Mar 17 2013
England's bowlers were collectively short of their best as bad weather and a bland pitch conspired against them at the Basin Reserve.
James Anderson's dismissal of Peter Fulton was the tourists' only success as rain limited day four of the second Test to 34 overs and, with more downpours forecast for Monday, made a second successive stalemate against New Zealand by far the likeliest outcome as the hosts advanced to 162 for two to trail by only 49.
"Trying to get batsmen out on this, you need all three of your quicks working really well together," bowling coach David Saker said. "We've done that in patches, but we know when we put it together as a three-quicks-and-a-spinner combination we are pretty hard to handle - no matter what surface we get."
Stuart Broad was the pick of the crop again, back to his best since the pain abated in his left heel after forcing him home early from England's Test tour of India in December.
"He obviously struggled in India with an injury, and it is testament to the medical staff to get him back," added Saker. "He had an injury that could have lasted a lot longer than it did. He's come back, looked good...and his pace has been really encouraging."
Neither Steven Finn nor Anderson has been as impressive here.
"Injury-wise, he's fine," Saker said of the former. "I think he's just struggling for a little bit of rhythm. The high standards he sets, he'd probably say he's below his best at the moment. But we know (he's) one spell or two spells away from probably changing a game."
The bowling coach believes the same is true of Finn, while Panesar appeared to be hampered as much as anyone by the slow pitch. "I think Monty at times has looked really dangerous, over the wicket, and around," said Saker. "It's not one of those wickets that really zips and turns that he was used to in India. He just hasn't had that zip he might have wished for."
Both in Wellington and Dunedin, where England drew the first Test last week, slow-motion cricket has prevailed - to the dismay of Saker. He said: "Just for a spectacle of Test cricket, this isn't the greatest way. Anyone watching the game wants to see the ball bounce through and sometimes it's a bit frustrating for the spectators.
"If you watched the Twenty20 and one-day games, they were played on very good and fast wickets - which produced some good cricket. The two Test wickets we've played on have been quite opposite to that."