New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 2nd day

New Zealand edge ahead after bowlers' day

The Report by George Dobell

March 23, 2013

Comments: 59 | Text size: A | A

England 50 for 2 (Boult 2-26) trail New Zealand 443 (Fulton 136, Williamson 91, Finn 6-125) by 393 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

James Anderson had Kane Williamson caught behind, New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 2nd day, March 23, 2013
James Anderson had Kane Williamson caught behind nine short of a hundred © Getty Images
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England still have a slim chance to win the Auckland Test, and with it the series, but they will have to set new records if they are to do so. Never before have England won a Test after seeing a side they have inserted score more than 409.

It may provide some encouragement for them that the team they beat on that occasion, at Leeds in 2004, was also New Zealand but, with three days of this series to go, it is surely the hosts who would be more disappointed to settle for a draw, especially after taking two England wickets before the close and with Kevin Pietersen's series over because of knee trouble. Their combative qualities have been apparent throughout.

New Zealand's position of authority was ground out in uncompromising fashion, with Peter Fulton's unbeauteous hundred, the longest in terms of balls faced by a New Zealand batsman against England, lingering long in the memory. Fulton became one of six wickets for Steven Finn, who equalled his Test-best bowling return with 6 for 125, but even he had limited cause for celebration as late-order wickets fell his way after two arduous days in the field.

If ever the doubters required an example of the virtues of the Decision Review System (DRS), they received it on the second day. With the series level at 0-0 and the game poised delicately, umpire Paul Reiffel gave New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum out to the second ball he faced.

Quite why he gave McCullum out remains unclear: it might have lbw and it could have been caught behind. But the batsman immediately utilised the DRS and replays showed that he should not be dismissed on either account. He was reprieved and went on to contribute a fluent 38 that took the game just a little further out of the reach of England. Had DRS not been in use, New Zealand would have been 297 for 5 and England would have felt themselves right back in the game.

The incident was not atypical of the day as a whole. Each time that England thought they had clawed their way back into the game, New Zealand produced a little extra to regain the initiative. England could be justifiably proud of claiming the last nine New Zealand wickets to fall on the second day for a cost of another 193 runs but, by the close, New Zealand were still the side in the stronger position.

Smart stats

  • Peter Fulton's innings spanned 346 deliveries, which is the longest innings by a New Zealand batsman since April 2006, when Stephen Fleming played 423 balls for his 262.
  • Fulton's innings is the longest by a New Zealand opener against England (in terms of balls faced). The previous-best was John Wright's 343-ball 119 in 1986. It's also the joint second-highest score by a New Zealand opener against England - the best is Hamish Rutherford's 171 in the first Test of the same series.
  • New Zealand's openers have together averaged 60.37 in this series, which is their eighth best, and their second best against England.
  • The 181-run stand between Fulton and Kane Williamson is the second-highest for the second wicket for New Zealand against England.
  • Since 2000, this is the third-highest total that England have conceded in the first innings after inserting the opposition.

If England are to fight their way back into the game, they will have to do so with inexperienced players. Three men in England's top-order - Nick Compton, Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow - came into this match with just 14 Tests between them and the lower-order lack the all-round skill of Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan due to injury. Most pertinently they are missing the magic of Pietersen. With him, miracles have not been uncommon. Without him, an England player may have to produce the innings of his life.

England dominated the morning session. Bowling with more discipline than the previous day, they conceded just 62 runs and, having been looking down the barrel of a huge total when New Zealand reached stumps on the first day on 250 for 1, reduced New Zealand to a less daunting 297 for 4 by lunch.

Batting was not straightforward in that first session. James Anderson, gaining just a little swing, found the edge of Kane Williamson's perfectly reasonable - if not fully committed - forward defensive stroke with a beauty that moved away just enough in the fifth over of the day, and England's ploy of plugging away outside Fulton's off stump - an area of obvious weakness for him - resulted in the game drifting towards a stalemate. Fulton's policy of blocking on off stump and picking up runs when the bowlers stray on to his legs can work well if bowlers perform as loosely as they did on the first day. But against better quality bowling, it looks desperately limited. Resuming on his overnight score of 124, Fulton faced 69 deliveries in about 140 minutes in the morning and scored just 12 runs.

Perhaps Fulton scorelessness contributed to Ross Taylor's demise. While Taylor drove his seventh delivery, from Stuart Broad, for a flowing four through extra cover, he looked increasingly frustrated by his side's lack of progress. He utilised the short boundary to flick Monty Panesar for 10 in two deliveries - a six followed by a four - over midwicket but, attempting to flick another ball onto the leg side a couple of deliveries later, was beaten by one that held its own and gifted a leading edge back to the bowler.

If the ball that accounted for Fulton was unimpressive - a thigh-high delivery heading down the leg side from Finn - the catch was exceptional. Matt Prior, leaping to his left, clung on to a superb one-handed chance that Fulton must have thought was heading to the boundary as he glanced it fine.

While McCullum and Dean Brownlie added 68 runs for the fifth wicket, England again thought they had struck back when McCullum was dismissed. With McCullum batting with a freedom that none of his top-order colleagues could match, England captain Alastair Cook turned to Trott as a last resort. The medium pacer responded with a teasing over that might have dismissed McCullum twice already before he was drawn into a drive at a wide ball that swung away gently, took the outside edge and was superbly caught by Prior standing up to the stumps.

England celebrated like men who knew they had caught a life line. But even then New Zealand were not finished. Tim Southee plundered 44 in 33 balls, pulling Stuart Broad for successive sixes and thrashed four fours - two drives, a cut and a pull - off Steven Finn as the bowler struggled with his length and the seventh-wicket partnership added 51 more runs.

Finn, who took the last four wickets in the space of 14 balls, finished with six wickets but would accept that he was somewhat flattered by his haul. Twice he benefitted from catches down the legside, with Watling falling in similar fashion to Fulton, and he also profited from the tailenders' attempts to thrash quick runs. It was Finn's first five-wicket haul in Test cricket since the first Ashes Test in Brisbane in November 2010 and his first in first-class cricket since a Division Two County Championship match against Kent in August 2011.

While New Zealand's total of 443 was more than respectable, it was not, perhaps, the daunting score that had looked possible when they reached stumps on the first day on 250 for 1.

But England's hopes of overhauling the total suffered an early blow when Cook, attempting a nudge to fine leg, became the third man on the day to be caught down the legside and Trott, falling to the off side and attempting to play a straight ball from the impressive Trent Boult through square leg, fell leg before. To compound the error, Trott squandered a DRS referral more in hope than expectation. Compton and Bell saw England to stumps without further loss, but a great deal more will be required from them on the third day if England are to leave New Zealand with a Test series victory.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 24, 2013, 12:19 GMT)

I don't know about you guys, but I miss Tony Greig so much. I don't have Sky, but I could quite happily listen to his commentary on TMS on the very limited occasions they played it.

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

@MartinAmber on (March 23, 2013, 8:31 GMT) You have valid points but I'd say the India home series win was as dominant a display you'd see from a country. Obviously greatness is earnt with consistency over years and Eng have not gone on to fulfill their potential , but I'd say the performance in that series alone was from a side which could have competed with the best. I'd also say that Jimmy saying they wanted to become legends is fair enough - shows ambition. Saying that they will or have become legends which like you say some pundits seem to have them as is obviously wrong

Posted by JG2704 on (March 24, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

@yorkslanka on (March 23, 2013, 23:20 GMT) TBH - as a whole I think our commentators tend to live on past achievements/performances. Even Stewart - I thought - was a little disparraging towards Aus chances in the next Ashes series. I feel our commentators are just presuming that because NZ are so lowly ranked that Eng just have to switch on and they can turn around any situation. Collingwood was one of the best studio analysts I think I've seen. Maybe some Indian fans could give us feedback on what he's like when in the commentary box? Oh and I quite like Athers as he never seems as forceful with his opinions and doesn't seem to take himself as seriously as some of the others

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (March 23, 2013, 23:58 GMT)

A great & consistant display by NZ, and well captained by McM, Eng did not take NZ seriously enough and are paying the price and getting a thoroughly deserved pasting... hopefully it is the wake up call before a big 12 months... still waiting for bell to do something.... anything.... but as usual when the chips are down he goes missing,, Bell has scored 78 runs in 4 inns inc a revisit to ''THAT'' ridiculous shot from Hyderabad, and a stultifying 17 today... time to move on from bell

Posted by AK47_pk on (March 23, 2013, 23:38 GMT)

Lol at all those were criticising slow kiwis. Look at root nd prior, s strike rate.

