England bowling coach frustrated with slow wickets


WELLINGTON: Relatively low, slow pitches in the first two Tests of the series against New Zealand have taken away a lot of the spectacle of Test cricket, England bowling coach David Saker has said.
The second Test between the two sides is heading for a damp draw on Monday after rain washed out virtually all of the two afternoon sessions at the Basin Reserve on Sunday with New Zealand on 162 for two, still 49 runs from making England bat again.
The first Test at University Oval in Dunedin, which was also affected by rain, ended in a draw with both sides producing scores in excess of 400 runs, with England batting 170 overs to save the game in their second innings.
Saker, however, said he felt frustrated as a bowling coach and for the fans watching the matches that the bowlers from both sides were being taken out of the game by the benign wicket.
“It’s not a great spectacle for Test cricket when you’re playing on lowish, slowish wickets and it makes it hard for batsmen to score and bowlers to prise their wickets out,” the Australian told reporters after play was abandoned. “From where I’m sitting, I always like to see the ball get through and see batsmen playing off front and back foot and seeing catches behind the wicket always excites me.
“These wickets you mainly have to prepare for batsmen error and you have to be really patient so that you can build enough pressure up so the batsmen make mistakes. “Unfortunately that doesn’t really go so much for the bowlers’ skills, it’s waiting for the batter to make a mistake.”
England’s pace bowlers, who were seen as key to the Test series after James Anderson and Steven Finn exploited pace and bounce in the limited overs series, have been mostly nullified so far in the Test series.
In the three innings so far, Anderson has bowled 70 overs and taken seven wickets for 232 runs while Finn has bowled 57-odd overs and taken three wickets for 210 runs.
While Saker felt both were one decent bowling spell away from changing the course of a match, England needed all three of their bowlers working together as a unit to put pressure on New Zealand.
“When you’re trying to get teams out on pitches like this you need all three of your quicks working really well together,” he added. “We’ve worked well together in patches but we know as a team when we put it together as a three quick and spinner combination we’re pretty hard to handle no matter what surface we get.”

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