New Zealand v England: Talking points as Broad stars in Wellington
New Zealand v England: Harry Kemble takes a look at the talking points from day two in Wellington as Stuart Broad impresses
Change in conditions
The infamous Wellington wind finally arrived on day two, and although England batsmen may have been discouraged at first, the bowlers soon reaped the rewards late on. Thanks to Stuart Broad’s two late wickets the Black Caps were left teetering on 63-3 at the close of play. England started on 267-2 with Andy Flower surely targeting a score of 500-plus on day two but New Zealand – thanks to the change in conditions – had other ideas. Bruce Martin, at 32, is taking his belated Test chance with both hands as he snapped four for 130, to go with the five wickets he took in Dunedin. The whistling wind gave assistance to both seam and spin, and despite pundits predicting how it would be difficult for the bowlers faced with the strong Cook Strait breeze, it seemed to enhance their powers if anything.
Prior – number one keeper-batsman?
England’s wicket-keeper batsman once again reminded fans of his talents with the willow in hand – to press claims of being the best the game has seen. His 82 off 99 balls – his 25th Test half century – helped guide the tourists to the respectability of 465 all out after a minor collapse from 267-2 to 374-7 earlier in the day. The pugnacious, yet, controlled innings was invaluable to making sure England did not waste the good work of Nick Compton and Jonathan Trott on day one, who both made centuries. Steven Finn, or the “Watford Wall” after his herculean efforts in Dunedin, again gave support to his senior partner, hitting 24 off 61 balls, including four boundaries in a shared knock of 83.
The Nottinghamshire all-rounder will have been disappointed to miss out again with the bat. Broad’s last Test half-century came against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi last year and against a competent – if nothing more – Kiwi attack, he would have fancied his chances of reasserting his claims to being a genuine all-rounder here. But, on just six, he disappointingly fenced a Trent Boult delivery through to the keeper. Yet, he certainly made up for it later with the ball taking two wickets in two balls to finish the day with two for 18 off seven overs. Hamish Rutherford went first pushing at a ball going across him for just 23 and then Ross Taylor, arguably the hosts’ best batsman on his day, was bowled next ball. With first Test hero Rutherford and Taylor back in the pavilion, England will know they have the edge over the hosts going into day three.
A reverse of form for Root
It was not always going to be plain sailing for Yorkshire youngster Joe Root after his meteoric rise in international cricket. Root has hit 0, 4 and ten so far in this series, as he has seen his form grind to a rather sudden halt. An agricultural hoick off the bowling of Martin, who tossed the ball up outside off stump to tempt the 22-year-old into the false stroke put paid to any hopes of runs in this innings for Root. By no means, will the selectors be thinking of a change, and if anything, many behind the scenes at the ECB will be happy that he is getting the silly errors (hopefully) out his game before Australia arrive this summer.