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New Zealand v England, 1st Test, Hamilton, 5th day
David Lloyd: England need a kick up their arse
March 9, 2008
A very disappointing performance by England, and the team management needs to shake things up come next Test
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New Zealand played according to their plans © Getty Images
Andrew Miller: The day finished with rather abject defeat for England. They were bowled out for 110, to lose by 189 runs - only their eighth defeat against New Zealand in 89 Tests. Alongside me is David Lloyd, former coach of England. David it's a very bleak day for England.

David Lloyd: Well it has been a pathetic day. You look at [England] this team and you had high hopes of winning in style and now they are one down in the three-match series and they deserve to be. All credit to New Zealand who bowled towards their plans with good captaincy and clear thinking, all the things that England have not done in this game.

In his post-match interview Michael Vaughan has said everything the commentators, the media, the writers will write. There is a chronic fear in this team of failing. There is a chronic fear among the batsmen to express themselves, which culminates in a pathetic scoring run-rate of two in the first innings. You do not win Test matches scoring at two an over.'

Just move on to the last half hour of the game, when the game is finished, England were nine down and Ian Bell just helped himself to some runs. On a fifth-day pitch, against the same bowlers, he danced down the pitch and hit Jeetan Patel for a one-bounce four over midwicket and then straight over long-off for a six. There was nothing wrong with this pitch; England got it into their minds before a ball was bowled in this game - this is a slow pitch, very difficult to score, therefore they didn't score, and that has been the downfall - assessing the pitch and sticking rigidly to it instead of rolling your sleeves up and just getting on with it.

AM: What is it with England batting there, because that top six isn't markedly different to the top six that played in the Ashes in 2005, the top six that swept the board in 2004 before that. Why have they gone so sour all of a sudden?

DL: They are a shadow of what they have been in the past. You look at the stats, you look at the averages of the top six. How many times has it happened that they all average over 40? But, they are playing like they have never ever played the game before, with an unbelievable fear of failing. I wonder if it is a fear of going out of the side. I wonder if it is the fear on not earning money, just to get in the team, because this was crying out for me - when New Zealand got 470, that it was a good pitch. Unless England think they bowled pathetically. Ryan Sidebottom was fine and so was Monty Panesar. Mathew Hoggard and Steve Harmison, who have done them proud in the past, were pretty ordinary. But, England were too rigid in their thoughts about how to play in the first innings. It was just a flat pitch, painfully flat and at two an over you are not going to make any inroads in the game.

New Zealand players, all of them, in interviews, said that they were amazed at the way England played. They didn't put them under any pressure, you could have attacking fields, and Daniel Vettori says, 'even though we bowled 170 overs, England never ever during 170 overs got on top of us.'

AM: Well, defeat in this first Test means that England are now in serious danger of losing their third series in a row. Presumably, that means that heads have got to roll somewhere in the side, and one man who everyone seems to be pointing at the moment is Steve Harmison. Do you think he has got to go?

DL: Well, I go back to the interview with the coach, who was reeling at the end of it, absolutely like a boxer on the ropes, and believe me I have been there and I have done it. He said one thing - 'we will pick a team in the next Test match that is competitive.'

So that means one or two go out of the team, and poor Harmison looks like a lost and troubled soul, and I think for his own good he will come out of the team. In my opinion and experience, when it is like this you play younger [players]. Get some young blood; get some life into it, and that means Stuart Broad comes in. I know that they have sent [James] Anderson away to play for Auckland Aces, but your likely lad, for me, comes into the team. [Owais] Shah, who got 96 in the warm up match, and was not picked because they wanted [Andrew] Strauss to play, should come into the team. England looked absolutely shocked today mentally, and throughout this Test, against a well-organised team. They [New Zealand] were seventh in the ICC rankings and England are squandering around at five and going nowhere.

AM: Vaughan was very generous in his praise of New Zealand, led very well by Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills, who, this morning, was the main man with four wickets in about six overs.

