Nasser Hussain recently dissected the enthralling action from Day 2 of ongoing England vs New Zealand 1st Test. While the former England skipper was effusive in his praise for Black Caps debutant Devon Conway, he felt England’s current openers and top-order batsmen could have learned from the Kiwi’s stunning knock.
Devon Conway built on the foundation he laid on Day 1 to score a fantastic double ton on Day 2. While the debutant scored more than half of his side’s runs and batted for the entirety of the innings, Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley were back in the hut by the seventh over of England’s essay.
Nasser Hussain: The Difference Between Devon Conway’s Approach And England’s Top Order Hits One Between The Eyes On 2nd Day
In his column for The Daily Mail, Nasser Hussain explained what set Devon Conway and the two Englishmen apart at Lord’s.
“Comparisons aren’t always helpful, but the difference between the approach of Devon Conway and England’s top order hit you between the eyes on the second day of this opening Test match. He (Conway) left the ball well, let it come to him, and played it under his eyes. It was an orthodox innings and a chanceless one. He’s clearly a bloke who knows how to bat time and bat long. England’s top three, it’s fair to say, do things a bit differently,” Nasser Hussain wrote.
While Devon Conway earned plaudits for his stellar knock, the English duo of Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley failed to cover themselves in glory. The opener departed for a seven-ball duck after being squared all ends up by Kyle Jamieson, and Nasser Hussain was not impressed with Dominic Sibley’s risky approach.
“But in neither case during the mini session before tea was their dismissal the result of the kind of percentage cricket played for more than nine and a half hours by Conway. Sibley tried to hit a ball from Kyle Jamieson that was going down the slope and nipping away from him through midwicket, which was a high-risk shot,” Nasser Hussain mentioned.
Zak Crawley at No. 3 didn’t fare much better either, with Tim Southee using the width of the crease brilliantly to draw the batsman’s edge. Nasser Hussain was appreciative of Tim Southee’s guile but felt Zak Crawley could have handled the situation much better.
“Crawley, meanwhile, was set up beautifully by Tim Southee, who went close to the stumps to bowl a full-length delivery, followed by one back of a length. He then leapt wider of the crease, at which point a batsman really ought to be guarding against the sucker punch. The ball was full, wide, and swung away — and Crawley was drawn into the drive, with terminal consequences,” Hussain admitted.
Both Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley come into the series on the back of disappointing showings against India. While Dominic Sibley averaged just 16.75, Zak Crawley amassed a meager 67 runs in four innings against India.
Nasser Hussain: England Needs To Protect Their Best Batsman Joe Root
Nasser Hussain believes England’s top order needs to take a leaf out of Devon Conway’s book and protect Joe Root as they look to cement their place in the side.
“England need to protect their best batsman, and they know that the return of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler will strengthen their middle order. Right now, though, the top-order needs to show a bit more nous. And they could do with reflecting on how Conway batted. The remaining three innings in this series are already looming large,” Nasser Hussain concluded.
Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley’s England futures aren’t under immediate threat. However, a prolonged poor run could see players like James Bracey stake a claim for a top-order slot in the future.
Following his 200 off 327 balls which included 22 fours and a six, Devon Conway broke former India captain and current BCCI President Sourav Ganguly’s record for the highest score by a debutant at Lord’s. Sourav Ganguly had scored 131 on his Test debut at the iconic ground back in 1996.
New Zealand scored 378 with debutant Ollie Robinson picking 4 scalps and England in reply was 111/2 at stumps with Rory Burns unbeaten on 59 and Joe Root batting on 42.