloves that fit him yet? I don't think either team (England or Aus.) have shown their finest for a long time now, but you're always going to get avid fans talking up players and teams like they're legendary.

Posted by mikey76 on (March 18, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

Cricketmaan, we have some decent options around the county circuit. Obviously Panesar is the next in line and is still relatively young. We also have James Tredwell who has performed well in ODI cricket. There is Kerrigan at Lancashire who has performed well for the Lions. Scott Borthwick is a good young leg spinner who bats too and Danny Briggs, a left arm spinner. Yorkshire have a crop of good young asian spinners coming through so the cupboard is far from empty. Vinay, Tremlett is coming back from a serious back injury and should be playing for Surrey in the CC starting next month.

Posted by CricketMaan on (March 18, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

What will happen with Swann hangs his boots? Who is the next in line for England? Thier batting seems to be secure as is thier fast bowling but the spin cupboard is still empty..unless someone tells me there are a lot more in England plying with spin trade!

Posted by brusselslion on (March 18, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

I'm not convinced that the England pace attack is bowling anything like as well as the 2011 version which won in Australia but, a bigger concern is the lack of alternatives: One or more injuries and it doesn't look good at all.

On the positive side, I see that @gsingh7 is tipping the Aussies so that should just about guarantee an England win in the Ashes.

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 18, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

i just thought what was the score in oz when nz last played there 1 - 1 or did those bowlers you talk about not play in that series

Posted by bumsonseats on (March 18, 2013, 14:52 GMT)

the aussie fast bowling stock looks good but shout when they get a 100 or so wickets and have played more than a couple of years. also does not matter what their stats are if you cannot get them on the park more than present. with most of the stats of england were not made from this side. siddle can be your best but also can be very average and mj other than the wacca has had limited success,and if the crowd will make it hard if hes his normal self. why you need to come on a site crowing what you are going to do when you are looking at a 4 zip defeat. you heard the expression of empty vessels making the loudest noise

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 18, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

Some people seem to think that England just have to show their faces at this most distant outpost of the former empire for the inhabitants filled with gratitude at the appearance of the descendants of their former masters and drop down into postures of fawning and supplication. That just ain't the case.Like everyone else they want to prick our ego's and win. Strange I know but that's the way it is. McCullum is a good captain for them because he won't take a step back and he'll encourage his team to stand up for themselves. They do actually possess an okay batting lineup and have to be got out. Within that context Broad's return is a godsend. Bowling them out for over 200 less than England a great achievement. The pitch was drought baked and bound to not be too helpful. on the first day it seemed like barsman's paradise. That anyone really got too much from it was an achievement. Barring rain we could have been 1-1. As it is we are 0-0. What's the difference in reality?

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (March 18, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

If Cook thinks that the attack is at their best, I think its not going to help England in Ashes. England could have gained more confidence by winning this series with good margin (may be 1 2-0). However, now the series will be decided on the last match. And the Kiwis are the most unpredictable of the all teams. They have big hitter like Taylor, McCullum and players such as williamson and Rutherford to provide stability.

Posted by AKS286 on (March 18, 2013, 10:37 GMT)

Don't think too much win or lost against NZ, WI, pak does't matter. i think Eng players must be rested against NZ and England's B- grade team is enough. Compton, Root (C), Carberry, j.Taylor, bairstow(WK), buttler, woakes, tredwell/monty, meaker, onion, Wayne White. Enough for Kiwis.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 9:42 GMT)

Easiest way for England to defat Australia is to prepare Indian type, low bounce spinning wickets, and go in with Swann & Panesar + Andersen & one other seamer, Prior and the current top 6 batsmen. The Australian pacemen all grew up on bouncy wockets and are totally defused by the lack of bounce. Their batters, with the excpetion of Clarke, don't play spin well, and Engand's spinners are better than India's even. India vs Oz probably 4-0 on the same type of wickets where England beat India 2-1 (almost 3-1).

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

The attack that defeated Australia had Swann, Tremlett, and Bresnan. Broad and Finn had failed. Only Andersen is the common factor. So where is Tremlett?

