Wednesday, 27 March 2013

So how even was this series? England in New Zealand

<<< Was this the defining moment in the 3rd test at Eden Park?  Or was Bell being dropped early (and Bairstow) the catalyst.  Or were we simply beaten out of a win by a top 2 side applying itself?  Regardless of whatever you may think, this series was very even with both side playing five innings over all 3 tests, and the aggregate runs scored by both teams was very even (see table below).

But my thoughts.  The series was a great one.  England were by and large favoured by all pundits to annihilate a New Zealand team decimated by injuries, captaincy issues, a weak coach, and generally a public that had lost faith in our fighting ability of past generations.  So where did the turnaround begin?

Obviously the injury to Guptill and the preference to move the Skipper back to 6 meant that the Blackcaps needed openers, and for once in New Zealand Cricket history of recent times they opted for youth and experience, however both untested at the higher level in those positions.  COUP!!  First test in Dunedin set the seal for this resurgent Blackcaps side.  Rutherford's 171 set the tone for a struggling team and self belief suddenly found it's way into this side (and the cricketing public at large)  And we have to remember Fulton and Rutherford actually forged opening partnerships in this series too.

And feeding off that match in Dunedin was Doug Bracewell's replacement in the team, Neil Wagner.  7 wickets in your first test on home soil is a great start, and as was seen throughout the rest of the series, though not a great quick bowler, one that toiled hard and worked his arse off, whether bowling or in the field.

The revelation though is Martin.  Generally on pitches that offered no turn (or very little) he plugged away and kept one end tied up, thus allowing McCullum the luxury of rotating his pacemen as required.  My initial thought is Vettori will not be selected as a frontline spinner now, and will be in the team only when we tour Bangladesh later in the year.  I know he (Martin) is a little on the grey side of 30 but he does have the potential to be in this team for at least another 5 years and what years they will be for New Zealand cricket.

But back to this series.'  Yes anyone backing England would have placed a truckload of cash on them at Centrebet prior to the series.  None would have picked a drawn series.  Fewer still would have picked New Zealand to be one wicket away from a monumental test (and series) win on the 5th day of a test at Eden Park.

And talking about Eden Park, and the other two venues.  Some cricketing gurus have lamented on all the pitches being batter friendly and not prepared well enough for results.  Well rain ruined both 1st and 2nd tests but before that rain both teams were handily placed to take advantage of either match, so it was fitting this trend continued to the 3rd test.  Eden Park could (and should) have been a result pitch.  England rode a lot of luck on that last day and all kudos for them getting the team into the hutch with their skin intact.  But if one looks over the whole series it was fairly even on runs scored and wickets taken, but morally New Zealand won this series.  Why so?

Apart from the Aussie win in 2011, and the SL win last year, New Zealand cricket has been hit well and truly out of the park.  It's fair to say the Big Boys in world cricket aren't jumping at the opportunity to play three tests against us, little alone two.  This series should go towards resurrecting our standing as a competitive nation, and not one languishing.  The boys have learned.  The changes were made.  Success breeds success.  Walk tall boys, you did your nation proud and brought belief back into the cricket world of the New Zealand public and yourselves.

The figures from the series:

Team Runs Aggregate Overs Aggregate Runs per Over
New Zealand 1560 484 3.22
England 1572 603 2.61
New Zealand Bowlers Averages
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Economy Average
Boult 134 42 320 11 2.39 29.09
Wagner 127 27 402 12 3.17 33.50
Southee 136 35 337 6 2.48 56.17
Martin 171 56 393 9 2.30 43.67
Williamson 36 11 90 6 2.50 15.00
Top Order Batsmen Averages
Aggregate Average
Fulton 347 69.4
Rutherford 246 49.2
Williamson 213 53.3
Taylor 94 23.5
Brownlie 109 27.3
McCullum 248 82.7
Watling 99 24.75

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