The second day’s play at Wellington brings back memories for me of this match in 1984, when Ian Botham and Derek Randall put on 232 for the sixth wicket, 180 of them on day two. Rags went on to score another century in Auckland his seventh and final in Tests, played all three matches in Pakistan on the mother-in-law tour then only one against West Indies that summer, scoring 0 and 1 with the formerly bold and happy hooker unable to get in line, his technique shredded after being hit by Michael Holding in Hobart a few years previously. But how he enthused a generation of cricket fans with his impudence, skill, courage and cartwheels and that New Zealand tour was the finale he deserved rather than what happened at Edgbaston five months later.
Any road, he was batting at No7 on that tour. No7? Talk about belt and braces. Ian Botham papered over a lot of cracks but little wonder his back went given his workload as opening bowler with only two seamers and a spinner for support. Six batsmen, an all-rounder, a wicketkeeper (definitely not an all-rounder) a spinner and two quicks. And RGD and Both question the balance of sides today.
At No3 was David Gower, whose Test career was cut short in 1992 so doesn’t make it into this list of England’s No3s of the past 20 years. And far from being the problem position it was always perceived to be, they have been pretty well served. Jonathan Trott’s faultless innings yesterday makes him the scorer of the highest number of centuries in that position over the past two decades. Some things I’d forgotten – that Graeme Hick averaged 43 in his 21 innings at first wicket down, that Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook both had quite a few games there and I hadn’t realised Mark Butcher scored so many 50s.
Right, today. Given the pitch England should have their feet not only under the table but in a foot spa. And both sides wanted to bowl first. Daft apeths.