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Enough is Enough - A Cricket 22 Story

Rumple43

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Sublime 150* from Joe Root puts England in total control of 2nd test

England’s captain put his team in a seemingly unassailable position with the bat before once again spinning his way into the wickets before close

England appear to have all but sealed victory in the 2nd test of the three-match series against the West Indies after another dominant day.

Root made a quick-fire 150 not out from 198 balls before declaring on 292-6, leaving the hosts with a mammoth 479 runs needed to avoid losing the series with room to spare.

West Indies once again folded under the late-day floodlights, as they did in the 1st test, to close on 53-3 heading into day four.


England began proceedings on 43-1 and lost both batters relatively quickly to find themselves at 71-3.

That brought Ollie Pope to the crease with Root, and the pair built steadily for the remainder of the morning session.

As the temperatures rose with the midday sun, Pope departed shortly after lunch but his 37 from 70 balls helped build a fourth wicket partnership of 93 off 146 that formed the bulk of England’s work with the bat.

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That left Root to forge on alone, bringing his 24th test century up just before tea as the tourists began to put their foot on the accelerator ahead of a likely declaration

The call came around half an hour after the interval, but not before Root inside edged Kemar Roach (17-6-1-68) to fine leg to bring up his 150, an unfitting way to close what had been a stunning knock.

Roston Chase was the pick of the West Indies bowlers, his six overs produced two wickets for 16 runs as Jason Holder (15-5-2-46) also bowled well when thrown the ball.

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Chase’s spin cameo for the hosts would provide an ominous warning to the final 90 minutes of proceedings, though Kraigg Brathwaite’s side did start brightly in the fourth innings.

The West Indies captain and fellow opener Kieran Powell navigated the first 16 overs with ease, putting together a 48-run stand until the last 20 minutes of the day.

Root would bring himself on with devastating effect as the man with the golden arm got Brathwaite for 20 before Nkrumah Bonner and then Chase followed, both for ducks, inside three balls.

With the forecast predicting no chance of interruption for the next two days, the hosts remain 425 behind with seven wickets remaining and looking powerless to prevent England from going 2-0 up with one game to play.

England captain Joe Root said:
“It’s nice to take wickets, and I think after the 1st test some of the lads were saying I was getting picked as a specialists bowler, not doing that much with the bat!

“Fortunately I’ve been able to get a few people to keep quiet with today’s knock and taking some late wickets in reply was the icing on the cake. We know what we need to do tomorrow and what we need to do to keep building as a team, and that's what we'll continue to focus on."

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Rumple43

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For those of you that do check in from time to time, you'll be pleased to know I restarted my 1st test against NZ.

Cricket 22 had deleted what I'd played, which was about to the back end of day 2, but alas, I've stopped sulking and got back to it.

Full steam ahead!
 

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England claim series against West Indies, seal 2-0 advantage with 319 run mauling

4 wickets apiece for Root and Wood puts an end to Windies resistance, with England sealing just their second success in the Caribbean in the last 50 years.

England wrapped up their first series win under new Head Coach Mike Hesson as they bowled the West Indies out for 159 on day four of the 2nd test from Port of Spain.

Resuming on 53-3 after a late wobble on day three, the hosts managed to just about see out the opening 30 overs of the penultimate day before succumbing to defeat just after lunch.

Joe Root added a single wicket to his haul from the previous evening, closing with figures of 8.1-5-4-5, whilst Durham’s Mark Wood plugged away throughout to close on 17-6-4-32.

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Resuming play with little hope of victory, the hosts quickly lost opener Kieran Powell to what can only be described as a “brain fade”.

With his team batting to save the game, the 32-year-old wafted at a short, wide delivery from Stuart Broad (15-2-1-32) to feather a chance to Ben Foakes behind the stumps.

The Surrey keeper showed his worth to hold a tidy catch above his head, spelling the beginning of the end for Kraigg Brathwaite’s side.


If Foakes was on a high after Powell’s dismissal, the best was yet to come as Jermaine Blackwood followed shortly after to leave the West Indies on 81-5 by the drinks break.

Playing a cover drive that lacked conviction, the Jamaican could only provide an edge to a full looking Ollie Robinson delivery.

Foakes was once again up to the task, diving low to his right to snaffle the ball before it could kiss the turf.

Wickets would then fall at regular intervals to leave the game close to a conclusion at 126-9 by lunch, with only Jason Holder (50* from 113 balls) providing any kind of resistance.


