New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 1st day

Fulton, Williamson grind England

The Report by George Dobell

March 22, 2013

Comments: 110 | Text size: A | A

New Zealand 250 for 1 (Fulton 124*, Williamson 83*) v England
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Hamish Rutherford plays on the leg side, New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 1st day, March 22, 2013
Hamish Rutherford threw away his wicket after a promising beginning © Getty Images
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Had Alastair Cook arrived at Auckland with a case of wine and box of chocolates for his New Zealand hosts he could hardly have been a more gracious guest. Cook, perhaps seduced by a hint of green and a theory that the drop-in pitch in use for this Test might aid his seamers, inserted New Zealand upon winning the toss and thereby surrendered first use of a fine surface.

Under bright skies and on a true pitch, barely a ball deviated in the air or off the pitch all day as New Zealand reached 250 for the loss of just one wicket by stumps. With the series level at 0-0 going into this final match, New Zealand have earned an excellent opportunity to win a Test series at home against England for just the second time. The first was in 1983-84.

Cook's insertion may well draw comparison with Nasser Hussain's infamous decision in Brisbane in 2002. To be fair to Cook, there is little reason to suppose this pitch will deteriorate. It is hard, easy paced and true. It offered precious little swing or seam movement and promises little better for spinners later in the game.

The lush outfield and lack of other pitches limits the opportunity for reverse swing, too. If it was ever going to help the bowlers, it was going to be in the first hour. But his decision has allowed New Zealand to claim the initiative and, in the decisive Test of a series, leaves England in a precarious position. Even a drawn series would have been considered a setback at the start of the tour.

Perhaps Cook's decision was not so much at fault as England's execution of the decision. Certainly they will reflect that they did not fully utilise the new ball. It is not that James Anderson or Stuart Broad bowled badly - far from it - just that they did not make the New Zealand openers play as often as they might in the first few overs. By the time they had found their line, the openers had settled and the ball offered nothing.

The main beneficiary of England's generosity was Peter Fulton. The 34-year-old New Zealand opener had previously only passed 50 twice in Test cricket and his previous highest score was 75, made almost exactly seven years ago. Here, however, at the age of at 34 years and 49 days, he benefited from the benign conditions and a small outfield to become the second oldest man to score his maiden Test century for New Zealand. The oldest is Zin Harris.

Smart stats

  • It's the first time New Zealand have stayed with the same XI over a series of three or more Tests.
  • The unbroken 171-run stand between Peter Fulton and Kane Williamson is currently New Zealand's third-best for the second wicket against England.
  • This is only the seventh time a team has scored more than 200 for 1 in their first innings after being put in to bat by England.
  • Fulton's unbeaten 124 is his maiden Test hundred, in his 20th Test innings. His previous-best was 75, against West Indies, in his third Test innings.
  • This is only the ninth time that two New Zealand openers have scored centuries in a Test series, but the third such instance for them against England.
  • Kane Williamson's unbeaten 83 is his fifth 50-plus score in 14 Test innings at home; in home Tests he averages 47.63, compared to an away average of 28.51 in 27 innings.

Whatever his fragility on the off side - and several times he was drawn into playing at deliveries he should have left and on 12 was fortunate to see an indeterminate prod off Anderson fly past third slip - Fulton is a beast off his legs. He scored 98 of his 124 first-day runs on the leg side and at one stage plundered Monty Panesar for 14 - a six and two fours - in three balls, all over midwicket.

Perhaps, on a larger playing surface, he might have been caught on 30 when he top-edged a pull off Broad and saw the ball clear the fine leg boundary, just 53 metres from the bat, but generally he blocked on off stump and waited for England's bowlers to stray either too full or on to his legs. He on drove sweetly - the stroke that took him to 50 was delightful - and showed a willingness to hit over the top, clubbing Panesar for two sixes over midwicket.

Kane Williamson was, in many ways, even more impressive. More secure in defending his off stump than his partner, he also unveiled some delightful strokes with a couple of straight drives off Anderson bearing the hallmark of true class. Quick to pick-up the length, he cut and pulled Panesar for boundaries and, at the age of just 22, resumes on day two just 17 short of a fourth Test century. He has already helped Fulton add 171 for the second wicket, with his preference for the off side complementing his partner's leg-side skill.

Initially it was Hamish Rutherford who impressed. He scored 37 of an opening partnership of 79, easing New Zealand's early nerves with a pleasing straight drive for four off Anderson and lofting Panesar for two straight sixes in the spinner's second over.

His wicket, in the penultimate over before lunch, owed more to a lapse of concentration than any incisive bowling. Slashing at a wide one without foot movement, he was well taken at first slip and left the pitch knowing he had squandered an ideal opportunity of a big score.

England were underwhelming in the field. While Broad and Anderson persevered in conditions offering them little, Finn, lacking rhythm from his new run-up, failed to generate the pace that might have been expected of him, while Monty Panesar, with no help from the conditions, was ineffectual. While the flat pitch should offer few fears to England's batsmen, it is tough to see how England can claim the 19 wickets they need to win this series.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

@Soso_killer on (March 22, 2013, 16:10 GMT) Have you ever considered - re England - that due to a seriously crap weather summer even by Eng standards - that the curators were unable to prepare pitches exactly as they wished and that they indeed did a good job to prepare pitches fit to play on.

Re Australia - I can't comment on how they prepared their pitches but please remember that if these so called "Roads" would help the Oz batsmen would they not also help the SA batsmen too? Also while your pace attack is your strongest asset, so too is it Australia's so by deliberately preparing Roads would negate the home bowlers best chances. As if these were Roads , then you should be thankful because surely it would have helped you save the 2nd test and had you gone a test down who knows what would have happened in the series

Posted by Meety on (March 22, 2013, 22:42 GMT)

@Soso_killer on (March 22, 2013, 16:10 GMT) - what a joke! The reason why you create the same pitches is, because you have ZERO spinners! LOL! During the Warne years, your lot produced thick lawns for pitches to keep Warne at bay (didn't work). The pitches Oz produced for Sth Africa were fair strips. Oz's best chance to beat SA, was to produce Green Tops for the lottery affect. The same "roads" saw Oz take more wickets for less runs than SA, so are you saying that SA batsmen (Kallis, Smith, Amla & AB) are inferior to Oz batsmen? Or Oz bowlers were better than SA? Or maybe, just maybe Oz played better cricket over the 1st 2 tests before SA struck back? Cowards? Using those types of words without posting your name & address with it, suggests YOU are! == == == Spewing Williamson didn't get his ton, but Anderson did deserve a wicket.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

nz a re building as a test team compared to a dismal last few years, there run rate may be a bit slow but people will complain if nz was all out for 1 hundred. they are working so hard to gain respect to themselves and to there opposition. i say well done to nz. to the people who hate flat pitches and say they are lame draws, this series would be 1-1 if it wasnt for the rain, after all south africia bowled nz out cheaply last year on these same pitches. On alistar cook your team is ranked no. 2 in the world try using attacking fields to a team who is ranked last in the test rankings, i think your tactics is negative and leaves nothing for the imagination!

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

I do have to say some of the Sky commentators do get on my nerves at times. During/after today's play some of them were commenting on it being a bad decision to put NZ in etc and during the last test the reverse was said. But during the last test they were saying during the Eng inns "wait until both teams have bowled" re how good a batting wicket it seemed. But during this match it seems no one's saying "Wait Until NZ bowl"

So it seems that it can't just be that Eng are bowling below par or NZ batting well - because NZ are on top it must be because

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

Isn't it amazing how many fans disappeared when their team was losing their home test series and have suddenly reappeared on the England threads coinciding with their side coming into some form? My guess is that all bar 1 of the usuals will be in hiding again during the SA/India series. How short are the memories

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 21:30 GMT)

@ facebook user (March 22, 12:30 GMT) Wouldn't necessarily say we have the best spin attack in the world but in UAE it was our batsmen who were pathetic. Re our bowlers - spinners Monty took 14 wkts at 21.57 and Swann took 13 at 25.07 while even our pacers Broad 13 at 20.46 and Jimmy 9 at 27.66 all did a job. Sure the Pak spinners had better figures but none of those figures were PATHETIC as you put it are they?

@GRVJPR (March 22, 18:51) If both the tests had a full 5 days of play , you might - just might - have a point but 2 of the tests have had less than 4 days play. Also you were moaning earlier on saying that Eng only won in India because of the pitches which you were criticising. Now you are praising those pitches. So what is it to be - the pitches are bad because England won on them or good because they produce results?

Posted by whoster on (March 22, 2013, 20:49 GMT)

The England bowling attack could do with Finn regaining his pace and rhythm. We know he can bowl just as well and as fast with the short new run-up, but he struggled yesterday, and at times bowled no more than military-medium. Despite a perfect batting track, England's attack again didn't look dangerous. Fulton and Williamson played really well though, and although the pitch is again depressingly flat, New Zealand have batted well in this series. I've got no problems with Cook putting NZ in; the track looks unlikely to deteriorate. Having said that, with the series at stake, England will be under a fair bit lot of pressure if NZ get 450 or more.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (March 22, 2013, 20:19 GMT)

Ill defend these pitches till im blue in the face because i am a true cricket fan who wants test matches to last 5 days. Sick of green tops producing 3 day tests 4 days if we are lucky. I hate it when all a bowler has to do is put it on a length and the wicket does the rest, i want to see a bowler and his captain work out a batters weakness, keep plugging away at that weakness untill they get their reward for their toil. England bowled with what looked like no plans, bowled a negitive line well outside off stump then england fans blame nz for scoring slowly. Truth is its day 1 and this pitch could still get a result late on day 5 just like the other two pitches if it didn't rain. Get over it england.

Posted by reywob on (March 22, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

Bruce Martin will be the match winner when Eng have to chase 350 in the 4th innings, Sorry Vettori your time is up

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

England's issues aside. how about we give credit to the application of the Kiwi batsmen? Good work from them, they were asked questions of a quality attack & at the end of the first day stood tall & proud. An overall great result for both NZ & test cricket.

Posted by GRVJPR on (March 22, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

Currently only India is producing result oriented wickets that are giving chances to everyone. Whoever is good wins the match despite loosing the toss.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

Englands 10 year domination started in 2011. Looks set to continue till 2021 as predicted. After scoring 637/2 against India in India, Englands run of victory continues.

Posted by NostroGustro on (March 22, 2013, 18:37 GMT)

Nice bluff from Macca and Cook fell right into it :D

From my seat overlooking long off at the Southern End, it appeared that England didn't bowl terribly, but they didn't bowl well either. I could count on one hand the number of plays and misses, and there were only two stifled lbw's in 90 overs. No sustained pressure.

Well batted NZ and I take back everything I said about Peter. He looked comfortable from ball one. Kane is an absolute rock at the other end. People remarking about run rates show they haven't watched the day's play. NZ are now in a position to bat England out of the game. See off the 1st 10 overs today then smack the bowlers out of the park.

There seems to an issue with Monty and the rest of the England team. He doesn't join in any offered high fives (not that there were many to be seen yesterday!) and the leadership group at times look exasperated with him... trouble at mill?

Posted by shillingsworth on (March 22, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@Captain Meanster - You appear confused. None of the England players ever said that NZ were a pushover. Why are 'their egos flattened'? Some sections of the English media certainly underestimated NZ and made some fairly stupid predictions ahead of the series. Perhaps you are referring to them. Just a reminder - a drawn series isn't a 'victory' for either side. A series of 3 dull draws is very much a defeat for the spectators, who appear to largely forgotten amongst all the crowing.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 22, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

Oh dear England !! Their egos must have been flattened like a hot air balloon. Their bowlers looking hapless and toothless against a below par NZ batting. How the mighty have fallen !! This goes to show the insipid nature of England's bowling resources. The upcoming Ashes will be interesting because Australia's fast bowling looks much superior to England's. Given how flat the pitches during this series have been, England cannot give any excuse in that regard. A better team masters ALL conditions against ANY opposition. England have NOT done that. A drawn series will be like a VICTORY for NZ. At this point in time, it is GAME ON for the Ashes because both England and Australia have NOTHING to show for from their respective tours. Goes to show how superior SA are in world cricket at the moment. SA are easily the best test team and would have done something much convincing in such conditions perhaps ? Food for thought.

Posted by Shan156 on (March 22, 2013, 16:42 GMT)

So, befor the toss, Alastair must have really believed what he said when he thought his bowlers were back to their best. There is no reason to make his bowlers bowl for the 3rd consecutive innings in less than a week after we enforced the follow-on in the 2nd test. That was the dumbest decision by an Eng. captain since Hussain inserting Aus. in Brisbane 2002-2003. Any chance of England winning this test has been squashed on the very first day. NZ are likely to post a 600+ score and all that remains to be seen is if England have it in them to battle out for a draw. With no KP and three newcomers in the new side (even though one of them, Compton, is in good form), it is hard to see how Eng. are going to save the match. No point blaming the surface. Good bowlers will do better than take 1 wicket in a whole day on any pitch. Overhypted Monty has been exposed for what he is - a mediocre bowler and not a patch on Graeme Swann.

Well played Peter and Kane.

Posted by Soso_killer on (March 22, 2013, 16:10 GMT)

@Thebigboodha are you kidding me? South Africa produces the best sporting surfaces in the world. What i like about SA we have never been cowards like other countries. When Australia were at their pomp we created the same surfaces as today, we backed our bowlers over theirs even though they had a better batting line-up.

Look at Australia now acting like a bunch of cowards ever since the likes of Hayden, Langer, Martyn etc. retired they have been producing absolute ROADS to negate attacks look at what they did last summer to nullify Steyn and co. SA came out unscathed in all of that debacle.

England at the Oval did the same, they lost embarrassingly by an innings. Their seamers looked toothless on that pitch and SA compiled 600+ for a loss of just 2 wickets. Dont you ever insult South Africa again!!

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 22, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

In the space of a single second Aliatair Cook threw a way any chance England had of winning the series. NZ still can but England? What would it take for England to get back into this match? NZ all out by lunch for 70 more. On this wicket? Hahhaha. England do not have a blast out bowler. Those who thought Finn would do it are cruelly deluded. Finn has settled down into a sort of tedious mid eighties nothing bowler. But if England were to go in chasing down 320 they would need to0 bat for about 120 overs at nearly 4 an over to get a lead of 150. Would a lead of 150 be meaningful on this? Doubt it. A lead of 300 might be. The reality is that against this attack NZ are in the comfort zone already and should make 500+ . The honeymoon for Cook is truly over. He needs to make 250 himself to right the wrong and no platitudes from Finn can change the fact that the attack has been sold down river. NZ for their part have proved they do not want result pitches and Test cricket is the loser.

Posted by gsingh7 on (March 22, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

lowest ranked test team grinding down this over rated english side, who wud have thought about that.?? well , i certainly did as their pace attack was thrashed in indian tests by mediocre indian batsmen. nz have much better batsmen. monty , the indian conqueror was used as a bowling machine by kane and fulton. he was thrashed to all pasts of eden park. hope nz drive home the advantage and push england to 4 th spot

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 14:33 GMT)

@ TheBigBoodha - The pitches provided in NZ have been like this for years. As the groundsman said before the game. He received no instructions as to how to prepare the wicket from NZ cricket. Clearly not the home team taking advantage there. An idiot could figure that out. The groundsman also mentioned with out any word from NZ cricket he wanted to produce the best pitch he could. Not some dirty wet green seaming track that produces a 3 day test match. People are forgetting if it wasn't for the rain it would be 1-1 in the series. The new lame excuse from the English commentators is the ball isn't good enough. Pathetic. Any English fans out there. Have a look at the South Africa vs NZ series in NZ last year. SA will show you how to bowl on these tracks, tah!

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

English bowlers may be impotent but the batsman are class and should be able to match or better whatever NZ score. But what will be interesting is their approach - if they believe that a drawn series will be an embarrassment they might try and push hard for the win, which could play into NZ hands with more wicket taking opportunities. If they just plan each bowl on its merit in a test match context then it will be heading for a draw, unless one of the NZ bowlers can cause serious trouble, something we haven't seen a whole lot of.

Posted by Meety on (March 22, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

"Kane Williamson's unbeaten 83 is his fifth 50-plus score in 14 Test innings at home; in home Tests he averages 47.63, compared to an away average of 28.51 in 27 innings." - found that interesting, I wonder how many NZ batsmen have that bigger dif between their home & away averages. Most countries batsmen do better at home than abroad, but I sort of thought (can't be bothered checking), that NZ batsmen tended to do better away from home.

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (March 22, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

There's a real trend in home teams doctoring pitches. I reckon Australia gave ENG, SA, and IND pretty decent tracks in their last tours. But everyone else is just going overboard. India's pitches look like a riverbed after a ten year drought. SA's look like an imported section of the Amazon jungle. Now NZ's look like Heathrow after a a steamroller has gone over it. It seems that integrity and the spirit of cricket are taking a long nap.

Still, Anderson, Broad and co always look ordinary as soon as there is no moisture in the air or pitch. I have to wonder why we gave them such dream wickets last time they came to Oz. Oh, I forgot. It was the wettest summer in a century. God must be an Englishman.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 13:18 GMT)

250/1 . Thats the odds of getting entertainment in this test series!

Posted by jb633 on (March 22, 2013, 13:12 GMT)

Re the pitch, yes New Zeland have batted well and deserve praise, but these pitches are dire for test match cricket. I would rather have watched New Zeland beat us on a seaming deck than watching a draw. @GPVR- can we play India again please because New Zeland is too hard? I am sure the English cricketers are really missing ripping through India on those rank turners. I think the only thing we can decipher from this series is just how bad India actually are. England have struggled against New Zeland but demolished India both home and away. I am sure our bowlers want to get back bowling at Sachin and Dhoni for a few cheap wickets.

Posted by jb633 on (March 22, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

So sick of our seam attack it is unture. Our commentary team keep going on about the great pace we have etc but we have been poor in that department for a while now. I don't really blame Monty here because the boundaries are ludicrous and the pitch has not turned one jot. I think our seamers are much of a muchness which has proved a downfall against SA and now here. We lack the real pace and Finn's new run up has done nothing for him. New Zeland must be congratulated as both batsmen applied themselves very well and put away the bad ball. If we are going to be frank thouggh, should Peter Fulton be making 100's against any international side. No. South Africa are streets ahead of England now and despite the brilliant series win in India, I just don't see us being as successful as we were in 2011. I fear the tour of Australia with the seamers we have. Look how South Africa were plundered in the first two tests and they have a far better seam attack than ours.

