New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 4th day March 25, 2013

Time for some honesty, England

England must introspect on the shortcomings of their bowling attack and address their problem of refocusing after achieving Test goals
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During the last over before lunch, James Anderson used every trick in the book to make sure it would be the final one of the session. He chatted with the captain, changed his field and aborted his run-up. It is something that any other team in England's position - being flogged senseless - would have done. However, that moment highlighted the depth of England's problems. It had come down to timewasting.

Even if they bat out the final day and leave with a share of the series - and that is unlikely following the late loss of Alastair Cook to a shot that completes a difficult match for the captain - there needs to be a tough critique of how they have played. It is the second time in little more than 12 months where England's Test credentials have taken a significant hit overseas.

Last year it was Pakistan in the UAE, which ended with the 3-0 whitewash, and now they are facing their first series defeat in New Zealand since 1983-84. Perhaps it is coincidental, but both those situations have followed the team achieving notable success - the Pakistan defeat followed, albeit five months later, beating India 4-0 at home to reach No. 1 in the world and this series has followed their victory in India before Christmas. Refocusing after achieving a significant goal appears to a problem.

England will have to be honest when they reflect on the series. They cannot hide behind clichés, previous glories or what the computers are telling them. To be fair, Graham Gooch spoke openly after the day, but the players also need to do the same. The performance in Auckland has, with a day left, been horrendously poor and it is not a one-off for the tour. In Dunedin, their second-day effort was as bad as it comes - 167 all out and New Zealand 131 without loss in reply - although that was put down to their poor starting overseas. Their finishing is not looking too flash, either, at the moment.

The first session on the fourth day at Eden Park was awful. It was the sort of scene witnessed during a 1990s Ashes Test when Australia would secure a huge first-innings lead, then forge ahead before leaving a massive target. For the second hour until lunch, England completely lost control, the heads dropped and they were taken apart by a 34-year-old batsman who averaged 20.93 before this series started. Shortly before New Zealand declared, there were nine fielders posted on the boundary for Brendon McCullum. The frustrations were clear when Stuart Broad showed his displeasure at a skier not being caught even though the two fielders converging had little chance of reaching it.

For the England attack on this tour, it has been a sobering experience. They have not come close to taking 20 wickets once. The weather played a part in Wellington, true, but they had 68 overs at New Zealand in the second innings and claimed two scalps. Gripes about the surfaces have not gone down well and perhaps it showed preconceived ideas. Going to India, the expectation is that bowlers will be made to work hard and England adapted magnificently. On this tour they have not responded to the challenge as effectively.

If England's bowlers are not careful, they could become a bit of a myth. There has been the occasional burst of brilliance over the last 12 months - Steven Finn at Lord's, Monty Panesar in Mumbai, James Anderson in Kolkata and Stuart Broad in Wellington - but they have been off-set by lengthy periods of struggle. The first day here, when New Zealand reached 250 for 1, was not a one-off. Last July, there was the small matter of 637 for 2 at The Oval and, in the following Test at Headingley, South Africa made more than 400 after being put into bat. Then there was New Zealand's 460 in Dunedin.

Broad has been the pick of the quicks in this series. Anderson has been grumpy with a creaking body and Finn has not had the same the rhythm that he did in the one-day series off his shorter run, when New Zealand found him a handful. They remain fine bowlers, but their lack of penetration at times is a concern. David Saker, the bowling coach, is often lauded with much praise, and rightly so, but in this series something has been missing from his charges.

Then there is Panesar. He did not quite know what to do while McCullum and Peter Fulton were launching him into the stands. It was a tough role - the batsmen had free reign to attack - but Panesar has had precious little wicket-taking threat in the series. At times he has contained effectively, but it has only gone to reinforce, to a worrying level, the importance of Graeme Swann.

Not that the batsmen go home flush with pride, although some still have a final chance. Despite four hundreds in the series (two by Nick Compton and one apiece for Jonathan Trott and Alastair Cook) and the consistency of Matt Prior the bottom line is that they have slumped in two first innings - the time when a Test match is set up. Cook's decision at the toss in Auckland can be debated all you want, but England should not have been bowled out for 204. His dismissal, with less than five overs of the day remaining, driving out of the rough against a part-time offspinner, was apt for a game he will want to the forget. That, though, cannot be allowed to happen.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 26, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I like some of the comments in this thread. Why would the author speak like England are "special" and are expected to win ? They have been a mediocre team for more than a couple of decades..until they rose to number 1 in Tests briefly.. They have done some admirable things like beating Australia last time 3-1 in Australia and beating India in India 2-1. Besides that they rose to number 1 briefly due to winning series at home only. Even the 2-1 against India may have been impossible if the Indian selectors had played some of the promising players like S.Dhawan, M.Tiwary, M.Vijay, Rohit in the Test Team instead of playing losers like Sehwag and Gambhir. Also when England beat Aus. in Ausralia 3-1, Australia were ranked number 5, so what is the great achievement in beating a team ranked 5 ? It was "expected" of England...

  • on March 26, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    How about looking at it from another perspective as opposed to the "England played terrible, England couldnt bat bowl or field in this series, England didnt turn up." What about "New Zealand have played some brilliant cricket!" Please some credit where credit is due, the fact is that NZ have outplayed and outclassed the English in this test series.

  • funkybluesman on March 26, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Even SA isn't so far ahead of everyone as some are suggesting. Last summer only losing an entire day to rain and Australia losing their top fast bowler for most of the second test stopped Australia likely leading 2-0 in the series going into the final test.

    Australia beat India 4-0 at home and then lost 4-0 away. That shows that unless England plan on preparing dustbowl pitches and playing two spinners that the India series can't really be used as any prediction of the Ashes.

    England may have a bit more experience in the batting department, but guys like Warner and Hughes can score prolifically if they can get their heads in the right place. And I'd take Australia's fast bowling stocks over England's at the moment.

    Could be a very interesting double Ashes series coming right up. I suspect it will be very close.

  • wrenx on March 26, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    It wasn't that long ago that England's opening pair of Cook and Strauss were fumbling around with their shoelaces to avoid facing another of Abdur Reman. Gul saw the light side of it then with a hole or two, but NZ supporters must feel nothing but pity for their opponents this time

  • SirViv1973 on March 25, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    @NZcricket174, You are entitled to your opinion but you are probably the only person in the world who thinks Swann is our 3rd choice spinner. Despite Monty's success in Ind, but for the injury Swann would have played all 3 tetsts here. As he has been injured & has played no part in the series there is no way of knowing if he would have had a significant impact of the series. For what it's worth IMO Monty has struggled in this series since day 1 & I would like to have seen Treadwell get a game in Auckland, he's done really well in the odi's recently & can also bat a bit 2.

  • Greatest_Game on March 25, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    @ GeoffreysMother. Right on - you nailed it there. I could not agree more.

    Last year, before the SA tour of Eng, the press could not stop hyping the Eng bowlers as "the world's best attack." In the "Golden age of English cricket," SA were coming to "Fortress England" to be crushed by "the world's best attack." We heard this again and again and again. Reality of course hit home when the supposedly "world's best attack" could only manage to take 2 wickets at the Oval, and Eng suffered the most comprehensive defeat in test history.

    It seems that the media have very short memories when it comest to the Eng team, and especially it's bowlers. Heck, a week or so ago the bloviating Botham was still insisting that Anderson is Steyn's equal, which is about as reality based as saying that Aus were on par with India.

    All this bull does the players no good. Once they start believing their own press, the fall is not far off.

  • baz72notout on March 25, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Yes, England need to blood some new bowlers for a very busy 15 months ahead. It doesn't look as if Anderson will keep going for the whole time even if he can start taking wickets again. Harris, Topley, Meaker and Roland-Jones all need decent time to work their way in to the side but playing your first games against a resurgent NZ team in May will not be an easy baptism, and the prospect of the Ozzies in July will not enthral. However one cannot see England challenging either of the antipodean sides at home this summer with the current attack. England need a "fire in the belly bowler" of the Flintoff / Botham ilk and they also happened to be terrific allrounders. New blood in the batting seems likely too after Bell and Bairstow have failed to set the wold alight this winter.

  • Baxter_P on March 25, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    @JackieThePen I know what Bell was doing (i.e. batting out time). But he did it to such an extraordinary extreme it was, in my opinion, a poor innings. He played every ball with a dead bat and invited pressure, enabling McCullum to add more and more close-in catchers and allowing the bowlers to bowl attackingly, safe in the knowledge they would not be punished for loose balls. Why not bat cautiously, play risk-free shots, but push 1s and 2s here and there and the odd boundary, rotate the strike, make NZ work in the field, and release the pressure? As a senior batsman, he needed to help Cook wrestle some control back for England and force NZ to back off, but his negativity has now contributed to the loss of Cook and Finn. A tidy 25 or 30 not out off 90 balls would still have been batting out time AND it would have shown a less defeatist attitude.

  • Greatest_Game on March 25, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    TheBigBoodha. You are dead right. Luck like that happens once in a blue moon. Australia could not believe their luck when Kallis broke down with a hamstring injury right after tearing into the Aus lineup, sending Cowan & Ponting back to the pavilion. Aus' luck of course had started much earlier, after SA were reduced to playing with 10 men in the 1st test after Duminy's tour ending injury. Then of course Philander could not play the second test. So SA were effectively 3 men down. Boy, did Aus get lucky. And even after all that luck they still choked, could not dismiss SA in Adelaide, and were then crushed, completely destroyed in Perth. I guess their once in a blue moon luck ran out when they lost the series after their Perth whipping. Yep - Australia certainly got lucky, but choked and could not seal the deal. Once in a blue moon luck and they blew it. Sad really - the old Aus would have never let such luck slip through their fingers.

  • richardror on March 25, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    At least England know that we are superior to India and Australia, the two countries who think they are still one of the best teams. South Africa are of course, miles ahead, but England do come second. England have one bad (ish) series and everyone takes their chance to criticize.

  • on March 26, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I like some of the comments in this thread. Why would the author speak like England are "special" and are expected to win ? They have been a mediocre team for more than a couple of decades..until they rose to number 1 in Tests briefly.. They have done some admirable things like beating Australia last time 3-1 in Australia and beating India in India 2-1. Besides that they rose to number 1 briefly due to winning series at home only. Even the 2-1 against India may have been impossible if the Indian selectors had played some of the promising players like S.Dhawan, M.Tiwary, M.Vijay, Rohit in the Test Team instead of playing losers like Sehwag and Gambhir. Also when England beat Aus. in Ausralia 3-1, Australia were ranked number 5, so what is the great achievement in beating a team ranked 5 ? It was "expected" of England...

  • on March 26, 2013, 1:42 GMT

    How about looking at it from another perspective as opposed to the "England played terrible, England couldnt bat bowl or field in this series, England didnt turn up." What about "New Zealand have played some brilliant cricket!" Please some credit where credit is due, the fact is that NZ have outplayed and outclassed the English in this test series.

  • funkybluesman on March 26, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    Even SA isn't so far ahead of everyone as some are suggesting. Last summer only losing an entire day to rain and Australia losing their top fast bowler for most of the second test stopped Australia likely leading 2-0 in the series going into the final test.

    Australia beat India 4-0 at home and then lost 4-0 away. That shows that unless England plan on preparing dustbowl pitches and playing two spinners that the India series can't really be used as any prediction of the Ashes.

    England may have a bit more experience in the batting department, but guys like Warner and Hughes can score prolifically if they can get their heads in the right place. And I'd take Australia's fast bowling stocks over England's at the moment.

    Could be a very interesting double Ashes series coming right up. I suspect it will be very close.

  • wrenx on March 26, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    It wasn't that long ago that England's opening pair of Cook and Strauss were fumbling around with their shoelaces to avoid facing another of Abdur Reman. Gul saw the light side of it then with a hole or two, but NZ supporters must feel nothing but pity for their opponents this time

  • SirViv1973 on March 25, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    @NZcricket174, You are entitled to your opinion but you are probably the only person in the world who thinks Swann is our 3rd choice spinner. Despite Monty's success in Ind, but for the injury Swann would have played all 3 tetsts here. As he has been injured & has played no part in the series there is no way of knowing if he would have had a significant impact of the series. For what it's worth IMO Monty has struggled in this series since day 1 & I would like to have seen Treadwell get a game in Auckland, he's done really well in the odi's recently & can also bat a bit 2.

  • Greatest_Game on March 25, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    @ GeoffreysMother. Right on - you nailed it there. I could not agree more.

    Last year, before the SA tour of Eng, the press could not stop hyping the Eng bowlers as "the world's best attack." In the "Golden age of English cricket," SA were coming to "Fortress England" to be crushed by "the world's best attack." We heard this again and again and again. Reality of course hit home when the supposedly "world's best attack" could only manage to take 2 wickets at the Oval, and Eng suffered the most comprehensive defeat in test history.

    It seems that the media have very short memories when it comest to the Eng team, and especially it's bowlers. Heck, a week or so ago the bloviating Botham was still insisting that Anderson is Steyn's equal, which is about as reality based as saying that Aus were on par with India.

    All this bull does the players no good. Once they start believing their own press, the fall is not far off.

  • baz72notout on March 25, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Yes, England need to blood some new bowlers for a very busy 15 months ahead. It doesn't look as if Anderson will keep going for the whole time even if he can start taking wickets again. Harris, Topley, Meaker and Roland-Jones all need decent time to work their way in to the side but playing your first games against a resurgent NZ team in May will not be an easy baptism, and the prospect of the Ozzies in July will not enthral. However one cannot see England challenging either of the antipodean sides at home this summer with the current attack. England need a "fire in the belly bowler" of the Flintoff / Botham ilk and they also happened to be terrific allrounders. New blood in the batting seems likely too after Bell and Bairstow have failed to set the wold alight this winter.

  • Baxter_P on March 25, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    @JackieThePen I know what Bell was doing (i.e. batting out time). But he did it to such an extraordinary extreme it was, in my opinion, a poor innings. He played every ball with a dead bat and invited pressure, enabling McCullum to add more and more close-in catchers and allowing the bowlers to bowl attackingly, safe in the knowledge they would not be punished for loose balls. Why not bat cautiously, play risk-free shots, but push 1s and 2s here and there and the odd boundary, rotate the strike, make NZ work in the field, and release the pressure? As a senior batsman, he needed to help Cook wrestle some control back for England and force NZ to back off, but his negativity has now contributed to the loss of Cook and Finn. A tidy 25 or 30 not out off 90 balls would still have been batting out time AND it would have shown a less defeatist attitude.

  • Greatest_Game on March 25, 2013, 21:57 GMT

    TheBigBoodha. You are dead right. Luck like that happens once in a blue moon. Australia could not believe their luck when Kallis broke down with a hamstring injury right after tearing into the Aus lineup, sending Cowan & Ponting back to the pavilion. Aus' luck of course had started much earlier, after SA were reduced to playing with 10 men in the 1st test after Duminy's tour ending injury. Then of course Philander could not play the second test. So SA were effectively 3 men down. Boy, did Aus get lucky. And even after all that luck they still choked, could not dismiss SA in Adelaide, and were then crushed, completely destroyed in Perth. I guess their once in a blue moon luck ran out when they lost the series after their Perth whipping. Yep - Australia certainly got lucky, but choked and could not seal the deal. Once in a blue moon luck and they blew it. Sad really - the old Aus would have never let such luck slip through their fingers.

  • richardror on March 25, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    At least England know that we are superior to India and Australia, the two countries who think they are still one of the best teams. South Africa are of course, miles ahead, but England do come second. England have one bad (ish) series and everyone takes their chance to criticize.

  • richardror on March 25, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    @nzcricket174 - As an Englishman, I would still be the first to admit timewasting is against the spirit of the game. However, it is also what everyone else would do, and has done.

  • on March 25, 2013, 21:33 GMT

    England's pace attack is overrated to be honest. Any fast bowler with an avg over 30 is overrated. Despite this i remember English analysts bigging up Jimmy and comparing him to Steyn. Even Swann, good as he is, has lost penetration. you cannot be a world class side without a penetrative attack. Period.

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    @Tomcat3 on (March 25, 2013, 9:03 GMT) You echo what I've said since I first commented on this site , end of 2011 and that was before we played in UAE re 5/1/5 although Broad and Bres were showing better form with bat and ball. Maybe time to try Woakes like you said and give him a run. However after Jonny's performance vs SA and Root's on debut in India I thought maybe we'd found a couple of number 6 candidates. Maybe we still have - time will tell. Still say our best 11 was Ashes 2005 and that was 5/1/5 and there was more a sense of attack and adventure about that side both with bat and ball. The attritional stuff worked in India but by and large hasn't worked since the home series vs India in 2011. Maybe Flower has taken England as far as he can and we need some fresh ideas

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    @Yogi108 on (March 25, 2013, 17:06 GMT)Thankyou so much for sharing the Gospel truth with us meer mortals. Now we'll know to never believe anything the media ever say - even if we see it with our very own eyes. It was all just a dream I guess

  • nzcricket174 on March 25, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    This article accentuates the Graeme Swann myth - he is not as good as the English believe he is. Not only is he no longer the number one spinner, he's probably not even number two. He would have been no more useful than Monty in this series. NZL played him for 5+ RPO in the ODIs with ease.

    Also, when England use time-wasting tactics, suddenly its what anyone else would do. However, when any other team uses it (India & Pakistan mainly), its against the spirit of the game.

    Get real, English media.

  • yorkshirematt on March 25, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    When the pampered england players like Bell, Trott, Pietersen et al are made to play for their counties rather than "resting", maybe they'll remember how to play decent seam and swing bowling. If I was Pattinson or Starc I'd be seeing this and rubbing my hands together and hoping for another wet and cloudy english summer

  • on March 25, 2013, 20:14 GMT

    There seems to be a lack of passion or rather desperation in the england bowling attack. Broad and anderson are jaded and past their best. Swanns performances have been adequate of late. The hunger is not there anymore and with no fresh faces on the horizon, threatening to displace them, there seems little hope of a revival. I might be wrong but thats my 2 cents! That aussie bowling attack has much more fire so beware england.

  • crazymonkeymayhem on March 25, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    If England are being honest, and I'm an Englishman, they have been terrible. They've clearly underestimated NZ and with respect why wouldn't you after SA mauled them?

    Broad has been a passenger for a year, only in because of status as captain in T20. Finn is still very young and lacks consistency, plus changing his run up etc was always going to affect him. Anderson has been okay from what I can see, just failed to get the ball moving, I noticed the NZ bowlers held the seam at a much greater angle this match. Monty is well just Monty, great tryer but if the pitch doesn't suit...

    The batsmen though have been terrible this game. There is nothing wrong with this wicket and whilst credit is due to the NZ bowlers, England have made an average attack on a roll look like world beaters

    Fair play to NZ, still have to finish it off though, England won't make it easy, I hope...

  • Sombrehombre on March 25, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Classic English media. When their team wins they are the heroes of the world, when they lose they have let the country down as it is their divine right to win every game.

    How about some cred for NZ. They have played brilliantly, Boult and Southee have been sensational, swinging the ball both ways and at good pace. Fulton has been immense and McCullum's captaincy has kept NZ a step ahead of Cook...

  • CurrentPresident on March 25, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    I agree. NZ have played really well. That makes England look worse than they are. On current form of both teams, even Australia would have been beaten by NZ. The Kiwis are really good in their home conditions.

    Barring SA, overall the difference between the top tier teams is not much and the playing conditions have a big role in the results. Home advantage is huge these days.

    Panesar is better than Swann if the pitch offers help, but otherwise Swann is streets ahead of him in getting wickets on unhelpful pitches. Coming off of the big learning effort of playing in the dustbowls of India, the English batsmen seem to have forgotten to bat on normal pitches. It will take a little time but they will be better prepared for the Ashes.

  • on March 25, 2013, 18:51 GMT

    It's true that the English media make HEROES out of ZEROS. This England team is a very inconsistent team. It's a scam that they are even compared to SA who are MILES ahead in terms of class, skills, quality, and temperament. This is why I strongly feel the Ashes will be a close contest. The English fans and their media can underestimate Australia at their own peril. This is how they even underestimated SA. We all know what happened after that; SA demolished England in their own backyard. So time for a lot of honesty, not just a little. England did have some mojo back in 2011 and 2012 but not any more. They did play well in India though but that's in the past now. Consistency is how every team should be judged and as far as that area is concerned, England have some very low scores.

