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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn