Five sun baked days later they (and that will include Williamson) can feel very proud of working out a plan and sticking to it.
So it’s time for an Open Letter of Apology. Those contentious selections.
Colin de Grandhomme
Just look at his stats with bost bat and ball; he is always in the game. In the first day he was easily New Zealand’s most troubling bowler and was rewarded for it too.
He wasn’t quite an influential in the second innings but he did bounce out Joe Root.
But most eye-catching was the discipline he showed with the bat in between times. Root was convinced he’d hit out against the spinners as he’s done so many times in the past, and set his field accordingly. But Colin wasn’t tempted in a really important innings.
When he had to wait until the 71st over to get a bowl in the first innings it was a fair question to ask why New Zealand was playing a spinner at home in November.
But, like it or not, part of the reason he is picked is because what he offers with the bat, and his innings and partnership with Watling, played a huge part in the way the test played out. He was by no means comfortable early on, but he doesn’t seem to get fazed easily. On the fourth day he was all class.
The real eye-opener was his performance with the ball in the 2nd innings though. He had the rare chance of bowling on a crumbling pitch at home. On the fourth day he was unplayable as the pitch turned into a minefield. The pressure he put on the openers forced them into some really dumb shots
In the innings he bowled 34 overs out of a possible 40 with the first new ball. Although he went without a wicket on the final day he was a constant menace and played a big part in the pressure applied that Wagner was able to cash in on at the other end with his lethal full tosses.
At the end of Day Four Jos Buttler gave a candid interview where he pinpointed England’s middle order collapse in the first innings as the point when they gave it all away. The visitors went from 277/4 to 353 all out.
There is a large and vocal group out there what thinks that if ever there is going to be change in a New Zealand line-up it has to be Tim Southee first out the door. But he was the architect of this collapse and should have ended up with a 5WI in that innings. He might not have the pace of previous years (and that seems to be people’s main issue) but he’s a smart bowler, and the selectors get that.
Most New Zealand cricket fans are itching to see Lockie Fergusson play test cricket, and this has seemed like the obvious time to make a debut. One of the reasons given was that in Jofra Archer England had an express pace option, and New Zealand needed to match it.
That logic is pretty flaky but Archer’s lack of penetration on this pitch gives an indicator that this was not the right test for Fergusson to play in after all.
A margin of an innings and 65 runs is pretty comprehensive.