  • OhhhhhMattyMatty on March 25, 2013, 18:27 GMT

    Team for the 1st Test this English Summer: Compton, Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Hildreth, Root, Prior(wk), Tredwell (Swann if fit), Tremlett, Anderson, Roland-Jones.

  • ProdigyA on March 25, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    NZ has a great pace attack and 1 or 2 good batsman, if they can build a good batting line up to consistently score 300-400, and find a replacement for Vittori, I think this NZ will be one formidable team.

  • RandyOZ on March 25, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    As usual, the usual suspects have gone missing. They clearly cannot comprehend that this English team is not as good as they make it out to be. As usual though, this will be swept under the rug along with the Pakistan and SA series.

  • on March 25, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    How about looking at it from another perspective as opposed to the "England played terrible, England couldnt bat bowl or field in this series, England didnt turn up." What about "New Zealand have played some brilliant cricket!" Please some credit where credit is due, the fact is that NZ have outplayed and outclassed the English in this test series.

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 17:35 GMT

    @Pras_Punter on (March 25, 2013, 9:32 GMT) Mate , I think you may be responding to the wrong person. Lancsroyal seems to be in defence of England

    @moaman on (March 25, 2013, 9:34 GMT) The problem is that his form was in a game (apart from practice) which counted for nothing. Yes he was outstanding then but apart from his catch yesterday/today what else has he done in the proper series?

    @liz1558 on (March 25, 2013, 16:16 GMT) VP is not that far behind on the last 12 months form but like you say Steyn is a league above anyone. The fact that he has been the best bowler in the world for years is proof.

  • JG2704 on March 25, 2013, 17:34 GMT

    @.jackiethepen on (March 25, 2013, 11:02 GMT) - Unlike you to go to the defence of Bell.LOL . Let's just see how he does. You may not have read some of my comms re this test but despite him scoring a 40+ in the 1st inns I was critical of Root for not taking runs I felt were on offer to Martin so it's not just a Bell criticism. I think he should be more positive when fielders are around the bat but a player can be positive without being reckless and I think Bell looks so much better when he looks to be positive.

  • shillingsworth on March 25, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    If anyone needs to be honest, it the the English media. It is the media, not the players or coaching staff who 1) exaggerated Finn and Anderson's abilities, 2) declared Root as the new Bradman after one test innings, 3) banged on about Panesar outbowling Swann every time they appeared together, 4) showed so little knowledge of the NZ players and conditions that they predicted a 3-0 scoreline. Such insularity is forgiveable from fans but not from those who are paid to report on the sport and are therefore required to have a broader perspective.

  • YogifromNY on March 25, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    I have news for Andrew McGlashan (and the English fans): these English bowlers ARE a bit of a myth. Start with Broad, who is a mediocre trundler at best: only his father's being in a powerful position, and one good performance every 10 or so matches, has saved him from being consigned to the dustbin. Anderson used to be a good bowler. Swann is all right. Panesar is a joke. Only Finn amongst the current lot is good. That said, they still came in to this tour a much better side (on paper) in Test cricket than NZ. Once this series has ended no one but the English will say that any more, though. Hats off to NZ and I hope they complete a great victory in this final test.

  • the_blue_android on March 25, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Where have all the Steyn comparisons gone? Never, ever talk about Steyn and this military medium pop-gun attack in the same sentence. Ever.

  • liz1558 on March 25, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Can everyone stop going on about the gap between Steyn and Anderson? There's a large gap between Steyn and every bowler on the planet at the moment. Take Steyn out and SA are beatable. Add Steyn to England and they become the best in the world. It's the difference a great fast bowler makes.

  • liz1558 on March 25, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    England's pace attack has been on the slide ever since the end of the UAE tour - in which Broad and Anderson were superb in conditions far less rewarding than these. Being out-bowled by NZ represents rock bottom for England's fast men, although it's probably the sobering wake-up call that they need. When they were at their best, there was an urgency and zest about their bowling that has just gone flat over the last year. That was nothing to do with technique, but everything to do with attitude, desire and effort, as they became fairly turgid medium pacers. Anderson, Broad and Finn are potentially a formidable attack, and still have time on their side to get it right. Either way, this series will really sting. And for the slow bowling slot? Never has a man become more valuable through not playing than Graeme Swann. Expect two innings victories for England in the return leg.

  • on March 25, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    Couldn't agree more with 2nd_Slip... Wouldn't mind Anderson in my team but the gap between him and Styen is massive. Win or Draw this is a great result even more so after listening to the POM commenters slating the pitch (when the England attack couldn't get anything out of it), slamming Fulton in his fist innings for taking so long and also saying they are looking forward to getting the Black Caps in the UK where pitches will actually be at test standard. Look at where we are at now.... Boycott going on how the England attack will roll NZ easily. Nothing better than showing an arrogant bunch up!

  • mikey76 on March 25, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    England need to rotate the bowlers more. Anderson clearly wasn't 100% after bowling his heart out in India. We really need to find out what depth we have in our quick bowling stocks, particularly with injury clouds over so many of the current crop.

  • itsjustcricket on March 25, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    It's time to recognize that there is only one good team in cricket right now, South Africa. England, India and Australia, jockeying for spots 2-4, all have glaring weaknesses, especially away from home. Apart from their two series against India, England have been very ordinary in the past two years, Australia were just hammered in India, and India were slaughtered by good teams away from home. pakistan had a good run in the UAE but are 1-9 in their last 10 away tests in Aus, Eng and SA. England may still be the best of these sides right now, but the gap between them and SA is quite huge. The popularity of test cricket will suffer if we don't have multiple good teams playing each other.

  • Batmanindallas on March 25, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    I want Kiwis to win...they deserve it. The change in captaincy has done wonders for the kiwis. They also seem to have a few people who can bat a little..this was their biggest weakness for awhile...infact Crowe was the last world class bat from the kiwis

  • 2nd_Slip on March 25, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    After this poor performance I hope English fans and media can now finally STOP talking about Steyn and Anderson in the same breath beacause its clearlly obvious that one is stuff legends are amde off and the other is just a good (nothing more but good) bowler full stop

  • 2.14istherunrate on March 25, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    Without Graeme Swann and in this game KP England are a dull side. They largely seem to play by numbers without flair or excitement. The captaincy of Cook has been cruelly shown up by McCullum. Cook seems frightened of yielding runs but oblivious of the need to take wickets and in the end his fields achieve neither(as on Day 4 morning). In this game,Prior apart, the batting has not hit a single shot in anger it seems.In the second innings the same as Bell who should know better dead batted everything. It has been grim colourless and cynical.Cook has also been shown to be naïve;the alarm bells should have rung far earlier in the tour but here he is still following all Strauss' old moves and the negativity came to the fore in full when he inserted NZ here. This has been the battle of tired old professionalism playing the percentages and cynically abusing the game against the rebirth of imagination and fresh ideas through the person of McCullum. Cricket needs flair and fire,not tedium.

