Saturday 10 December 2011

Mini-session analysis for the first 2 days and a look at day 3

Day three of the NZ-Aus test at Bellerive is looking like the most cruical day in recent New Zealand cricket history. But before I look at that, let's quickly go through the mini-sessions and see how they stack up:

Day 1
Mini-sessionScoreMini-sesssion winner
session 1aNZ 35/3 off 11Australia
session 1bNZ 38/3 off 12Australia
session 2aNZ 61/1 off 17New Zealand
session 2bNZ 16/3 off 5.5Australia
session 3aAus 12/1 off 4.2New Zealand

Day 2
Mini-sessionScoreMini-sesssion winner
session 1aAus 46/4 off 20.4New Zealand
session 1bAus 23/2 off 11New Zealand
session 2aAus 50/2 off 12.5Australia
session 2bAus 5/1 off 2.1New Zealand
NZ 29/0 off 10
session 3aNZ 44/3 off 13Australia
session 3bNZ 66/0 off 21New Zealand

New Zealand lead the mini-session count 6-5 at the moment. They are slightly ahead in the game, but day three looms as a difficult proposition. The weather forecast is for overnight and early morning rain. I'm not an expert on Hobart's weather systems, but in most coastal places the weather changes with the tide, and the tide changes at about 8:30, so I'd say it is likely that either the rain stops then, and the game should start on time or it continues throughout the morning session, and we hardly get any play until after lunch. Either way the pitch should freshen up again in the first session, with sweating likely to occur under the covers. However the pitch has had a couple of days of use, so it should dry out quite quickly. It is likely to be quite difficult to play on for the first 30 minutes or so, and then for the first 2 or 3 overs after any rain breaks.

Williamson seems to be particularly vulnerable straight after a break, so this could be to Australia's favour. If there are no wickets fall in the first 30 minutes, and no rain round, then it could be a long day in the field for Australia. One real key on this wicket will be the confidence of the batsmen and bowlers. When the batsmen start getting tentative because of a couple that move significantly, their footwork tends to become less assured, and they get in the wrong place to play the ball. The ball moving has a similar effect on the bowler, except that they start bowling more attacking lengths and allow the batsmen to play bad shots. We have just witnessed two days of this phenomenon.

If Taylor and Williamson ride out this storm, then they will be transmitting calmness to Brownlie, Young (who is due a good score), Bracewell and Southee. A sensible batting effort could bring a score in the region of 350. That would probably be a bridge too far for Australia, who will be likely to have to bat twice in the tricky morning session in order to get there. However 2 quick wickets tomorrow morning could quickly turn into 7 quick wickets, and Australia having to chase 200 on an improving deck.

If New Zealand are to win this game the first hour of play will be vital. That's where the interest is for me.


  1. Nice convincing analysis all around. It's a pain to have to get up early to watch the match here in India, but I'll definitely be catching that first session (and feeling extremely nervous)

  2. Well, I guess it's better for you that it is in Hobart than Christchurch, gives you an extra 2 hours sleep. We face the same problem when there are games in the West Indies, they start at 3am. It is not a sane hour to watch cricket.

  3. What's the deal with Reece Young? Are there no other better keeper-batsmen than him in NZ? he looks so shaky...

  4. I think lots of players have looked shaky in this series. He seems to be a slow starter, because he has scored a lot of runs for Auckland and Canterbury. He is averaging 32, and was the not out batsman in the second innings of the first test.

    He also adjusts well, He has not got out to the same bowler twice in a match yet. It will be a fairer test of his skill in the second innings.

    As to other wicket-keepers, I don't think there are any better keepers than him in NZ and I include McCullum in that mix. Young let through no byes at the Gabba, and only one on that greentop at Hobart, Haddin let through 9 and 6 so far. He did drop a catch off an inside edge, and took a ball in the face, but as far as I remember those were the only two deliveries that he didn't take cleanly in the entire match (he actually took the one that hit him in the face cleanly too - off the rebound). There are other reasonable keeper-batsmen in NZ, McGlashan, Hopkins and I'm hearing good things about Latham, but I can't see any of them taking Young's test spot in the next few matches.