At the end of a 15-wicket day in Hamilton, New Zealand are all but sure of taking a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series. Tim Southee started the carnage, sending back John Campbell on his way to returns of 4 for 35 in the first West Indies innings, as the visitors went from 53 for no loss to 138 all out, before following on and ending the third day on 196 for 6, still 185 behind. And for Southee, the difference was that New Zealand “knew where we had to be for longer periods of time”.
Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite had taken West Indies to a safe 49 for no loss in reply to New Zealand’s 519 for 7 declared when play ended on the second day, but more swing with the older ball and the westerly breeze at Seddon Park, Southee said, had an effect.
“It was nice, this is one of the few grounds that favours the outswing. But we assessed through it last night and we weren’t far off,” he said in a press interaction. “We knew where we had to be for longer periods of time, and managed to get a couple early and get the ball rolling.”
While Southee has so far picked up five wickets, Neil Wagner (four) and Kyle Jamieson (three) have been among the wickets too, and the towering Jamieson, who also scored an unbeaten 51 earlier, came in for special praise from Southee.
“He’s been a great addition at the back end of last summer, and he’s shown again here with both bat and ball,” Southee said of Jamieson, who made his Test debut against India last summer as a replacement for Lockie Ferguson, and has played in all three of New Zealand’s Tests since. “So he’s been a great asset to the side and adds another variation as well. Obviously you’ve got myself and Trent [Boult], left- and right-arm to swing it. Wags [Wagner] does his thing and then you’ve got a tall guy in him [Jamieson], who hits some challenging areas.”
“We aren’t disappointed, we would have taken this position going into this morning. Anytime you have a side follow-on, you know you’ve obviously played pretty well at some stage. So although we weren’t quite at our best in the last hour, you’ve got to give a little bit of credit to Joseph and Blackwood”
Southee on the dropped catches
Southee is currently on 289 Test wickets, and though he is focused on winning the Test, and the series, against West Indies, he said he was aware of the 300-wicket milestone.
“[You] probably don’t chase [such milestones],” he said. “It’s something that when you play for long enough, those things happen. But yeah, it’ll be something special if I can get there.
“At the moment, it’s about coming back tomorrow and taking the remaining wickets. It’s just nice to contribute… and it’ll be a lot of hard work between now and then.”
In what has been a dominant performance by Kane Williamson’s team, a few fielding lapses have hrt them. Both unbeaten batsmen, Jermaine Blackwood and Alzarri Joseph, were dropped one each, and Jason Holder had been reprieved twice, in two balls.
“We aren’t disappointed, we would have taken this position going into this morning,” he said. “Anytime you have a side follow-on, you know you’ve obviously played pretty well at some stage. So although we weren’t quite at our best in the last hour, you’ve got to give a little bit of credit to Joseph and Blackwood – the way they took an attacking approach to it and had a little bit of luck along the way.
“But they played positive cricket and we were a little bit off in that last session as well. So [we need to] restart and have another go tomorrow.”
Recent Match Report – Leics vs Durham North Group 2021
Afghan seamer taken out of attack for two high full tosses in 19th over that costs 24
Durham 170 for 8 (Eckersley 50*, Lilley 3-26) Leicestershire 168 for 9 (Steel 53, Potts 3-27) by two wickets
Durham pulled off what will go down as one of the more extraordinary wins in their T20 history as Leicestershire Foxes threw away what looked like a nailed-on victory in the Vitality Blast at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
Naveen’s first and sixth balls were called for height, the second of which Eckersley ramped for four, adding nine to the total just from no-balls. In between came a two, two singles and a leg-bye and a four for Trevaskis when he should have been caught at deep midwicket, Arron Lilley losing the ball in the sun.
Naveen’s second no-ball meant he could not bowl the extra delivery. Mike took over and Eckersley clubbed the free hit for six over long-off to complete a 36-ball half-century and win the game to a stunned silence from the home crowd.
Steel’s 53 included five fours and two sixes, Lilley’s 31 off 21 balls with sixes off Paul Coughlin over midwicket and two down the ground in consecutive balls off Scott Borthwick’s legbreaks.
Durham’s reply was off to a blistering start as David Bedingham blasted 38 off 19 balls with three sixes off left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson’s opening over. At 58 for two after 6, they looked well placed but after a bad call by Raine saw Cameron Bancroft run out they lost five wickets for 20 runs in 22 balls.
Lilley, who had Jack Burnham caught at short third man in an attempted reverse sweep and Coughlin leg before, took his third wicket as Borthwick missed the ball trying to work to leg but a career-best 3 for 26 was small consolation for what happened at the end as Trevaskis took four and a six over deep midwicket off Griffiths and Naveen’s afternoon turned into a nightmare.
Recent Match Report – United vs Qalandars 20th Match 2020/21-2021
Qalandars surrendered from advantageous positions in both innings after dominating the first ten overs each time
Islamabad United 152 for 7 (Asif 75, Iftikhar 49, Faulkner 3-19) beat Lahore Qalandars 124 (Zaman 44, Musa 3-18, Shadab 2-14) by 28 runs
Faulkner, other pacers breathe fire
It was meant to be a long, hot afternoon in the sun for the Qalandars unit after United chose to bat following the toss – more so as Colin Munro and Usman Khawaja came in on the back of a ten-over partnership of 137 runs against Quetta Gladiators. But that wasn’t to be, as Shaheen Afridi had Khawaja caught behind for a duck on the third ball of the first over after getting a full ball to move away and forcing the opener to flick down the wrong line. Next ball, Rohail Nazir was pinned lbw via a yorker, only to survive as Afridi had overstepped.
With Faulkner’s military medium still getting sideways movement, he was given a third over where Hussain Talat’s flick went straight to deep midwicket. Haris Rauf, Shaheen’s replacement at first change in the seventh over, then struck first ball when a quick delivery that was angling in had Shadab Khan edging behind to Ben Dunk. After 6.1 overs, Faulkner had three, Afridi and Rauf had one each, and the Qalandars were 20 for 5. In the last match, the Qalandars had posted their highest ever powerplay score; in this game, they posted their lowest ever.
The early blows aside, it remained a batting-friendly track, and that was proved by the next period of play. For United, Ifthikar and Asif had their backs against the wall after Shadab’s wicket, but they clawed their way back with every passing over.
Asif struck two fours off Faulkner to bring the Australian’s spell to a close and then used Rauf’s pace to hit back-to-back boundaries. Ahmed Daniyal then bore the brunt of Asif’s onslaught as he cleared long-on for six, after which he deposited a flighted Rashid Khan ball for another maximum. More boundaries off Daniyal took Asif to 49, and a single next ball gave him a 28-ball fifty in the 13th over.
All this while, Iftikhar was scoring at a strike-rate of less than a hundred but he changed gears in the 15th over. After striking Daniyal for a four, he brought up United’s hundred before depositing a full-toss and a slower ball off Rauf for consecutive fours. Together, Rashid and Daniyal conceded 82 runs in eight overs for no wickets, and with two overs to go, United had reached 135 for 5.
The 19th from Shaheen began with the bowler being hit for a six by Asif, but a few balls later he was hit-wicket after going too deep in his crease while expecting a yorker, thus ending their 76-ball stand of 123. But his 43-ball 75, together with Iftikhar’s 49, ensured United went into the break with the momentum as they finished on 152 for 7.
Qalandars crumble after Akhtar departs
Sohail Akhtar took the early charge in the powerplay during the Qalandars’ chase of 153 as he helped take 11 runs off Mohammad Wasim’s first over. He then walked across his crease multiple times to explore the fine-leg region with boundaries off Ali Khan and Wasim. However, Shadab introduced Fawad for the final over of the powerplay, and he struck off the last ball of the over when Akhtar failed to pick a googly. His 19-ball 34 had helped the Qalandars raze down 55 runs already, but his dismissal started a massive collapse that the Qalandars simply could not arrest.
A run out of the No. 3 Zeeshan Ashraf in the seventh over didn’t help when they just needed to settle into another partnership after Akhtar’s wicket. But a brilliant piece of fielding near cover from Shadab sent Ashraf back.