  • on March 25, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    As a New Zealand fan, this test series has been the most impressive display for years. Every member of the team is contributing, and the bowlers look dangerous. Guptill is out of form, but he will struggle to reenter the team upon his return. Our most talented batsman (in my mind), Jesse Ryder, may not return to test cricket, but he has been brilliant in domestic cricket, and Tom Latham will definitely be one to watch. Bowling wise, Vettori, Bracewell and McClenaghan are all rounding back in to fitness. For the first time in about 10 years, this fan is excited about the team's potential.

  • on March 25, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Ashes Ashes Ashes, all the talk has been about the Ashes, rather than first turning up and seeing of NZ. I'm Kiwi but I don't think this English side are average. Esp the batting, just look at their averages. Cook, Trott, Bell, Prior all around 45-50. this is a great team and deservedly no.2. NZ are just playing out of their skins and McCullum has taught Captain Cook a lesson. If NZ can continue this they will rise up.

    I'm just not sure about the wisdom of pretty much only playing Australia all season. Just look at the England fixtures. It will just be two teams detached from the rest with no idea how good they actually are.

  • on March 25, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    Broad and Finn have one excellent set of figures each (6 fors) but in reality both have been poor for most of this series - and most of the last. Anderson and Swann are the class bowlers. Finn is young and may mature, but Broad - who seems to do nothing with the ball. England aren't a bad side, they are just not in the same class as SA and are as prone to losing away from home as every other team other than SA seem to be these days. Put it another way - if England are that bad - then just how awful are Australia? England - not as good as thery thought they were - but still a darn site better than the Aussies.

  • InnocentGuy on March 25, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    I don't think England are going to have it easy come The Ashes. I still think they'll be better than the Aussies though but I expect them to draw the series or maybe win by a 1-Test margin. Australia will definitely revamp their team: Cummins and Khawaja will be in for sure, and the rest are pretty good in friendly conditions. England, you'd do better than to underestimate Australia; unlike the current series where it appears you have grossly underestimated just about everything.

  • Fan1969 on March 25, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    No. 1 TEAM?

    Gone are the days of WI domination in 80s and Aus in 2000s.

    Some espncricinfo journalists even allowed the present England team to be chosen amongst the all time great teams. Laughable.

    Yes England have had the better of India, a team under transition with many older batsmen losing form and having to be dropped / retired. Tomorrow Eng will lose to NZ and India will overtake England to be 2nd on TEST cricket ratings. Tragic but that is the system of ratings.

    SA is just slightly better than the rest. They drew 1-1 with India in Jan 2011 and lost a Durban test to SL in 2011 Dec. They became No.1 by beating Eng and Aus in seaming conditions. They have been good at Home in 2012-3 but sterner tests await.

    SA play Pak in Dubai. England were mauled by Pak 3-0 and lost the No.1 ranking soon after. SA will lose 1-0 minimum

    I predict that SA will lose atleast 1 test to this new look Indian side at home in Nov-Dec 2013.

    Wonder who will be No.1 exactly a year from now?

  • KingOwl on March 25, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Only the English media are surprised by the turn of events. The England team is good, no doubt. But, they are not a great team. There are other good teams around too. NZ beat SL in SL just a few months ago and that was after a long, long time. That was no easy task. They have got a set of good fast bowlers. I think the English media have started believing their own hype! Time to bring it a notch down!

  • FieryFerg on March 25, 2013, 11:48 GMT

    This article just perpetuates another English myth - how great Swann is! Just look at his figures over the last 2 years and remove the series played on helpful pitches (UAE & Ind) and what is left is pretty average (almost 40 actually!). He has been found out as Amla and co demonstrated last summer. His 'arm ball' is not sufficient to stop good players taking an off stump guard and milking him without too much danger.

  • on March 25, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    I believe Bell's approach was negative because it allowed the Kiwi bowlers to apply pressure on them and now they are in a winning position. Some positive cricket from England wouldn't have hurt, doesn't mean they have to play Twenty20 shots like Warner and Watson tried against India with disastrous results. Sorry if I am reopening old wounds but this is the kind of approach that cost England the Adelaide Test of 2006 which they should not have lost.

  • Showbags88 on March 25, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    England are really missing Swann and Pietersen in this series. We might be getting a prelude to what life will be like when they retire. There isn't much depth there to speak of if they lose any of their top liners (especially in the fast bowling department).

  • jackiethepen on March 25, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Bell's innings today was dreadful? According to Baxter. He was batting out time!! Does anyone follow Test cricket any more? I honestly don't believe the so called fans who rush to criticise actually watch Test cricket. McCullum has so many runs at his disposal that he can attack with impunity. He can put fielders around the bat or in a ring and not bother about defending. He is just waiting for the batsman to get fed up and play a tired attacking stroke. And that is how Trott and Cook got out. Bell may get out that way too because it is very difficult to concentrate on batting time and staying at the crease. The only way to do it is in a partnership to take the strain, as Bell and Colly did it in Cape Town and Bell and Trott in Nagpur. Apparently Bell has been in a trough - if you don't 'count' his not out century in Nagpur which not only drew the game but won the Series. How utterly ridiculous. KP hasn't looked too rosy either since his magnificent century.

  • on March 25, 2013, 11:16 GMT

    England's bowlers "could become a myth", you say? Sorry, most of us have known them to be a myth all along. Potentially the most over-hyped attack of the last decade. I struggled to stifle my laughter last summer when this English unit kept being favorably compared with the South African attack they were facing. It was laughable then, and it's even more laughable now.

    What can you expect from a squad led by a "strike" bowler averaging more than 30 runs per wicket and who looks completely toothless when the ball isn't hooping around like a boomerang under cloudy skies. (Anderson versus Steyn? A joke. Best analogy for that match-up would be Vaas versus Marshall. One's pretty good with the new ball, the other's an all-time legend.) And the less said about Stuart "Toddler Tantrum" Broad, the better. The only bowler of true class in that unit is Graeme Swann, and he's crocked more often than not.

    Myth, indeed.

  • ShanTheFanOfSachin on March 25, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Crazy asif things like DRS can be a major reason for a series result. Just goes to show the level of compaign going on for DRS,just pitch in even at slightest of an opportunity.

    Level of Test cricket has certainly dropped over the past 5 years. The last known world beaters are the Aussies. After that IND, ENG and SA have briefly held No.1 ranking(just the ranking based cumulative results,nowhere near world beaters).

    Out of the current teams, SA are slightly better over other teams, even they wont win a series in the subcontinent.

    ENG and NZ have been on par this series and NZ have played better than ENG in this test, hence they can probably win this series.

    Anderson has been an excellent bowler and others have been good as well. Apart from Cook and KP I don't think other ENG batsmen are great. Its just that the hype given to them especially after winning in IND. Don't forget IND have been on a decline, call it lack of quality bowlers or transition of batsmen.

  • on March 25, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @Nutcutlet- You are right it is bad manners. Sorry NZ and advance congratulations for what should be a thoroughly well-deserved win tomorrow. NZ is at no.8 only because of their inconsistency. They have the potential to win as shown by squaring the series 1-1 in SL and Australia

  • py0alb on March 25, 2013, 10:29 GMT

    They haven't taken it seriously enough and they deserve to lose. How in depth have their scouting reports been on the NZ batsmen? A couple of lines at best? Its just embarrassing. I'm glad we're going to lose frankly.

    It would help if we had proper 5 match tours - being 1-0 down with 2 to play would make for a really good final two tests.

  • Majorraki on March 25, 2013, 10:27 GMT

    @Pras_Punter: irrespective of how Eng do against NZ ur cocktailed team of oneday/t20 specialists into a test team will be mince meat when they face Eng in ashes.DO U HONESTLY BELIEVE A CLUB LEVEL TEAM SUCH AS AUS COULD WIN AGAINST INDIA EVEN WITH THE DRS?You can daydream as much as you want

  • poetryinmotion on March 25, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    @ Pras_hunter...haha an inferior team that you couldn't beat at home for 15 years and away for 30 years? It's always wonderful to watch pommie arrogance pummeled into nothingness. I will wait for the Ashes when another "inferior team" will deliver the flogging that you deserve at home. Long shall the world take pleasure in the travails of the Englishmen may it be football or cricket.

  • PACERONE on March 25, 2013, 10:21 GMT

    To be honest they have not played well away from home.They lost to the W.I in 2009 and only recouped the Wisden trophy because WICB was greedy.If you check their bowlers have a way of bowling short and wide most of the time.Batsmen then play at balls they should have left alone.They think they are the cream of the crop.Witness Prior chirping at Fulton,when he himself tries to play mostly through the off side by giving himself room.Good to see Fulton shut him up.Broad is a joke...angry most of the time.

  • on March 25, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Yes yes South Africa has a great team, we have heard that that all through the series even though they are not involved. It is only in test cricket that they are ahead of everyone else however. It only a few months ago that we Kiwis beat SA at home in the ODIs. While they have shown improvement against Pakistan they are still not convincing in all aspects of the game. So before all you South Africans start bagging everyone else because of how great your test team is; just remember that you have a long way to go until you are like the former Australians who dominated in every format in cricket.

  • Tigg on March 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT

    I'm not sure I'd call Broad the stand-out seamer. He's always got wickets because of the other bowlers (particualry Jimmy) and has typically reverted to bowling a foot outside off.

    I'd like to see Onions, Woakes and maybe Harris all given a go in the return series.

  • Nutcutlet on March 25, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    2nd comment: full credit to NZ (it's very bad manners not to have posted this first. I apologise). NZ look to be a side that is on the rise with many part of the jigsaw coming together. Captain McCallum has an aggressive, no-nonsense persona & backs his players who return his confidence with top performances. His field settings demonstrate that he expects his bowlers to return with kills as the traps are well loaded. What fast bowler doesn't rise to a full slip cordon? The psychological message it sends to incoming batsmen has been shown to be mighty effective even on the apparent road of Auckland. Then there is the nippy & skilful find of the series: Trent Bolt, ably backed by Tim Southee. In fact, looking down the team list, every player is worth his place & has performed his role with credit or distinction. IMO, this is a side that need fear no one & I would now expect this side to give every side a run for their money; this is the sterling-silver lining of a tour of SA for NZ!

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:50 GMT

    @moaman, the criticism of Bell comes as he is a senior player that hasn't performed under pressure in some time. The criticism is that when the top 3 score big, he does, but when they fail, so does he. Whether or not this criticism is warranted, I'm not sure, but it's an interesting question.

    As for those saying England overlooked us, etc etc, I doubt that. It's a fanciful excuse of convenience. England were overconfident, yes, but McCullum was playing mind games all along, and Cook was suckered by this. I haven't seen this side of McCullum before, but it impressed me. And it seemed to rub off on the others. Despite all the sledging the English used, NZ knew what their plans were and stuck to them, and this has paid off. We might be ranked 8th at the moment, but we don't play like the 8th ranked side all the time. With a little more consistency, we'll be in the top 6 soon, and I think that is where we belong. South Africa aren't way above everyone either, Australia know a few things..

  • ShanTheFanOfSachin on March 25, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    When ENG use timewasting tactics its "something any team would have done", and when someone else uses it it is "against spirit of the game".. wow

  • moaman on March 25, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    I read a lot of criticism of Ian Bell and this surprises me,frankly.On this tour he has been the outstanding english batsman imo.He single-handedly kept his team in the warmup v NZ A eg. Perhaps the dislike of Bell goes further back-but I don't think his efforts on this particular tour warrant him being singled out for stick.

  • PrasPunter on March 25, 2013, 9:32 GMT

    @ lancsroyal , you forgot that Eng just put away an inferior team 2-1 away. Given the tactics used by that team ( from not exposing good spinners in the, practice matches, from preparing a wonderful track to suit their great bowlers, to of-course , refusing the use of the DRS for the fear of getting exposed ) , England's performance was phenomenal, something which we Aussies couldn't replicate. So you need not worry - Eng is one of the top 3 test teams among SA and Aus and has only SA ahead of it.

  • sandy_bangalore on March 25, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Can people(esp the English media please stop referring to NZ as the 'eighth ranked team' please?? THe ICC rankings are unreliable, as proved when India reached no 1 without winning overseas. NZ have the core of a very good team. Southee and Boult are stars for the future, and the batting is looking increasingly solid, with Mccullum coming in at no 6-7.

  • Nutcutlet on March 25, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    Picking the bones out of this series' wreck is going to be a complex operation. For what it's worth, here's my 2p. First, the side has been flat in NZ: no real motivation as you need a team with kudos & high world ranking for that. Secondly, (& very much linked) the winter was all about India, wasn't it? No one gave a thought about the Kiwis who were enduring internal team strife anyway. They were going to fall over with a gentle push, weren't they? Thirdly, NZ was probably seen as a rare chance for rehab/ R&R: in other words, the whole Eng mindset (no matter what was said) was: let's do just enough to win & enjoy the country meanwhile. I'm sure that this wd be denied by the management, but it's difficult to take life seriously after exam time; that's human nature. 4th: KP & Swann's departures exposed Eng's lack of class, when added to jaded Jimmy's winter workload, the match winners weren't there. The good news? Eng can put it right in a few weeks' time. But they've had a severe slap.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    This is what you get when there is so much international cricket it becomes humdrum. Facing a low ranked side after the big deal of India, England, media included, started looking forward to the Ashes double header and couldn't get up for this little outback series. Not professional but not surprising either, the players are only human. Injuries don't help either but are also a product of too much high pressure game time. It's a difficult problem as we now make and spend a lot of money on development so we can win the big series so this sort of thing becomes inevitable.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    Let me be the first to propose this theory! I really do not think a team needs separate coaches for ODIs and Test matches. After all the core of the team playing these 2 formats is almost the same! Why then 2 separate coaches? May be they are getting too many coaching views? or it could just be that England are not ruthless enough like the Aussies used to be. After achieving a significant goal they take their foot off the pedal.