Posted by yorkslanka on (March 23, 2013, 23:20 GMT)

@jg2704-I agree with you sir, Willis is the most biased commentator I have ever heard and he suggests that all England need to do to win is turn up. When things don't go England's way he is the first to turn on the team..he is the cricket equivalent of victor meldrew IMHO. For me bumble, allott, hussain , botham ,&knight should be the team...I would like to see Alec Stewart there too as he is never scared to speak his mind ,whilst seeming to be balanced...

Posted by CarlP on (March 23, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

Decent bowling but England are their own worst enemies. So negative (Cook, Compton, Trott, Bell) and devoid of any attacking intent, it's quite a pathetic performance.

Compton does not belong in a test side and without KP the top order is too negative. They need to get someone with a bit more agressive intent who can take the game to the opposition as opposed to just grinding out runs.

If you just block back when the ball is doing something you're eventually going to get a good (or lucky) ball that gets you out. England seem to have become obssessed that Cook scored a load of runs playing one way so they all seem to want to copy it.

As a side point I was at Edgbaston when Cook scored his double 100 and I was wishing he would get out as he makes the game so slow and dull he ruined my day out!

Posted by wakemeupbeforeyougogo on (March 23, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

England still have a chance to win? That's a bold statement considering Eng are now 75/5!

Posted by Meety on (March 23, 2013, 22:14 GMT)

@ landl47 on (March 23, 2013, 17:11 GMT) - before the match started Cook felt (& I think B Mac too), that the pitch would play better as the match wore on. I had a sneaking suspicion it would do the opposite as drop in pitches can be difficult to score on as the life seeps out pretty quickly (at least in Oz it does). This pitch is definately harder to score on, I think NZ winning is well ahead of a draw (atm). I do have the luxury of saying this when Eng are 4/65. I think there is a 1st Test-like battle on for Eng to save this match.

Posted by Meety on (March 23, 2013, 22:10 GMT)

@cric_J on (March 23, 2013, 3:26 GMT) - I didn't see the whole days play, saw the highlights, but I thought Finn did NOT bowl well at all. The wickets he got was at the luckier end of the spectrum, if Anderson had half that luck he'd of had an 8for!

Posted by AK47_pk on (March 23, 2013, 21:57 GMT)

Flat track turned in to bowling paradise now lol 3rd gone. Oh dear england in deep trouble

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 21:25 GMT)

England doesnt have a bowler with a Test average less than 30 - showed on the park again!

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

@jb633 - I wouldn't mind hearing pretty much any of the studio pundits as commentators. Dominic Cork has always come across well to me although I used to love the banter he and Colville had when Cork was playing. Tres seems to be a guy who comes across well although there could subconsciously be some Somerset bias here. And Collingwood - who has commentated ironically for Indian tv - always comes across really well. These guys are all still in the game or not long out of it so maybe have more insight. Knight for me is cringeworthy and is just a Mr Agreeable.Summer of 2011 when we had the weather for it I'd often take my radio with me for long coastal path walks and I thought Boycott and Aggers worked well together. I know GB is very opinionated but I also think he is more of a realist than most of the Sky team. Maybe the Sky team have something with the ECB where they have to paint a rosy picture re England's cricketers at all times

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

@kc69 If you were looking for Ashes preparation, which would you prefer? A tough, but even series with some of the likely reserves getting some serious work, or a hammering in conditions totally unlike the ones that will be faced this summer? That said, I am impressed with the spirit that Australia have shown in the 3rd Test and, even more, in this 4th Test, even if the smart money is that India will pull away in the end, as they did at the end of the 3rd Test. I'm just wondering if Australia are developing some serious team spirit in adversity. However, overall, this series has been the best preparation that England could ask for, especially the fact that it has been tough and players have had to put in some serious work and, in this Test, defeat is a real option at the start of Day 3: England need a big innings from Nick Compton; question is, can he deliver three times in a row??? It's a big ask of any player.

