@Yas_Wisden 4 minute read
In the aftermath of England’s 1-0 home defeat to New Zealand, Yas Rana takes a look at four learnings from the two-Test series.
Is Test cricket really the priority?
No home series defeats in seven years was an almightily impressive record. England weakened their chances of elongating it by opting not to utilise any of their IPL contingent, depriving themselves of three Test-class all-rounders. With Ben Stokes out through injury, it hurt them.
Trent Boult, who flew from India to New Zealand then back to UK to make the second Test, played for New Zealand and after England selected a near full strength squad for the Sri Lanka T20I series, it’s hard not to get a sense that Test cricket is quite literally not a priority at this point in time.
Young batting stars fall short of expectations
Without Stokes and Buttler, the onus fell on the country’s most highly rated young batting stars to fill the void. With Dan Lawrence’s Edgbaston 81* the exception, the youthful quartet of Lawrence, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope and James Bracey failed to make an impact.
Crawley, 12 innings on from his 267, is in serious danger of losing his place in the side, while Pope has seldom passed 50 in the past 12 months. England have invested significant time in both players and five Tests out from the Ashes, their recent stagnation is a concern.
Robinson a possible game-changer
Ignoring the off-field headlines, Robinson enjoyed one of the most complete debuts enjoyed by an Englishman in recent years. He consistently challenged both edges, tested top-order batsmen and possessed the requisite accuracy needed at Test level. Robinson comfortably out-bowled his teammates at Lord’s; once he becomes available again he should really challenge for a spot in the first choice XI.
New Zealand have what it takes to beat India
Resource-wise, the gap between India and New Zealand is vast but the Blackcaps will arguably go into the World Test Championship final as favourites. Despite making six changes for the second Test, the Blackcaps were barely weakened. With two Tests (and two good performances) under their belt, it’d be a brave call to bet against them at the Ageas Bowl next week.