Nasser Hussain recently dissected the enthralling action from Day 2 of the ongoing England vs New Zealand Test. While the former skipper was effusive in his praise for Devon Conway, he felt England’s openers 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.
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 Sibley and 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 Dom 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,” 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 Southee’s guile but felt 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.
Top order needs to protect Joe Root, says Nasser Hussain
Both Crawley and Sibley come into the series on the back of disappointing showings against India. While Sibley averaged just 16.75, Crawley amassed a meagre 67 runs in four innings against India.
Nasser Hussain believes England’s top order need 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.