Posted by Lermy on (March 23, 2013, 20:55 GMT)

I think this series should be remembered as that of the bowlers who didn't front. I have seldom seen such insipid rubbish served up on placid pitches. After facing SA, I think NZ expected more of the same and its taken them a while to believe the number 1 team's attack could be so ordinary. James Anderson is supposed to be the best bowler in the world, but on current form probably wouldn't secure a place in any of the top teams. This England team is ripe for the plucking, if only one of the NZ attack consistently bowled well. Boult would be most likely if on song, but seems to bowl only one good ball an over with any zip at the moment. The NZ bowlers seem to think 130 kph is the speed limit! They need to bend their backs and see what they can get out of the track, otherwise its all over unless England absolutely implodes again.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (March 23, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

Well done New Zealand! No even many of their own fans would have expected them to compete like this. England though are clearly off the boil after the Indian series and have treated this tour a little half-heartedly: the intensity of India has not been there and there is more than a suspicion that they have taken the opposition too lightly, as the did in the Caribbean in 2009. The side doesn't become a bad one overnight, but they are going to have to do much better than this to beat Australia.

Posted by kc69 on (March 23, 2013, 19:18 GMT)

Its so nice to NZ come up and give England something to worry about.If England loses this test and series and the pounding Australia is facing in India will setup the upcoming Ashes pretty even(Probably England still with slight edge).

Posted by Staunch_for_NZ on (March 23, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

NZ boys have serious talent that was sleeping, waiting for someone to wake them up! Enter McCullum!! Here is a leader to Marshall the troops. McCullum is a warrior in the mould of a Cricketing version of an ALL BLACK.....this is the Kiwi boys' game.....Fulton was told to frustrate them (he can bat at a much faster pace) along with Williamson and once they do their bit blast some quick runs and start bowling out those 20 wickets...England did get us out 50 runs short of our target but just have us more bowling to start the inevitable.......NZ maybe smallest nation of players but there is a good pool of young talent....I see us back up the ranks and knocking off many scalps, so best get used to it.......don't believe it is best to rubbish my boys if you wish to preserve your dignity ....Finish em off boys....

Posted by jb633 on (March 23, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

@JG207- yeah I agree I think the New Zelanders are pretty amusing and come across really well on the air. I don't think all the English commentators are biased but the team we have put together for this tour are not great (in particular Botham and Knight). Hussain IMO is very interesting to listen to and I really think we should look to get the likes of Butcher and Rob Key invloved with more commentary as they are entertaining and level headed. I must confess that I have been proved very wrong about how good SA and I hold my hands up and admit that they really are a good side and are deserved number one. It seems to me like some of our team are stuck in the Ashes 2010/11 mindset where we did have a battery of fast bowlers all performing at the top of their game. I know you are a big Broad fan but personally I am very sceptical about him. For me he has had far too many 'off' days to be a shoe in. I think a fit and firing Tremlett would be the best option.

Posted by NostroGustro on (March 23, 2013, 18:27 GMT)

A good fightback by england on the 2nd day. Won the first session, possibly shaded NZ in the 2nd but Tim took it away with a sensible (for him!) knock at the end. NZ took the final session getting the run machines out, despite some wayward stuff.

If NZ are to go on from here, Tim, Trent and Neil are going to have to be a lot better in the 1st session. But I love Bruce's bowling and the support he is getting from Macca is brilliant. Five close-in fielders at the close can only give a guy confidence!

Posted by cric_J on (March 23, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

England really need to bat well and bowl even better to win here.They need to score enough and score quick to have a shot at a win.Also with Cook and Trott gone we may well expect a tumble tomorrow.Compton's done well and I have no doubts Prior will try his best.But Root and Bairstow haven't faced too many situations like this and may crumble under pressure ( but then they did handle it pretty well against Ind and SA respectively ,didn't they ?).AND I have my serious doubts over Bell being a dependable man in this situation.He will either get too defensive or too offensive.This is just when Eng will really miss KP.If he would have been there I would have had some serious hopes of winning.But without him a draw is what seems likely.

