England and New Zealand have just completed an ODI series that may well go down in cricketing history as one of the best ever. In the first match England scored a record 408 and bowled NZ out easily to record a comfortable win. In the next the Kiwis scored 399 and England almost chased it down, in fact if it wasn’t for rain and Duckworth/Lewis I’m sure we would have won. England scored 300+ again in the third match but NZ completed a comfortable win to go 2-1 ahead. When they set England 350 to win in the fourth they may have thought they had the series wrapped up but England completed their highest ever run chase to win by 7 wickets. This squared the series and set up a ‘Final’ for the fifth match at Durham. This match didn’t have the high scores of the previous four but New Zealand’s 283 would have seemed competitive in a ‘normal’ series. Once again rain and Duckworth/Lewis intervened making England’s target even tougher but they managed to get over the line to win by three wickets and take the series.
From an England supporter’s point of view the series win was pleasing but far more important was the way we played. NZ were world cup runners up and are a very good ODI team yet we were able to beat them at their own game with attacking cricket. At last England have caught up with the rest of the world and are playing the way we should have played in the world cup. Batsmen dominated this series and Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Joss Buttler and in the final match Johnny Bairstow were all superb. The bowlers suffered but Stephen Finn, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid can hold their heads up.
It may only be ODI but this series has given English cricket a vital lift ahead of the tough Ashes series to come. Being able to play this way successfully will give England belief that they can do the same against the Aussies. Time will tell…
“The Overlook” is another in the ‘Harry Bosch’ series of novels by Michael Connelly. Bosch gets the call to a murder scene but the FBI are right behind him as this case appears to have terrorist links. The whole story is set in one twenty four hour period and despite all the twists and turns we’ve come to expect, Bosch solves the case. As Connelly’s books go this is not one of his best but even so it’s still a damn good read!