Ben Stokes (via Sky Sports video)
England were 58 all out today and New Zealand didn’t even have to stoop to a bowling change. Being as play largely took place during the UK night, England supporters will have first seen the score at all sorts of different points, depending on bedtime, alarm time and bladder size.
When was the worst moment to start following events?
0-0 in England’s innings
There’s a case for saying that those who were there from the beginning got it worst. We disagree. Even though it occurred at hellish pace, seeing a collapse unfold gives more time to come to terms with what’s happening. There’s greatly reduced shock value.
This probably gets our vote. At 18-3, the score is already bad enough to provide an unhelpfllu sleep-denying burst of adrenaline in the middle of the night. You would then have seen the score become 18-4 and then 18-5 and then 18-6.
Six wickets is a lot of wickets, while 18 runs is very few runs. 18 is the score at which the situation officially moved from ‘gravely troubling’ to ‘hugely disastrous’.
58 all out
A horrifying score, but yet you’ve missed the light relief of Craig Overton’s forlorn late sally and now have to endure the protracted drip-drip erosion of hope via Kane Williamson’s bat. This is not a good moment at which to tune in.
123-3 in New Zealand’s innings (England 58 all out)
We just felt like we should include a mid-New Zealand innings option. This seemed the best/worst. At 123-3 and England 58 all out, the situation is already full-on dogshit and there will be precisely nothing else to cheer for the whole of the rest of the night/day.
175-3 in New Zealand’s innings (England 58 all out)
The full and complete horror, all in one go.
Stuart Broad (via Channel 5)
Hat-tip to Marlon Samuels for coining Big Man Cricket, a term that really does sum up the might and majesty of the longest format rather well.
1. The Great Neil Wagner
First and foremost, make sure you watch The Great Neil Wagner, whether on live coverage or via the tiny five-minute highlights packages that get put out after each day’s play. England don’t play New Zealand very often – and even then not for very long – so this will be one of the few opportunities you will get to see him – and let us tell you that The Great Neil Wagner is full-on fascinating in every conceivable way.
2. England’s opening bowlers
There are whispers that Stuart Broad might not come on for the second over and may instead appear for the seventh. This is of earth-shattering significance because ‘opening bowler’ is a key part of a cricketer’s identity. The corollary of such a move would be that someone else would of course have to bowl the second over. Who would that be? It seems a bit high profile for Chris Woakes, even though it would definitely be Chris Woakes.
3. Will Mark Wood play?
Odds are that he won’t, but if Ben Stokes’ minor key back-knack keeps him from bowling then either Wood or Craig Overton may get a game. Hopefully Wood gets in because as we keep saying, he may never get another chance.
4. Stuart Broad’s general competence as a bowler
Stuart Broad reckons that walking around Trent Bridge indoor school listening to music has made him a good bowler again. We may be deliberately omitting some of the crucial aspects of this practice time, but the crucial question remains whether it was well-spent or not. For what it’s worth, he genuinely sounds like he might be quite enthusiastic about cricket, which would seem to us to be a good thing.
5. James Vince, if he plays
We’ve actually reached a point now where we secretly want England to keep picking Vince and for him to keep edging to slip when seemingly well-set. Obviously it isn’t that fiercely-held a secret because we literally just wrote it down in the expectation that other people would read it.
6. Tim and Trent
New Zealand’s opening bowlers know what they’re doing. What they will mostly be doing is almost exactly the opposite of what The Great Neil Wagner will be doing.
Jonny Bairstow had made 104 runs off 59 balls when this happened.
Jonny Bairstow (via Sky Sports)
Two things to note.
One, the bail is illuminated. Two, the position of Bairstow’s back foot.
Pondering the former with reference to the latter, you might like to consider the path his bat took.
Still, the job was done by this point. Bairstow had helped England secure a breathtakingly impressive 3-2 series triumph and so averted a woeful 3-2 series catastrophe.
Recalibrate your forecasts. England should now attain overconfidence at some point this summer, meaning the traditional World Cup self-immolation will most likely occur at some point the following winter rather than during the tournament itself.
Having missed this final match, Ross Taylor took his own private series 2-1.
Kane Williamson (via Sky Sports)
“This game is not over until you get Kane Williamson out,” said Nasser Hussain when the New Zealand captain reached his fifty.
Entirely untrue. England never did get him out, but still won.
Kane Williamson scored getting on for a quarter of the runs in the match. No-one else passed 50.
Kane Williamson was Lord Megachief of Gold once.
