Test Cricket in Dunedin

Test Cricket in Dunedin

A three-test series in New Zealand is rarer than a five-day test against South Africa. The England series is the Black Capsí last chance to win some glory after a whitewash of a season, with just the one (admittedly epic) victory against Sri Lanka. The first test starts in Dunedin on Wednesday, at the University Oval next to Logan Park.

England are the favourites. NZís home advantage wonít be much of a factor since conditions in the motherland are very similar, favouring swing bowling. Englandís loyal and perma-drunk fans, the Barmy Army, may well outnumber the NZ fans in the Dunedin test.

The excellent bowling conditions in NZ and the weakness of the Black Capsí batting lineup means thereís little chance of a draw in the series unless rain intervenes, so my advice is to throw down $20 on a 2-1 win for England Ė NZ have a decent chance of sneaking a low-scoring win during the series, so long as they donít succumb to the delusion that any spinner is better than no spinner and pick Bruce Martin over a fourth pace bowler. He will get smoked.

The Critic Selection


England

Alastair Cook (c), Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Matt Prior (wk), Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Graham Onions.

New Zealand


Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (c), Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling (wk), Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mark Gillespie, Doug Bracewell.

Players to Watch


England

James Anderson Ė Anderson is a mesmerising swing bowler with the ability to move the ball sharply both ways at pace, making him a nightmare for batsmen. He tore NZ to shreds last time he was here, and will probably do so again. MySky the game and watch his wrist positioning again and again, itís a thing of true beauty.

Alastair Cook Ė Captain Cook has been unstoppable over the past few seasons, boosting his average to nearly 50. The guy has the concentration of an Aspergers-afflicted birdwatcher on Ritalin. Drunkenly yelling abuse from the meataxe eastern bank isnít going to faze him, so donít bother.

Kevin Pietersen Ė KP is an attacking batsman, style icon, and one of the four South African defectors in the English squad. He was rested for the ODI series, but has finally arrived to entertain the crowds with his switch-hitting and aggressive batting.

New Zealand

Mark Gillespie Ė Gillespie might not actually get selected for the first test, but leaving him out would be a huge mistake. Not only is he NZís fastest bowler, but his variety, ability to swing the ball, and willingness to gamble in order to take wickets make him indispensible. He destroyed the South African lineup last year, and would pose a serious threat to Englandís top order.

Ross Taylor Ė Taylor scored a century against England in his ODI return in February, and he averages 50 against them in tests. If he can shelve the reckless shots, England could be entering a world of pain.

Brendon McCullum Ė McCullum is NZís second-best batsman and, aside from Taylor and Kane Williamson, our only international-class batsman in the squad. He will be moving down to #5 after a poor run as opener, and we need him to cash in if NZ are to post some competitive scores.
This article first appeared in Issue 2, 2013.
Posted 5:18pm Sunday 3rd March 2013 by Callum Fredric.