Kiwis fooled by pitch

Well, what a strange pitch that is at Old Trafford. It seemed to change its temperament on each day of the Test and finally bore out Nasser Hussain’s contention that it has become a “bowl-first” wicket. While Monty Panesar was named man-of-the-match, and Andrew Strauss rightly lauded for his innings yesterday, it has to be said that the match-winning knock came from the bat of Stuart Broad. Broad didn’t impress with his bowling in this match, but he continues to look solid and enterprising with the bat, and that 30 that carried England past the follow-on figure was exactly what the team needed at the time. Had we been forced to follow-on, Vettori would surely have taken advantage of Sunday’s conditions in the same way that Panesar did, even though New Zealand may have contributed to their own downfall. I suspect, funnily enough, that Vettori’s men thought the job was done after bowling out England for 202. They probably reasoned that the lead was significant enough, regardless of their second-innings score. But they were not to know that the pitch was going to have the last laugh, the turn, bounce and spit that the spinners were getting on the third day fading after the heavy roller had flattened the surface. They had the attitude of a team that thought that they only had to turn up to get the victory – a state of mind that has too often afflicted England in the past. It will be interesting to see what effect this defeat has on the morale of the tourists as they head to Trent Bridge.

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