Posted by jplterrors on (March 22, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

No surprises here NZ can not lose the match and will look for a huge total that will set Martin up to spin us home in the 4th. Also whys Finn bowling so much? I thought he was a batsmen nowadays

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

Good platform for NZ. My first thought was that prehaps they were 50/70 runs short on the day of being in a really commanding position. On reflection, they have the strokemakers in the middle order capable of really putting pressure on a tiring attack. Even at this stage, the odds must be on a draw.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

@Andy Parker.... Are you serious? 250/1 on day one against a much stronger team is great going and NZ clearly have a plan. With the likes of Taylor and McCullum to come that run rate can jump massively and with 9 wickets in hand plus a long tail it will. Bat for the the majority of day two, add at least another 300 or more runs if luck is with ya and back your bowlers to do the job. My money is on a draw but McCullum is an attacking Skipper so time will tell.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

@ MAR00N5 It is hilarious to suggest that English spin attack is the best in the world just because of one good series with India.Pakisthani Spinners left them in the dust in UAE last year and English spinners were pathetic.Yes they have a decent pace attack (again not the best in the world)Atleast SA and Pak have better bowlers.Their test batting lineup is second to only SA perhaps and is one good reason why they are no 2

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 22, 2013, 12:16 GMT)

I love Randy Oz.Never a word on Australias decline in india but continues to try to batter England.It was not a good day for the bowlers and you wonder how much England miss Swann.The old joke about Monty having played the same test thirty odd times rings true

Posted by Square-cutter on (March 22, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

@Pettel..."Lee and Gillespie were ordinary"....Really!!! Lee has 310 wickets from 76 tests...that the makes him the 23rd highest wicket taker of all time...Jimmy Anderson has 295 wickets from 80 tests...that make him hopeless in your mind???...I think you might find that Gillespie was a little better than you give him credit for as well...Was the 2005 Ashes the only series you watched them play in?

Posted by Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on (March 22, 2013, 12:03 GMT)

World number 1 test team could only get 1 wicket in a day? Anderson was all over this website few days back and today he was all over the batsman's wagon wheel. Seriously! A greatest bowler (as per English fans) shows why he is the most overrated in the world. Less we talk the better. Well played Newzealand - A Perfect example of endurance, patience and courage.

Posted by OTPBullet25 on (March 22, 2013, 12:02 GMT)

@Joe Thompson - do you have any idea what you're even talking about? We haven't had seaming Test pitches in NZ for the best part of a decade. It has little to do with being nervous about facing the "fearsome" English attack. Unlike the Motherland, we actuallt have a summer here that's worthy of the name, and this one has been one of the driest on record. Ally that with a move by groundsmen around the country to produce tracks that actually require bowlers to put in some hard yards for their rewards, and you have the recipe for the pitches in this series. By all means, prepare greentops back in Blighty for the Ashes; that's what home advantage is all about. But don't make the mistake of suggesting this English team is nothing more than workmanlike in the bowling department, Anderson aside. Swann and Tremlett would make a big difference. That's the issue at hand, not the pitches.

Posted by GurSinghgur on (March 22, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

You CAN get exciting Test cricket even on an easy track, IF the batsmen want to score fast. If they've been told to go for a 5-day draw, you won't, and one day Test cricket will die of inanition and no spectators. Let's hope NZ will prove on day 2 that they really are aiming to win, after all....

Posted by creekeetman on (March 22, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

those defending the pitch must be the ones who wernt watching, or perhaps are new to test cricket. there was nothing in it for the bowlers, no bounce, no pace, no turn... = a flat worthless pitch. the only batsman that got out, foolishly threw his wicket away. the bowlers had no choice but to bowl defensively in an attempt to prevent nz from scoring quickly and taking the game away from them... all in all as a neutral it makes for poor viewing. pitches should offer something for the bowlers especially with the new ball, and also make it possible to score big runs with the right application and technique. it may still turn later on... but for now all this pitch offers is a cure for insomnia.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

This is why Test Cricket gets a lot of stiff. Flat pitches are no good for Test Cricket it persuades views to turn of their screens. This test series has basically been good for batting but Cricket is more about taking wickets than scoring just countless of runs. Up to New Zealand how they prepare their pitches but this just shows how nervous they were on taking on England clearly a much weaker opposition than the English Lions despite this 3 match series may be heading to a inconclusive draw.

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 22, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

Is anyone else sick of the tantrums that bell, anderson and broad continually dish out? You'd think they are playing schoolboy cricket. I suppose with that sort of bowling they are!

Posted by 30-30-150 on (March 22, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

Most of the fans seem to comment about the pitch looking at the scorecard and not actually watching the match. The fact is, English bowling attack is toothless. Their spin attack is, perhaps, THE BEST in the world but their seamers are just mediocre.

Posted by RandyOZ on (March 22, 2013, 11:30 GMT)

England once again prove that their attack is pretty much non-existent. There is absolutely no talent coming through and with the failure of the so-called 'new wave' of South Africans, even the imports are failing. The inevitable slide continues!

Posted by AK47_pk on (March 22, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Any average bowler can take wickets on green top. This is where you find out who is good nd who is average. So far english bowlers looked below average.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

@Andy Parker and others, it's only day one, and NZ are being cautious for the right reasons. Bat once, bat large, very large. If they are still there and have 600 runs on the board before stumps on day two, or 700 on the board by lunch on day three, they could then declare and the scoreboard pressure will be enough. There will then be some slight footmarks and the English will be tired and irritable enough to throw a few of their wickets away. If NZ tick the scoring along quickly enough tomorrow and apply enough pressure when they take the field, this will bring a result. The alternative is England could bowl us out tomorrow within 2 sessions, bat till tea on day 4 and go for an innings win. There is still a lot of time to go in this test, and the other two games arguably would have produced results had the rain stayed away. Forecast is for 5 full, uninterrupted days of cricket, so let's see what happens. Game on!!

Posted by AK47_pk on (March 22, 2013, 11:07 GMT)

This is where you judge a bowling unit. You cant always ask for green track just cuz its suits your bowlers. Bowling looks pretty impotent nd some so called pundits say england has best or 2nd best attack in the world lol

Posted by Pettel on (March 22, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

Andy Parry. " The greatest bowling attack since the turn of the century was McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne because while they were a brilliant bowling attack; they could also get frequent wickets on any pitch." Andy that was all down to Warne & McGrath being all time greats. Lee & Gillespie were ordinary and some of the stuff Dizzy bowled in England wouldn't of troubled League Batsmen.

Posted by shillingsworth on (March 22, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

@SurlyCynic - You seem pre-occupied with non existent player 'tantrums' and which team the crowd are supporting. Do you actually watch the game?

Posted by Selassie-I on (March 22, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

The pitch clearly doesn't have the early bit of seam that both teams thought it would. The bowlers could have bowled a bit tighter, but they were not bowling badly at all. The NZ bats kept things tight as well and didn't give away chances so well batted to them.

A lot of people goign on about how the great aus teams wuold have thrashed everybody on every pitch, but do remember they did draw and even lose some games, there wasn't a constant stream of whitewashes. I think even Warne and McGrath would have struggled to bowl a side out in a day here, although they would probably have been a few more down.