England’s win was their tied eighth biggest in terms of runs, equally the 319-run victory against India at Nottingham in July 2011. Quite the turnaround from a side that was 21-5 on the opening morning.

Player of the match honours went to England captain Joe Root for his 6-12 effort with the ball as well as 150* in the second innings, though Chris Woakes’ 137 first up provided England with a platform to win the game that they scarcely deserved given the first hour of play.

The victory also means that England have won this series 2-0 with one game still to play, with the 3rd test from Sabina Park, Jamaica, set to get underway next week.

England captain Joe Root:
“I think we can be pleased with our efforts here, though it depends how you choose to look at the performance.

“We’re not naïve enough to say that at 21-5 this game was where we wanted it after winning the toss, but tremendous credit needs to go to boys for getting us to what is a sizable margin of victory.

“There have been contributions in all three phases of the game that we can be proud of, and I know we won’t be letting our foot off the accelerator as we head to Jamaica.

“Winning is a habit, and one we want to continue regardless of the situation we’re in.”

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Rumple43

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With series in the bag, England mull changes for third test against West Indies

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Two up with one to play, Mike Hesson and Joe Root have a chance to hammer home some consistency against the backdrop of recent upheaval.

It’s a luxury that England didn’t look likely to be able to afford before this tour began, having won just one series in this part of the world in the last 50 years.

But after sizable wins in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, England’s top brass have an opportunity to continue shaping their new look team ahead of the 3rd test in Jamaica.

But should they? That is the pertinent question on the lips of fans and pundits alike, with England’s return to Sabina Park coming in just a few days.

Their touring 18 for this trip included six England Lions plus three players selected for the first time, showing that their new guard was already on the move. To chop and change already seems a touch hasty, especially given the fact some players have only had two matches in which to make their mark.

Stick or twist?

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No doubt some in England’s recent past have been provided an even shorter audition, spare a thought of course for Ryan Higgins after the Gloucestershire man made his debut at Kensington Oval before a calf injury ended his series almost as soon as it began.

With their red ball revolution already bearing fruit, albeit as a result of a less than stellar West Indies side than anything England have done, Hesson and co. could take the opportunity to stick with what they have.

But in today’s packed cricket calendar and with home series against New Zealand and South Africa on the horizon, the chance to look at more new players in the heat of battle with reduced collateral damage doesn’t come along too often.

That could also come at a cost, with a potential loss of momentum if the result in Jamaica doesn't go to plan. Confidence can be brittle, and there's also a line of thinking that with multiple new faces already in play during the series so far, plus a number of veterans waiting in the wings, including Anderson, Broad, Bairstow and more, do England really need to continue widening their talent pool?

Getting into a spin

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Opinion appears divided on what changes England could or should make, but few can argue with hard facts. The Sabina Park pitch has been baking since England’s warm up victory earlier this month and is expected to take spin, potentially dictating England’s selection process.

That could mean a call for Dom Bess, the only specialist spinner in the touring party after Jack Leach was given an opportunity to return to county cricket and lick his Ashes wounds, with the Yorkshire man last selected for a test cap 12 months ago.

Chris Woakes collected just one wicket in the 2nd test, but his 137 with the bat saved the game for the tourists and he is sure to retain his place.

With Ollie Robinson (18.13 average) and Mark Wood (18.38) both excelling thus far, Wood’s only fear of replacement may stem from playing three games in as many weeks.

Batting options

Higher up the order, Zak Crawley appears the most at risk to make way with an average of 18.50 from four innings, plus the number of international chances he’s been afforded to this point. That could open the door to James Bracey to bat at three, or Lancashire’s Josh Bohannon.

Harry Brook’s inexperience may work in his favour as the English batter with the lowest returns. His average of 15.00 isn’t what Root and Hesson would have hoped for, nor the player himself, but he has some rope to play with given his lack of experience at this level.


Alex Lees appears set for more 12th man duties as England have been relatively solid at the top of the order. Tom Haines (154 runs) and Rory Burns (216 runs) have both been excellent for the most part, a rare departure from England’s recent frailties against the new ball.

Jos Buttler may be set for an IPL stint, but he faces an uphill task to get the gloves back from Ben Foakes. The Surrey man has excelled on some sub-par surfaces for keeping, taking nine catches whilst enjoying an average of 52.50 with the bat.

It all comes together for a choice of stick or twist, but given that England have shuffled their deck significantly in recent weeks and still drawn some favourable cards in the first two tests, perhaps they should think twice before chancing their arm one more time.
 

