|Rutherford...a fine debut|
Another baby faced bloke has had a difficult week this week in England man Joe Root, but his spilled catch in the New Zealand innings proves he drops his balls, unlike Justin! Graeme Swann also had a tough one, and has been flown home so he can get some emergency surgery on his elbow. Let's hope and pray this works, as he is a vital cog in the English wheel when it comes to the Ashes.
Anyway, England kicked off their tour of New Zealand properly by disappointing us all. We wrote last week after Queenstown that England were undercooked, and by their showing in the first innings here, they were blue. Not even medium rare. Day One was a wash out, wetter than Manu Tuilagi when he was fished out of Auckland harbour, and ruined the game. That and the groundsman who prepared the dullest, benign pitch since a Monday night out in Scunthorpe. Test cricket in New Zealand suffers from dwindling crowds and pitches like these are hardly a good endorsement for the longer form of the game.
When England finally did get to bat, our batsmen found strange ways of losing their wickets. Compo chopped on and Alastair Cook received a long hop that he could have virtually put anywhere in the ground. He decided to put it into cover points hands. KP got a golden duck, his fifth in Test cricket and this puts him only behind Mark Waugh in the list of recognised batsmen to get out to first ballers. Another couple of full length deliveries first up, and Pietersen will be level with the Australian. All round the shot selection was shocking, and having been bowled out for less than 200 in our last three first innings knocks abroad, this is something we seriously need to look at. It may not have cost England here, but it may well do if we are not prepared for the Ashes.
|Pietersen...fifth golden in Test cricket|
England were undone by a couple of left armers. Neil Wagner again, and Bruce Martin a veteran slow left arm orthodox who has been around the circuit for so long, that no doubt Surrey are showing an interest in signing him this year.
When New Zealand came to bat, England couldn't shift the partnership of Two metre Peter Fulton, or 1.98 metre to be precise, and the classy looking left hander Hamish Rutherford. Rutherford looked a class act, the son of former Kiwi stalwart Ken Rutherford, and some of his straight hitting was very impressive as he cruised to 171 on debut. The English bowlers, Anderson in particular, got tucked in to the NZ batting, Fulton especially and was probably the nastiest verbal battle between someone from the UK and a Kiwi since Rod Stewart's second divorce! At least it shows Jimmy cares.
There was enough time in the innings for Brendon McCullum to further ruin some English bowling figures before we faced the task of saving the game. Normally on what are days four and five, this wouldn't be easy but on this strange brown pitch that didn't show any signs of cracking up, Cook and Compton both got match saving hundreds.
|Steven Finn...all rounder?|
With Cook out and night watchman Steven Finn in, the game was still poised going into the final day but a 203 ball marathon from the Watford man saved the game. He went for nearly fifty balls without a scoring shot at one point; a bit like Justin Bieber's concert with not a lot happening for a couple of hours!
Eventually both captain's shook hands and called it a draw. It was a strange game, not a particularly exciting one, and New Zealand played the better cricket. Let's hope England sort it out before the next one in Wellington this week.
Dunedin. This one done my 'eed in.