Michael Bracewell under fire over 'incredibly lazy' act in second Test
New Zealand were forced to follow-on by England after a first innings collapse.
New Zealand are in the midst of attempting an unlikely comeback against England in their Test clash in Wellington, however a less than impressive effort between the wickets from Michael Bracewell might have dented their chances somewhat. The Kiwis have set England a target of 235 to win after making 483 in their second innings after the visitors enforced the follow-on.
Having made 209 in reply to England's first innings of 8-435 declared, the Kiwis were sent back in by Ben Stokes, this time building a much better total of 483. This was thanks to strong ing contributions from top order batters Kane Williamson (132), Tom Latham (83) and Devin Conway (61), as well as wicketkeeper Tom Blundell's 90.
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Despite the improved second innings, runs were still desperately needed for the Kiwis, and though few would have expected Bracewell to have an unexpected turn with the bat, fans and coaches undoubtedly would have preferred him to be more cautious with his wicket.
Bracewell was run out by Ben Foakes for just eight, with Blundell still at the crease and the Kiwis a chance of easing their innings beyond the 500-run mark. It was the manner in which he was run-out that truly left Kiwi fans seeing red, however.
The 32-year-old was well and truly inside the crease when the bails were whipped off by Foakes - but neither his bat, nor his feet were actually grounded behind the crease. As such, the umpires had no choice but to send him back to the pavilion.
It was an awkward way to lose a wicket to say the least, particularly with every run worth its weight in gold as New Zealand mount an unlikely comeback. On social media, Bracewell copped a barrage of criticism from fans over what many considered a 'rookie' error by not grounding his bat across the crease.
A gift of a wicket for England - Bracewell doesn't ground his bat when running into the crease, Foakes casually knocks off the bails and the batter's foot is still in the air!
New Zealand 478/7 - lead by 252 runs #NZvENG
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) February 27, 2023
That's incredibly lazy cricket from Bracewell.
Made even more amazing by the hard work that Williamson & Blundell have put in today, and the precariousness of the match situation.
— Michael Appleton (@michelappleton) February 27, 2023
Ben Foakes with a very clever bit of wicketkeeping, Michael Bracewell with a very silly piece of running, and somehow England have a second breakthrough in quick succession.#NZvENG
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 27, 2023
And that folks is why some are always banging on about the basics of running between the wickets.
— Andrew (@shortflyslip) February 27, 2023
Could we instead give Michael Bracewell a crash course of running between the wickets? Instructed by Alyssa Healy preferably
— Dylan (@dylannnn08) February 27, 2023
Sorry but Michael Bracewell needs to be dropped for that dismissal alone. His head is not in the game and that inexplicable bit of inattention could cost us this test match.#NZvENG
— Jimmy Shaw (@SAFCKiwi) February 27, 2023
New Zealand stage comeback after England enforce follow-on
New Zealand were bowled out in the morning session on day three for 209 in reply to England's first innings of 8-435 (dec), the Black Caps falling 27 runs short of avoiding the follow-on. Visiting skipper Stokes had little hesitation sending the hosts back in to bat on an overcast morning but Latham and Conway survived 19 watchful overs to lunch and then the entire middle session to tea.
By tea on the fourth day at Basin Reserve, Williamson's expertly measured 113 not out had put the Black Caps 197 ahead on 5-423, a massive turn-around after being sent in again with a 226-run first-innings deficit. Only three teams in Test history have lost after enforcing the follow-on, but the prospect of Ben Stokes' England joining that list was gradually rising thanks to a vastly improved New Zealand batting display against a visibly weary bowling attack.
England have now been in the field since soon before lunch on day two, sending down 193 overs between them across both innings. Stokes has been able to contribute just two of those overs, on the third evening, with his chronic left knee problem preventing him from sharing the load.
Veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad were being asked to run in for multiple spells without luck, while spinner Jack Leach was sitting on figures of 2-132 from a mammoth 50 overs.
For New Zealand it was a day to celebrate Williamson, back to his brilliant best having scored just 10 runs in his previous three knocks of the series.
The former captain started the day by chalking up a major milestone, pinging Anderson's fourth delivery off his toes to overtake Ross Taylor's 7,683 Test runs and make him the country's record Test run-scorer.
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