This was a bloody awful performance from England, with the notable exception of James Anderson, who bowled rather well. Other than that it was an utter shower. England’s ODI planning mainly consists of the top order batting long and building a foundation, before the likes of Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan come in and smash the ball around. It’s fair to say that the plan isn’t going to work very well if every single batsman gets in and then gets out, often through the medium of the reverse sweep. Or sometimes through the worst attempt at playing a short ball that we’ve ever seen.
From a New Zealand perspective this was exactly what they would have hoped for – the seamers were effective, especially Tim Southee, who is fast approaching Devereux/Luke Wright levels of love in the 51allout office – and the batting looked far sturdier than in the preceding Test series. Martin Guptill may have received a prestigious zero out of ten rating for said Test series but he bossed England’s attack throughout, completing a perfectly timed hundred with the winning runs.
Sometimes we like to exaggerate things for comic effect, like that time we pretended that we actually care about the IPL. However, it would be no exaggeration to say that we couldn’t find a single person pleased to see Jade Dernbach back in the England ODI side. Not one. Clearly, being the most expensive bowler in ODI history wasn’t the full height of his ambition and stinking up the Champions Trophy is his next target. England could really do with Steve Finn getting over his latest niggle.
We should probably also aim some of our rampant vitriol in Chris Woakes’s direction. His bowling continues to look a bit short of international class – and distinctly hittable – but at least he has his batting to fall back on, unlike Dernbach. If Mrs Bresnan could do her best to hold it in for the next couple of weeks it’d be much appreciated.
Game two takes place in Southampton on Sunday. New Zealand will be looking for a repeat of an almost perfect performance from their point of view, while England will be hoping not to be such a massive sack of shit. Not picking Dernbach would be a start, although with Broad and Finn both ruled out that’s wishful thinking. Ravi Bopara is suddenly looking like a decent option, opening the bowling and batting at number eight.