Cricket: Dylan Cleaver – Five takeaways from day three of first test between Black Caps and Pakistan

Dylan Cleaver provides five takeaways from day three of the first test between the Black Caps and Pakistan.

Getting A Toehold

Bowling with a broken toe cannot be easy, but you only have to look at the schedule to know why Neil Wagner would rather risk long-term damage than miss a test.

As a red-ball specialist with no route into the Black Caps one-day or T20 teams, Wagner’s season basically comes down to four games. You wouldn’t miss one willingly.

The Crab Pt. II

There were a few startled glances when Fawad Alam took strike for the first time. The Pakistan left-hander faces straight down the wicket, stumps exposed, with his right foot pointing to midwicket, before he dramatically turns back side on when the bowler is in his delivery stride.

It brought back memories of West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul. He, of more than 11,000 test runs, was nicknamed ‘The Crab’ because of his stance. If anything, Fawad’s is more exaggerated.

It does look like a case of over-complicating the process but former Black Caps coach John Bracewell mentioned over a sirloin steak during the lunch break, it does have the benefit of drawing bowler’s eyes to the stumps and they subconsciously get a bit greedy and tend to overpitch.

The tactic worked for Fawad in the recent ‘A’ test, as he completed a century.

Flypaper Hands

Ross Taylor will have harder chances, but the catch he took at first slip to dismiss nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas will hold a special place. It was his 150th catch in tests, moving him a little closer to the only man ahead of him for New Zealand, Stephen Fleming.

Less known is the fact it moved him into fourth on the all-time catching list across all formats.

He has 334 and stands an excellent chance of finishing in second by passing Jacques Kallis (338) and Ricky Ponting (364). It is a stretch to think he’ll have a chance of reaching Mahela Jayawardene’s 440 though.

Go Slow

As Kyle Jamieson was racking up the maiden overs yesterday it was time to dive deep into Statsguru to see how many more he’d need to break the record for most in an innings.

The answer: a shedload more.

West Indies spinner Alf Valentine bowled 49 in an innings on the way to 3-140 against England in 1950. He bowled a staggering 92 overs in the innings.

Happy Hooker

Watching the teams warm up is the preserve of the true cricket practice but every now and then you can pick up a nugget. Before the start of the third day’s play coach Gary Stead and middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls spent a lot of time working on playing the short ball.

Nicholls is a prolific scorer off the back foot but has been getting a bit tangled of late. In Wellington against the West Indies he was fortunate that a skied pull shot didn’t go to hand when he was on just two. He survived that and went on to compile 174, his highest test score. Here a miscued hook was spilled when he was on six, a simple chance, and although he went on to a half century, his innings was ended when he got in another tangle trying to hook.

It was impossible to decipher the conversation through the binoculars but it looked like they were talking about the need for Nicholls to hit the ball a bit earlier, a bit more out in front so he could hit with straighter arms.

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