Life is currently good! Last night I enjoyed some wonderful Alsace wine with some of my best friends, and now it’s Friday. Fridays of course are always good – it’s the weekend, but today is a particularly good Friday. In 15 minutes the Second Test will start, and then tonight I’m going to Manchester to visit my friend for the weekend, so all is well in the world.
The Second test starts today. England name an unchanged team and it is hard to argue with that. It would have been interesting to give Tremlett a go on what is likely to be a very pacy pitch, but which of the bowlers would you cut? They all bowled fairly well (if not brilliantly) at Lords. Sidebottom’s place is rightfully secure as he continues to enjoy the form of his life; Anderson produced some magic deliveries, and Broad is a vital cog at number 8 in the batting line up. Panesar has an excellent record at this ground and is indispensible in the current set up, although perhaps batting at 10 is a little lofty for him!
If England were to make any changes, perhaps a little shuffle in the batting line up, but it is also hard to see who to drop. Collingwood is terribly out of form at the moment, but his bowling and fielding more than support his place in the side, and with his temperament, the runs will surely come.
What England really miss in the absence of Trescothick and Flintoff is a top quality slip catcher; if this is not rectified soon, then it will continue to cost England. Strauss looked very fumble-fingered at slip in the first test, and England will not want to throw away chances.
New Zealand make only one change – with Southee dropping out after his illness this week and Iain O’Brien slotting in in his stead.
Latest News – New Zealand win the toss and opt to bat. An interesting decision on this pitch. England’s bowlers will look to make early inroads, whereas New Zealand will hope to bat long enough that the spin of their captain, Daniel Vettori, will become very testing on a quick, bouncy track.