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Anderson injury takes shine off England's day

Jonathan Agnew | 06:57 UK time, Saturday, 15 March 2008

Wellington: day three of second Test - I watched James Anderson emerge from the dressing room after the day's play and take part in a football game with most of the England squad - including the coach Peter Moores - as a warm-down exercise.

He then turned his ankle and left the ground on crutches.

It is hoped that he will be fit to bowl in New Zealand's second innings, but it beggars belief that one of only four bowlers should be playing football during a Test match, and this is clearly a matter that the coach must explain.

On the field it wasn’t pretty, but unlike some critics, I support the way England went about their business - until the Anderson incident at the end, of course.

They simply had to make sure they were in this position with two days to go – and they have done it. They now have runs on the board and plenty of time in which to bowl New Zealand out to level the series.

It is easy to say they should have been more positive.

Of course the Australians would probably have been more bullish in piling up the runs and, possibly, have been able to declare with a few overs to go in the day. But England are not Australia, and they desperately need a morale-booster. That should happen over the next two days, as long as their bowling is up to strength.

New Zealand celebrate after Pietersen's unlucky run-out


Of course it was a shame for a rare full house here that the cricket should have been painstaking. But Test cricket is often played that way as a team manoeuvres itself into position.

It is always a problem when only one team is really in the game, and New Zealand’s only chance of competing was when Alistair Cook and Andrew Strauss fell in successive overs after a stand of 106.

Kevin Pietersen looked to be getting himself set for a much-needed big score before he was unluckily run out backing up when Ian Bell’s drive was deflected into the stumps by the bowler.

Had Paul Collingwood been caught on nought, New Zealand might have shortened their time in the field.

But England’s lead was always too much and, with concentration and patience, they have set up their best hope of a victory – and how England’s supporters wanted that after the humiliation in Hamilton.

There was a fantastic crowd revelling in beautiful late summer sunshine and lovely surroundings.

The way Test cricket is staged in New Zealand might be considered to be a throw back, but I hope that other countries that struggle to attract big crowds are watching, and will follow suit.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:02 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Ben wrote:

Spot on Aggers as usual. Not a particularly edifying batting performance, but we have a lead of over 400, and six sessions to bowl out New Zealand. Criticising the warm-down exercises seems unfair - this kind of thing is standard practice - but it is reminiscent of what happened to a certain G.Mcgrath not so long ago, and look what happened to the bowler's side then!

  • 2.
  • At 09:03 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • floyd wrote:

I have to totally agree with Aggers on:
a- what the hell was our key strike bowler doing playing footie?!
b- England were not pretty but they did exactly what was needed of them.

But even if Anderson can't play tomorrow, we have an almost unsurmountable lead and still 2 days to bowl them out, so it really would be even beyond England to cock it up this time round!

  • 3.
  • At 09:48 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • mark wrote:


'but it beggars belief that one of only four bowlers should be playing football during a Test match'

Couldn't agree more with your comment above (excellent article's lately by the way), you would expect the coach to have the players out on the pitch stretching, but playing football??

I am not a Peter Moores fan nor am I a big fan of the media, but this latest incident does has the feel of 'hapless coach' about it! However lets wait until the end of the series then I hope the MCC reviews the entire performances this winter and if necessary take whatever steps are required to get England back on track.
They appear to have the talent at their disposal but something is clearly lacking?

  • 4.
  • At 09:57 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • sam wrote:

Could some fitness expert please explain why Anderson needed a "warm down" after sitting in the pavillion all day?

If he did need a bit of excersise, I would have thought some stretches, followed by gentle jogging, leading up to a few sprints then half an hour bowling in the nets would be more sensible.

To me, it's idiotic to risk the only batsman left to go in, and the first innings main wicket taker, by playing pointless games.

Until we see the England football or rugby team hurling cricket balls at each other following a match, perhaps the cricket team's coach should stick to the tried and tested methods of basic fitness training....

  • 5.
  • At 09:59 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • geoff wignall wrote:

A necessary morale booster? Maybe so, but surely just papering over the crevices.

Strauss's scratching around might be less conspicuous on a scratchy day all round. Another incomplete knock from Bell also fitted the day's pattern. Collingwood still looking a more convincing leader than Vaughan.