Musa, usually expensive but with the habit of taking crucial wickets, then took two – of Mohammad Hafeez pulling to deep midwicket and Dunk caught behind – to tilt the balance United’s way. Musa then added a third as Fakhar Zaman fell for a laboured 37-ball 44, top-edging one to third man.
Then came the spin onslaught. Tim David was out trying to clear long-on off Shadab, while Rashid failed to pick Shadab’s googly. From the other end, Fawad’s quick thinking had Shaheen run-out before he bowled Faulkner through his defenses. At 100 for 9, the Qalandars had truly lost the plot, and despite an entertaining tenth-wicket stand, they fell 28 runs short. Apart from the openers and the No. 11 Rauf, no other Qalandars batter reached double digits.
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx
England vs NZ 2021 – Joe Root admits England were ‘outplayed in all three departments’ by New Zealand
But England skipper says now is not the time to “rip up all the hard work we’ve done”
The series defeat was England’s first at home since 2014 and Root’s first at home as captain. It was also New Zealand’s first Test series victory in England since 1999.
But while Root accepted it had been a “disappointing performance” from his side, he insisted it would “be the wrong time to start panicking and trying to rip up all the hard work we’ve done for such a long period of time.”
“It’s been a frustrating and disappointing performance this week,” Root said. “I don’t think we’ve given a fair account of ourselves. We’ve been outplayed in all three departments, particularly the batting.
“We didn’t get the runs [we should have done] in the first innings. We missed chances in the field and didn’t help our bowlers in that respect. And with the bat [in the second innings] we were poor.
“Sometimes in Test cricket you can have a poor session with the ball and you’re still very much in the game. But a session that like can cost you a Test. That’s where we find ourselves. It’s cost us the series and we have some hard lessons to learn.
“We have to look at where we can get better individually and collectively. We need to be honest about that. We have to have some hard conversations and move forward.”
But while Root accepted improvements were necessary, he defended the techniques of his players and suggested England must not abandon the investment they had put into these players ahead of major series against India and Australia. And he took responsibility for failing to lead from the front in a young batting line-up.
“We have to front up, look to get better and learn some hard lessons sometimes,” he said. “We’ve all underperformed this week.
“But we have to be constructive. I think every single one of those guys has proven they can score big Test runs. I think it would be the wrong time to start panicking and trying to rip up all the hard work we’ve done for such a long period of time. It’s something that historically we’ve done going into big tournaments and big Test series and it’s made things even worse.
“There’s a huge desire to keep getting better as a team. We know there’s talent and ability in the group. Sometimes you really learn about a group of players, going through a difficult period like this. We have had a poor week, a poor series, and have got to front up to that. But it doesn’t make them bad players.
“There’s been a lot of talk about technique and batting. My view is batting is very much an individual thing. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. Look at the best players in the world: they all have different methods of how they play. How they stand, their bat paths, where they score their runs.
“For me it’s more of a metal thing. It’s about clarity in their own game and managing passages of play. Managing different bowlers, different angles and conditions and doing that consistently well over an innings and a series. We can be a little bit smarter on occasions. It’s somewhere that throughout my career I’ve got that horribly wrong on occasions.
“As the leading run-scorer within our squad currently I feel like I’ve put a lot of pressure on those guys by not performing myself. As a captain you pride yourself on getting big runs and leading from the front and I’ve not managed to follow through on that. So I’ve probably compounded that situation slightly.”
Despite his disappointment, Root refused to blame any sense that his side had been discombobulated by the furore around historic social media posts in the run-up to the game or the absence of those players who had appeared in the IPL
“That [the social media issue] would be a bit of an excuse, to be honest,” Root said. “I actually think that once the game came round and the training days came round, we managed to focus solely on the cricket. I don’t think that’s dripped into the way we played.
“As we have spoken about so many times, we find ourselves in these Covid times and things aren’t perfect. They are not ideal. Yes, the whole thing is frustrating from time to time. You want your best players available for every Test. At the minute that’s not quite a possibility. That’s part and parcel of the world we live in right now. The sooner it can get back to normal the better for a number of reasons.
“We’ve five more Tests to come this summer and I’d like to think for those Tests we’d have our first XI if all fit. And that’s a really exciting prospect as a team and something to look forward to.”
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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