Saturday 17 November 2012

Mini-session Analysis Sri Lanka vs NZ, Galle, 2012/13

Galle Cricket Ground
Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at Galle International Stadium, Galle, 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 45/3 off 12Sri Lanka
1-1bNew Zealand 35/0 off 16New Zealand
1-2aNew Zealand 52/1 off 17New Zealand
1-2bNew Zealand 23/2 off 15.3Sri Lanka
1-3aNew Zealand 51/2 off 16.3Sri Lanka
1-3bNew Zealand 15/2 off 5.5draw
Sri Lanka 9/1 off 5
2-1aSri Lanka 41/4 off 11New Zealand
2-1bSri Lanka 55/0 off 14Sri Lanka
2-2aSri Lanka 55/0 off 13Sri Lanka
2-2bSri Lanka 30/0 off 14Sri Lanka
2-3aSri Lanka 28/2 off 12New Zealand
2-3bSri Lanka 29/3 off 11.2New Zealand
New Zealand 35/1 off 10
3-1aNew Zealand 20/2 off 13Sri Lanka
3-1bNew Zealand 41/5 off 14Sri Lanka
3-2aNew Zealand 22/2 off 7.1Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 58/0 off 13
3-2bSri Lanka 35/0 off 5.3Sri Lanka

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

New Zealand decided to attack the bowling, and it generally looked like a good idea. What they didn't count on was the superb bowling of Shaminda Eranga. He picked up 2 wickets in three balls to defensive shots. Both were fantastic deliveries that bounced sharply and moved both in the air and off the pitch.

Ross Taylor, however, managed to (again) play a cover drive to a wide ball and edge it into his stumps. I grew up watching Ken Rutherford batting, and saw him cut the ball into his stumps in seemingly half his innings. Ross Taylor is starting to do the same thing with the cover drive.

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

Slow progress, but steady progress. Brendon McCullum went into his shell for a while after Taylor got out, he went from 17 off 15 to 21 off 53, but started scoring again after that. New Zealand will be happy with that hour.

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

Another wicket to a defensive shot. This time it was Brendon McCullum, and it was an important breakthrough. McCullum and Flynn had weathered the earlier storm, and were starting to build a big partnership. However a great ball from Herath put an end to the partnership at 90.

Final drinks, Day 1: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 3-2

Rangana Herath has managed to find some startling bounce from this pitch. There has been some spin, but the bounce has been the real factor in the wickets. Normally a spinner taking wickets on the first day is hugely concerning for a team like New Zealand. However this is somewhat different, as the pace and bounce in the wicket is likely to reduce as the time goes on.

Stumps, Day 1: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 3-2

Boult and Southee showed that this is certainly a bowlers pitch. There was a lot of swing for both bowlers as well as good bounce and a little movement off the pitch. Doug Bracewell may be a real handful on this pitch.

First drinks, Day 2: The mini-session count is tied up, 3-3

All of a sudden New Zealand's score looks enormous. Boult and Southee have had Sri Lanka in all sorts of trouble. There have been 2 catches dropped as well as the 4 wickets that have gone down, and also a number of close lbw shouts and balls bouncing in front of slips. Ross Taylor shelled a regulation chance, for about the fifth time this year. He was an outstanding slipper before he became captain, but it seems that while he is batting better than ever since becoming captain, it may have had an impact on his focus in the field. He might like to think about doing what a number of captains have done throughout test history and move himself to mid off.

Lunch, Day 2: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 4-3

A good little fight back from Jayawardene and Mathews. These two look like they are batting on a different pitch to the others, or perhaps it's just that Doug Bracewell and James Franklin are not nearly as threatening as Boult and Southee were.

Middle drinks, Day 2: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 5-3

This partnership is starting to build well. These two are taking the game back for Sri Lanka. New Zealand are still probably on top, but not by much.