  • SurlyCynic on March 25, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    @lancsroyal: You say the difference between England and SA is that SA 'put away the inferior teams'. I say the difference is that England are on track to lose 3 of their last 4 series. SA haven't lost a series in years.

    The reality is that England have a bunch of 30+ average bowlers who are decent, but constantly hailed as 'greats' by their media. Watching Broad hurl abuse at his own fielders summed up the attitude problems in the team. Root made a half-century early in his career and the hype started about him, but without KP this batting lineup is not in the same league.

    Within the space of a year England have gone from being #1 and talking about 'legacies and dynasties' to being smashed by Peter Fulton. Time to take an honest look at themselves.

  • on March 25, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    There's always the old mantra after every defeat..."We'll learn from this blah blah blah" I suggest there'a a better one for the England team "Fail to prepare - prepare to fail " l

  • Tomcat3 on March 25, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    As an England fan this hurts - I watched New Zealand flog us to death last night literally and for a side who is supposedly very good it was humliating against a team ranked 8th (thats not disrepsect to NZL) it would be any team who were ranked anywhere below us frankly , but if as expected the defeat comes then we have to take it on the chin and move on . congratulate the New Zealanders and think of ways to improve . Personally I think we have to play 4 seamers and 1 spinner , the 3 and 1 worked for around a year and if things go wrong then there just isnt enough options , I think England have to bite the bullet and Move Prior up to 6 - blood Woakes see if he can do it , should have played him in this game and probnably Tredwell .

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    There's a constant thread in England sport in general. If they win, they played well. If they lose, they played badly. While not denying that England could have played better than they have done, if New Zealand win it will be because they played out of their skins at least as much as through England's inadequacies. Credit where credit's due, and well done to the Black Caps.

  • pb10677 on March 25, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    England have been very poor this series, and NZ have taken full advantage as we would expect them to.

    One interesting debate arising from this is that this is the first test series since the new management structure - with Ashley Giles having taken over coaching of the limited overs side. Everyone assumed that it would be the ODI and T20 performances that may struggle - but on the evidence of this, it looks like it is the test match side that have been imoacted.

    No doubt this would be Andy Flower's worst series result in charge by far, and it needs to be established why. Clearly something happened in Queenstown because England have not looked anything like a cohesive and properly functioning side since.

    I think this dual management structure will be under close scrutiny after this series loss (assuming that is what will happen) - and if it isn't, it should be because something clearly has gone badly wrong.

  • Hammond7249 on March 25, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    Gee, how soon do people forget England's fantastic performance in India? These pages are constantly filled with people ready to slag off England but I rarely see any England fans making adverse comments about anyone else's team. Try growing up a little bit.

    I would say that the difference between England and South Africa is that South Africa put away the inferior teams. England don't always do this and it's a psychological problem that needs to be addressed.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    It would be good for England if they lose this test. This England team does not possess the ruthlessness of the great Aussie sides and need the occaisional "kick on the back side". This would server them good before the Ashes

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    England need to face reality. They were comprehensively outswung by NZ and Australia will be no pushover. Another problem with England is consistency as pointed out. Crush India 4-0, then get thrashed by Pakistan 3-0 including all out for 70-odd in one match. Beat India in their own den and now lose to NZ (should surely, given NZ need to take only 6 wickets on the last day). So it seems SA is the only team that can dominate Test cricket . Otherwise it seems a level-playing field. There is a vast gulf between SA and other sides

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    @Vivekaks, I wouldn't be so quick to say Anderson is past his best, not by a long way. He troubled us substantially in Wellington but had little to show for it because Broad reaped the rewards. The problem is he builds pressure very well but none of the other bowlers have been consistent enough to keep that pressure on. Look at Boult and Southee, and how they build pressure together very well. They might not have the same pace as Australia, but the movement they extracted and the channels they bowled were very good. Had Finn or Broad managed the same with more consistency, they would have been a handful. I've been following England fairly closely the last four years, in my view this series has highlighted the importance of Bresnan (especially at no 8) and Swann. If England have both of them available for the Ashes and Tremlett returns near his best, England can overwhelm Australia. If Bresnan is not ready, they'll struggle, and without Swann also, they will lose a few. It's that close.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Shows the gulf in class between South Africa and the rest of the world right now.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    A lot of commentators thought that the main part of the problem for England, when we were whitewashed by Pakistan in the UAE, came down to our poor batting against good spin bowling on Asian pitches. The England bowlers did well there, it was the batting that failed. By the time we got to India, it looks as if lessons had been learned - though the lesson about England playing both Swann and Panesar still had not sunk in until after our defeat in the first test.

    So, although there may be some similarities with the poor showing against New Zealand, there are also clear differences. Lessons were learned before, let's hope they can be learned again - but first there needs to be a clearer identification of the problem!

  • Baxter_P on March 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    England's batting is becoming a bit of a myth too. You can't say with certainty that Compton, Root or Bairstow are likely to become world class batsmen; the jury is still out. Perhaps they will become quality test batsmen, the next Strauss or Collingwood; or perhaps they will be the next Morgan or Bopara and not quite test level. Cook, Trott and KP have all looked fallible in this series, and Bell - his 100 in Nagpur aside - is in a major form slump which now comprises the past three series (in fact, it's possible to extend it to after the India series in 2011, when he had poor series vs Pakistan and Sri Lanka). I've always liked Bell, but his innings today (8* off about 90 balls) was dreadful, really unbecoming of a world class. 85-test veteran top order batsman. It was abject surrender, inviting the bowlers and fielders to dictate terms, and neglecting his duty to score runs. NZ have exposed bowling AND batting issues in the England squad (character issues too).

  • GHemrajani on March 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Time to fire Andy Flower. He has shown no foresight in finding suitable bowling replacements and continuing with Broad is quite poor. Average results under Flower for the last year or more.

  • VillageBlacksmith on March 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Eng deserve to lose, NZ been significantly the better side in every discipline... Well played NZ and well skippered B McM... Eng have a lot of work to do, but have they got the gumption to bother to do it? The middle order has palpably failed on this tour, ok there are some new faces but Bell as a senior player has been yet again a total waste of space, ave 28, and even that is puffed up by a not out... Time to move on from him...

