Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review of the Third Test in New Zealand

Having seen England's rugby team fail to turn up a couple of weeks ago, we now have the cricket team who have genuinely failed all tour. Fair play to New Zealand, they've been the better side by miles and deserved a series victory. England meanwhile have fallen from grace quicker than a Countdown presenter takes to descend her flight of stairs. Here is our view of the Third Test from Auckland with photos courtesy of a friend of the Middle Stump, New Zealander Laura Hounsell...

Two Metre Peter...well played Sir!

Let's start with the Test. Firstly, Cook stuck them in on a belter. I can see why, although not many people share my vision. The nature of drop in pitches mean they have to start damp otherwise they crack quicker than the afore mentioned Ms Vorderman's nose. Last time we played at Eden Park, we had them 18-4 if you remember rightly, and if they are going to do anything, the first hour tends to be the time the ball hoops around.

This time it didn't, and the man to take full advantage was Two Metre Peter. Fair play to him. He's a journeyman who must have thought his chance was gone and now he has made two hundreds in the same Test match. OK, he's a leg side Larry and I expect him to get sorted out over here in May, but he deserves his moment in the sun. As Del Boy would say, "Nice one Pedro".

Talking of the series in May, and Del Boy for that matter, now we know that NZ will give us a far closer match, my ticket to Lord's this summer must be worth a few more quid on the black market!

Broad...with the Kiwi fielders hovering like vultures

Kane Williamson also filled his boots and he looked a very good player over here last summer on difficult wickets. Finny ended up with a sixfer but the Kiwis got over 400. In response England crumbled under the onslaught of Trent Boult. I've seen more consistency when I have 'shot my bolt' than the English batting! Saying that, Matt Prior again and Joe Root at least showed application.

The hosts, as is the fashion these days decided against the follow on, and were 8-3 before Mr Fulton filled his size 12's again with the help of Brendon McCullum. Monty took more of a pasting than an investor in a Cypriot bank. In fact, if you'd had a pound for every wicket Monty has taken on this tour, you could buy the whole of Cyprus!

The game finished in a thrilling scenario which saw my sphincter twitching in a similar way to Joss Stone's when the doorbell rings. Matt Prior capped a fine series by scoring a hundred as England held on to draw the series 0-0, with only Monty left for company. With the Kiwi opener scoring his hundreds, maybe this was a game for the follically challenged? New Zealand on points without a doubt, unanimously.

England's saviour

England's problems are strange. They seem to follow the highs of India (home and away) with the lows of the UAE and New Zealand. Lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous, I can't work it out? Hubris maybe? The bowling is about as potent as a pint of Kaliber lager. Not just this series but also in the South African series last summer. Remember the 637-2? On the pitches in India where we thought we would struggle we looked like a proper unit, but here in New Zealand we have looked as coherent as George Best on Wogan back in the 80's.

Jimmy has tried and snarled but looked out of sorts. Stuart Broad tried the same but snarling and verbals to the batsman when you have served him up a 78mph leg stump half volley tend to lose their aggression somewhat. Only the McLaren F1 team have lost more pace in the last year than Broad. Finny is still learning his trade.


England have seriously missed Graeme Swann. Not only for his fine bowling, but his antics and general bonhomie that he brings to the dressing room. They've also missed KP. With Andrew Strauss retiring last summer, it is time for the young lads to step up to the plate. Great skippers like Strauss only come around once in a generation and England are missing the best leader we have had since Mike Brearley. Although Cook has led from the front with the bat, tactically he is wanting. He is still learning his trade though, and let's not forget he hasn't even reached double figures as a Test match skipper.

New Zealand meanwhile will rue their missed chances, but should begin a climb up the rankings under Brendon McCullum, and one which their long suffering supporters fully deserve. They have been better than England all series. To get the crowds back, they need to make more exciting wickets though, in this wonderful country awash with good people.

Thank fuck for that!

Bring on the series in May...


  1. Here are some series stats, they show a pretty comprehensive drubbing by the Black Caps in every area (except, you know, winning.) England were so often of the defensive this series, but that appears to be where they are at their best.

  2. Bonhomie and humour is underrated in any situation. In team sports and any team environment it is the glue that holds things together. I notice this more than ever in a working environment. The characters replaced by the headphone screen starers of the younger generation. Thats why characters like Swan are so vital, as was the man recently castigated on this site for his love of a short sleeve shirt and his mate Tigermoth Gower.

  3. Dear "Middle Stump"... I certainly shared in the afore mentioned sphincter twitching in the final throws of the last day. In fact I had to drag Laura from the game at 10 overs to go as I couldn't stand it any longer.

    I too claim 'friend of the Middle Stump' status as it was I that took the photos that Laura sent you...

    Regardless of the result, it was a fantastic day at Eden Park and the Barmy Army were very entertaining...

  4. Thanks for the comments chaps. England do seem to be at their best when their backs are to the wall. Maybe it is the island mentality? Completely agree Thorpster. Sorry Ollie, she took all the credit and you did all the work! Glad you had a fab day and look forward to round two over here in May.

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  6. When I saw the name Davy Russ, I thought it was the old Waterfall Centre forward, Davy Ross, a massive scottish phead. Everytime he went into a pub he looked around and if there were no women around would say "looks like I'm getting drunk again!". Dan - remember when I joined the Adelaide and you said when you saw J Thorpe (misspelled as ever) on the teamsheet you tought Jeremy Thorpe had joined the club!