The bowlers have slowed a little, but remember they have played 3 back to back tests on fairly batting friendly pitches, it would have been a tempter to pop onions in to have someone fresh, but he looked too rusty in the warm ups.

Posted by DavNZ on (March 22, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

Criticism of the pitch is unwarranted. Even the English players were saying after the 2nd test that bowlers had to work for their wickets.

NZ are setting a platform here, hence the comparatively slow (by modern day standards) scoring. The negative bowling wide of off stump by England, allowing batsmen to leave the ball all too often, also contributed to the slow scoring rate.

NZ have free flowing stroke makers to follow so I would anticipate the run rate to improve markedly in the middle session Saturday (or before) provided they have the wickets in tact.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 10:46 GMT)

who cares about the pitch? It's a drop in and cook messed up royal in not batting for two days and giving his team 3 days to bowl out new zealand twice. It might not have worked out that way but hard to see any real strategy in bowling first here. Severely limits the opportunities for your team...

Posted by creekeetman on (March 22, 2013, 10:30 GMT)

another test, another worthless pitch. poor decision to bowl first by cook whose captaincy has not been as good as it was in india.

Posted by PACERONE on (March 22, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

All this talk about no help from the wicket is garbage.You bowl wide and the batsmen leave alone you are not going to take wickets.The got one gift..Rutherford.When NZ bowlers get some movement when England bats,then the talk will be the wicket changed.English bowling is overrated.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 10:15 GMT)

Disgraceful from New Zealand. A flat track and they plod along at 2.5 an over. They are clearly playing for a draw, absolutely no intention to win. Shame on them.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 22, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

I'm used to Broad's little tantrums, but the habit Jimmy has acquired of putting his arm over his face so noone can see his lips, then standing next to the batsman and abusing him is pathetic. If you have something to say man-up, get the arm off your face and say it in the open.

Very disappointing behaviour from a 'supposedly top-class' bowler.

Posted by Rajasekar_P on (March 22, 2013, 10:09 GMT)

Drop Panesar other than sub continent pitches

Posted by Damo_s on (March 22, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

NZ have done brilliantly here. We (England) just havent performed with the ball, whether its a flat track or not that si no excuse. I agree wih the comments that the SA bowlers will have found a solution where as England seem devoid of ideas. It will take some monumental effort from England to turn this test around now. Well played NZ.

Posted by big_al_81 on (March 22, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

Three undeniable things. 1) this was a pretty poor day for England. 2) SA have a more potent attack right now than England 3) Any side in the world would have difficulty taking wickets on this pitch (Yes, GRVJPR, even India, those famed travellers with their even more famous bowling 'attack' who are now back to their world-beating selves). The fact is that SA beat NZ 1_0 in NZ a year ago and the one win was in Hamilton where England haven't gone. NZ deserve a lot of credit for the way they've played, showing they're a decent side with some young players of potential, England, without Swann, who brings more than just terrific bowling, have been poor in one match, good in the next and now will almost certainly draw this final one. If you believe McCullum saying they wouldn't be thrilled with 0-0, you probably believed him about Cook and Bradman!

Posted by SuperSharky on (March 22, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

Well played Black Caps! It's unbelievable to see how quickly did they get up after the South African Series. Great fighting spirit, but there is still 4 days left and England will fight back.

Posted by pommy80 on (March 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Great batting once again by NZ, putting themselves in a very strong position. The pitch is looking flat, so runs should become easier to get during day 2/3, although no one knows how the pitch will play later on in the match. England need a couple of early wickets tomorrow to peg NZ back to 350-375.

@GRVJPR... "They won In India becoz of poor pitches prepared in India which gave outside chance to England"... Really? These are the same pitches as the ones in the Aus/Ind series, were they are meant to help give the Indian spinners an advantage, which they didn't, and England steamrolled your mediocre Indian team. Stop making excuses up for the thrashing this England team delivered.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Another poor day from Eng's point of view but very well played NZ.

Ironically this comes within a week of Cook saying our bowling was back to their best. Basically the best our side can do is draw the series from here which is very disappointing. Whether it's because of Eng playing below par or NZ playing above par or a combo of both , after coming away from India with a win , to come away from NZ all square or even having lost the series will be a huge anticlimax.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

@GRVJPR on (March 22, 2013, 2:52 GMT) Rubbish - LOADS OF INDIAN FANS - probably including yourself - were saying pre series that they were hoping India would prepare rank turners because they were expecting the sort of lame batting efforts England produced in UAE/SL. As it happened it was either a case of our batsmen playing better than yours or our spinners bowling better than yours or a combo of both. But wasn't the last pitch a "normal" pitch and didn't Eng do OK on that one too. As already pointed out INDIA prepared the pitches. By all means say our bowling was toothless today as it has been for the whole series. You can even be grudgeful by saying it was more India being bad than Eng good but we beat you fair and square and not on total dustballs either, Re SA - The1st test was a thrashing but the rest of the series was fairly even

Posted by JG2704 on (March 22, 2013, 9:30 GMT)

@Beige_and_blue on (March 22, 2013, 6:36 GMT) Answer to your first question is yes. I think a team/players have to go at a pace which suits the pitch/bowling and more importantly their style of batting. From our side , someone like Compton trying to up the pace would be wrong and someone like Prior trying to slow it down would equally be wrong

Posted by awoody on (March 22, 2013, 9:27 GMT)

I have to say I am disappointed with the comments all through this test series about the Pitches. Baring weather it would have almost defiantly been 1-1 heading into Auckland , with both matches in Dunedin and Wellington going to an exciting 5th day with either result possible. Is that Not what we want from test Cricket? If The pitches had been Bouncy Green tops and England's bowlers fired , they may have bundled NZ cheaply often and won the first two test's and the series with each game only going 3-4 days.Is that what cricket fans want ?? to watch NZ get humiliated by a decent English seam attack.

I don't think this is what test cricket should be about, if you want excitement and wickets go and watch t20 or one day cricket. Test cricket should go for 5 day's and be very difficult for teams to win. Also I have no problem with teams in there own country preparing pitches that suit them, Are England going to produce nice flat batting tracks when NZ arrive ??? I don't think so.

Posted by DavNZ on (March 22, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

When was the last time New Zealand batted for three sessions for the loss of just one wicket in a test match? Well done Fulton, Williamson & Rutherford.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 22, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

After the way the English media wrote off the Kiwis before the series, there's nothing better than watching them grind the overrated English bowlers into the dust. Come on NZ, great stuff.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (March 22, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

Also, big congrats to 'Two Metre Peter'. Always great to see someone who's been out for awhile come back and score big. Williamson is also a very impressive player, watching him play at Gloucestershire few season ago, and although they lost to Somerset (obv :D), he looked a very skillful player.

