0England v New ZealandEngland vs New Zealand: First Test — England Claim the Honours

After such a slow start to the game the first test fin­ished at break neck speed today – and what a per­form­ance by Stu­art Broad to raise the chequered flag.

Not only did he club 20 odd import­ant runs (not out) as England’s innings came to a quick and dis­ap­point­ing end but he fol­lowed that by a spell of supreme fast-medi­um bowl­ing which decim­ated the New Zea­l­and order.

When Broad is on-song like that he was today there is simply no stop­ping him and he can be vir­tu­ally unplay­able. The last time he delivered a per­form­ance like this was against the Old Enemy at the Oval in the 2009 Ashes clash. I recor­ded the high­lights of that day’s play and kept them for a few years just so I could watch it again and again. That day he got a 5-for, claim­ing the scalps of Wat­son, Pont­ing, Hus­sey, Clarke and Had­din – so pretty much the Aus­trali­an top order.

There was noth­ing any bats­man could have done. As well as the 5 wick­ets there were count­less plays and misses and beat­ings of the bat. He could have bagged the lot. It was very much like a cer­tain Aus­sie fast-medi­um bowl­er.… his name escapes me.… took a few wick­ets he did.…oh yes, Glenn McGrath.

And the same today – but this time even more wick­ets.  The trick now is to get Broad fir­ing like this much more often. He clearly has the tal­ent and the self assur­ance. Inter­est­ingly in the Oval test back in 2009 Eng­land bat­ted first with Broad, who has been out of form with the wil­low of late, hit­ting some import­ant late order runs.  Any coin­cid­ence?

Broad’s hero­ics (and let’s not for­get James Ander­son claimed a 5-for in the Kiwi’s first innings and two wick­ets in their second) dis­guised some Eng­land fail­ings with the bat. OK it was a low scor­ing game but pretty much all of the top order (includ­ing Pri­or who had a game to for­get with the bat) failed. Root was the only stand out excep­tion and the kid clearly has a massive future. Trott did OK but the jury is still out on Root’s York­shire team-mate Bair­stow and if KP returns for the Ashes it is likely Bair­stow will make way. Eoin Mor­gan is cur­rently ply­ing his trade in the freak show that is the IPL. He has made that choice and so can stay there.  Odds are that it would have been between Mor­gan and Bair­stow for that final middle order spot but Mor­gan chose riches over glory. His call.

The next test is only five days away in Headingley and it’s likely Eng­land will be largely unchanged. Bresnan might dis­place Finn who had a rather muted game (his four wick­ets in the first innings flattered him a little) but then again my pre­dic­tions this match left some­thing to be desired.

 

 

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