Rumple43

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West Indies v England (3rd Test, three match series, England lead 2-0)

Date:
24-28 March 2022

Venue: Sabina Park, Jamaica

Weather: Set to be sunny and humid throughout. Little to no chance of rain, with temperatures expected to hover around the 30c mark.

Pitch: Some light cracks punctuate a dry and dusty surface, with the occasional patch of sporadic grass. Expected to deteriorate rapidly as the game progresses given its current state and the predicted forecast.

England move into their final game of the tour of the West Indies safe in the knowledge that the series is already secured.

After back-to-back wins against the hosts, Mike Hesson’s team are two up with just this final contest from Sabina Park left to play.

The site of England’s 255 run warmup victory against Jamaica three weeks ago, confidence is high in the tourist’s camp as they look to seal their first series sweep since their tour to Sri Lanka in January 2021.

Much has been made of England's "red ball reboot", with many wondering how much further experimentation this new regime would go for after already making some sweeping changes before the tour began.

Line Ups

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Following discussions in the build up about the merits of fielding a settled side despite what is perceived as a “dead rubber”, England have made two changes from the XI that won the previous two tests.

At #3, Kent’s Zak Crawley has paid the price for making just 74 runs on the tour so far. Considering 54 of those runs came in one innings, Lancashire’s Josh Bohannon has been afforded the opportunity to make his test debut.

Mark Wood is rested after playing three games already this month, with Yorkshire’s Dom Bess favoured on a pitch that is expected to provide help for spinners.

That means England have the luxury of a two-man spin attack, with captain Joe Root already returning 16 wickets this series at a scarcely believable average of 4.00.

The West Indies make three changes to their line up after consecutive losses. Like England, spin is the order of the day and Rahkeem Cornwall slots in as a direct replacement to the pace of Alzarri Joseph.

Jayden Seales misses out with what is being described as “back soreness”, opening the door for Shannon Gabriel, whilst Jermaine Blackwood (8.50 average from four innings) as has been replaced by Shai Hope, who is expected to bat at five.

Tale of the tape

Given England’s track record in the West Indies in the last half a century, they were very much seen as underdogs before this series began.

Consecutive wins, and sizable ones at that, have flipped that narrative completely and they go into this 3rd test as understandable favourites.

Given Kraigg Brathwaite’s side have struggled mightily against the part-time spin of Joe Root, collapsing this series more than once in a manner much more akin to their opponents in recent years, the addition of a track that will promote turn plus a specialist spinner in Dom Bess suggests further issues are incoming for the hosts.

With just one century (108 by Brathwaite) and a lone 50 (Jason Holder) to show for their efforts with the bat thus far, it remains to be seen if anyone in the Windies' ranks can realistically put their hand up and score the kind of runs required to make this 3rd and final test a closer contest than its predecessors.

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Rumple43

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Far from a dead rubber, Root and co. press on in search of clean sweep

England close day one of the 3rd test on 301-4, another strong effort as the tourists stay in the hunt for a third straight victory.

England enjoyed another good day on their tour of the Caribbean, closing the opening day of the 3rd test on 301-4.

West Indies won the toss on a deck that looks conducive to spin and surprisingly asked England to bat, allowing Root’s side to build an all too familiar platform as they try to seal the three game series without a loss to their name.

Ollie Pope top scored with a fluent 89 from 155 balls, with Tom Haines (81 from 140) and Joe Root (84* from 172) providing plenty of support.


The day could have started very differently for the hosts, who put England in hoping for early wickets.

They were nearly rewarded by the recently called up Shannon Gabriel, with the right-arm quick pinning Rory Burns in front of the stumps with a good delivery from over the wicket.

Surprising the fielding team, umpire Joel Wilson looked uninterested, prompting Kraigg Brathwaite to refer the decision upstairs as Burns was left to sweat.

Once the ball pitched in line, it looked like the Surrey man would be gone but the ball did too much off the seam, narrowly missing leg stump and allowing the England opener to breath a huge sigh of relief.


England progressed steadily to 47-0 at drinks, prompting the introduction of another new face in the form of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall.

The instantly recognisable finger spinner was quickly into the wickets, with his skiddy action fooling Burns into nibbling at a delivery that he could only feather into the waiting gloves of Joshua Da Silva.

Debutant Josh Bohannon would follow quickly after, trying an ill-advised drive to a Cornwall quicker ball that also took the edge before flying low to Brathwaite at 3rd slip.