Posted by landl47 on (March 23, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

Looks like a draw is odds on here. Trott got a good one, Cook got himself out, but with the shine off the ball the remaining batsmen ought to be able to put up a pretty good score.

NZ has played very well through most of the series and certainly hasn't been the lesser side. It's a pity that we've had two rain-ruined games and three dead pitches, but the sides have looked evenly matched.

Have to laugh at Big Maxy Walker- didn't Aus play a tied series with NZ in Aus recently? What does that say about Aus for the Ashes?

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

@jb633 on (March 23, 2013, 13:00 GMT) TBH , I like some of the NZ commentators. Out of our guys I think Allot is the most honest and quite enjoy Bumble when he goes off on non cricketing tangents. I think Willis and Knight - though very different - are probably the worst. Agree re SA's pace attack right now. A year ago I'd have had them fairly level but Steyn is immense and I'm waiting for VP's form/stats to level out and it's not happening. Out of our bowlers Jimmy is the most consistent and when Broad is on it he looks impressive but he's not on it often enough. To me Finn has rarely carried his shorter formats form across to the test arena. But I think we're both agreed that on the one hand they're saying what a great side England are and on the other they're really happy to bowl (no disrespect meant to NZ fans) the 7th/8th best side out for 450 - well one contradicts the other. It's like they're trying to convince themselves as much as the viewers

Posted by Dark.Matter on (March 23, 2013, 15:44 GMT)

Its kind of a psyche of English people. They play one series very well and do completely opposite on the next successive one. For example, in 2005 they played a gem of series in ashes, and failed to complete the task in PK tour. Again they failed in AUS tour in 2006. Similarly, Eng beat Ind in 2011 and white washed against Pk in UAE. Now they played very well in IND and again failed in NZ. In my view, its their media which causes problems by unnecessarily praising the players.

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (March 23, 2013, 13:56 GMT)

That was obviously a lot better than day 1. SWouthee slightly ruined it all but the total is not insurmountable. Someone though will have to bat very well and 50-2 represents one too many wickets lost. Thje thought though that Root and Bairstow come next is not quite seeing KP on the list. Prior I fancy will have play we.., though in the meantime Bell and Compton must dig in.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (March 23, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

only 1 hundred in 3 tests for Captain "Don Bradman" Cook. Good signs ahead of the ashes, if the Don is having trouble with the kiwi bowlers

Posted by 64blip on (March 23, 2013, 13:34 GMT)

How do England win from here? Even if they score 400 (!) tomorrow that leaves the sides level with two days to go. From the start of this series NZ have refused to be the rubbish side pundits were claiming them to be. If England match or overhaul the NZ total there's been scant evidence to suggest they will then knock NZ down cheap enough and quick enough to chase and win.

Posted by DustBowl on (March 23, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

Agreed BGlynn, Finn's run up is by no means sorted. Gus Fraser and Bob Willis both said a shorter run can take more out of you, and more prone to injury.He looked tired early on. Well done Kiwis, they always fight as a team, and BMcC is a great captain. Taylor and Bell are similar players - great talent but can never play the great innings at the right time. Broad JUST returning, and Anderson not quite there. Panesar frequently 2D. Swann not 100%. All worrying signs for England. Hughes, and the boorish Warner won't be so bad on greener pitches. I repeat again the Oz seam cupboard looks fuller than England's - JIC Anderson gets injured.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 23, 2013, 13:11 GMT)

@Barry Glynn (post on March 23, 2013, 12:44 GMT): Finn was consistently clocking up good speeds and consistency with his new shorter run-up during the warm-ups and the first game; I don't know why he's down on pace again now. Fatigue? Frustration? Trying too much? Could also be a deliberate strategy to try and search for some assistance through the air and off the pitch, but I agree with you - that just aint his forte. Picked up the wickets today though...

Posted by Essex_Man on (March 23, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

NZ still in the box seat, but England are roaring back after a much improved day. Great to get some competitive cricket in before the two gimme series against the mediocre Aussies later this year. Looking forward to the mighty Commanderson joining the 300 club soon.