  • GeoffreysMother on March 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Very true - but much of this should be pointed at the British media, who predicted beating S.Africa and a cakewalk in New Zealand. Finn has been overhyped and Broad inconsistent. The batting, excepting Cook and Prior (but including Pieterson) is flakey - especially Bell. Mind you Vivekaks, I'm not sure Australian fans should get too triumphalist about the Ashes yet given the Kiwi's drew with you in Aus last year and there is the small matter of India. Credit due though to the Kiwi's. Nobody might watch them, and they have few resources, but they have developed a good, solid and young team, well lead and focussed. Whilst S.Africa are clearly the best team and whacked them, this was in a period of massive upheaval and they did recover in the one day games. They have also had injuries to Guptill, McCleneghan and Bracewell to contend with. They have won the psychological battles against England as well as the technical ones. Now can they finish it off?

  • Praxis on March 25, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    5 day games are surely tough on these cricketers. Only a week ago I was reading in this site that England bowling attack being back to their best(Cook said something similar too). A single test match is all that's required to change our opinion.

    Kudos to NZ for such performance, hope they win this one.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Yep, Poms going down to the pub to celebrate back to back ashes victories. :)

  • TheBigBoodha on March 25, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Well I got tired of hearing people say Nathan Lyon is no Swann or Panesar during the AUS /IND series. Yes, he's no Swann, I said. But no Panesar? Their averages are similar, but Lyon's strike rate is much better. OMG! Looks like I was right! Without Swann England is dramatically weakened.

    Will England do a SA here - 2nd test Adelaide draw after getting smashed around for two games? I doubt it. That was the very batsman friendly Adelaide Oval, with AUS down to 3 bowlers almost the whole match after Pattinson broke down and Watson being out too. Luck like that happens once in a blue moon.

  • Vivekaks on March 25, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Well written and hits the nail on its head!!! Poms were not a great team when they reached No.1...they built that on unprepared/young teams. India were knocked down in India because they were ill prepared and cocky... for when pakistan can knock of england 3-0, india can defenitely do better...so i think india win was like a blip Abt the bowlers, Broad is in the team on goodwill....nothin else...Anderson is past his best...and i dotn see anyone else in sight... If poms still manage to win the ashes, it wud be because of the aussies incapability and not english talent... So Poms will get whacked by Pattinson, Starc, Pat Cummins( if fit) and Siddle...its gonna be a series, where they are equal!!! POMS goin down!!!

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  • Vivekaks on March 25, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Well written and hits the nail on its head!!! Poms were not a great team when they reached No.1...they built that on unprepared/young teams. India were knocked down in India because they were ill prepared and cocky... for when pakistan can knock of england 3-0, india can defenitely do better...so i think india win was like a blip Abt the bowlers, Broad is in the team on goodwill....nothin else...Anderson is past his best...and i dotn see anyone else in sight... If poms still manage to win the ashes, it wud be because of the aussies incapability and not english talent... So Poms will get whacked by Pattinson, Starc, Pat Cummins( if fit) and Siddle...its gonna be a series, where they are equal!!! POMS goin down!!!

  • TheBigBoodha on March 25, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Well I got tired of hearing people say Nathan Lyon is no Swann or Panesar during the AUS /IND series. Yes, he's no Swann, I said. But no Panesar? Their averages are similar, but Lyon's strike rate is much better. OMG! Looks like I was right! Without Swann England is dramatically weakened.

    Will England do a SA here - 2nd test Adelaide draw after getting smashed around for two games? I doubt it. That was the very batsman friendly Adelaide Oval, with AUS down to 3 bowlers almost the whole match after Pattinson broke down and Watson being out too. Luck like that happens once in a blue moon.

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Yep, Poms going down to the pub to celebrate back to back ashes victories. :)

  • Praxis on March 25, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    5 day games are surely tough on these cricketers. Only a week ago I was reading in this site that England bowling attack being back to their best(Cook said something similar too). A single test match is all that's required to change our opinion.

    Kudos to NZ for such performance, hope they win this one.

  • GeoffreysMother on March 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Very true - but much of this should be pointed at the British media, who predicted beating S.Africa and a cakewalk in New Zealand. Finn has been overhyped and Broad inconsistent. The batting, excepting Cook and Prior (but including Pieterson) is flakey - especially Bell. Mind you Vivekaks, I'm not sure Australian fans should get too triumphalist about the Ashes yet given the Kiwi's drew with you in Aus last year and there is the small matter of India. Credit due though to the Kiwi's. Nobody might watch them, and they have few resources, but they have developed a good, solid and young team, well lead and focussed. Whilst S.Africa are clearly the best team and whacked them, this was in a period of massive upheaval and they did recover in the one day games. They have also had injuries to Guptill, McCleneghan and Bracewell to contend with. They have won the psychological battles against England as well as the technical ones. Now can they finish it off?

  • VillageBlacksmith on March 25, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Eng deserve to lose, NZ been significantly the better side in every discipline... Well played NZ and well skippered B McM... Eng have a lot of work to do, but have they got the gumption to bother to do it? The middle order has palpably failed on this tour, ok there are some new faces but Bell as a senior player has been yet again a total waste of space, ave 28, and even that is puffed up by a not out... Time to move on from him...

  • GHemrajani on March 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Time to fire Andy Flower. He has shown no foresight in finding suitable bowling replacements and continuing with Broad is quite poor. Average results under Flower for the last year or more.

  • Baxter_P on March 25, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    England's batting is becoming a bit of a myth too. You can't say with certainty that Compton, Root or Bairstow are likely to become world class batsmen; the jury is still out. Perhaps they will become quality test batsmen, the next Strauss or Collingwood; or perhaps they will be the next Morgan or Bopara and not quite test level. Cook, Trott and KP have all looked fallible in this series, and Bell - his 100 in Nagpur aside - is in a major form slump which now comprises the past three series (in fact, it's possible to extend it to after the India series in 2011, when he had poor series vs Pakistan and Sri Lanka). I've always liked Bell, but his innings today (8* off about 90 balls) was dreadful, really unbecoming of a world class. 85-test veteran top order batsman. It was abject surrender, inviting the bowlers and fielders to dictate terms, and neglecting his duty to score runs. NZ have exposed bowling AND batting issues in the England squad (character issues too).

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    A lot of commentators thought that the main part of the problem for England, when we were whitewashed by Pakistan in the UAE, came down to our poor batting against good spin bowling on Asian pitches. The England bowlers did well there, it was the batting that failed. By the time we got to India, it looks as if lessons had been learned - though the lesson about England playing both Swann and Panesar still had not sunk in until after our defeat in the first test.

    So, although there may be some similarities with the poor showing against New Zealand, there are also clear differences. Lessons were learned before, let's hope they can be learned again - but first there needs to be a clearer identification of the problem!

  • on March 25, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    Shows the gulf in class between South Africa and the rest of the world right now.