Australia’s legendary former legspinner Shane Warne criticised England for their safety first approach in the first Test against New Zealand, saying it was a huge opportunity missed to win a Test and provide some excitement. The first Test ended in a draw with England playing for a draw chasing 273 on the final day.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson’s bold declaration at lunch on Sunday’s fifth and final day left England with a target of 273 in 75 overs to win the first of the two-match series. But England did not appear in any mood to take up the challenge; they reached 170 for 3 when players shook hands. Sibley (60* off 207) played a patient knock, while Rory Burns (25 off 81) and Joe Root (40 off 71) played their parts too.
“Disappointed at the negative approach from England yesterday as they never even contemplated chasing down a very getable total. A huge opportunity missed on how to chase on the 5th day, plus exciting for spectators, viewers & test cricket,” Warne tweeted.
Disappointed at the negative approach from England y’day as they never even contemplated chasing down a very getable total. A huge opportunity missed on how to chase on the 5th day, plus exciting for spectators, viewers & test cricket ! @robkey612 @nassercricket @MichaelVaughan
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) June 7, 2021
Former India opener Wasim Jaffer too criticised England’s approach. “If you won’t even try to chase a target of 3.6 an over at home with no WTC points at stake, when will you ever try? Not a good advert for test cricket,” he tweeted.
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) June 6, 2021
England captain Joe Root, though, had backed their decision.
“It was slow and hard to time the ball and get any sort of rhythm. You look at the target and amount of overs you have, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that. Of course, it will disappoint a few people but from our point of view, we’re very much in this series. We leave here level and give ourselves a great chance to win the series at Edgbaston,” Root said.
The second Test will be played in Birmingham from June 10.