Saturday, May 23, 2015

New boy Wood fails to trouble Kiwis

It is not uncommon for bowlers new to international cricket to trouble batsmen in their early matches. Debutant Henry took four wickets in England's first innings and only just missed getting on the famous Lord's honours boards at his first attempt. But Mark Wood blazed no such trail yesterday. The "high spot" was the dismissal of Guptill off what after an umpires' review turned out to be a no ball. Otherwise it was a competent but wicketless debut for the Durham seamer who conceded nearly five runs an over and rarely looked threatening.

The Kiwis top four is as good as it gets and there will be more difficulties for Wood and the rest of the England attack today one suspects. The trials of Wood, and the disappointing debut by Lyth on the first day, show up two of England's real problems before The Ashes. We don't have an opening pair at the moment - a concern made more acute by Cook's poor recent form (that one innings in Barbados aside). The Trott experiment was a daft failure and Lyth (if it is to be him) has just three Test innings at most before he faces Mitchell Johnson. As far as England's attack is concerned the Aussies won't be shaking in fear with only Anderson truly world class at present. Broad's bowling hasn't fallen away as much as his batting, but he caused the Kiwis few problems yesterday. Ali is work in progress. Stokes is lively but inconsistent and Wood adds nothing over and above Jordan who he replaced.

Today England may turn the match around and even get a first innings lead - but it's unlikely. More likely is that New Zealand get sufficient runs to put England under real pressure in their second innings - and sadly we know from all too recent evidence what that can lead to !

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