Despite spin from both ends by the 22nd over as Roston Chase got into the action, the Windies wouldn’t find another breakthrough as England went to lunch at 92-2.

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Root would go to work during the afternoon, putting on runs with Haines before the England opener was sensationally run out by Nkrumah Bonner at mid-wicket, leaving the Sussex man 19 runs short of what would have been a well-deserved first international century.

That would bring Ollie Pope to the crease and the pair put England in command, reeling off a partnership of 150 from 261 balls, rarely looking troubled as Brathwaite was made to rue his decision to put England in.

Pope would fall three overs before the close of play to give the West Indies a glimmer of hope with fellow Yorkshireman Harry Brook joining Root to begin play tomorrow.

England’s Ollie Pope:
“It was nice to be back in the runs again, reminding everyone what I can do and contributing to the team.

“It was brilliant being at the other end and watching Rooty, he’s so in control and when he’s in this sort of form he looks like he’s got all day to play the ball.

“I was gutted to get out so late, especially short of the century but so close to the end of play as well, but I’m sure the boys can kick on tomorrow and set us up for something sizable.”

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Rumple43

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Roach five-for restricts England to 380 before Windies once again spun into a tangle

England slide from 301-4 to 380 all out before bowling hosts out for 147 by the close of play on day 2.

England took a sizable leap towards winning the 3rd test at Sabina Park as they once again bowled their opponents out for a sub-par total.

It was the fourth time in five innings that the hosts have been dismissed for less than 160, prompting Joe Root to put his opponents back in for a second attempt, enforcing the follow on with 233 runs still the difference.

Dom Bess (14-5-4-35) made the most of his recall to the side, with Root (4.4-2-2-11) posting another absurdly low average as the West Indies once again looked completely lost against the spinners.

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Beginning the day well set at 301-4, England failed to turn their position into a big score as Kemar Roach (28.2-6-5-92) made continual inroads against the England tail once Joe Root was bowled by Kyle Mayers for 90.

Wicket-keeper Ben Foakes was once again on song, the Surrey man scored a useful 37* from 86 balls before Roach ensured he’d run out of partners at the other end.

That sent the hosts in to bat with just two overs to navigate before lunch, but that would be too long for captain Brathwaite as Stuart Broad (16-3-3-45) found the edge just two balls into the innings to send an easy catch to Root at second slip.

The delivery was a text-book test dismissal, angling the ball into the right hander before a hint of movement off the pitch ensured the edge was found, sending the West Indies' captain on his way.

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With Bess, Root and Broad working their way through the Windies top order with little resistance, Brathwaite’s side would head to tea at a shaky 81-5.

Only opener Kieran Powell could hold his head up as a figure of resistance to the all-too-familiar slide, scoring freely to make it to 79 from 150 balls before he to fell to Root’s part-time spinners.

His demise came after the 32-year-old provided the Sabina Park faithful with one bright spot for the day, dancing down the pitch to Root to dispatch the England captain straight over mid off for six.

The hit awoke the local fans from an understandable slumber, given their team’s less than stellar efforts, and provided a glimpse of what might have been had Powell found at least one or two team mates to stick around with.


Instead England continued their march through the Windies’ ranks, with only Joshua Da Silva’s 16 from 44 balls providing any sign of slowing the collapse.

That left Joe Root with a decision shortly before close, chatting the follow on decision through with head coach Mike Hesson before ultimately sending Brathwaite and Powell out for another go.

Fortunately for the West Indies captain, he survived the one over before close unscathed despite a big LBW shout from Broad.

That means the hosts will be 231 behind when play resumes tomorrow, facing a massive ask to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash.

England’s Dom Bess:
“It’s always an honour to pull on an England jersey and be given an opportunity to help the team with runs or wickets.

“This pitch is certainly giving some help to spin and it was great to be able to turn that into some success today.

“I wasn’t sure when my next turn with the Test team would come after India, and missing out in the Ashes, but this is an opportunity I was glad to accept and hopefully I did my best with it today.

"We're in an excellent position after a positive day, and we'll look to do more of that tomorrow to try and wrap this game, and the series, up."

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Rumple43

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I was waining with this for a little bit, when the game deleted my ongoing test match that was 2 days in.

It'll be no great shock to anyone reading along that Root/spin pretty much destroyed my series with West Indies, but since some slider tweaks and a move back to England, my latest series has been class. Really enjoying the game right now!

I also wrote up 3 full days of play including videos the last couple of days, so I've clearly got the bug for writing again to.

Long may it all continue!
 

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England seal 3-0 series win behind hefty innings and 23 run victory at Sabina Park

West Indies show some fight to make 210 on a quickly deteriorating pitch, with Dom Bess collecting career best match figures of 8-85.

England won the 3rd and final test of their three-match series against the West Indies by an innings and 23 runs.

The result was symbolic of the gulf in class between the two sides, with England comfortably owning the series with bat, ball and in the field to polish off a 3-0 win.

Faced with the task of following on still 231 behind, the Windies showed more heart than in recent innings but still failed to land a blow on their opponents before falling well short of the standard required.


England may have sensed that another quick rout was on the cards when the hero from the first innings, Kieran Powell, fell cheaply after a loose drive found Ollie Pope in the covers.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was then joined by Nkrumah Bonner and the pair easily navigated their team to lunch at 95-1, leaving Joe Root to ponder if putting the hosts back in for a second time was the best course of action.

The pair would look to push on after lunch but their 93-run stand ended abruptly when Stuart Broad (18-5-2-39) got one to jag back to the Windies’ captain, sending him back LBW for 53 off 106 balls.

Spin would then take over as Dom Bess (18.3-6-4-50) and Joe Root (10-3-3-24) would repeat their antics from day two and exploit some friendly conditions to once again send wickets tumbling.


With the tea break in sight, Bess would finally end Bonner’s resistance, getting a top spinner to grip and bounce off a length that the hometown man could only prod a bat at to send a catch to Rory Burns in the slips.

Shai Hope (16 from 51) followed shortly after, sending the hosts into the break at 179/5 but with two new men at the crease after the restart, Root dismissed both Holder and Da Silva in four balls, exposing the tail and setting up England’s victory parade.

All that remained was for fellow spinner Rahkeem Cornwall to have some fun, putting together a valiant 16 from 32 balls before he fell to a stunning catch at short mid on by Root, with the England captain seemingly able to do no wrong as his side move into the ascendency.


Man of the Series honours went to England captain Joe Root, who displayed serious all rounder potential throughout the three games, including a man of the match award for this test as well.

Scoring 315 runs across the series at an average of 78.75, with a top score of 150*, the Yorkshireman shocked players and fans alike to finish with 21 wickets at an eye-popping average of 4.71.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was the pick of the bunch with the bat for the hosts, he averaged 34, whilst Jayden Seales (9 wickets at 29.78) led the way with the ball despite not playing the 3rd test.

England captain Joe Root:
“For us, it’s job done, but also the manner of the way we competed and won each game can’t be overlooked.

“We came here to begin rebuilding of sorts, not just for some individuals but as a team, and I think if you look across the three games so far, we’ve done that.

“We know this is a long road, and the journey wasn’t to start and end with the West Indies. Credit to them for a month of great cricket, but we’ve got to look ahead now to what will surely be hugely competitive series at home against New Zealand and South Africa.”
West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite:
“We can’t have too many complaints about this one, we were outplayed.

“Too often in key phases of the game we were found wanting, with Joe normally the culprit as he found a way time and again to unlock us.

“Thanks go to England for coming out and touring, and we’ll look forward to seeing them again at their place in a few years time.”

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Rumple43

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With the 1st series now completed, I've made a few changes to the opening page.

A series recap and overall results are available, as is an overview of player development. They can be found by CLICKING HERE.

Series and lifetime averages have also been created, though with just one series played, these are understandably both the same. To view CLICK HERE.

Best to view them on desktop or a landscape orientated device though, they're a bit wide!
 

Rumple43

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Roundtable: Athers, Nas and Key discuss England’s win in the West Indies, plus a look ahead to the summer series vs NZ and SA

England won their recent series against the West Indies 3-0, recording three comprehensive victories against the hosts. But with a number of new faces on display, and a number of veterans waiting in the wings, what will the future hold for Mike Hesson’s team?

Last updated: 30/03/22 4:22pm

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First of all, what did you make of England’s series win over the West Indies?

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MA: “I think we can all agree that England made short work of the West Indies, who looked even more undercooked than England often do! They’re a team that generally raise their game against England, but they had no answers for Joe Root’s side.”

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NH: “Yes, it’s hard to say anything other than it was a mismatch. England didn’t particularly do anything ground breaking, which sounds odd given their margin of victory, but it was more that the West Indies found ways to get themselves into trouble.”