This NZ team seems to have some steel to them, if their bowlers perform like we know they can... it's not hard to think NZ win.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (March 22, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

Ive always been a fulton critic, i always thought his woefull technique outside off stump would prevent him ever being successfull at international level, i still think it will be his archillies heel on a more lively pitch or when it swings but he has done all thats been asked of him so credit where its due, never thought i would say it. WELL DONE FULTON. That dented some pride. Really hard for ryder to force his way in now, guptil might as well stick to odi and t20 for a while, ronchi should beg western australia for his job back, vettori can't just kick martin out because he's fit, all this and the rise of the cachopa brothers and the central districts pace trio, not to forget latham. Cometition for spots has never been this healthy, maybe test cricket will survive in little old nz

Posted by Munkeymomo on (March 22, 2013, 8:48 GMT)

Well played New Zealand. It's already looking hard to imagine England forcing a result here. Draw/NZ win looking the most likely at the moment, even at these early days. Englands bowling is a concern, although I've personally never rated Monty very highly, luckily the young spinners look much better than him (Kerrigan especially, Briggs should never be a test spinner though) so I'm not worried about Swanns replacement. The fast bowling is looking the most worrying aspect, some days the England attack can just never look like it will take a wicket. Which cannot be said about the SA attack (though it's probably the only one). I'd give Meaker a run in the home series. Maybe drop Finn AND Broad, try Onions too. It's looking more and more like we should try and prepare dustbowls for the Ashes. Who'd have thought about suggesting that a few years back!!! Haha.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (March 22, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

For a team ranked second and prides itself on good seam bowling this was a very disappionting day at the office Steyn,Philander and Morkel certainly would have done much better.

Posted by slasaus on (March 22, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Agree Baxter, although i reckon Finn will be a great prospect for the future. Lets face it, the difference between the saffers and the english is mainly due to the fact their seamers (and fifth bowler Kallis) are much better. In case one should doubt that u only have to look at their 30- and 20- averages compared to the 30+ averages of the English. Obv Anderson is a good bowler but ie comparing him with Steyn, which happened prior to last summer series, sounded it bit odd to me.

Posted by MrCricket_Eng on (March 22, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

The ashes will be funny a side that can bowl but cannot bat against a side who cannot bowl bat can bat.

I will leave you guys to work out who is the side that can bowl and the side that can bowl.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

Finn now needs to ramp up his game to become a 2010s McGrath. Otherwise in danger of becoming a predictable fast medium bowler. Surprising how Broad has become very run of mill though in the last match did take 6 for. Anderson needs massive support from at least one pacer to bowl well. At home, the attack should be Anderson, Finn, Bresnan/ Broad and it will be tough to choose between Monty and Swann.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (March 22, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

I knew everyone would be ragging on the pitch but come on english fans, did you expect the wacca? Our pitches have always been low and slow or green mine fields, its all dependant on our fickle weather which this year has produced the low and slow pitches. Its been this way forever and guess what england fans teams have actually won test matches here. Im going to be honest your bowling has been crap, it hasn't applied pressure for any length of time, monty is straight up hopeless, no variation, no flight, no change of pace, no chance of taking a wicket, he can't be the second best you've got. Don't blame the pitch, blame your tired looking bowlers and a lack of imagination from your captain, looks like he's had it too easy in the past.

Posted by bobbo2 on (March 22, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

No excuses for England. The great Australian of a few years ago would have smashed NZ on any pitch. Really pleased to see my NZ team stand up. McCullum and Hesson are doing a great job with this team

Posted by THE_MIZ on (March 22, 2013, 8:10 GMT)

Well Played NZ! England toiling on flat track...Its strange how readily James Anderson is seen as this 'Great' fast bowler of modern times when he has an average of over 30? Even the 'inconsistent' Morne Morkel of SA has a better average? I think England is going to struggle to force a result here

Posted by weasel_zapper on (March 22, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

Well done Fulton, great effort to come back into the team and make his first 100. Hopefully we can accelerate the run rate tomorrow, declare around 550, and have a bowl at England in the afternoon. It's going to be really tough work to take 20 wickets, but our bowlers have toiled away well this series, if the pitch takes a bit of spin Martin could really come into the game day 5.

People can blame the pitches all they want but those first two tests probably would've ended in results if it weren't for the weather and there's still plenty of time left in this one. For all this talk of Englands amazing bowling attack, as a unit they've been outbowled by NZ so far. I've no doubt South Africa would've found a way to take wickets in these conditions.

I'm sure people will say wait till these two teams face off in England in May, the BC's will get a hiding. But it's not only the English bowlers who will benefit from some swing and seam.

Posted by shortsillypoint on (March 22, 2013, 8:02 GMT)

Is it a flat pitch or flat bowlers? Both sides need to bat first before we will know. England were all out 167 on a good wicket in Dunedin.

Well done NZ top three batsmen - now Taylor and Mc Cullum and co can get the run rate up tomorrow and put some real pressure on england. Cook will be sweating then.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 22, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

@Beige_and_blue on (March 22, 2013, 6:36 GMT), under the circumstances, you can understand NZ taking it carefully. Whatever they might say, I reckon that their first consideration is not to lose. If Rutherford had got them off to a flyer like he did in game 1 then it might have been different but, on that occasion, the pressure was off due to England's poor showing with the bat. In this case England are yet to bat so some caution was appropriate. With so many wickets in hand, they can afford to push the scoring rate tomorrow. If they get to lunch with on 2 or 3 down then I can imagine McCullum going hell-for-leather during the second session. If he hangs around then NZ could be 550 and declare with an hour to play and put England under some real pressure. Of course, I saw England doing that in game 2 and the second day was very different. They'd have to do something stupid with the bat to lose from here though, if the pitch is as benign as it seems

Posted by mikeyp147 on (March 22, 2013, 7:58 GMT)

Excellent post, Baxter_P. You're right - the very best bowling attacks can take wickets on any kind of pitch. I'm fairly sure Flintoff, Harmison and Jones of 2004-5 vintage would've made something happen out there today.

England fans, this is a concern with back-to-back Ashes series coming up in the next 10 months. Broad and Finn look innocuous (what's happened to the latter's 90+mph deliveries??) so what happens if Anderson gets injured? There's no guarantee that Swann will play either, so the make-up of our attack may be vastly different from the one we fondly remember knocking the Aussies over for fun in the last series. But who have we got to come in?

