New Zealand v England: Talking points as Compton & Trott impress
New Zealand v England: Harry Kemble looks at the talking points as the tourists finish day one of the second Test on 267-2 in Wellington
McCullum will rue toss decision
Only Brendon McCullum will know why he elected to bowl, having won the toss, with the sun high in the sky and not a blade of grass to be seen on the pitch. Opposite number Alastair Cook admitted he would have done the same if he had won the toss, but at the end of play, he would have been secretly elated to have not, with England on 267-2. Many have speculated that McCullum’s choice to bat first in Cape Town back in January will forever hinder his naturally positive mindset when it comes to the toss. The Black Caps, playing under McCullum for the first time, were skittled out for 45 at the hands of South Africa’s much vaunted pace attack. And with England’s own seam trio not far behind Dale Steyn and company in terms of quality, you can perhaps see why McCullum put the tourists in.
Compton and Trott star
Century-makers Nick Compton (100) and Jonathan Trott (121 no) will have hardly had England fans reaching for the kettle in an attempt to stay awake, but their partnership of 210 off 443 balls was nonetheless invaluable. Despite positive intent at times from both batsmen, the scoring rate rarely got out of hand. Compton, who scored his second century in as many innings after his debut hundred in Dunedin, looked a different player from his scratchy innings in India. The Somerset batsman brought up his hundred off 224 balls – 50 more than partner Trott – yet looked at ease throughout. He was particularly quick to attack anything short and showed the full face when driving through the off-side, hitting 15 fours, before edging to slip off Bruce Martin’s left-arm spin. And although his attacking intent did offer the odd chance through gully, he finally looked at home after ten innings in an England shirt.
Cook fails to live up to McCullum’s hype
McCullum praised England’s skipper by labelling him best batsman since Don Bradman in the build-up but Cook looked anything but when he chipped to mid-on in the 11th over. Those on commentary at the time blamed the mishap on a bowler’s spike mark that caused the ball to play-up slightly but it was simply a rare mistake from the star batsman. No doubt Cook will be even more determined to get back into the runs if England have to bat again second time around.