All on an easing wicket, with a healthy 1st innings lead against the legendary NZ pace attack.

Is Anderson going to find consistency? Who knows. How soon before Broad has his action properly sorted? Okay, give them both matches in which to deliver then decide. Monty's current status as a test bowler? The jury's surely still out there as well.

Basically, Cook, Pietersen and Sidebottom should be definites looking to the medium term, all else up for grabs.

Peter Moores? Just what has he got to work with at the moment? (Though Shah's omission continues to baffle.)
Oh Freddie where art thou?

  • 6.
  • At 10:14 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • cricketlover wrote:

Fine piece as usual.
However, I have to take you up on your disapproval of football as a method of warm down. After a long and at times painstaking day, where most players spend most of the day in the dressing room, it is good to have a team run around to end the day. Accidents happen and I don't remember anyone blaming the use of crciket balls in warm ups when Glenn McGrath trod on one, ruling himself out of keys Ashes test matches.
Does your explicit criticism of Moores have foundations elsewhere?

  • 7.
  • At 10:15 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Carol wrote:

Floyd, Please don't say such things. England could 'cock it up this time round' - they've squandered equally wonderful opportunities in the past, y'know, much to the disgust of us faithful few. But if they keep their wits, they should pull off a good win.

Still don't know why they're not playing Swann... anybody know the reason?

  • 8.
  • At 10:20 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Gregg wrote:

What a complete load of rubbish!! Anderson could just as easily have twisted his ankle when running or jumping in training. It wasn't as if they were playing a match against Chelsea... Jonathan Agnew probably wouldn't want the players to eat breakfast in case they sprain their wrists!

  • 9.
  • At 10:33 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Mark Kidger wrote:

Defensive fields almost from the start and defensive bowling. New Zealand were set on damage-limitation rather than make any serious attempt to take wickets and put some pressure on England. With two days left and the weather forecast reasonable, England did what they had to do.

New Zealand's only real chance of victory is to rely on James Anderson being injured and England's three remaining front-line bowlers having a nightmare. Why though James Anderson was playing football rather than practicing batting or bowling is beyond me.

I expect that there will be more "Strauss must go" posts, despite the fact that he did what he had to do and scored more rapidly (again) than other than Collingwood. When he and Cook were batting the score was mounting nicely and New Zealand were suffering. The fact that with him in the slips we aren't throwing away 50+ runs per innings to dropped catches also seems to have been missed by most critics.

It might not have been pretty cricket, but it has been singularly effective so far. Tomorrow Michael Vaughan will bat on, possibly only for a few deliveries, so that he has the choice of roller in the morning. Then it will be "Operation Winkle" for the bowlers.

  • 10.
  • At 10:43 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • alex wrote:

I don't know why people are so dismissive of a New Zealand victory, especially when they persist in making comments like "England have set up a good chance of a victory".

England don't win = New Zealand win.

Normally when a side is chasing 420 the pitch is either so awful as to be completely inconsistent with all that has gone before, or they don't have the time.

Whereas New Zealand are chasing 420 (+ a bit, hopefully), on a good pitch, requiring only a snail's pace of scoring.

And how often does Anderson ever perform in both innings?

England should win but it's by no means a formality that New Zealand won't.

  • 11.
  • At 11:17 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Kernow wrote:

"but it beggars belief that one of only four bowlers should be playing football during a Test match"

So Cricketers should only play cricket ?

They cant play any other sport ?

If James Anderson had turned his ankle practicing in the nets would that make it any better ? No of course not, people would still be complaining.

It doesnt make a difference if he turned his ankle playing football or sprained a finger playing tiddle-e-winks. You cannot wrap your players in cotton wool and mollycoddle them, accidents happen.

"I am not a Peter Moores fan"

You dont have to be a fan, just support England whether you agree with what is happening or not. Those that make a difference obviously think he knows more than us other wise we would be doing his job.

  • 12.
  • At 11:53 AM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Bob wrote:

With England's inept performances since 2005 am I not the only one who thinks that if we're a bowler light, that 400+ is perhaps not defendable. And if Broad is prevented from bowling due to the issue with his follow through then anything would be possible.

