So the two-game testing streak between England and New Zealand is finally out of the way as the cricket world gets closer to the opening finals of the Testing World Cup. But there have been many exciting events from the series that India needs to consider when playing the final.
Devon Conway is the real threat
Devon Conway symbolized this hilarious modern meme to perfection, preparing for all the important things (Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor) for a particular exam, revising and strategizing only to be amazed by something (Devon Conway) in the curriculum. Let’s get that straight. On English terms, against the Dukes, against the seasoned Broad and Anderson, when you’re playing your first series in white you shouldn’t be dominating the game like Conway did. The left-hander start ended with 306 runs in the series, the best aggregate from both sides, with a phenomenal average of 76.5.
But Conway is not all about numbers, as wonderful as they may seem. The southpaw has its own presence, and that perk, the X-Factor that can make or break the game. But the way he mixes his flair with his temper is what stands out. He carried the team’s clubs on his shoulders. The 29-year-old scored 52.9% of the team’s runs in the first innings at Lord’s, while it was his series of drives on day two of the Edgbaston Test that got New Zealand out of troubled waters when Broad was in the middle of the game of those ominous spells, excluding Kane Williamson at 3. That set the tone for New Zealand’s bat dominance. Given his solid technique, unwavering temperament, hunger to play the big hit, and eagerness to dominate the big stage, he will be a greater threat than Kane Williamson or Ross Taylor in the WTC finals in the Clash of the Titans against India .
New Zealand’s pathetic bowling against the tail
There was a time when New Zealand bowlers were very efficient at cleaning the tail. But since cutting off a sticker from Faheem Ashraf and Pakistan’s tail at home, the Black Caps have not recovered from the attack and have failed to promptly put an end to the opposition from those behind them. It has resulted in the bottom (8-11) averaging 19.19 against the Kiwis, which is their best performance against one of the top five test sites since December 25, 2020. By comparison, teams like Pakistan (10.28), India (10.92) and Australia (11.81) have done a remarkable job as the lower order batter fight them. While England (16.5) is the second worst since New Zealand.
Even in the recently completed series, New Zealand let England’s cock get away with it twice because they lacked the killer instinct to clean the tail. The Three Lions’ final four wickets added 135 and 128 runs in the first innings of both Tests, which were seedy. Well, India is not a team that is particularly known for their lower-order scores. But among the top 5 nations, India’s tail has the third best average at 14.11. And a certain R Ashwin, aged 8, who averaged 25.78 in England and had a streak in the last century, can repeat the role of Ollie Robinson from the Lord’s Test with an attacking Ravindra Jadeja or Rishabh Pant or one another set batter from the other end to anger New Zealand in an area where they struggle very much and take the game away from them.
New Zealand’s solid but fragile eyelash
The England Tests showed the depth in New Zealand’s batting. Even in the absence of their regular players Kane Williamson and BJ Watling in the second test, Will Young and Tom Blundell proved their courage and made a decisive contribution to their team’s victory. Not to mention how well the inexperienced Conway coped with the bat. In addition, Henry Nicholls and Ross Taylor both performed solidly, and all of these ads bode well for the team. However, the series re-affirmed New Zealand’s tendency to collapse from dominant positions in away tests when it comes to the first innings.
Since the start of the WTC cycle, New Zealand has played seven Away Tests and in five of those games they have thrown away the lead with the bat, as can be seen in the table. This series again showed the tendency of New Zealand to break down from a supremacy. As good as the Kiwi lineup is, there is always a breakdown around the corner and a wicket often leads to a number of them. So Indian bowlers will always stay in competition as there can be many twists and turns when New Zealand beats in the final.
Merit playing two weirdos for India
Movement was required throughout the series, but the wickets were largely flatter, especially by English standards. It was what the English skipper Joe Root had wished for after the India drubing – flatter wickets – so that the games last longer and the hosts are better prepared for the winning series away from home. Now it was interesting to note that neither England and New Zealand played specialty spinners in the first Test, but when Ajaz Patel played for New Zealand in Edgbaston, he showed what both sides had missed at Lord’s and England continued to miss in the second game.
On relatively flatter wickets like these, both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja can come in handy. And India might be tempted to play the two together instead of an extra pace in the Test World Cup finals in Southampton that has traditionally helped the spinners. In the first test, English skipper Joe Root threatened ball in hand while rolling over his arms and there were times when the Kiwi batsmen looked vulnerable to him, which backs up the point, two world class weirdos on the team to play against spin on New Zealand’s weakness.
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