Eng Lions 280 & 275-5, New Zealand 273 (Eng Lions lead by 282 runs): Carberry hits century but celebrations cut short
Sunday 11 May 2008
There are much greater challenges ahead for England than the first Test series of the summer, against New Zealand. Without detailed research or the presence of Bangladesh, it is difficult to think of a lesser one.
In both the batting and bowling departments (if not fielding) the tourists are lacking experience and talent. Three days of gentle sparring against the England Lions – the Pussycats on the strength of their cautious batting – is no yardstick, but it was difficult to discern anything that, over the course of a three-match series, will be sufficiently influential for them.
As they invariably have done since they first set foot on these shores 77 years ago, New Zea-land will play above themselves, adding up to a sum greater than their parts. But they would have to defy arithmetical logic to an unimaginable degree to winthe Test rubber.
If their captain, Daniel Vettori, is forced to miss the match at Lord's because of the cut in his left index finger, they will be at a greater disadvantage. Vettori's left-arm spin offers them potential control at one end, and the nous he has learned from 80 Test matches will be impossible to replace. The odds are that he will play. He must.
England will make the appropriate noises about respecting the opposition, as they should, but if they do not win comfortably, all the talk of progress can be judged hot air.
The Lions brand, marketed with zest, has yet completely to prove its worth. Theoretically, the England second string is important, because it gives players on the verge of selection the opportunity of playing alongside their peers. For touring sides, it means proper opposition.
Yet the present true status of such matches can perhaps be gauged simply by the strip on which it is being played – on the outer edge of a large square rather than in the showpiece middle areas. If it has been a pleasant match, played competitively, there has been little urgency, no sense that players were playing for their futures, even though it was clear they have been trying to impress.
The Lions took an age to remove the New Zealanders' final wicket, especially embarrassing since one of the batsmen was Chris Martin, a cricketer born to bat at No 12. In the event, he faced 28 balls, all of which failed to dislodge him, and the man to go was Aaron Redmond after a career-best 146.
Redmond, 28, was a surprising choice for this tour, but he will definitely open at Lord's. His father, Rodney, played one Test for New Zealand in 1973, making 107 and 58, and was never picked again. What riches they must have had then.
The Lions began their second innings with some intent. Their captain, Robert Key, played a couple of handsome drives before he was adjudged leg before, to his evident astonishment. Too high, perhaps. The side pootled along after that like a Sunday-afternoon driver.
Owais Shah put his foot down occasionally, Ravi Bopara was thinking of doing so. But they got out while Michael Carberry,especially studious in the early part of his innings, stayed in. Carberry had a good Lions tour in the winter and scored two hundreds. Presumably he wished to restate his credentials as a man to occupy the crease. His first 50 took 131 balls, at which point he was emboldened. His next 50 took a mere 57 balls. He damaged a hamstring – later saidto be only cramp – and was removed by stretcher. What larks.
Shah is a known quantity, but should Paul Collingwood's shoulder rule him out of the Test, England will need a batsman who can bowl seam. Although Luke Wright made a century in the first innings of this match, the fact is he bats only at seven for Sussex. Bopara, who has had a romping start to the summer, would be advised to keep the mobile switched on.
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on today but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Morgan Schneiderlin to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United; Raheem Sterling to Manchester City
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios set for heavy fine for giving up game during loss to Richard Gasquet
Nick Kyrgios praises fans smearing Vegemite and Nutella on their faces in support of Wimbledon star
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture