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Friday, May 17, 2013

Back from break to see NZ hold England in check in day of 1950s style Test cricket

I've taken a break from cricket following, not only because there's been no IPL coverage apart from sketchy highlights of matches and a bit more on the emerging scandal (or series of scandals) there.

But last night I settled onto the couch and watched the first two sessions of England v NZ T1 at Lord's, which turned out to be (1) a good day for the Black Caps and (2) a throwback to the 1950s.

England (Alistair Cook) won the toss, opted to bat, and struggled against some steady NZ bowling, a lush outfield and perhaps their own defensive mindset.

4/160 from 80overs isn't the kind of batting to lure crowds through turnstiles (and perhaps to the TV screen). Yet young Trent Boult 17-7-29-2 and old(er ) Bruce Martin 24-11-37-1 had reason to be pleased, even though Martin's missed c&b from Jonathan Trott before he'd scored was a big blot on an otherwise clean NZ fielding sheet.

Slow batting, slow outfield, rain forecast: are these the ingredients of a draw?

I predicted (to myself) that on home turf England would reverse their modest achievements in the recent Antipodean series. But after T1D1 a 2-0 result looks less likely. For what it's worth I reckon England are better placed than 4/160 suggests. If Matt Prior can hit out and the rain keep away England may yet win. On the other hand if the Black Caps can persist and play four or so more days like the first (a big ask IMO) who knows what might happen?

England 4/180 (80ov) v New Zealand; T1/2 D1/5 at Lord's

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