England Should Not Ignore Warning Signs
By Philip Oliver
The first two and a half days of the Old Trafford Test belonged to New Zealand. The tourists outplayed England in every facet of the game and
fully deserved their 179 run advantage in the first innings. That they lost from such a healthy position will bring lengthy post-mortems in the Black Caps camp - the
suspicion remains that they struggle as front-runners and are prone to produce one terrible session of cricket per match - but England must also evaluate their display
Test matches are of course played over four innings and Michael Vaughan will be pleased with his team's spiritedeback, but the fact remains
that England are every bit as inconsistent as their opponents. Only Andrew Strauss is in prime form with the bat, although Alastair Cook (who received two poor
umpiring decisions at Old Trafford), Vaughan and Pietersen also showed glimpses of their best.
Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood look horribly out of nick and
must fear for their long-term places, but more worryingly, the batting unit as a whole has not fired. The contrast between England's first innings (disjointed, lacking
intent and passive) and the second (characterised by aggressive running between the wickets and partnership-building) was marked.
generally been outscored by the inexperienced Kiwi line-up in the five recent Test matches between the two and the home side must learn from the lessons of their
successful run chase at Manchester - New Zealand are a good containing bowling team but wilted under pressure. If England are topete against the aggressive
South Africans later in the summer, they must be more attacking themselves. This does not mean playing risky shots and slogging, but rather taking the game to the
opposition as Strauss has done all summer - he has not let the Black Caps bowlers settle into a rhythm against him.
England's bowling has also been
inconsistent, exemplified by man of the match Monty Panesar, who went from innocuous in New Zealand's first innings to irresistible in their second. He, like the pace
trio, must evaluate a pitch early and decide how best to bowl on it at the outset.
New Zealand will feel crushed by the Old Trafford defeat and England must start as firm favourites in the third Test at betting.betfair cricketTrent Bridge, as long as they take only their good habits with them to Nottingham.placency ahead of the betting.betfair cricket/test-previewsSouth Africa series would be misplaced,
as the Proteas are more efficient in making winning positions count than New Zealand are.
Philip Oliver -