Second Test: Graeme Swann grabs six wickets as England beat New Zealand by 247 runs

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

England 354 & 287-5 New Zealand 174 & 220 (England win by 247 runs)


It took England 11 overs and almost five hours to complete their rout of New Zealand. They won the Second Test by 247 runs and the Investec series by 2-0 after completely dominating its latter stages.

The tourists finally exhibited weaknesses that they had managed to keep well concealed for most of the last three months. England did much what they expected to do in what amounted to the first leg of the contest in New Zealand when they were fortunate to escape with a 0-0 draw.

England’s clear superiority was on display from the fourth day at Lord’s onwards. They bowled better, they batted, they fielded better, they were better than their opponents.

Considering that the first day of this match was lost to rain and that the weather was again contrary on the fifth the victory could hardly have been more emphatic. Between the showers, Graeme Swann took his innings tally to six wickets and New Zealand’s second innings dutifully folded.

Swann was thus the first spinner to take ten wickets in a Headingley Test since 1972 when Derek Underwood captured 10 Australians on a pitch infected by the fungal disease, fusarium. He is also the first spinner to take ten wickets in an English Test match in May since Colin Blythe in 1909.

The series ended under murky skies shortly after 3.30pm after New Zealand had played nine successive maiden overs in a desperate attempt either to play out the remaining overs (more than 30) or until the rain resumed – whichever was the sooner. This futile but dogged resistance lasted until Alastair Cook, England’s captain, turned to Jimmy Anderson, the leader of his attack who whistled up a ball which held its own outside off stump and took the edge of Trent Boult’s obdurate bat.

Job sterlingly done. Yet it was difficult to be completely cock-a-hoop about the way in which England went about their cricket in this match. Their batting was still prone to diffidence in both innings and on Sunday night when they had chosen not to enforce the follow-on Jonathan Trott, the most dependable of numbers threes, was virtually moribund.

Cook’s captaincy, now 11 games old, is beginning to show the cut of its jib. While he would have it differently – and did so after the match – he is cautious almost to a fault. If this was reflected in his decision to bat again when New Zealand were already reeling it was also given a sharper focus by the fashion he chose to take New Zealand wickers in their second innings.

England led by 468 runs, a gap that New Zealand had not the faintest hope of bridging, yet Cook eschewed most of the attacking options he could have taken. For most of the time he set a regulation field which made it seem that England were bereft of ambition and urgency.

Cook would say that he was lulling his opponents into a false sense of security but it did not much look as if one side was utterly in control of the match. Even as late as  the fifth morning when the it was all effectively done and dusted there was a distinct shortage of men round the bat, both behind it and in front of it.

Most of England’s fielders should have been able to see the whites of their opponents’ eyes by then, instead of which too many seemed to be wandering around in the country. Ultimately, the result speaks for itself and all will be forgotten and forgiven if and when Cook brings two Ashes series home later in the year, but cricketers, like all sportsmen , must remember sometimes that they have a responsibility to  the game as a whole as well as the game at hand.

Relief was intermingled with the joy that England felt in victory. The weather forecast was gloomy and when play was held up at the start of the day the fear was that the rain would persevere long into the afternoon.

But after 45 minutes it relented long enough for play to start. England took a wicket almost immediately when the tourists’ captain, Brendon McCullum, drove a low full toss back to Stuart Broad which the bowler did well to take low to his left.

Shortly before another shower, the belligerent Tim Southeee, having been dropped by Trott moving to his left, was caught by him after edging again to slip. There then followed another break, an early lunch, more mopping up and a resumption at 3pm.

It began drizzling again almost immediately but the umpires, keen to play throughout the match, kept the players out. Swann thought he had Doug Bracewell caught off bat and pad only for the decision to be overturned on review.

But the champion off spinner got his man in the end, Ian Bell taking a smart catch at silly point off bat and pad. When England need a close fielder in front of the bat, Bell should always be at the front of the queue. He has not put in years of work simply to shed the unfashionable position simply because Joe Root is a newcomer to the scene. Those days should be gone.

Swann was made man of the match and Root man of the series for England with Southee taking the award for New Zealand.

Cook has now won six of his 11 matches as captain, a success rate up with the finest. If he can sustain that in the next few months he can probably put is fielders where he likes and have the follow-on law abolished.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape