BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Enforcing the follow-on came back to bite England

BUMBLE ON THE TEST: Don’t bat last! Enforcing the follow-on came back to bite England… but it’s right to feel disappointment after New Zealand turned the Test match on its head

  • England shouldn’t have allowed New Zealand a way back into the Test series 
  • New Zealand pulled of a memorable victory by beating England by one run 
  • Ben Stokes’ team should feel disappointed by the defeat in the fifth test 

Enforcing the follow-on came back to bite England. Don’t bat last! Perhaps Ben Stokes thought New Zealand would just roll over but all credit to the home team for their resolve and ability to turn a Test match on its head.

In that situation, with a 200-plus lead, you make sure the pitch has wear and tear in it by batting on it and running all over it. The umpires will tell you to get off it but it does not carry the same punishment as when bowlers do it. 

They get two warnings before being taken out the attack. Batters don’t. Yes, you will get reminders about where you are running, and eventually you might get a five-run penalty. 

It’s gamesmanship. Batting New Zealand out of things would also have got them mentally and physically knackered. Instead, they were offered a way back in.

New Zealand celebrate beating England in the fifth test 

England will be disappointed that they allowed New Zealand a way back into the match 

A bitter pill 

Publicly, they’ve said what an honour it has been to have taken part in one of the great Test matches, but deep down England will be bitterly disappointed after absolutely running the game. They could have finished the winter on a massive high. Made it 11 wins from 12. Instead, they’ve been turned over by very resolute opponents.

It could have been worse 

Harry Brook was run out without facing a ball yesterday but spare a thought for yours truly. I’d not got 186 in the first innings when it happened to me the second time I walked out to bat in a Test trial in 1973. 

In fact, I’d got 186 fewer than 186. Yep, I’d already got nought in the first innings at Hove, leg before to Geoff Arnold. You might not be surprised to hear that there was another Yorkshireman involved in me being left high and dry. A certain Geoffrey Boycott. Needless to say, after bagging a pair, I didn’t get in England’s team that summer.

Harry Brook is runout by New Zealand’s Tom Blundell during defeat in the 5th test in Wellington

 In Premier condition 

This will go down as one of the game’s epic matches. But we won’t get any more Test cricket until June now because everything shuts down for the Indian Premier League later this month. This tends to be a time of year when players injuries miraculously improve….

 Not on course 

I was on the Middle Please, Umpire podcast yesterday with Miles Jupp and England fast Mark Wood, although it ran a little behind schedule because Woody, who is on the limited-overs tour of Bangladesh, had forgotten about our arrangement and was on a golf course. 

He’s not even a golfer, averaging approximately one round a year, but opted to play this week because he wanted to get out of the hotel in Dhaka. So, his input into a thoroughly entertaining chat came after he ditched his clubs, legged it across three fairways and set up on the clubhouse balcony.

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