Tea, Day 2: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 6-3

Things are starting to get serious for New Zealand here. Once the ball stopped swinging the New Zealand bowlers started to look toothless. With Bracewell so horribly out of form the bowling attack is a lot less potent.

Final drinks, Day 2: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 6-4

New Zealand finally make the breakthrough, and from a strange source, James Franklin. Coming into this match, Franklin had only taken one wicket in 120 overs. Even Harry Cave, possibly the most defensive bowler in history, managed to take a wicket every 20 overs. The task for the Sri Lanka tail now is to score as many runs as possible before the new ball arrives and they have to face Boult and Southee with a swinging ball.

Stumps, Day 2: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 6-5

There was some symmetry in that it took 2 deliveries with the new ball to clean up the tail for each team. Then New Zealand had to face an awkward final session, just as Sri Lanka had to last night. Both teams lost a wicket, but the way it happened couldn't be more different. Where as Boult and Southee had the Sri Lankan openers under pressure, the New Zealand openers did not look to be having too much trouble before McCullum had a brain explosion. Herath had dropped short earlier in the over, and McCullum deposited him into the stand. Two balls later Herath bowled another slow, short one, but this was a little wider, and when McCullum tried to repeat the shot he mis-timed it straight to Nuwan Kulasekara. The approach of making the bowlers pay for a bad ball is completely correct, but the way of doing it was not. A pull shot along the ground for four would have hurt the bowler almost as much as putting him into the stand, but without nearly as much risk. It's easy to criticise from my couch, but that was not the best option Brendon McCullum has ever taken.

First drinks, Day 3: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 7-5

A very cautious start from Guptill and Williamson did not bring the benefits that they would have hoped for. Both were dismissed without adding much to their overnight score, after both allowed the bowlers to settle. Taylor has looked slightly more positive, but has still looked like he is more intent on survival than scoring. Kulasekara is looking very good, and Herath is bowling with good control, without really looking like he's doing much with the ball yet.

Lunch, Day 3: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 8-5

Rangana Herath is giving a masterclass in orthodox spin bowling here. He is setting up batsmen, testing their skills and their mental stability. And finding them wanting.

His dismissal of Flynn should be watched by every young spin bowler as an example of how to bowl spin. He bowled with the same loop that his slower deliveries have, but a little faster. As a result the ball was closer to Flynn than he expected, and caused him to get his feet in the wrong place. The ball then turned sharply, between bat and pad, and crashed into the stumps. It was spin bowling poetry. If a spinner can get a batsman playing off the wrong foot any turn they get is amplified. Herath has spun some deliveries sharply, but it has been what he has done in the air that has allowed the spin to be dangerous. People will look at the score card from this match and think that this pitch is a minefield. It isn't. Instead we have seen an exhibition of quality bowling on a pitch that simply allows the bowlers to show what they can do.

Middle drinks, Day 3: Sri Lanka lead the mini-session count 9-5

The writing was on the wall for New Zealand during Trent Boult's first over. Not a single ball swung. Boult is a swing bowler. If it isn't swinging he has a lot less to offer. He still managed to extract a couple of edges, but one bounced in front of the slips, and the other went wide of third slip to the fence for 4. Bracewell looks a shadow of the bowler who destroyed Australia in Hobart. He doesn't look like he has any weapons to challenge quality batsmen at the moment. Dimuth Karunaratne has looked impressive. While he edged a couple early on, once he got his eye in he has really dominated the bowling. It will take a collapse of 1920's proportions for Sri Lanka to lose it from here.

End of match: Sri Lanka win the mini-session count 10-5

Sri Lanka win the match, after completely dominating this day. New Zealand had no answer to Herath, and they need to find one before the second test in Colombo.

1 comment:

  1. In many ways this test seems to sum up why New Zealand never seem to win tests. We have breakthrough sessions but for the majority of the match we are under the pump. There was one good partnership in the 1st innings, and one good spell of quick bowling (as I write) followed by a massive partnership for SL.