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RK: “I don’t think Joe Root will ever get figures like that again, I highly doubt any England player will! But I bet he and the rest of England’s bowlers wish they could play against the West Indies every year! The number of times the West Indies made basic errors that you don't expect to see at the international level, it was very unexpected."

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England rotated a lot for this series, with a number of players either making a step up from the Lions or coming in fresh. Who stood out for you, and who didn’t quite hit the mark?

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RK: “I really liked Tom Haines, for obvious reasons. I thought he looked really good in the warm up with Jamaica, where he made runs, and he carried that into the series. Batting at home on English pitches against the likes of New Zealand and South Africa will be a completely different test, but an average of 41 across the three games, a top score of 81. He can be pleased with how he’s started.”

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MA: “I’d agree with that, Haines was good, as was Rory Burns at the other end. He also averaged nearly 50, how often can we say that about England’s openers?! Mark Wood also deserves praise. Hardly a new face, but a man who’s got lost in the wash in the red ball set up in recent years due to injury and general layoffs as a multi-format player. An average of 18, eight wickets in two games, he did really well.”

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NH: “Thanks for leaving me with the horrible job guys! We’ve singled out some good performers, so I think it’s worth mentioning Harry Brook. He’s a player I like but it didn’t really work for him on this tour. An average of just over 15 doesn’t really show what he can do. Will he get another chance? Who knows. The same with Josh Bohannon. He faced just 17 balls and of course, England only batted once in that 3rd test.”

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MA: “You can probably throw Zak Crawley into there as well. Replaced by Bohannon at Sabina Park, he’d not made many runs, averaged under 20 I think. We know how good he can be, but how often does that Zak Crawley turn up? He needs a really good start to the county season for me.”



It’s a different proposition playing at home, different conditions, a different balance to the team. Who do you see England turning to this summer?

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NH: “You’d have to say both openers will keep their place, meaning there’s a gap at three potentially, if Crawley doesn’t come back. Root can move up, or a Dawid Malan can come back in, Dan Lawrence maybe. Ollie Pope has done well and should be in the mix, and of course there’s Ben Stokes to consider as well. He should be fit again come the summer."

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MA: “I think something England can weigh up, and it’s something they’ve done before, is playing their wicket-keepers as batters. Ben Foakes was marvellous in the Caribbean, I couldn’t fault him, and he rightly deserves to retain his place. Does that leave the door open for Johnny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, maybe even James Bracey to slot into the line up at, perhaps six, as a batter? That’s an option.”


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RK: “Not something I often say, but I’m interested in the bowlers. Broad, Wood and Robinson all did well, and Root now appears to be all the spin England could need. In home conditions, who do you go with? Chris Woakes made headlines with the bat in the 2nd test, but he took one wicket in two games at an average of 144 with the ball. That isn't going to get it done, even though conditions were very much in the bowler's favour this series."

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NH: “Can we talk about James Anderson? Is he the elephant in the room?”

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RK: “We should! Will he want to come back into the fold after being snubbed? You’d think so, he’ll want to go out on his own terms. I also think that Jofra Archer should be ready for the New Zealand series, barring any set backs. Maybe not by the 1st test at Lord’s, but he should play a part. How do you fit him in? Or how could you leave him out?”

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MA: “I think, for once, and it feels a long time since we’ve said this as well, England have the opportunity to move into April and May, take a look at how their wider squad is performing in county cricket, and pick some really hungry, in form players to take on Kane Williamson and co. on 2 June. I can’t wait for it!”
 
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Rumple43

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England v New Zealand (1st Test, three match series)

Date:
2-6 June 2022

Venue: Lord's, London

Weather: After a relatively wet summer to date, the British public should be able to enjoy a full five days of reasonable weather for this one as sun and cloud combine in equal measure. With temperatures expected to hover around the mid-20s for most of the match, only the fifth day should cool off, if the game goes that far.

Pitch: An undeniably green strip that looks softer than the groundsman would have liked after the recent inclement weather. It’s a pitch that appears to offer more to the bowler, making the prospect of a five day game appear a stretch.

Mike Hesson will go up against a number of familiar faces as the ex-New Zealand head coach welcomes his former side for a three match test series with England.

Hesson and captain Joe Root oversaw a 3-0 sweep in the West Indies last March, with a largely “new look” team coming up with the goods to get England’s much discussed reboot off to the best possible start.