DL: Yes, at one stage he had 11 overs, four wickets for 11 runs. This pitch hasn't changed over the five days; there is nothing different about this pitch that Sidebottom, Hoggard and rest of the England bowlers were bowling on.

If you want to talk technically, Ross Taylor scored a hundred and he played forward. Stephen Fleming scored 66 attractive runs in the second innings, he scored 40 odd in the first innings, he played forward. And, I am talking about a big stride forward. You can look at all the dismissals of the England batsmen and I guarantee they are stuck on the line - it's a half shuffle forward that allows the ball to develop and you are a goner in this sort of surface. New Zealand have played organised cricket and I think they have eked everything out of the team that they can through Vettori.

Vettori said that the think-tank is Fleming, who has still got a great part to play, he is the best captain they have had, Brendon McCullum, who is a wicketkeeper and a box-office performer, [John] Bracewell, and Vettori himself. He said - `us four take care of how we are going to play and lay the plans down.' And he was very pleased, Vettori, in saying that they played to their plans.

AM: Vaughan must be under bit of scrutiny now, obviously, he is England's most successful Test captain but he hasn't quite been able to pick up the team where he left it off before his injury?

At least one or two players will be dropped for the second Test © Getty Images
DL: No, he himself says he has got work to do. To look at his own performance, and the way he is getting most out of this team there has to be, you say for the next match, three days later, you would say that you got to improve 10%; here it has to be 100% better than what they performed here.

Again, getting back to the coach-speak, you win, lose or you draw and that's an on-going thing. But, you've got your own vision of how you want to play - the first thing that you always do is watch the performance. There hasn't been a performance here, unless you take out an isolated individual performance of Sidebottom and Tim Ambrose, who has made a good debut behind the stumps. Sidebottom has been extraordinary in a one-man attack, and Panesar supported him with spin. England caught well, but they have not been in this game whatsoever, they just haven't thought themselves in this game.

Just to say that they are too quick to assess the pitch - that's how it is, that's how it's going to play, that's how we are going to play; you have to think on your feet in Test match cricket.

AM: Just to finish, three days between matches, I guess it is a good thing to get back out there after a defeat like this; but is it long enough to turn their mentality around?

DL: Yes, it is, and I think they will talk and in the comfort of the dressing room there are going to be challenges laid down. Also, they need a kick up their arse and I am sure they will get it. To challenge them and to give them the ultimatum - this is going to change, unless you change, we will change. And, there are plenty of likely lads who need to hear that message back in UK. They will think that there is an opportunity, couple of batting slots, couple of bowling slots, and if they perform back in England then they might just take these slots.

AM: Well, there you have it - dicey times for England in Hamilton.

Comments: 31 
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Posted by Wade on (March 10, 2008, 8:36 GMT)

Good on ya Black Caps. Why don't all you poms just stop your whingeing and accept the fact England was beaten by a better side on this occasion. The Black Caps batsmen batted with intent and followed that with great line and length from their bowlers that put England under immense pressure. Quite frankly, apart from the twenty/20, England have been out played on all accounts. Get over it chaps...

Posted by Eugene on (March 10, 2008, 7:03 GMT)

The Fact IS that New Zealand outplayed England, you can say what you want, but the fct is that with the exception of Sinclair the whole NZ team contributed, whereas Sidebottom and Bell were the only Englishmen who did, Short and Simple

Posted by james on (March 10, 2008, 2:27 GMT)

after struggling to bowl at 130kmh i think we need to forego harmison. even though i'am a fan of his. we need someone who can bowl straight at 145kmh. selectors must bite the bullet and bring in broad, tremlett or a wild card . also the batting needs to be settled even if some are a bit out of form.