Posted by jb633 on (March 23, 2013, 13:00 GMT)

@JG207- spot in I literally can't listen to some of the commentary at the moment. They are constantly trying to infer greatness and dominance, but the seam attack has done nothing since we played Pakistan in the UAE. Even against the WI at home we didn't look great. Really not impressed with our seam attack at present. South Africa have streaked away at present and deservedly top the rankings. New Zeland have thus far dominated this game. Just because we took 9 wickets on day 2 does not detract from the fact that NZ got well over 400 after we stuck them in. This is fact!

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

Im still not convinced by Finns new run up, regardless of these wickets. He was very down on pace early on and in the last Test. His attribute can only be pace and bounce because of his height. Bowling at 130-135 isnt good enough. He seems to be outting in shorter strides when close to the stumps now. If he needs a longer run up to get it through at 140 plus then thats what he should do. Hes never going to be much of a swing bowler.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 23, 2013, 12:08 GMT)

Wonder what would have happened if KP was still there: out first over, or a quickfire ton?...

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

Don't understand how our Sky commentators were AS enthused as they were re our bowling performance today. I mean they were talking about it like we'd steamrolled the rest of the NZ batsmen for around 50-75 and some of Finn's wickets were bad balls that were fortunate enough to find the inside edge but not go for 4. And despite Fulton doing an 80s Tavare and wickets falling their RR was similar to yesterday. Then they start enthusing about an Eng win when 450 behind and not having started our inns.Could they not at least have waited til the end of the day before getting ahead of themselves? It's like they seem to believe in a superiority complex which isn't showing on the field. NZ are not giving an inch and there's no signs of them folding. And with Eng's 2 most reliable batsmen in the hutch I'd say we'd take a draw from here.Bell may show his fluent side and runs could flow from Prior and the Yorkies but let's not get ahead of ourseleves. I'd say this was still NZ's day

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (March 23, 2013, 11:57 GMT)

A lot of work to be done if England still want to pull off a series victory. Well batted by NZ, and the loss of juggernaut-Cook and Ian Jonathan Leonard having to Trott back to the pavilion is a big blow. Finn-knee did well, but I fear it's too little too late... Well bowled Trott too!

Posted by JG2704 on (March 23, 2013, 10:14 GMT)

@jackiethepen on (March 23, 2013, 8:41 GMT) What are you on about? In terms of the media Bell hardly gets any criticisms whatsoever. When guys like Broad and Bres are underperforming their places are up for debate straight away but I can't remember any 1 member of the Sky team ever questioning Bell's place in the side despite him being the worst specialist batsman in UAE , SL and 7th best batsman vs SA and him looking by far the worst batsman in India until he got that last test ton. If any of the above are untrue then please call me harsh. I'm just going by what I watch. Broad is possibly my favourite Eng player but that doesn't mean I want him to stay in the side if I don't think he's playing well enough.

Posted by LongLivePak on (March 23, 2013, 10:00 GMT)

I predict a draw by the looks of proceedings so far.

Posted by bobbo2 on (March 23, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

NZ doing well, though too many loose deliveries. I like all the experts thought NZ would struggle in this series, but they have played well and I'm finally beginning to conclude that England are not all that great. The aussie teams of the past would have smashed NZ in 4 days on these pitches.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 23, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

@jackiethepen on (March 23, 2013, 8:41 GMT), if Ian Bell had silenced his critics aeons ago then wouldn't they have been silent for aeons? As for me, where exactly did I say that I'm one of them?

Posted by hhillbumper on (March 23, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

will this be the time that Ian Bell finally stands up when it counts and makes a huge score or will he do his usual and disappear when the pressure is on.Credit to the Kiwis for playing good cricket but how can England look so good in India and so poor here?

Posted by big_al_81 on (March 23, 2013, 8:56 GMT)

Maybe a bit misleading to point out the 5-for stat of Finn since Oz 2010 - he's only played about 10 matches since then and has a few 4-fors including 4 for 74 and 4 for 75 in the match at Lords against SA last year. He definitely needs more consistency and more of a cricket brain but he's doing OK for a guy who has been in and out of the team.