Questions now linger on which players should retain their spots, which deserve to come back, and how long England’s faith will last with the players that performed so admirably in the Caribbean.

Whilst there is no doubt the team did the business on the pitch against the West Indies, the hosts move back to home conditions with a less than settled team that need some continuity if they're to continue their upwards trajectory.

Line Ups

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England make two changes from the team that finished the tour of West Indies with an innings and 23 run win at Sabina Park.

With no thought of picking a specialist spinner, England stand down Dom Bess and instead opt for the experience of Jimmy Anderson, with the Lancashire man given a further opportunity to keep chasing down the late Shane Warne for the #2 spot on the all-time Test wicket rankings.

Ben Stokes is now fit after missing the West Indies tour, he slots in for Chris Woakes after a forgettable run with the ball against Kraigg Brathwaite and co.

Zak Crawley and Mark Wood started England’s three match series before being replaced for the final game and have both been omitted, with Wood making the final squad but not the starting XI, whilst Crawley has been sent back to Kent with a mission to rediscover his form.

Hesson has kept faith with opener Tom Haines to partner Rory Burns after a successful audition in the Caribbean, with Josh Bohannon and Harry Brook both keeping their place despite a lack of early returns.

Kane Williamson has now recovered from an elbow injury and is fit once again to lead the New Zealand team.

Much will be expected of Devon Conway after he made 306 runs across two tests last time he was in this part of the world, with openers Tom Latham and Will Young plus Henry Nicholls rounding out the batting options.

The visitors have gone with a four-man attack of Boult, Southee, Jamieson and Wagner, with all rounder Colin De Grandhomme expected to chip in as well.

Tale of the tape

One of the top teams in the world, New Zealand will understandably be favourites in both this test and the series as a whole.

Last touring these parts in 2021, the reigning World Test Champions won that two-match series 1-0 and will look for a repeat performance to once again triumph.

If England can harness their performances from the Winter and bring them to Lord’s remains to be seen, with some scepticism remaining on the host’s recent uptick in form given the level of play from the West Indies during large patches of that series.

A number of England players, Josh Bohannon, Ollie Pope and Harry Brook, all have a lot to prove, though the return of veteran James Anderson to partner Stuart Broad makes England’s bowling line up look both familiar and far more imposing in home conditions.

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Rumple43

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Honours even after quality opening day to begin 1st test from Lord’s

Impressive 93 from opener Will Young allows tourists to close on 240-9 after winning the toss.

Solid contributions from Will Young and wicket-keeper Tom Blundell allowed New Zealand to bat through the day to begin the 1st test against England.

In favourable conditions for bowlers it was Stuart Broad who made the most of the opportunity to record figures of 21-5-5-53, with James Anderson picking up just one wicket on his return to the team.

After winning the toss, Kane Williamson’s side will no doubt be happy to have lasted the full 90 overs, even if their run rate did dip during some sections of play, finishing at 2.6RPO.


With a buzz of anticipation around Lord’s greeting the beginning of another test summer, the hosts didn’t disappoint as the wickets of both opener Tom Latham (4 from 16) and then Devon Conway (6 from 21) fell inside the first 13 overs.

That brought Williamson to the crease, who was busy in rebuilding his side’s innings as he passed into the 20’s without offering a chance.

Broad would snag his first wicket of the day just three overs before lunch though, trapping the New Zealand captain in front before doing the same to Henry Nicholls just four balls later.

That late burst gave New Zealand’s morning efforts a very different look, sending them into the lunch break at 79-4.

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With the home team on a roll and looking for further inroads after the break, it was Young and Blundell who slowly began to push the visitors in front.

Whilst both batters rode their luck at times, with multiple false shots that couldn’t find an edge and more than one edge that refused to find an English hand, they slowly added runs throughout the session as Joe Root searched for answers.

With the tea break in site, the NZ pair brought up their century stand off 188 balls, sending their side into the famous Lord’s pavilion at 176-4, with 97 runs and zero wickets falling during the session.

Whatever it was Root and co. drew up during the interval, fans and media members alike needed to double take as opener Tom Haines handed his cap to umpire Richard Gough upon the resumption of play, with Young well set on 93 and in sight of a maiden test century.

With just 238 overs of medium pace under his belt from 35 first class matches, Haines’ first ball seemed to catch the opener off guard as he chopped a nervous inside edge towards backward square leg.

Young's second effort wasn’t an improvement as another edge this time clattered into his stumps for one of the more remarkable wickets the Lord’s faithful will have seen in some time. All that was left was for the New Zealand man to trudge back to the dressing room as England mobbed their newest wicket taker with significant jubilation.


