Yet again another England bowler stood on the podium collecting the man of the match award after skittling New Zealand out when they would have been in that position if Joe root hadn’t saved England from a batting collapse.
At least Swann acknowledged the fact and he was named man of the series.
Swann it has to be said looked back to his best and under most circumstances a spinner, a finger spinner, an England finger spinner getting a 10 for at Headingley would merit the award no matter what. After Lord’s pitch was set up for him to finish New Zealand off and he didn’t get a bowl he made up for it here. You do wonder if they’ll come back after an operation but when you see the way he was curving the ball away in the air and ripping it back off the pitch you again wonder why the hierarchy, as with football teams, leave getting it sorted out until the last minute.
But back to the main man. Joe Root. As with Lord’s he came in when the top had done very little and again looked a class above what had gone before. With Bairstow joining in it was Yorkshire versus New Zealand. But Root was the main focus, the first Yorkshire player to score his maiden test century at the Leeds ground, he joined FS Jackson, Len Hutton, Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan as the only Yorkshire players to score a ton at their club ground.
Previous four of course went on to captain their country, three of them captaining Ashes victories and three opening the batting.
The former may come in time the latter should be sooner than later. Compton looks lost in English conditions against the new ball. People saying Root has got out to that very same thing miss that he did so after getting a score and especially after that century relaxing a bit. Going in first up he won’t be that relaxed. He’s an opener and if Compton is going to be a walking wicket it’s ridiculous to keep him.
Bell is again fortunate that Compton is in the side – and that he’s so many mates in the media. His ineptitude when others haven’t softened up the bowling before him is all there to see but it’s never commentated on. So much so that the completely stupid thought of Bell opening is being mentioned. Lead from the front? Bell? Funny that when he was at the crease with Root it was the man 9 years and 74 tests his junior that was the leader.
But will England? I doubt it. Far too adventurous and as this test matched showed, with batting, declarations, follow ons – surely they didn’t ask NZ to follow on to give Compton another go, how did that work for them? – field positions – they spread early no matter how many runs the opposition have to chase – etc that adventure isn’t their modus operandi.
Even though England hold the Ashes and so don’t have to win the series, they have to go and beat the Aussies not just hang around trying not to lose.