BUMBLE AT THE TEST: This 22 yards of snot has no place in Test cricket…

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BUMBLE AT THE TEST: This 22 yards of snot has no place in Test cricket… it’d be easier to get a wicket with one of Atherton’s rock-hard avocados

  • Centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor led New Zealand to a draw 
  • The Kiwis won the series 1-0, giving England work to do ahead of South Africa
  • Seddon Park suffered a poor turnout over the weekend, a killer for Test cricket 
  • Joe Denly’s drop was costly as he fluffed one of the easiest catches in cricket 

New Zealand secured a 1-0 series win over England after Kane Williamson, who was dropped by Joe Denly and Ollie Pope, scored a ton along with Ross Taylor, leaving England with plenty of work to do ahead of a tour to South Africa. 

Sportsmail columnist David Lloyd was present to give his expert opinion on the action… 

DEATH KNELL FOR TESTS 

What an absolute killer this 22 yards of snot was. England had a good number of spectators through the usual tour groups, which certainly swelled the crowd. But where were the locals? 

The ground was about a third full over the weekend, sparsely attended on Monday and almost empty on Tuesday. I’m not surprised: the pitch beat the players. As an unnamed source who is actually playing in the game told me: ‘This is not only killing bowlers, it’s killing Test cricket.’

Seddon Park was almost empty on Tuesday for the second Test... where were the locals?

Seddon Park was almost empty on Tuesday for the second Test… where were the locals?

I’VE SEEN WORSE SPILLS 

Jofra Archer tried something totally different by not using his front arm. It worked as Kane Williamson chipped tamely to Joe Denly at midwicket. Archer celebrated with great exuberance and relief, only to turn round and see the ball lying at Denly’s feet! 

It seemed such a comical moment. Has there been a worse drop? I can give you two: Mike Gatting in a Test in India off Ian Salisbury (Gatting blamed the sun), and Michael Hussey off Nathan Hauritz against South Africa at the MCG. Technically, he didn’t drop it because he never even touched it!

OLLIE’S JOLLY GOOD 

These two Test matches are not in the ICC World Championship, and have been an opportunity for Chris Silverwood and his staff to look at the players. A mild disappointment is that Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood didn’t feature. This would have been an ideal time to blood them. 

There has been enough from Ollie Pope to suggest that a blossoming Test career starts at No 6. Rory Burns does the job, but Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley didn’t take their opportunity, and will be hoping for another crack in South Africa.

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley missed their chance to impress Chris Silverwood on their debuts

Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley missed their chance to impress Chris Silverwood on their debuts

ATHERTON’S AVOCADO WOE 

My colleague Michael Atherton, an award-winning journalist for a rival newspaper, has been regaling the TV public about his ongoing dispute with a bunch of avocados. They have been out in the sun now for a good 10 days, and have flatly refused to ripen. 

We took one of them out to the middle, where the previous unnamed source idly wondered: ‘Can I bowl with that instead?’

CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR VIPERS 

Now is the time to look forward to Christmas and presents. Keep this under your hat, but I have got a new ironing-board cover, depicting me stood on the top of Mount Maunganui. What an epic march that was, and I felt that my wife, Vipers, should be able to share the joy… when my suitcase full of ironing arrives back in north Yorkshire. 

A new range of kitchen utensils also took my eye in Bunning’s hardward store in Hamilton. They were on special offer, and I have gift-wrapped them, seeing it’s Christmas.

ASLEEP IN THE PRESS BOX 

Another tour comes to an end as we all gather breath before South Africa. Our intrepid band of journalists is headed by the doyen of the press box, Scyld ‘Mary’ Berry, who will lead the charge to the Cape. 

They are a grand group, although I have to say that, from time to time, I observed one or two in a state of slumber during this tedious Test. As the aforementioned unnamed source said: ‘I’m bowling my tripe out here: at least they could stay awake.’

England must improve ahead of their next Test series against South Africa later this month

England must improve ahead of their next Test series against South Africa later this month

PLENTY TO LOOK FORWARD TO 

And so it’s farewell to New Zealand, and I’ll be sad to leave. It is a fantastic place, with fantastic people. Their cricketers play the game the proper way, and their next port of call is Australia for three Test matches. 

The pitches over there will be totally different to the ones encountered here, with more pace and bounce. I don’t think that will inconvenience the Kiwis. England are on the way to South Africa, and they too will welcome pitches which give a better balance between bat and ball.

New Zealand play cricket the proper way and their next port of call is a series against Australia

New Zealand play cricket the proper way and their next port of call is a series against Australia

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