Posted by big_al_81 on (March 23, 2013, 8:53 GMT)

@MartinAmber, I don't think it really helps at all for you to just fall into the same trap as Mr Banerjee - if you honestly want to argue that England aren't that great and never were you'll need some actual evidence. If you think they've been overrated, the answer is not to say the opposite and try to swing the pendulum back by damning them, but rather to offer a more measured assessment. I don't agree with you that they were never that good, there was steady progress to the summit in 2010 and 2011 and there has certainly been some stagnation since then.

Posted by jackiethepen on (March 23, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Whatever Ian Bell does tonight won't make any difference to what his critics think, whether he is out early or gets a ton. 'Fans' like jmcilhinney will always be asking him to 'silence' them, although he did that aeons ago with various key innings. The loss of two top order batsmen is of greater concern because of the pressure it applies on the middle order. To lose both Cook and Trott places enormous pressure on the rookies, Compton, Root and Bairstow, and on Bell, the only veteran. It is quite clear that the only chance of England making progress in this match was for everyone to contribute. That hasn't happened. But Andrew McGlashan in his report calls on England to force the pace. Well, if they do, and they sometimes do have a suicidal instinct, then a lot more wickets will fall.

Posted by MartinAmber on (March 23, 2013, 8:31 GMT)

I'm English and I think Abhishek Banerjee has a valid point. What exactly will it take for English writers and commentators to accept that England are not actually that great and never were? There was some absurd hype after they became no.1 - "this team would beat the 2005 side"; Anderson saying they wanted to become "legends"; esteemed writers asking if this was the zenith of English cricket even after they were beaten 3-0 in the UAE, or predicting a 2-0 home win against a manifestly superior SA side. Even today Botham and Willis were insulting the New Zealand players, groundsman and administrators. At times I've been embarrassed to be an English cricket fan - only in India have they lived up to the praise heaped on them since August 2011.

Posted by big_al_81 on (March 23, 2013, 8:25 GMT)

Maybe just looking at the scoreboard and scorecards without having heard anything live after lunch lends a different perspective to the report but for my money, England are in a much more precarious position than the report suggests. I'd have thought if you offered this position to NZ (or England were the scores reversed) at the beginning of the Test they'd have been very happy. It will take some serious application to draw this match, and something utterly miraculous to win it - I doubt England are even considering the win now, NZ are continuing to play well above their away form just as they have throughout the series, and as they showed against SA at home last year.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (March 23, 2013, 8:24 GMT)

Yes, interesting that 11 wickets fell on this 'ultra-flat' pitch on day 2, perhaps now English fans will take a look at their overrated bowlers and not just the pitch.

Good early breakthroughs from NZ, 'Bradcook' seems to be feeling the pressure since he was pronounced better than Lara and Tendulkar. But the dangerous Prior is still to come, get him early and NZ can put some real pressure on.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (March 23, 2013, 7:41 GMT)

11 wickets today, maybe now the naysayers and groundsmen in a past life will stop bagging the pitch. Its getting harder to bat on out there, making the next three days very interesting, bruce martin and kane williamson will be in their element tomorrow. Well done england nz were probably 50 runs shy of their target so well bowled but i think there is enough scoreboard pressure with an inexperianced middle order and your two best batsmen gone for nz to push for the win. Even with the fight back nz are the only team that can still win (fingers crossed) this must be a massive dissapointment for the english. Alot to ponder before your precious ashes.

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (March 23, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

@Abhishek Banerjee on (March 23, 2013, 6:31 GMT) Other team have wathced and learned from your fantastic team - a team who have never dominated world cricket. In 2011 a sequence of Whitewashe, whitewash, beaten at home commenced for India. Other teams should watch and learn - learn how defeat is taken in such bad grace. @Abhishek Banerjee if you Indian come here and poke fun - then clearly you have forgotten the reality and I am under obligation to remind you. Do not take a high and mighty gloating stance when your team is itself so rank ordinary.

Posted by weasel_zapper on (March 23, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

wow, carbon copy of the Wellington test with the roles reversed, thankfully the weather should stay away this time. NZ will be disappointed they couldn't take full advantage of a solid first day, but England bowled alot better today. Huge to get Cook and Trott before close, espeically with an inexperienced English middle order to come. Looks like it's starting to take a bit of turn too, after reading the comments from yesterday perhaps everyone should just wait to judge the pitch until the end of the game...