With Young gone, Blundell carried on to make a useful 71 before offering a catch to Jimmy Anderson at gully, one of two diving chances taken sharply by the Lancashire man in quick succession.

212-6 at drinks would turn into 240-9 at close, leaving Tim Southee and Trent Boult as the last men standing on what has been a back-and-forth day of high-class cricket.

New Zealand’s Will Young:
“I’ll not lie, I’m pretty gutted to fall so close to 100 and getting my name up on that famous board here at Lord’s.

“Maybe I just took my eye of the ball, literally, coming out of the tea break. I felt in great touch and I don’t know, maybe something in his action just caught me off guard.

“The main thing is we have runs on the board, and given this surface I think anything around 250 will be a decent score.”

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England strike back on day two of 1st test, with openers, Stokes starring

An opening stand of 118 plus an unbeaten half century from England’s all-rounder leave the hosts 82 ahead with five wickets remaining.

England needed just 13 balls this morning to wrap up New Zealand’s first innings before setting about making serious inroads into their total.

Led by a century stand from openers Rory Burns and Tom Haines, England quickly put to bed any fears that their Winter renaissance with the bat would be short lived, getting on top of a surprisingly placid bowling effort from the tourists.

On his return to the side following an injury, Stokes was quickly back to his best as he closed the day on 54* with Harry Brook for company at the other end.

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New Zealand’s 1st innings was never likely to last long into the morning session with #9 and #11 at the crease and that proved to be the case as Trent Boult was LBW to Anderson one ball into the third over of the day.

That sent England’s openers Burns and Haines scampering back into the pavilion, and once they re-emerged, they made the most of their opportunity to give their side a real platform from which to build.

48-0 at drinks became 101-0 at lunch, with a 3.6RPO pace showing just how fluently both England men were during the early exchanges.

As they walked off, Haines had sealed his fourth half century in his sixth innings, further cementing his place at the top of the order, whilst Burns wasn’t far behind on 41.


Haines fell shortly after lunch as he misjudged an inswinger from Kyle Jamieson, who returned figures of 19.0-4-3-77 as New Zealand’s most threatening bowler.

As Burns passed 50, England tasted one of their few disappointments of what was a commanding day overall, with Josh Bohannon once again falling cheaply at the #3 spot as he was bowled by Jamieson for 10, adding very little to the three runs he made in his debut during the winter.

Joe Root came in and steadied the ship, pressing on with the impressive Burns as the pair put on 87 together before Burns was out caught behind for 89 and Root fell five balls later to an inside edge, playing a rash shot just two runs short of his own half century.

Ollie Pope (33 from 66) refused to let England’s momentum stall as he and Stokes enjoyed a stand of 82, with Pope becoming the final England wicket of the day just five minutes before close as Tim Southee took out his off stump with a well-placed yorker.

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There was still time in the final over for the dedicated Lord’s crowd to rise to their feet and applaud Stokes for his half century, coming off just 70 balls, the perfect way to cap a thoroughly positive day for the hosts.

New Zealand will no doubt be concerned with their lack of wickets during what was a difficult day in the field, with Southee, Boult, Jamieson and De Grandhomme all going at more than 3.5 runs an over. Wagner proved to be the most efficient member of the attack, despite bowling on a soft pitch that really didn’t suit his short length style.

No doubt England will have designs on batting through at least one more session tomorrow and building a lead close to 200 runs, whilst Kane Williamson’s side need quick wickets to limit their deficit going into the 3rd innings.

England’s Ben Stokes:
“It’s great to be back, to see this crowd, feel that buzz when the team is doing well.

“It was a tough Winter in Australia, we all knew that and it didn’t go how we wanted. To then be forced to sit out the tour of West Indies when I personally wanted to come and bounce back, that was hard.

“Those long days rehabbing, working on your game away from this environment, they are tough, but they’re made worth it by days like today and a half century for the team.”

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Rumple43

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With this 1st test hanging so delicately in the balance.....I'm gonna disappear for 10 days or so ha I'm off work all next week, kids are off school, so I'll not be in front of my computer.

I've no doubt the anticipation for my next instalment will have reached fever pitch levels by the time I return!!

That said, just clocked past 5,000 views, so not too shabby. To all those lurking and having a gander, I thank you. For the comments, likes and the rest, you guys rock as well. Much appreciated.
 

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