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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