As for the full house - how refreshing to see such large attendances at New Zeland grounds throughout the series. Subday too is sold out. If only the ICC had a better organised international programme then these large crowds could become the norm.

  • 13.
  • At 12:02 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Steve Veasey wrote:

If Anderson isn't able to bowl it isn't all doom and gloom. This pitch looks like a good one for Collingwood to bowl on and although he won't get the bounce that Oram extracted if he keeps it simple he can have a similar economy rate and allow the other bowlers to rotate at the oher end.

NZ certainly have a chance to win, they will have at leat 160 overs to get 430 or so - thank god Nathan Astle isn't playing!

If England are reduced to perming Broad (looks overcoached and unthreatening) Sidebottom (poor in the First Innings at Wellington) Collingwood (staight up and down stuff) and Monty (one over so far) in the Kiwi second inninngs they will struggle and NZ could even win. Unlikely I agree but it was foolish to put Jimmy's fitness at risk in this way.

  • 15.
  • At 12:25 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • paul carew wrote:

England scored at 3 runs per over and it does seem a shame that this is a criticism just because we are so used to seeing the scoring rate rise above this in the last 7-8 years. I have watched Test cricket for over 30 years and never have a problem with 3 per over if the cricket is interesting. Of course we would see more runs if the powers that be could get all teams to bowl more overs in a day.

  • 16.
  • At 12:33 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Paul Franklin wrote:

I do have to wonder how many of these comments come from true England fans. Even when England have had a good day and are in a strong position almost all of the comments are still criticising us. As for only Sidebottom, Pieterson and Cook being assured a place-what a load of rubbish! I think Bell and Collingwood with their records may feel a little bit disgruntled with that. cheer up lads!!

  • 17.
  • At 12:38 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Mark Worrall wrote:

I cannot help but think that this England team are suffering a bit from what the England football team went under through Mclaren. We are in danger of not reaching over full potential and the players seem rather apathetic about it - they don't fear for there place and Moores hardly seems to command respect from them.

I am not especially referring to todays play, just play in recent times. We know Bell, Pieterson etc... can be great players, but at the moment they are amounting to unfulfilled potential.

By the way, Anderson's injury, whilst unfortunate cannot be helped, it's a freak accident. I mean, the poor lad was sat down all day and is more than justified to enjoy a little session of football. It was hardly a serious thing. Hope he makes a full recovery!

  • 18.
  • At 12:47 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Bemused wrote:

Warm-down exercises? As far as I recall, James Anderson did not bat or bowl all day.

Incidentally, how often does the side batting last make by far the biggest score of the match to win? Especially when they are chasing 150 more than the record fourth innings chase at the ground. Even a bowler light England would deserve all the criticism that they would get should they lose.

  • 19.
  • At 12:53 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • geoff wignall wrote:

A necessary morale booster? Maybe so, but surely just papering over the crevices.

Basically, Cook, Pietersen, Collingwood and Sidebottom should be definites looking to the medium term, all else up for grabs.

Strauss's scratching around might have been less conspicuous than usual on a scratchy day all round. Another incomplete knock from Bell also fitted the day's pattern. Collingwood still looking a more convincing leader than Vaughan.

All on an easing wicket, with a healthy 1st innings lead against the legendary NZ pace attack.

Is Anderson going to find consistency? Who knows. How soon before Broad has his action properly sorted? Okay, give them both matches in which to deliver then decide. Monty's current status as a test bowler? The jury's surely still out there as well.

Peter Moores? Just what has he got to work with at the moment? (Though Shah's omission continues to baffle.)
Oh Freddie where art thou?

  • 20.
  • At 01:08 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Jonny P wrote:

Ok- please no other morons post a moan about Jimmy's ankle. It was an accident. If he was doing something like snowboarding or bullfighting then you'd have a legitimate whinge at the coaching staff but it was a gentle game after stumps so get over it.

  • 21.
  • At 01:38 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • NS wrote:

Can you rest Anderson for the first ball and bring him only if England can't bowl out New Zeland and a second new ball is required? Monty, Sidebottom, Panesar, Vaughan, Pietersen and Collingwood can all bowl 80 or so overs between them - can't they? Rest Anderson for the next match where the focus should be on another win - ahem, if England wins this one that is....

  • 22.
  • At 01:45 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • James Allard wrote:

You could turn your ankle, jogging around the pitch which is the common warm down exercise! These things happen unfortunatley.

As for England they should go on to finish the job with or without Anderson available. However,they are still along way from the finished article and are extremely inconsistent. They just seem to have lost the intensity they showed under the peak of Fletchers reign, and are more reactive than proactive.

In form players should be picked from the counties, and the cental contracting system should be scrapped. Bring back the competition for places!!

  • 23.
  • At 02:20 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Antony Ornstin wrote:

As regards Srauss' batting (post 9)-look at the aricle "England's Overseas Woes" by s.Rajesh on the Cricinfo website. Since 2005 he has averaged 39 in home tests and 26 in away tests. That amounts to a consistently substandard performance. He is very fortunate to have been given another chance (without outstanding county form to back him up.

As regards Peter Moores (post 11). the fact he may know more than us (I assume about cricket)is hardly a qualification for being manager of an international team. I am also not a fan of his-I find some of his comments to the media unbelievably banal.

  • 24.
  • At 03:40 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Dazdnconfusd wrote:

Why can´t a team have a substitue bowler like in every other form of sport ?

  • 25.
  • At 04:42 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

Paul Franklin #16 - totally agree with you.

The England team are damned if they do, damned if they don't. Not only do these so=called fans writing on these blogs and also on the 606 website expect them to be utterly brilliant performers at any given moment on the field, they also expect them to be superlative performers to the media; we now excoriate them if they utter anything remotely bland - oh Peter Moores, stand up and be counted! We want blood on the carpet every single time, not some reasoned approach to the way the team has performed (or didn't perform).

This attitude permeates sports reporting and induces in the fans an over-expectation which is nearly always proved to be wildly over the top. I'm constantly astonished that any sportsmen play for their national team in the UK - whatever they do will be wrong and someone who can't even run round a field will always know better than they did how they should have played this particular shot, bowled that particular ball, kicked that particular penalty.

It's the media and the fans who are suffering from Ashes 2005 syndrome it seems to me, not the players themselves.

  • 26.
  • At 05:18 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Glynne Williams wrote:

Paul and Paul - 15 and 16 postings. You're absolutely right. Our team are never celebrated for anything they do. I hope they don't read the rubbish which comes on these blogs and websites, they'd lose the will to live.

Remember Glenn McGrath stepping on a tennis ball during the Ashes 2005? Nobody was excoriating him..... But oh, our team are different, they deserve contempt from anyone who's capable of typing on the internet.

Let's hope the England success at Twickenham just now inspires the cricket team - I've noticed that success in rugby and cricket often mirror each other......

  • 27.
  • At 07:43 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • w.w. wrote:

Are people forgetting that New Zealand have two days to win this test match also??? Remember that this English team are as big chokers as any other team.

What happened to Anderson is unfortunate, but a one in a hundred incidence. I think people are over-reacting. If it had been Andrew Strauss, I'm pretty sure everyone wouldn't care. Maybe so because he is so out of form, or maybe because the English media and supporters have jumped off the 'i love Strauss' bandwagon.

  • 28.
  • At 07:52 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho wrote:

Tussle between the ball and the bat is what we look forward to in the coming two days. England pace quartet and spinner Monty Panesar look well set to take care of the Kiwis battling against a mountain of runs.

  • 29.
  • At 07:53 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • john wrote:

421 ahead two days to go. Is by anyones standards ,pretty good. I too wish that the England fans would get behind the team like the barmy army do. Years ago Brian Clough and his Nottingam Forest cut a record called YYou cant win em all. it went something like this. Footballs a game and you cant win em all.

We must celebrate success and learn from defeat and be happy for the opposition once in a while. I do so hope we win today, but if we dont and NZ won, I would hope in the spirit of cricket, we might shake the hand of thw Kiwis and say well done. Because if they do win, they will have played out of their skins.

I expect a good second innings from Ryan Sidebottom today and I envisage an England victory by 150 runs.

Andersons injury is just one of those things, he may even be okay. But if not then he has set us up with this lead. All is good. and please,Give Moores a chance.

