Wayward Mills misses his chance

New Zealand XI 413 and 13-0 Leicestershire 210

One advantage of back-to-back Tests is that there is no time for the tourists to play against a weakened county team in front of a small, indifferent crowd, although yesterday's play at Leicester was not entirely meaningless. New Zealand are worrying about their bowling and were anxious see to see if they have any options. So the day was important to Kyle Mills, a 25-year-old reserve seamer waiting to make his Test debut.

The problem starts with Shane Bond, the one genuinely fast bowler in their line-up. Bond arrived in May in the late stage of a recovery from stress fractures that had kept him out of Test cricket for a year. Two county games were intended to complete the recovery and he bowled with promise one grey morning in Worcester. Although he felt discomfort in his back, Bond was also selected for the next game in Canterbury.

Kent proved to be a match too far. His bowling and his back deteriorated, and he was ruled out of the First Test. When Bond had a scan last week the good news was that there was no recurrence of the fracture; the bad news was soft tissue at the base of the spine. He was put on anti-inflammatory pills and ruled out of the Second Test at Leeds. His chances of a comeback in the Third Test are negligible.

The problem lurched towards a crisis at Lord's, where the New Zealanders judged their bowling attack to have been a disappointment. One conceivable change was Mills for Daryl Tuffey, but on the basis of an afternoon in the pale sun at Grace Road Tuffey can sleep soundly. His place looks safe.

Mills is tall, with a shock of long, unruly hair, and he was preceded by a reputation for outswing. Maybe, but it was not in evidence yesterday. He gave Leicestershire's moderate batting line-up a minimum of trouble, bowling too short. In two spells before tea he bowled nine overs for 35, and his despairing gestures suggested that Mills was his own most severe critic.

His colleagues took the wickets: Daniel Vettori, 4 for 64 in 20 overs; Chris Cairns, 4 for 48 in 13.4; and Martin 2 for 46 in 13 overs. The only batsman to cling on was John Maunders, who had nine fours in 85. New Zealand did not enforce the follow on.

Leicestershire's second-string bowlers had dismissed New Zealand for 413 in the morning. The attack was minus Mark Cleary, their acquisition from South Australia, Brad Hodge, another Australian, Claude Henderson, a South African sneaked in under the Kolpak clause, Ottis Gibson, originally from the West Indies, and two Englishmen, Phillip DeFreitas and Paul Nixon.

James Whitaker, the county's former skipper and new director of cricket, insisted that four of them were injured. Only Hodge and DeFreitas were being rested, and both were very tired after the last county game, he said. Poor things.

Leicestershire's new board of directors had a long debate about putting up a weakened team, and convinced themselves that this ragged crew would do. The justification was that New Zealand's virtual Test batsmen had been bowled out, and that Leicestershire's batsmen were competing for places in an uncertain batting order. "We're not in the guilty box," said the new chairman, Neil Davidson.

Since Leicestershire are bottom of the Second Division, it is hard to argue that they don't need to experiment. The first-wicket stand of 39 between Darren Robinson and Maunders was their best of the season.

Leicestershire's new management is keen to put more bums on seats. They will have to look for better ways of doing it than this.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat