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England v New Zealand

‘Obsessively sportsmanlike’ – New Zealand ask for umpire review despite being ‘pretty sure’ catch has been taken cleanly

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

New Zealand have earned a reputation as world cricket’s good guys, and on the evidence of the fourth morning at Lord’s, it’s not undeserved.

Humble in victory and gracious in defeat, the Black Caps, under Kane Williamson, have rarely troubled the match referee. In the first Test against England, they added another act of sportsmanship to their portfolio, insisting on an umpire review despite being “pretty sure” a catch by Ross Taylor to dismiss Joe Root off the first ball of the day had been taken cleanly.

New Zealand celebrated instantly as Root edged Kyle Jamieson’s first delivery, with Taylor seemingly completing the grab low down. However, Root stood his ground. “Pretty sure, but I think look at it,” one of the New Zealand players could be heard saying after being asked if the chance had been taken without bouncing. Replays showed the ball had indeed gone straight in, and Root was on his way.

The Blackcaps won amused praise for the moment, which summed up their approach to the game almost too perfectly.

While their niceness has now apparently passed beyond cliché into the realms of near-self-parody, one stereotype that New Zealand don’t fall into is that nice guys finish last. The Root wicket was one of four to fall early on day four as the Blackcaps cemented their dominance, with them gearing up for the World Test Championship final strongly.

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