England are going to need time with the bat and ball.
Before this series began England and Joe Root stressed that they were changing their ways when it came to how they wanted to approach test match cricket. Similar in fact to the rhetoric that came out post the 2015 World Cup about how they were going to approach one day cricket. With that team however came huge changes in personnel within the team and players who had the ability to play in the new approach were brought in.
With this test team it’s pretty much the same group of as before under Bayliss so it will take time to gel and for everyone to become comfortable within their roles. There was some evidence on the first day of England applying themselves for test match cricket in a much more productive way but that allusive 150+ score by one of the batsmen was still missing. You can’t overnight turn from a decent team to a world class winning machine and with the preparation for the Ashes in two years starting now they need to be given time.
A similar message is needed for the bowlers with such little experience in bowling in these conditions. I would hope England give the two Lancashire uncapped bowlers a chance in Hamilton as it would be some great experience for two players who may be invaluable in Australia.
England needs to make a decision with Root.
I personally like the fact that they’ve announced their captain for the period leading up to the next Ashes series in two years time. For the last couple of tours down under we’ve had an inexperienced captain who has struggled to cope with the pressure so it would be nice to have a guy whoever that may be whose had a decent run at the job leading up to it.
The management’s backed Root to be their man which means you would hope some deep and meaningful conversations have taken place about whether Root wants the job. There’s no question that clearly the job is impacting on his ability with the bat so is he needs to be honest; is he enjoying the role or is he fretting about it at night for example.
New Zealand vs Australia should be a great series
Over the festive period the two neighbouring sides will go at each other over the course of three tests matches including the Boxing Day test match. With New Zealand currently sitting above Australia in the rankings it’s sure to be fantastic test match cricket with some real quality in conditions both teams are comfortable in.
Early reports suggest that New Zealand will be well supported as many kiwi fans are taking the opportunity to see their team in a Boxing Day test at Melbourne for the first time in a generation. As well as the traditional seasonal games there is also a pink ball test at Perth which is sure to generate a lot of interest and really crown the new Optus Stadium in Perth as an international venue.
The pitch at the Bay Oval was rubbish for test cricket.
Those of you that follow SillyPoint’s Twitter account will know I had a mini rant during the final day about the pitch used for the first test. This is nothing to do with England loosing or being foreign conditions to them but more with the state of test cricket worldwide. It’s not so much that it was so flat it became difficult to take wickets on but also that it was so slow that batsmen couldn’t time the ball and the scoring rate rarely got above three resulting in long passages of stalemate.
The television commentators explained that this was an excellent pitch with one saying that the first four days for the audience is like eating vegetables, something that has to be endured. What an interesting was to treat your customers by saying are product has to be endured for four out of the five days. Utter rubbish.
Back in the English summer the pitches and conditions were just about perfect with a balance between bat and ball. The good batsmen could score runes i.e. Smith and Stokes and the top quality bowlers could get rewarded as well. The matches were an ideal length with two going five days and two finishing in four. In terms of how to sell test cricket I finish my argument by saying when in doubt look at what sold so well in 2005.