Sunday 25 November 2012

Mini-session analysis 2nd test, Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, 2012/13

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the second test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at P Saravanamuttu Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aNew Zealand 48/2 off 13Sri Lanka
1-1bNew Zealand 48/0 off 16New Zealand
1-2aNew Zealand 45/0 off 16New Zealand
1-2bNew Zealand 34/0 off 16New Zealand
1-3New Zealand 48/0 off 19.5New Zealand
2-1aNew Zealand 45/0 off 15.1New Zealand
2-1bNew Zealand 30/3 off 18Sri Lanka
2-2aNew Zealand 54/2 off 19Sri Lanka
2-2bNew Zealand 44/1 off 16Sri Lanka
2-3aNew Zealand 16/2 off 4New Zealand
Sri Lanka 35/3 off 12
2-3bSri Lanka 8/0 off 5New Zealand
3-1aSri Lanka 40/0 off 13Sri Lanka
3-1bSri Lanka 24/2 off 13New Zealand
3-2aSri Lanka 38/1 off 14New Zealand
3-2bSri Lanka 32/0 off 16Sri Lanka
3-3Sri Lanka 48/0 off 13.2Sri Lanka
4-1aSri Lanka 19/4 off 7.4New Zealand
4-1bNew Zealand 59/2 off 17draw
4-2aNew Zealand 48/3 off 15Sri Lanka
4-2bNew Zealand 47/0 off 15New Zealand
4-3aNew Zealand 40/4 off 7New Zealand
Sri Lanka 41/2 off 11
4-3bSri Lanka 6/2 off 4.4New Zealand
5-1aSri Lanka 27/1 off 14.2New Zealand
5-1bSri Lanka 33/0 off 19Sri Lanka
5-2aSri Lanka 14/1 off 16New Zealand
5-2bSri Lanka 47/1 off 16draw
5-3aSri Lanka 27/3 off 4.5New Zealand

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First drinks, Day 1: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 1-0

A terrible start for New Zealand. A good ball in the first over to dismiss Guptill followed by a fairly average decision against Brendon McCullum. After that Williamson generally looked solid, pushing good balls for singles. Taylor, however, went for the big shots and narrowly avoided being caught a number of times. These two have survived, but they are certainly not looking unflappable.

Lunch, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 1-1

This is a solid reply from Williamson and Taylor. They have both settled down and are starting to dominate the bowling. Taylor is scoring quite freely while Williamson is being a bit more patient.

Middle drinks, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 2-1

This was an absorbing period of play. The highlight was watching the mental battle between Jayawardene and Taylor. There's often something magical about those battles when a captain is batting well. Mahela used a 3-6 legside field and had Randiv bowling just outsie off stump to Taylor. Taylor has recently been dismissed quite frequently playing cover drives against balls that are coming in to him. It was clear that he had decided to remove that shot from his repertoire. Without it, he was hitting with the spin to the leg side and often was unable to score. It was a chance to see who would blink first. Taylor won the little battle, managing to find about 5 or 6 singles through the packed legside field before Jaywardene abandoned the plan.

Tea, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 3-1

Sri Lanka have tried hard to restrict New Zealand. Jayawardene has set very defensive fields, waiting for a mistake from the batsmen. It didn't really make for an action packed hour, but there was certainly tension. It was an hour for purists, more than casual fans, but it was a good hour for purists.

Stumps, Day 1: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 4-1

I combined the final two mini-sessions, as there were only 3 overs bowled after drinks. It was another good hour (and a bit) for New Zealand. Ross Taylor brought up his hundred, and Williamson is on 95. A current NZ player said that he felt that Williamson was going to be remembered as either New Zealand's best batsman ever or New Zealand's best batsman since Martin Crowe. This performance shows why they rate him so highly. While he hasn't scored freely, he has not been bogged down, and has looked incredibly solid. Taylor is scoring much more quickly, but is looking a lot less solid. I have been somewhat critical of Taylor for not converting starts to big scores. He now has 119*, but his team needs him to keep scoring tomorrow. He should really be looking at becoming the 13th New Zealander to score a double century, just as the previous captain did last time New Zealand played a test at the P. Sara stadium.

Stumps, Day 2: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 7-4

Soutee and Boult picked up where Taylor and Williamson left off. These two are a special combination. If they remain injury free, they could be the best spearhead New Zealand have had since Bond and Cairns or even Hadlee and Chatfield. In his 6 over spell Southee bowled balls that swung out, seamed out, seamed in, cut in and went straight on. Boult didn't have quite the variation, but managed to take an inside edge, a couple of outside edges and a top edge, as well as a play and miss that went between bat and pad. And they were not bowling to bad batsmen on a green wicket. They were bowling to one of the most formidable batting line ups in the world, in their own conditions, on a pitch that had been described as "benign", "friendly" and "a batting paradise".

Earlier Herath continued to find ways to get New Zealand batsmen out. He removed both of the set batsmen, and then found out a way to get another 4 wickets to keep his incredible run going. Sri Lanka are relying on him heavily too. He has taken 17 wickets at 12.41 so far this series. The rest of the bowlers have taken 13 wickets at 41.15. If Herath takes 6 more in the second innings he will break the record for the most wickets in a 2 match series. I would not be a masssive surprise if he achieved it.

Lunch, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 8-5

A couple of breakthroughs from Southee and the match is starting to look like it is in New Zealand's favour. It's often difficult to tell how a match is going until both teams have batted, but New Zealand look to be edging it here.

Tea, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 9-6

The match keeps advancing. Patel and Astle kept the Sri Lankan batsmen reasonably quiet, but, other than a couple of moments, didn't look particularly threatening. But they have used up the majority of the old ball, and managerged to give Southee and Boult a rest. The next hour is one of those hours where the game could potentially could change very quickly. If Sri Lanka survive the hour without losing any wickets, then they will probably get into a position they are unlikely to lose from. New Zealand need at least two wickets to put themselves in a position to continue to enforce their will on the match. One wicket and the game is still up in the air.

Stumps, Day 3: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 9-7

While it is a stretch to say that Sri Lanka are on top, Suraj Randiv is playing an innings that one would not expect from someone who had only scored 108 runs from his last 15 innings. Sri Lanka will still need to bat well in the tricky morning session with the new ball.

First drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-7

Boult has previously not been very effective against the tail. Today he reversed that. New Zealand picked up the last 4 Sri Lankan wickets for only 19 runs.

Lunch, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-7

New Zealand probably need a lead of about 350 before they will be confident of a win. That means they need 180. So they are a third of the way there. But in removing both openers, Sri Lanka are about a third of the way to the tail, so the honours are really quite even. It would have easily been New Zealand's hour if McCullum hadn't been stumped. That wicket was a great piece of orthodox spin bowling. Herath drew McCullum forward, but bowled it slower than McCullum expected, meaning that he stretched forward that extra couple of centimetres, enough that his foot was on the line, rather than behind it.

Middle drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 10-8

At 74/2 it looked like New Zealand were starting to dominate. 4 balls later it was 75/5 and it looked like Sri Lanka were going to pull off a massive momentum swing. Then a small partnership is threatening to swing it back to New Zealand. Isn't test cricket wonderful!

Tea, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 11-8

This was very much New Zealand's hour. A fantastic partnership, and the ball started going up and down. This could lead to an intrigueing end.

Final drinks, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 12-8

My normally reliable formula awarded that mini-session to Sri Lanka, despite it being clearly won by New Zealand. That really shows part of the beauty of test cricket, context is very important. It's why Faf du Plessis won man of the match in Adelaide despite scoring significantly fewer runs than Clarke. Context is important in test cricket. New Zealand losing the wickets while trying to get through to the declaration target was irrelevent to everything except for the individual players averages. If New Zealand were going to declare at 54 overs anyway, then it was only the runs that counted. Likewise while Sri Lanka scored reasonably quickly, losing the two wickets were more important than a good scoring rate in the first 10 overs. All four possible results are still on offer after that hour, but a draw became less likely.

Stumps, Day 4: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 13-8

Another short final "hour", but one that might prove decisive. For two reasons. Firstly Sri Lanka lost two very important wickets, but secondly Doug Bracewell looked like he was back. New Zealand has a very well balanced pace attack with him bowling well. He gets wickets in a different manner to Boult and Southee, and doesn't rely on the new ball as much as they do, so him bowling well will greatly improve New Zealand's chances of taking out the match.

First drinks, Day 5: New Zealand lead the mini-session count 14-8

The wicket was a run out, and won't be assigned to a bowler, but Doug Bracewell contributed to that, as Samaraweera was looking uncomfortable against Bracewell, and was trying to get off strike. It's a big breakthrough for New Zealand, because, other than Bracewell hitting Samaraweera, the batsmen hadn't played a false shot all morning.

End of match, Day 5: New Zealand win the match, and the mini-session count 16-9

New Zealand have found some bowlers. Once Southee and Boult had the new ball in their hands the result looked inevitable. Bobby Fulton is reported to have said that the next great bowlers would be a swing bowler. The idea is that the batsmen's techniques have entropied to such a degree that they get out of position easily. Allan Donald suggested that he felt Tim Southee could become the best bowler in the world. It's probably too early for that, but Boult and Southee are certainly looking good. Angelo Mathews worked hard all day to try and save the match. He batted for abut 6 hours, but almost ran out of partners, so started hitting the ball hard. He scored 20 runs in 8 balls, before finding Guptill at second slip trying to hit a straight one over midwicket. Taylor has now won 30% of his matches. While he has really only just started, it's not a bad start. New Zealand's most winning captains, Howarth and Fleming won 36% and 35% respectively.


  1. When we stop playing in the subcontinent we should have an attack of Southee and Boult with the new ball, Bracewell and Wagner as the change bowlers. Our seam stocks are overflowing and we have a veteran to come in if one bowler gets injured.

  2. Promising to be an exciting test match. England winning against India and now New Zealand against Sri Lanka on away soil has thrown open doors to say that yes away teams can win on spinning tracks especially the non sub continent cricket playing nations. As a fan of cricket it also gives an opportunity to select my best team for these on going test series and with such non expecting results it becomes complex but at the same time exciting enough to come up with a team of my own. Visit fantasy cricket league and create your own winning team.