Posted by sunny on (March 10, 2008, 0:37 GMT)

When is Michael Vaughen leaving.We are talking so much about Steve Harmison, Hoggard, but when is the captain going.Vaughen best days has gone and he himself is a burdon for the rest of the team.He is not scoring any big runs,there is no energy in his captaincy and he is showing no agression.On top of that he is part of a game,where he don´t want shah in the team,because then he could be replaced, if not strauss.He is picking Harmison,but not giving him the oppurtunities to show his class, and if Harmison can´t show anything,then he should also go.There is a lot of other players who can play test cricket for England - bring them in.Get Mark Ramprakash back.Don´t look at his age, but is for second time been named as cricketer of the year in England.He can still score runs,until we get some young blood, who can perform on test level.My team is for sure that Shah should come in for sure, instead of the captain or Strauss, and it is not to late to give Ramps a surprise call.Get Broad in as

Posted by R on (March 9, 2008, 22:31 GMT)

With all due respect, Mr. Lloyd had lambasted the pitch a few days back in his match report, and now, he is blaming the England batsmen for having it all in their minds. How exactly was the pitch then?

Posted by Doug on (March 9, 2008, 22:24 GMT)

@ RJ_Hadlee: I guess when you've just beaten England for the eighth time in 89 attempts, you need to crow all you can while you have the chance. (Aren't you ashamed of yourself bandying around a great - a world-class - cricketer's name like that?)

Posted by Christopher on (March 9, 2008, 20:55 GMT)

I think England need to start thinking about (especially in the Domestic Off-Season) to have the probable 15 working out at home together prior to leaving for Tours. If you take Sri Lanka out of the picture the 2 main Test bowlers haven't played since last summer or earlier. There is no way that 2 weeks prior to a tour is the proper timing to getting ready for a match. Look at the Aussies for instance they go into a month long workout camp before there season starts. This gets your players in shape, gets continuity in the side, gets the players use to following the coaching staffs wishes, coaches to pick out weaknesses and work on them, and developes that Team Concept. The other thing the ECB needs to look into is establishing a covered ground/retractable roof for the players to practice on during Englands cold and wet seasons. The days of leaving everything up to the Domestic Staff to do are gone, the side should play Domestic Teams during breaks not for them.

Posted by david on (March 9, 2008, 20:39 GMT)

For goodness sake surely first and foremost Peter Moores should take most of the heat for another ghastly England performance, you just have to listen to the stupid comments after the debacle, the man is just Steve Maclaren in everything but name fronting up to the media after yet another defeat does not make a great coach ,he is mediocre at best.Bring back Duncan Fletcher at least he seemed to instill some sense of self belief, alright i didn't always agree with his selection policy but at least he had the good grace not to appear before the cameras after a match looking like some third rate goverment minister telling us all how everything was alright and we shouldn't worry our little heads over it!! If that's not what he said it's what i thought he said and that's the problem the man is as inspiring as a wet lettuce!!As for Harmison same problem really ok so he's honest about he's situation but that's just not good enough get on with the job you're paid for.

Posted by Dinesh on (March 9, 2008, 19:33 GMT)

England needs to stop its Ashes obsession and start taking other test-series seriously. It always seems to me that they only care abt playing the Ashes and nothing else!! They should start playing more international cricket. The players seem to fatigue or injure so often that they cant play a consistent 11 for a long time. Go back to the glory days of Gooch, gatting, gower and botham!! The world of cricket needs a strong England!!

Posted by Graeme on (March 9, 2008, 19:29 GMT)

England to pull themselves together in three days? its been more than thirteen months since Adelaide and they are still reeling from that! They have performed terribly throughout the winter and we all know from experience that they will again until there is a change of culture. We can only speculate as to why, but the players aren't showing their ability. If we were a bit rubbish and didn't have the players it would be bearable, but to see good players squander their talent with a dearth of belief in their own abilities is painful. We have seen ALL of them play very good test cricket before. I wonder if Steve Bull, the team psychologist, is on performance related pay...

Us England fans should really enjoy the next few weeks, for we now know that things have to and will change, the last straw is broken, we will not see performances like that of Harmison from this team again - we would be better off with ten men, so destructive to morale it must be to see him shrug for 5 days.

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