England v New Zealand: Second Test, fourth day – live!

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England v New Zealand: Second Test, fourth day – live!


So what happened yesterday? There was some really good bowling in New Zealand… but that’s all I would go for. Matt Henry hit the seam, hit a nice length, and moved it a bit one way and a bit the other. Neil Wagner got a movement of his left arm into the pads and balls going straight with the seam across the stump. All these variants have taken wickets. They were played well, but it’s also the kind of bowling that a top player with an English base is supposed to be able to fight. A wicket or two falling to those deliveries would have been a fair trade, but not a score of 58 for 5. From there it was all over for England’s focus, and Ajaz Patel’s fairly innocuous rotation picked up the last two bats recognized. It was a very soft display.

I still saw a lot of people complaining about the rest and rotation policy, but you really can’t expect Buttler and Stokes to come out of all the IPL drama, let alone the India tour before that, in a month of White Ball Cricket in England, then five Tests, then a T20 World Cup, then the Ashes in Australia, then the… I don’t know… 17 or 18 different postponed heats that England are supposed to play l ‘next year. This is not a recipe for good performance. And anyway, Stokes, Bairstow, Buttler, they’re all players with Test batting averages in the 1930s. They can each play amazing innings, but they’re not consistent racing patterns.

When it comes to the squad structure, you can certainly say that England should have chosen a spinner at Edgbaston. But the seamers would still have been supposed to make most of the wickets in the first innings, and the presence of a spinner wouldn’t help the bat. This is England’s problem.

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