Posted by Thefakebook on (March 23, 2013, 6:52 GMT)

Way to go Kiwis.So Eng can't beat NZ on dead pitches then I think OZ will have a fair chance at regaining the Ashes.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

NZ can rightly be happy with 443 after having been sent in but, from where they started the day, they'll feel that they should have done better. They'll be well pleased with taking two wickets in that last session, and England's two best crease-occupiers at that. This third-wicket partnership is crucial for England, with two inexperienced batsmen to follow. Not that Compton isn't inexperienced himself, although he has much more FC cricket behind him. This is a big chance for Ian Bell to take strides in silencing those critics who say he doesn't score when it's needed. The England bowlers showed far more discipline today and will be ruing not bowling that way on day 1. Only if the batsmen are playing the ball can they make a mistake. If the NZ bowlers learn that lesson too then the England batsmen will have to call on all their powers of concentration. They could be in trouble if they don;t bat out the day tomorrow.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 6:31 GMT)

Another fantastic day of cricket from England, continuining their 10 year domination that started in 2011. Other teams should watch and learn.

Posted by   on (March 23, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

All these reports seem to be written from the point of view of a fierce English supporter rubbing the sleep out of his eyes as he waits for the inevitable demise of the colonial minnows.

Posted by thw1 on (March 23, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Headline - NZ bats for almost two days!! In first innings!! Against non-minnow!! Everyone makes double figures!! Nation in shock!! Crisis counselling available for those that thought they'd never live to see it!! The unconverted unrepentant - "They'll never do it two innings in a row, mutter mutter, still manage to lose..."

Posted by cric_J on (March 23, 2013, 3:26 GMT)

It was only yesterday that I commented that Finny was not bowling up to his potential and THAT is just was he has done today.Result ? A hard earned 6 fer.It was probably only the first time in the series that all the Eng bowlers bowled well.Jimmy in particular was pretty good in the first session.The one from him that got Williamson was pretty unplayable.But I feel Cook hardly gave him much overs to bowl in the second and third sessions.Also that Southee innings was pretty frustrating for English fans.Anyways, NZ have still managed enough to cause problems for England if they lose some early wickets.So I am hoping for a solid opening stand from COCO.

Posted by leggar on (March 23, 2013, 3:01 GMT)

Watling sets a good example in terms of not ever surrendering his wicket but in this situation surely you want a number 7 who can score at a strike rate of over 50! Perhaps the strategy is for him to hold up one end while the likes of Southee throw the bat but that puts high expectations on batsmen who don`t have the same technique. If we ends up 30 not out with a strike rate of 30 has that really benefited the team? As I said earlier despite the promising beginning NZ is going to finish well shy of the total needed to bat England out of this test match.

Posted by leggar on (March 23, 2013, 1:41 GMT)

Thanks George Dobell for your morning comment. Great that Fulton snailed his way to a 100 yesterday but he gave away all the initiative this morning. As pointed out, his ability to score on or outside off stump looks very limited. I don`t like to be pessimistic about NZ but I have to say that it is very rear to see a NZ team capitalise on a strong first day and I had a feeling they would drift their way through to a total that will be nothing more than par on a benign pitch. In fact I expect to see England`s batsmen dominate the bowling and score at a much faster rate and maybe put themselves in a position to win the game. I hope for NZ`s sake that one of the lower order can push on and we see something special from Southee.

Posted by Meety on (March 23, 2013, 1:01 GMT)

I think Dobell is jumping the gun, could it be that the pitch is becoming increasingly difficult to score on?

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New Zealand v England at Auckland - Mar 22-26, 2013
Match drawn
New Zealand v England at Wellington - Mar 14-18, 2013
Match drawn
New Zealand v England at Dunedin - Mar 6-10, 2013
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NZ XI v England XI at Queenstown - Feb 27-Mar 2, 2013
NZ XI won by 3 wickets
New Zealand v England at Auckland - Feb 23, 2013
England won by 5 wickets (with 75 balls remaining)
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