Much as it pains me to admit it, their fast-bowling resources look far healthier than ours. And that will probably be where the series are won and lost.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 22, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

@slasaus on (March 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT), you seem to be putting words in Cook's mouth, and arrogant words at that. From what I've read, the view was that there would be a little bit for the bowlers early on and then it would be easier for batting the rest of the time. If that's so then Cook was obviously trying to exploit that early help, which didn't really materialise. Given that McCullum said that he would have bowled too, that doesn't seem an unreasonable interpretation. Are you attributing the same thought process to McCullum as you are to Cook?

Posted by Great-shot444 on (March 22, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

This pitch is good for ODI & T20, but these pitches are not good for test matches. Pitch got nothing in it even on first morning. I Think NZ just want to drew this series

Posted by bingoe67 on (March 22, 2013, 7:43 GMT)

Lets wait till day three before completely writing of the pitch, NZ would have has a bowl by then (maybe!) and we'll have a fairer view of it. Also, you can't blame the pitch for a lack of swing. That's down to the bowler, the ball and atmospheric conditions. There wasn't a lot of swing in Wellington either, this will be largely down to the lack of humidity/moisture in the air and despite 3 days rain for most parts of the country over the weekend there's not going to be much about to get the ball swinging after the dry conditions over the past 6 weeks.

Posted by Min2000 on (March 22, 2013, 7:40 GMT)

I was wrong about Peter Fulton. He has succeeded against all the odds in this series - he's 34 years old, he is not really an opener, he's so tall that he looks downright awkward at the crease, and he can barely hit the ball through the offside. "What the hell are the selectors doing?!" we all thought.

I now believe that he was picked as much for his character as his batting ability. Sure he's scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket, but then he does that season after season. What the selectors evidently knew (and we all didn't) was that what Fulton lacks in style he more than makes up for in courage.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 22, 2013, 7:37 GMT)

@Baxter_P, look the fact of the matter is that all though the SA attack would have done better on this pitch (it's hard not to), they wouldn't have done much better, and neither would have the Australian attack. The SA attack have shown that on flat pitches they are just as toothless as any other attack would be (Brisbane, Adelaide), and they are just great when conditions are suitable and conducive to swing and seam (recent home record). Philander is amazing only when he has conditions suiting, as he looked incredibly innocuos in the gabba test, and steyn all though an undoubted great, when he doesn't have the support from the other seamers and he is not on song usually the batsmen quickly get on top. Steyn is a great, but even he has let an average-good batting line up reach 550 and 600; when conditions are so non helpful, even detrimental, without brilliant planning, even mcgrath/warne would struggle to take wickets. The 2004 Indian series was only won due to great bowling tactics

Posted by warneneverchuck on (March 22, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

Poor eng cant beat even a team ranked just above BD

Posted by slasaus on (March 22, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Well done NZ by making Eng pay for Cook's unbelievable decision. What's wrong with giving the first blow urself by batting, putting scoreboard pressure on, bat again with a first innings lead and try to bowl NZ out on the fifth day? This sounds more like "we are gonna bowl u out cheaply after which we only gonna bat once and bowl u out again." Given the first two tests Cook should have known NZ would be a real tough cookie to crack. Drawing or losing the series is imho already on the cards after day 1, let's see if Eng is professional enough to grind it out after a few hot days on the field.

Posted by GurSinghgur on (March 22, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

An entire day's play on a pitch that everyone agrees was flat and true as a pancake, and seemingly no swing either. Plus one batsman well past his century by the end and another not far from it. And what did the spectators get? Just 250 runs, and only 23 in the last ten overs. And one wicket down. Weren't many spectators on day 1, how many on day 2? Well batted the NZ batsmen, but let's hope they can cut loose on day 2. If not, win or draw NZ and its groundsmen will have done Test cricket no favours.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 22, 2013, 7:07 GMT)

This goes to show the English bowling attack, mainly the fast bowling is NOT as deadly as some English fans make it out to be. The Aussie quicks are as good as England's if not better which is why the Ashes will be an interesting contest. English pitches will have plenty of swing, and bounce in them which I am sure can be exploited by the Australians. Personally, I am surprised at these 'highways' prepared by New Zealand. Much needed boost for their batsmen to gain some form and confidence going to England.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (March 22, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Well it was a difficult day without much assistance from a pitch that will undoubtably please NZ. Not really too much chance of a result here unless someone plants some mines overnight. Nil nil will do NZ nicely. It was superb to hear the barmy army singing and enjoying themselves all day, despite the scoreboard. It just goes to show why Englands superb supporters are the best on earth.

Posted by Beige_and_blue on (March 22, 2013, 6:36 GMT)

While it would be hypocritical of me to praise NZ's slow pace today, I can't help remembering how much better at this game Eng are supposed to be, yet this game seems so far to be an eerie mirror of day 1 at the basin. I can sympathise with the English bowlers; especially Finn; the transition from soft grass turf to concrete-hard drop-in wicket must be distracting at best and outright off-putting at worst, however, given their reputations I expected more deliveries in the 'must be played at' zone'; far too many 'leavable' deliveries were bowled. In all, I do wish we had batted Eng completely out of this game; unfortunately I feel we may be looking down the barrel of another mildly dull draw.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

Hang on, doesn't England have the best seam attack in the world?

Posted by AMAZINGFAN on (March 22, 2013, 6:24 GMT)

i think eng will have tough series against aus as their bowlers are struggling against the kiwis,accepted the surface is flat but don't they have bowlers who can bowl at any surfaces.....if they provide green top against aus this summer then it can certainly backfire as aus fast bowlers are as good as andeson & co if not better..... AUS may not be good in sub-continent but they have fast bowlers who can trouble any team on helpful pitches....ENG shud be careful

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

Wow once again everyone is blaming the pitches. A true great team can bowl the opposition out on any wicket. The greatest bowling attack since the turn of the century was McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne because while they were a brilliant bowling attack; they could also get frequent wickets on any pitch.

From what I saw today, the English did not make our batsmen play enough. So maybe instead of blaming the pitch maybe you whiners should look at your bowlers who failed to create pressure or put doubt in the batters minds.

Posted by Fluffykins on (March 22, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

England won in India as they were the better team on pitches that had something.This pitch gave nothing to the bowlers which is a pity as I cant see NZ getting more out this road I hope this is a results wicket but we shall see.

Posted by ADB1 on (March 22, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

@GRVJPR: :They won In India becoz of poor pitches prepared in India which gave outside chance to england"

Well, those pitches were prepared by India because they thought they could spin England out. As it happened, England won in India, and thrashed India in England, because England are a better team than India. India are not beating Australia because of normal pitches, they are winning because Australia don't have good spinners.

