Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day three at Lord’s

It seemed smart to refrain from commenting on the New Zealand first innings until the end of the third day. They were looking good at the end of day two but then wobbled, dismissed for 207 giving England a lead of 25 runs going into the second innings.
The New Zealand bowlers have done well to keep to England to just over a 200-run lead with four wickets remaining. Can the New Zealand batsmen chase down the runs?
Looking at the first innings effort, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were the standouts for New Zealand. They did all the hard work to draw the second test v England at the Basin in March too. Taylor was the aggressor in his 100th first class match and Williamson the grafter, prepared to wait for the bad ball and maintain his patience and concentration.
A look at these two since the Zimbabwe Test win in 2011 up to the conclusion of the recent England series at home reveals the following stats:

Ross Taylor 

v ZIM 76 & 76
v AUS 19 & 0
v AUS 6 & 56
v ZIM 122* (retired hurt)
v SA 44 & 48*
v SA 44 & 17
v SA 18* (retired hurt)
v WI 45 & 21
v WI 60 & 0
v IND 2 & 7
v IND 113 & 35
v SL 9 & 18
v SL 142 & 74
v ENG 31
v ENG 0 & 41*
v ENG 19 & 3

Total: 1146 runs at an average of 45.84. Three first innings hundreds (as captain).

Kane Williamson

v ZIM 49 & 68
v AUS 14 & 0
v AUS 19 & 34
v ZIM 4
v SA 11
v SA 0 & 77
v SA 39 & 102*
v WI 0 & 19
v WI 22 & 8
v IND 32 & 52
v IND 17 & 13
v SL 0 & 10
v SL 135 & 18
v ENG 24
v ENG 42 & 55*
v ENG 91 & 1

Total: 956 runs at an average of 35.40. One second innings hundred v South Africa.

I have not included the South Africa Test series in 2012/13 where they weren’t playing together on those occasions.
In the four matches New Zealand won (highlighted in bold) Taylor scored 552 runs at an average of 92.00 (two centuries), whereas Williamson scored 327 runs at an average of 46.71 (one century).
Stats are fun to look at and imagine that if these two are on song New Zealand will have a good chance of winning this Test in the second innings, you could say. (New Zealand have not won in England since the famous victory in 1999.)
The stats do show that Taylor has not made a century in the second innings of a recent Test, whereas Williamson did against South Africa with the pressure on. So, is Williamson’s grafting approach the key to a solid second innings at Lord’s?
Williamson averages 41.54 in the second innings of recent Tests played with Taylor and Taylor averages 36.00. Hundreds may not even be an issue if the 50s are the top scores in the Test to date.
Cricket followers know that the best bats don’t often perform when expected to, and the winning runs may come from any of the top seven on their day, including B J Watling the wicket-keeper or a lively cameo from Tim Southee in a potentially low-scoring contest. Yet I like to think that the signs are there for an important innings from Taylor or Williamson in the conclusion to this match.

Article © Mark Pirie 2013

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