The test match summer sneaked up on me again this year, England vs New Zealand for two test matches but both teams have their eyes on over fixtures this summer. But England should never under estimate the Kiwis who are certainly one of the best sides in the world and not playing the test championship final by accident. England picked a strange team but they often do that these days, even without rotation, resting and injuries. The batting line up was pretty much as you'd expect in these circumstances but someone called Bracey came in behind the stumps for the poor injured Foakes and someone called Robinson (yet another Ollie which I find confusing...) had managed to get a bowling spot.
New Zealand won the toss and obviously elected to bat, their debutant Devon Conway opened then dominated the next couple of days finishing with 200. Nicholls also chipped in but no one else did and a strange looking card saw them reach 378. For England Jimmy and mad Mark took a few wickets but the most noise was created by Ollie Robinson who took four, but that was only part of the story.
England batted and as was the norm in India, wickets fell at regular intervals and by the end there were four ducks on the sheet. Root passed forty as did that man Robinson but the star was Rory Burns who returned to test form with 132 and held the whole thing together. England all out for 275 with the excellent Southee taking six wickets.
Somewhere amongst all that a day was lost to rain which probably ruined what could have been a good test match. New Zealand thrashed a lead then declared on the last afternoon setting England a target they never tried to chase. Root got out in thye forties again but Sibley scored a much needed 60 so will hopefully carry some confidence forward.
Also during the match it transpired that Ollie Robinson had sent racist/sexist/homophobic tweets when a teenager, for which he apologised. All of us men are dickheads when we are teenagers but you'd expect someone growing up in this millennium to know better. I expect Robinson will get left out as some kind of punishment but he does deserve another chance. If he talks any more bigoted bollocks then kick him far into the long grass please.
On the face of things New Zealand had the better of this match but not by much and I did find it annoying to hear English pundits moaning about us not having a go at a tempting target. The next match starts on Thursday, We've now got our traditional poor first test of the summer over with, England are capable of playing much better but I suspect the Kiwis are too. If we put out a full strength side then I really don't believe New Zealand could live with us on home soil but these two teams look evenly matched and the series could go either way.