It must feel really strange going out to bat in reply to a score of 58. Obviously it’s not a batsman’s paradise but you can’t let that total overshadow everything you do. It is just another test match innings; ignore the scoreboard.
The England innings proved that batting against a new pink ball is not easy, so runs really had nothing to do with it early on. You cold say Raval went early but England was three down at that stage. And while Latham would be annoyed at himself with the manner of his dismissal his innings was more about balls faced than runs scored.
Helped by a second change of ball the true test was a spell from Jimmy Anderson at dusk. Crucial. It helped that it started with the ball 43 overs old; the early shine had gone and it wasn’t old enough to reverse.
He was always challenging, and he did get one to surprise Taylor, but New Zealand did manage to avoid a potential large downside.
Amongst all this was Kane Williamson. This was not the same Kane Williamson that often scratched around in the ODI series, this was classic test match Kane Williamson; one of his best. He knew when to rein it in, and he knew when to make the most of the easier overs; his early assault on Ali was a statement of intent.
#statchat: He became the
first third player to pass the opposing team’s score after the first two sessions of a test match.
He has been helped by those around him but it just seemed to be a different game when he batted.
He got tantalisingly close to reaching 3 figures on Day 1 after sending the opposition in, but nobody would have been less concerned about that than the skipper.
The non runout of Williamson was an interesting one. Woakes indicated he thought he had touched the ball on its way through to hitting the stumps at the bowler’s end, but in a pretty understated way. The various replays were inconclusive; he could have touched it but there was no certainty about that.
Travelling UK media were in agreement that Woakes is the most honest man in the team. If it were certain other bowlers who had claimed they had got a touch they would not be so sure; but not with Woakes.
But in these days of TV replays, you do not use selective moral judgments to decide these things; you leave it up to TV footage.
Finally, the developing cliché about a team’s performance being consistently reflected in their use of DRS once again proved to be true.