Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 17, 2011

New Zealand vs Pakistan Second Test Day Three – The Final Over of the Day

A still from this morning's play

Ball One 10.10pm – In an era with few imaginative captains and fewer still instinctively inclined to go on the offensive, it’s a pity Daniel Vettori does not have stronger weaponry at his disposal. He is prepared to post a short leg more often than not (despite having nothing more than fast-medium bowling to call upon) and, when bowling himself, usually favours men close on both sides of the wicket. Although Vettori has lost much of his conventional turn (and never had any mystery spin to lose), he knows that attacking both edges of the bat is is crucial if he is to deceive the batsman into believing there’s turn and loop when there’s little of either.

Ball Two 10.35pm – Tim Southee is a frustrating case. He broke into the New Zealand team as a teenager and has the physique to be a useful pace man and the eye to be a hard-hitting Number Nine. But he has played just 34 First Class matches in total before this Test and has actually played more Twenty20 matches. His near contemporary, Steven Finn, has played one Test fewer, but has racked up 51 FC matches and just 16 Twenty20s. Quite how Southee is expected to learn his craft is not clear and it’s a problem for New Zealand cricket if they prefer to host tours like this one with its three T20Is, two Tests and six ODIs. Given that his Northern Districts team play only ten FC matches in a full season and that Southee missed some of those on tour to India in November, when is he going to learn to work batsmen out?

Ball Three 11.26pm – Perhaps an example of Southee’s lack of gamecraft is his persistent examination of the centre of the pitch when bowling to old pros Misbah and Younis. He might need that energy later in the day when he can expect to be having a crack at the Pakistan tail.

Ball Four 11.59pm – An old-fashioned session of Test cricket finishes with Pakistan having scored 75 runs for the loss of one wicket off the 28.1 overs bowled in the morning. My youth was spent watching Test cricket played at this tempo and there’s a place for it, especially with the match poised evenly, the initiative about to go to the side willing to grind out opportunities and build small advantages into useful positions.

Ball Five 2.05am – How does an umpire see where a paceman’s feet are landing? At the moment that James Franklin’s errant the foot lands, the ball is just passing the bat. Given that umpires have difficulty seeing no balls, some of which are very big indeed, and that they are not required at that particular instant to be looking for the LBW or edge, then how do they see that the bowler is trespassing just below their eyes, at the exact moment concentration is at maximum at the other end? Whenever I umpired, my eyes followed the ball.

Ball Six 2.20am – With the partnership between old pros Misbah and Younis at 122, one man has 61 off 141 and the other 62 off 144. Neither man is dominating the bowling, but neither man is tied up either. Given the position of the match, this is a model of how to bat in partnership for the good of the team. And a lesson I hope their younger colleagues in the pavilion are learning.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.

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Responses

  1. Southee’s lack of first class cricket is a problem world-wide. In the past players from NZ, WI, Pakistan and Australia could supplement their meagre first class experience at home with county cricket, but international cricket is so prevalent these days, that they don’t have time. In Australia, even getting a first class game is so difficult that almost every player touted for test selection is reaching their mid-20s with fewer than a dozen games under their belt.

  2. Is that fellow in the picture at short leg the square leg umpire? It looks as though he positioned himself so as to get in the photograph. If so, he must surely be an ancestor of Billy Bowden!

  3. Carrying on from what Russ said, England is the only country whose teams play a large number of first-class matches in their main domestic competition. In Australia it’s 10 games per side, India 7 and then quarter-finals (plus a couple of Duleep Trophy games), NZ 10, Pak 10, SA 10 (and 13 in what I gather is a second-tier first-class competition; I don’t think there’s much player overlap, but I haven’t checked much), SL 11, and just 6 in the West Indies.

    The 16 games that each county plays really stands out. I actually think that 34 first-class matches by the age of 22 is pretty decent.

    Over the last three years NZ has actually played more T20I’s than Tests (30 to 28). Amusingly enough, Bangladesh actually have the highest ratio of Tests to T20I’s (17 to 8) over this period – teams don’t really want to play Tests against Bangladesh, but they REALLY don’t want to waste some of their precious T20 quota on them!

    • I agree, 34 games is actually quite a lot. By way of contrast, Australia’s 4 front-line bowlers in Sydney had taken 7 f/c wickets (combined) by the age of 22. Nor is that unusual historically – McGrath hadn’t played f/c cricket by 22 either; by 24 he was in the test side.

      It isn’t just the 16 games, it is the 18 teams containing 72 (at least) bowlers compared to just 24 in most other countries that offers that many more opportunities to players coming through. That many teams lowers the standard too, as well as raising the costs, but I’m definitely of the opinion that Australia needs several more Shield sides.

  4. Thanks for the details, gentlemen. Southee may have had a decent share of FC cricket by world standards, but I’m not sure it’s enough. Bit of a worry that, with even England looking to cut the FC programme.


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