England Must Win, And Win Well

23 05 2008

Today marks the start of the second test match between New Zealand and England at Old Trafford, and the home side will be keen to avoid a repeat of the middle order collapse that destroyed any realistic chance of winning the first Test. They will also remember that the last drawn Test at Lord’s was against India, who went on to win the second Test match, and the series.

With South Africa due to arrive later, it’s imperative that England not only win this series but do so convincingly. They must win both of the remaining matches because anything less would raise serious doubts over their ability to even match up against a top class Test side like the Proteas. The South African batting will not be nearly as easy to knock over as the Black Caps, and their seam bowling will possess more potency.

Nor can England rely on the Proteas’ perennial weakness of not having a decent quality spinner, as Paul Harris is more than capable. Of course he’s no Daniel Vettori but then Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini are in a completely different league to Chris Martin, Kyle Mills and Tim Southee. South Africa whitewashed New Zealand in their recent home series against them, winning the two match series 2-0.

With a tough year ahead, facing South Africa, India and Australia (who all lie above England in the rankings), England should be using the New Zealand series to build some much-needed momentum. Having had a pretty poor tour of New Zealand (despite winning the series), and a terrible tour of Sri Lanka (in terms of Test matches at least), all on top of a home defeat by India, England have been starved of wins.

Thankfully Old Trafford is usually a place where England tend to do very well, although in the past that has been largely down to Steve Harmison. He and Monty have been England’s primary wicket takers in Old Trafford Test matches in recent years. With Harmy out of the side (rightly), the pressure will probably fall on Stuart Broad (as England’s only genuine “hit the deck” bowler) to exploit the pace and bounce.

Hopefully this time we get a full five days play. Mr President is praying for sunshine.


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27 05 2008
England Snatch Victory At Old Trafford « Textual Relations

[…] wrote a few days ago about how England needed to win, and win convincingly. Whilst they couldn’t manage that, and he still has concerns over the South Africa series, […]

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