Losing 4-0 and 1-2 to England must really hurt, if you need to post bitter comments months after the event.

Posted by SameOld on (March 22, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

Since the reliably gracious English fans are busy moaning about the pitch, I'll just go ahead and congratulate Peter Fulton on his first Test ton. Great effort from the big guy. As a long time NZ fan, watching our top 3 score runs this series has been... well... almost unbelievable. Sure, they're not racking up Cook/Trott numbers, but what a change from what we've seen lately from NZ. I can't wipe the smile of my face.

Hopefully, the middle order can come to the party tomorrow, and then the bowlers can do their thing from day 3 onwards. Recently, Southee has been good for one devastating performance per series, and he hasn't produced one yet this time around. It'd be extra sweet if he ran through the Poms here, what with the aforementioned moaning about the pitch. It's a big ask, but scoreboard pressure can do funny things to a lineup, even a classy one like this.

All that said, 0-0 would be a great outcome for the Kiwis, considering where both sides started this series.

Posted by moaman on (March 22, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

250 seems a little light for 90 overs but I noticed the outfield was green and particularly slow today so I'm not reading too much into that.The England bowlers look jaded.Some of Broad's histrionics were risible! Ball angling high and down leg and he looks like he drew the world's shortest straw when the batsman gets an inside-edge! I'm picking NZ go on to make 550-600 and with the ball already on Day 1 up and down,Martin to come into his own.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

@ satishchandar, having the occaisional flat batting track is fine, make the bowlers toil for their wickets. However 3 Flat tracks in a 3 match series, maybe that's abit much, I mean it lets the batsmen massage their ego's and get their figures up, but doesn't make for very interesting cricket.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2013, 5:25 GMT)

excellent work by NZ Cricket, and I am a Black Caps man. Produce a flat deck in Dunedin, do a rain dance in Wellington, then ambush the English in Auckland.

England will be a little worried they couldn't take wickets today...what is happening to Finn and Broad?

Posted by Meety on (March 22, 2013, 5:17 GMT)

The previous two tests saw contrasting 1st & 2nd innings - so it is far too early to tell how good this day is for NZ. For NZ, with an unreliable batting line up, this is one of their best batting days in a long while. I've always rated Williamson - so I hope he gets a ton tomorrow. As for England, the best thing they did - was keep it fairly quiet. This means IF they have a good morning tomorrow, they can still bowl NZ out for 350, instead of being 1/350 at stumps today! No comment on the pitch other than to say, IMO, NZs best chance would of been to produce a Green Monster & turn the match into a Turkey Shoot for the bowlers. Be interesting to see how England go IF NZ post a score over 450.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 22, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

If my comment made at the lunch report is posted, pretty much everything rang true. Williamson showcased his potential and his very good technique, plus a good temperament to augment that talent. Fulton isn't exactly the best batsman to watch, but neither is cook, and I hear he's alright isn't he? Brilliant effort from him, to come back after looking shaky at the start. For once, the top three for NZ looks good and settled; Fulton can grind and occupy, Rutherford is that necessary top order player who has the potential to get on top quickly, and Williamson, despite his test average so far, looks very good.

On England, I didn't watch past the midway point of lunch and tea, but panesar looks the main problem. Can't blame the pacers too much, but they didn't make them play as much and at times when they made the batsmen play, they were too straight. But still, all of broad, Anderson and Finn now average above 30, panesar notwithstanding. Monty just looks innocuous as the first spinner.

Posted by satishchandar on (March 22, 2013, 3:27 GMT)

Just got a doubt.. If we can have spicy pitches like the Perth, like ones in SA, even tracks in India and WI where spin does the talking from first day which tests the quality of batsmen in bowling tracks, why not have odd flat tracks where the bowlers have to earn their wicket? Should the test be ONLY for batsmen giving them tough tracks to bat on? Odd flat tracks to test the bowlers is fine.

Posted by GRVJPR on (March 22, 2013, 2:52 GMT)

This was always going to happen to england. They won In India becoz of poor pitches prepared in India which gave outside chance to england after being thrashed by south africa at home. Now number 7 New zealand is showing them their true class. On the other hand, India on normal pitches, is showing they are much better and balanced team even after retirement of greats.

Posted by Trickstar on (March 22, 2013, 2:01 GMT)

First things first, what the hell was Cook thinking, we finally win a toss and then decide to bowl on it. Unless it's very over cast, or a huge green top why would you bowl. Secondly England haven't bowled too bad at all but this pitch is horrible, it's the worse one of the series by some distance, no swing, no seam & no spin nothing. The pitch looks and sounds rock hard and won't break up even if it was a 3 week game. I'm not sure if the flat wickets are by design but it's just losing viewers and to be frank really boring and I love boring test cricket. What's happened to the pitches in NZ, they used to be so good & nearly always offered a contest between bat & ball. As for this test, England could have really put the pressure on themselves here, if NZ score 400+, England will be under serious scoreboard. McCullum will be thinking what a great toss to lose because he was going to bowl himself.

Posted by Mitty2 on (March 22, 2013, 0:10 GMT)

Hopefully Williamson can continue on from his last innings and really grab his chance playing for his country, he looks to have a secure technique and a good temperament. I say the same for root over bairstow because I, like many Australian fans, would prefer us bowling at root than bairstow. Just compare the FC averages.

With the assumption of it becoming easier to bat later, it looks like it's going to be a high scoring game. NZ would really want to get a lot of runs this innings to put on the scoreboard pressure, and england's batting will most probably score heavily, not just because of how the series has panned out, their records and the tracks, but also because of southee being favoured over bracewell, which is unusual unless bracewell isn't fully for.

On england's bowling, they really look to be missing something without swanny. When the pitches aren't exactly conducive to pace and seam, they need swann. If it's not turning, swann is much better than Monty.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

this bowling first could backfire especially if monty is getting smacked for 6's

Posted by   on (March 21, 2013, 22:22 GMT)

Love to think NZ could pull this off, but I just can't see them taking 20 English wickets on a flat pitch.... We'll see.

Posted by slasaus on (March 21, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

What is this? I reckon not that much in the pitch, tired bowlers from the last test match, and Cook decided to bowl after winning the toss? Ok lets see what will happen.

Posted by Buckers410 on (March 21, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

Go NZ. Get a win. I am an aussie fan of course

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 21, 2013, 21:36 GMT)

First over, swing and seam! England bowlers, do your thing...

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