  • 30.
  • At 07:58 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • simon jackson wrote:

So Anderson 'cricks' his ankle playing football - So what???...I saw at least 6 dozen or more premiership footballers do exactly the same thing today, and although they should have left the field on crutches, they really 'toughed it out' by just rolling around a few times on the pitch, got some water chucked on the ankle, and after 30 seconds off the pitch with a pained expression, like a dog with a stick up their bottoms (have you met my dog?) were raring to go again like nothing had happened - so I fully expect Jimmy to take another 5-fer - even though he is not on £100k plus per week...yet!!

  • 31.
  • At 08:24 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Graham wrote:

C'mon England, finish the job.

As for the negativity, its always the same with any English team. The press cause most of it - Win and we're world beaters, lose and we're the worst team ever. They get hammered for every single minor thing and not given any chance to learn.

  • 32.
  • At 08:41 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Rob wrote:

The only worry is if Anderson can't bowl, will we have the firepower to bowl New Zealand out? Sidebottom is reliable, but Broad is still inexpereinced at this level. Colly cleaned the NZ tail in the 1st innings, but the pitch isn't turning for Monty (or KP!) NZ could take their time, frustrate the England bowlers, etc.

One way of looking at it is England have almost 200 overs to bowl NZ out.

The other way is that NZ have 200 overs to score 400+ runs. 2 point something an over? Not particularly taxing. See of Sidebottom and Broad and then cash in.

  • 33.
  • At 09:12 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • John Edwards wrote:

Great minds think alike. In the same vein I wonder about the wisdom of sending in tailend batsmen in a situation like this. Is the number of additional runs they might score really worth the risk that one of the key bowlers might take a blow to the hand and incur a broken finger or the like? Given the pain that has been suffered so far in arriving in a match-winning position the pain of a broken finger on one of our strike bowlers might be too much to bear.

  • 34.
  • At 09:24 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • John Edwards wrote:

Great minds think alike. In the same vein I wonder about the wisdom of sending in tailend batsmen in a situation like this. Is the number of additional runs they might score really worth the risk that one of the key bowlers might take a blow to the hand and incur a broken finger or the like? Given the pain that has been suffered so far in arriving in a match-winning position the pain of a broken finger on one of our strike bowlers might be too uch to bear.

  • 35.
  • At 09:27 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Joseph Izzard wrote:

Hey Aggers, loving your commentary on radiosport in NZ.

Was Anderson actually playing football though? The other times I've seen the lads it's just been keepy-uppies on the side no real football.

  • 36.
  • At 09:32 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • Don O'Neill wrote:

I want to put something else into the pot. "OVER RATES" WE should see 30 overs per session. If teams know it will cut into there lunch or tea breaks it will soon be different. It needs to be addressed. Say we start at 11am, then no break till a minimum of 30 overs have been bowled. Even if this means they dont get lunch till 1.20 they are then told to be back on at 1.40. Far to often they just play the extra 30 mins and we the paying public are often cheated out of play over a 5 day test match.

  • 37.
  • At 10:14 PM on 15 Mar 2008,
  • geoff wignall wrote:

necessary morale booster? Maybe, but surely doesn't change anything substantial. Strauss's scratching around might be a touch less conspicuous in a scratchy all round performance, similarly yet another incomplete knock from Bell and insufficient runs from Vaughan.

All on an improving track, with a healthy 1st innings lead and against the legendary NZ pace attack.

But has Anderson suddenly found consistency or Broad sorted out his action? Who knows, though it makes sense to give them games to show one way or the other. Panesar's status as a test bowler? Uncertain on that one too.

Basically the only medium term definites should be Cook, KP, Sidebottom and Collingwood (looking ever more a leader than Vaughan).

All other places up for grabs.
So what exactly does Moores have to work with (though Shah's omission continues to baffle).
It's never been more true that there's only one Freddie.

  • 38.
  • At 04:59 PM on 16 Mar 2008,
  • James Allard wrote:

You could turn your ankle, jogging around the pitch which is the common warm down exercise! These things happen unfortunatley.

As for England they should go on to finish the job with or without Anderson available. However,they are still along way from the finished article and are extremely inconsistent. They just seem to have lost the intensity they showed under the peak of Fletchers reign, and are more reactive than proactive.

In form players should be picked from the counties, and the cental contracting system should be scrapped. Bring back the competition for places!!

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