Stokes and Buttler (via Sky Sports)
In the wake of their victory in the second one-day international against New Zealand, England have forgotten about Test cricket again and are back talking about the 50-over World Cup.
Having officially changed policy after the first match, they’ve now officially changed back again.
Ben Stokes or someone may or may not have said: “Really, for the foreseeable future, it’s all about 50-over cricket for us, building up to that 2019 World Cup on home soil.
“There’s a lot of international cricket, and so we have to prioritise. Today we prioritised 50-over cricket and I can see us doing that quite consistently going forwards as individuals, as a unit, as a group and as a team.”
New Zealand celebrate (via Sky Sports)
In the wake of their defeat in the first one-day international against New Zealand, England have reverted to their traditional position that Tests are the main thing and they don’t really care about anything else.
A 4-1 Ashes defeat followed by a 50-over series win encouraged an unprecedented change in official policy whereby the sport’s middle format was briefly accorded supremacy. However, all talk of a possible World Cup win on home soil in 2019 will be set aside for the New Zealand leg of this winter’s engagements with the national side now adopting its more familiar line that ‘Test is best’.
Trevor Bayliss may or may not have said: “I’m not really that into the one-day game. Personally, I wouldn’t play it all and if it does have to be played, I reckon it should only really be for six months leading up to the World Cup.”
Andrew Strauss may or may not have added: “Everyone in England knows that Test cricket is the real deal. Somehow we have to find a way of convincing all these lesser countries to care more about it – albeit we don’t want them to care so much that they all beat us, because where would be then, eh?”
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson may or may not have responded: “We’d really appreciate it if England would let us know in advance which format matters. We obviously have to rotate our players and that takes a bit of planning. I’m going to have to go back to the spreadsheet now to make sure we get our strongest side out for the five-day games. That’s a pain in the arse – and I say that as someone who loves spreadsheets.”
England are set to announce the important formats for this summer’s tours later in the week.
A Kiwi slogging (via NZC)
However, Australia won the fours classification by 19 to 14 and they also scored 20 extras to New Zealand’s 12. The upshot was that Australia won the runs classification by 245 to 243.
Wickets also fell – but not enough to be of any real significance.
Speaking after the match, Kane Williamson said of the playing area: “Half hits would go 20 rows back.”
Truly the spectators were treated to an unbelievable display of half-hitting.
England are also through to the semi-finals. A handful of percussive mid-sized innings and some hearty bowling were enough to dispatch New Zealand.
Jason Roy was still there, continuing his ill-advised experiments with flips and flicks, and Adil Rashid was back. England’s template was therefore pretty much back in place after a brief reversion to darker days for that Bangladesh match.
The home team don’t necessarily expect great things from their batsmen. They really just hope that at least a couple of them will come good and that the rest don’t waste too much time.
Roy is at least fulfilling the second part of that – although with the forced and unforced absences of Chris Woakes and David Willey having grown the team an actual tail, they won’t want too many others to join him. We do however suspect that should Roy revert to trying to hit the ball in front of him, all will be well.
For his part, Rashid gave the team stumpings off wides. A lot of England fans remain suspicious of this kind of thing, but when batsmen find life predictable and predictable is enough that they’ll be able to chase down your score, you need to make things unpredictable.
The range of possibilities when the ball leaves Rashid’s hand is great. And if for some reason Eoin Morgan were to feel that this were disadvantageous on any given occasion, he could always bowl someone else.
Better to have the hip flask in the desk drawer and not quaff from it than to find yourself enduring a difficult day at the office with no perfectly healthy liquid coping mechanism at your disposal – that’s what we always say/slur.
That is the only half-decent explanation for this catch.
Far and away our favourite part of this footage is seeing Bruce Oxenford visibly embarking upon a gasp towards the end.
Even as the ball was en route to bat, Latham was off and running. We don’t know how many times he stopped time and rewound it before he got this right.
We’d guess one million times.
Pakistan had already lost six wickets in the final session of the match when Kane Williamson brought forth The Great Neil Wagner. Three ducks later, the series was over.
This isn’t going to help Wagner’s reputation one bit. How the hell are you supposed to run in all day when you keep bringing the opposition’s innings to a close.
Maybe that’s why our man waited until right at the death before joining his team-mates in the rampant wicket-taking. He wanted every opportunity to run in for the majority of the day, but with no play tomorrow, he also knew he had a responsibility to deliver a Test win.
Neil Wagner: he maximises his opportunities for in-running, but without compromising New Zealand’s chances of victory.