Respectable day for England hints at a mediocre future

Harmison's devilish wide half-volley reaps dividendsOn the face of it, with New Zealand 282-6 on a flat pitch, England had a pretty good day, but Alastair Cook won’t always catch so well and they won’t always be playing New Zealand.

The plan of the day was Plan D, because Vaughan had already been through A, B and C before settling on ‘building pressure’ or ‘being boring’. Discipline in line and length is paramount in Test cricket, but when Monty Panesar bringing about six forward defensives in an over is the best you’ve got to offer in the first session of a Test, you’re not a particularly dynamic side.

We thought Panesar bowled well from the off. It was first innings spin bowling – accurate and patient – rather than second innings aggression and it was carried out well. This meant one end was taken care of and Paul Collingwood played a similar role at the other end, before Ryan Sidebottom took on the task with greater success.

Prior to that Hoggard had swung the new ball a touch, but was disconcertingly down on pace and Ryan Sidebottom had shown great virtue without being exceptional – which is pretty much him as a bowler. You want him in your side, but you wouldn’t want three of him.

And that’s where Steve Harmison comes in. His first ball was 80mph and well wide of off stump. The slip cordon made a ridiculous amount of noise about it. Presumably Peter Moores had instructed them to build Harmison’s confidence, but when it’s as transparent as that, it’s counter-productive. We half thought this patronisation might elicit some rage from the big man, but alas not.

England were worthy but toothless and that’s not impressive. Honest toil is not the stuff of champions.

Apologies for how earnest today’s updates are. We’ve got it out of our system now. Don’t worry.

New Zealand v England, first Test at Hamilton – day one
New Zealand 282-6 (Jamie How, 92, Ross Taylor 54 not out, Brendon McCullum 51)

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9 Appeals

  1. I thought exactly the same…

    When Harmless bowled his first ball, it sounded like the lads behind the stumps were taking the piss out of him..

    He’s beginning to really get on my tits now.
    If you can resolve your own bowling problems, then you shouldn’t be playing top class cricket.

    I thought it might be a good idea to send him back to county cricket for a while, to let him hone his skills there, but he did that last summer, and was scarily good, with Stuart Law saying to Brad Hodge “Fuck he’s quick”.

    Alas, as soon as he was back in The England team, he reverted to his normal shit again.

    I’d have to drop him for the next test, and bring in young Broad.

    I think Harmless should look for a payday in one of the Indian 20/20 tournaments.

  2. King Cricket

    March 5, 2008 at 11:51 am

    We love Stuart Broad, but Broad, Hoggard and Sidebottom feels like it’s missing a bit of something.

  3. I know what you mean…

    We don’t have any 90mph bowlers now.

    What with Tremlett pulling up with side knack, we’re a little short.

    Where have all the young quicks gone, long time passing, and all that gubbins.

  4. Well, according to the BBC TMS “Scoreboard” thingy – you know, the one they show during the online broadcast – well, that thing, that thing had it that Ryan Sidebottom was consistantly the fastest bowler. Close, but not quite, the 90 mph mark.

  5. That’s the thing, He can bowl at 90+, he did it in Sri Lanka in the ODI series.,

    He just doesn’t do much with it.

    I want a 90mph bowler who’s lifting it just under the batsmans chin.

    Let’s see you score consistently, whilst protecting your face!

  6. Harmy is my absolute hero but I bowl ping pong balls to wor cat faster (and straighter) than he bowled yesterday. But Cook’s catches and Colly ‘s c&b were fab and I do like a nice admire of Fleming – so all was not gloom and doom.

  7. And then the respect got up and took the bus home.

  8. “We love Stuart Broad, but Broad, Hoggard and Sidebottom feels like it’s missing a bit of something.”

    Wildly out of control wides?

  9. King Cricket

    March 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    No, we’re sure someone would step up.

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