New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Hamilton March 3, 2008

Sinclair struggles to figure out Harmison

Cricinfo staff


Sinclair: "If someone is spraying it everywhere you never really get a feel for where he's trying to put the ball" © Getty Images
 

Matthew Sinclair had his first bat against England's Steve Harmison in a tour match in Dunedin last week, and said he's not sure what to make of him going into the first Test. Harmison, who took 5 for 100 against New Zealand Select XI, was, according to Sinclair, "a little bit erratic".

"If someone is spraying it everywhere you never really get a feel for where he's trying to put the ball - I couldn't get a feel for what he was trying to do," he told the Press Association. "I felt it was quite hard to get some consistency from him from a batting point of view. I hadn't faced Harmison before so I'll be speaking a lot with Flem [Stephen Fleming] over the next two days in terms of what he tries to do."

Sinclair hasn't played against England at the international level but was confident based on what he saw of their attack. He faced all of the main bowlers except the injured Ryan Sidebottom. "This week has been really good as it's given me a really good idea of how they're trying to bowl, and also from a batting point of view what I need to get out of it - it was a good little trial period really," he said. "It was disappointing not to go on with it after scoring 47, but Monty [Panesar] beat me on the day so fair play to him. It would have been good to post another hour out there but it's given me a really good idea about what the bowlers are doing."

Sinclair, 32, has yet to cement his place in the side despite scoring 214 on Test debut in 1999 and 204 the following summer. In nine years at the international level he has just 29 Test appearances.

Sinclair failed to register when Bangladesh toured recently, scoring 76 runs in two innings, and knows how big the three-Test series against England is. "The yo-yo ride continues," he said. "I've put a lot of hard work in over the winter and I was lucky enough to play against Bangladesh and I've been presented with an opportunity to hopefully try and do well against the English.

"If you look at the batting side of things there wasn't a heck of a lot of good things coming out of that Bangladesh series other than Matt Bell with his 100 and Flem with his 80, there were a lot of in-betweens really. I've moved on from there now and I'm looking forward to spending a lot of time in the middle."