0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: Second Test, Day 5

And so it happened.

Eng­land wrapped up a con­vin­cing vic­tory thus tak­ing the series 2–0. It was all a little too easy. Only the weath­er could have saved New Zea­l­and from cer­tain defeat. It rained, but just not quite enough, and Eng­land stepped up to the plate and showed their true class.

They are a far bet­ter side than New Zea­l­and and they proved it. The bowl­ing attack in par­tic­u­lar through­out the series have per­formed very well although the Kiwis’ attack hasn’t done too badly either.

What does worry me a little how­ever is just how easy it was in the end. I am an unashamed Eng­land fan and always want Eng­land to win. But I enjoy test crick­et and will watch who­ever is play­ing. I like to see a good even con­test but at the moment there are few teams out there who can provide such a con­test. Eng­land and South Africa are by far and away the top two teams. India remain a handy side but have nev­er trav­elled well and are not the Invin­cibles they used to be at home. Pakistan are becom­ing a little more con­sist­ent and the rest make up the num­bers. I would love to see the West Indies restored to the power they once were and even our Ashes foes back up there.  There are always going to be stronger and weak­er teams but a six way power house of Eng­land, South Africa, Aus­tralia, Win­dies, India and Pakistan would make for some bril­liant matches.

It would also help to increase test-match attend­ances. The sight of only a hand­ful of people (gran­ted the weath­er fore­cast was rub­bish and the game nearly at an end for the last day) was very sad. I don’t think there was a day when the ground was full. It might also help to knock on the head this awful IPL non­sense or at least releg­ate it to a minor sideshow.

In terms of the Eng­land New Zea­l­and mini series I have rated all the home play­ers out of 10. See what you think – it’s only my opin­ion.

 

Alastair Cook (c)               7              By his own incred­ibly lofty stand­ards a rel­at­ively poor per­form­ance with the bat (this must be put into con­text – he scored over 200 runs!).  As cap­tain he steered Eng­land to two wins in two matches but I can’t under­stand his defens­ive­ness in the decision not to make New Zea­l­and fol­low on in the second test.

Nick Compton                   3              Shock­ing series. His place must be under some ser­i­ous threat although the mod­ern Eng­land team look to per­severe with play­ers and give them a chance. I agree with the policy but am not sure it is right in this instance.

Jonath­an Trott                  6              Couple of decent knocks and is an import­ant anchor to the innings but needs to find the abil­ity and or will­ing­ness to change his pace as and when required.

Ian Bell                                 4              A poor series. He doesn’t do it enough when it mat­ters and with the return (hope­fully) of KP for the Ashes his place must be under some ser­i­ous threat. Pretty 30s are not good enough – he needs to start mak­ing mean­ing­ful first innings con­tri­bu­tions

Joe Root                              9              Fant­ast­ic series and great that he hit his maid­en ton on home turf. There will be more to come.

Jonny Bair­stow                 7              Root’s fel­low Yorkie also had a decent series and the real test will come against the Aus­sies. He if he gets through that with some decent scores I pre­dict good things for him too.

Matt Pri­or                           5              First test to for­get after a double duck but hit use­ful runs in the second. Is a key Eng­land per­former

Stu­art Broad                       7              Good series from Broad espe­cially in the first test in which he scored a few use­ful runs too.

Graeme Swann                 8              Barely bowled in the first test but 10-wick­et haul in the second – warm­ing up nicely for the Aus­sies.

Jimmy Ander­son              7              You can’t knock a man who claimed his 300th wick­et for his coun­try. Vital com­pon­ent and lead­er of the bowl­ing attack

Steven Finn                        6.5          Reas­on­able series. Not a great per­form­ance in the first test (des­pite a four wick­et haul in the first innings) but a far bet­ter show in the second. When he is on-song can be incred­ibly dif­fi­cult to play.

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