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 18, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Love a bit of banter. @shan156, interesting to see the differentiation between your comments when provoked and comments when commenting objectively. And considering that even with the greats, barring 2004, we still didn't manage to beat india, so how can we be expected to beat india with such shocking selections and such good selections for india? You had five2 012 sub continent tests as preperation and gambhir and sehwag to bowl to. Spinners who have experience in india hepls; but unfortunately their threat is negated in england conditions. I'm sure that your whitewash against pakistan and the demolishing you suffered at the hands of the saffas weren't precedented as well, especially with such a world beating lot.

@FFL, that's almost as ridiculous as your statement of NZ purposely scheduling the series in the rain season, especially when it hadn't rained for over a month and the ECB have to agree on the scheduling of the series. I'm sure that eng were going to win the first test...

Posted by wakemeupbeforeyougogo on (March 18, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Front foot lunge, you had better hope NZ doesn't win the 3rd test as you're going to look like a real wally!

Posted by gsingh7 on (March 18, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

after getting whitewashed by india and sa, nz did well to draw this series. it is good for test cricket that nz win last test to slide england below india in test rankings. world needs a strong nz test side.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 7:55 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge Not sure how you think england would have won 1st test. They were 128 runs ahead in their 2nd innings with only 4 wickets in hand. Had there been a full match the result would have most certainly gone nz's way.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (March 18, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

England would be 2-0 up if it wasn't for the weather. Awesome how much envy England's successful bowling attack provokes from some quaters. This is the attack that has humiliated the likes of Australia so many times that they just do it for fun, I for one will never forget the Whitewash last year, and I look forward to more this year, provided the weather holds.

Posted by gsingh7 on (March 18, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

what best ? look at their averages against aussies. this english attack looks weaker than pace battery which aus boasts, it doesnot look good for poms in ashes, it cud be another 5-0 whitewash by aussies like in 2006

Posted by Shan156 on (March 18, 2013, 6:48 GMT)

@Mitty2, keep dreaming but first you need to avoid an unprecedented 0-4 whitewash against India. lol, India have never inflicted a 4-0 series defeat on anyone. Nice to see that Aus. would be the first team to receive that 'honor'. Good to see that the Aussie fans are underestimating England. Hopefully, their team would do the same.

Posted by jplterrors on (March 18, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

The "attack" will be cannon fodder 4 NZ at Eden park

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 18, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

I'm not sure that the bowling attack is quite back to their best. Broad looks like he's well on the way and made a mockery of those saying before the game that he didn't deserve his place. He has had his issues, sure, but it's fairly clear that they were at least in part due to injuries that he appears to be clear of for now. England were always going to start him in this series and he has justified that selection. Steven Finn has been the disappointment so far. He hasn't been bad and he has taken some wickets but he's been the least consistent of the three quicks and needs to get his line and length sorted. He needs to be able maintain a consistent line while pitching the ball up further than comes naturally to him. If he can do that with the other two remaining at least as good then it's really going to be down to the batsmen or the weather if England don't win the final Test.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 18, 2013, 6:27 GMT)

Im usually a large fan of objectivity, especially when not in retalliation, but i just have to make a dig regardless. In reference to all of the remarks of "glad to see smith make a 90, can't wait for him to be in the ashes side" and of course the same concept for hughes and even FFL in his infinite wisdom said the same of Peter siddle; who, unlike Anderson, has an average of under 30.

But, an attack consisting of quicks who all can't manage to get it over 140, an attack consisting of three bowlers (swann, anderson and broad) who all average above 38 against aus, even panesar, the "world class" back up spinner has a miserly average against us, and an attack consisting of only one bowler (a spinner) who averages under 29.95 (lol) looks good for aus. Let's not forget to mention that broad and finn have shown consistently throughout their career that they can easily be gotten on top of. Aus posted scores of 550 and 600 against a markedly better SA attack; Clarke's going to get records.

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Andrew McGlashanClose
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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