There was plenty of arm-waving and raised voices at Headingley, and that was even before play started.
Interested observers saw England coach Andy Flower and his New Zealand counterpart Mike Hesson each make some pointed observations to ground staff in separate visits amid the drizzle.
Flower implored them to get the covers off and prepare the ground for play; Hesson was alarmed that they should be so obliging given the rain was still falling lightly.
New Zealand had a team meeting at their hotel at 9.30am and were told to reassemble at 10.30am with no immediate prospect of play.
Hesson, the advance party at the ground, suddenly issued the rallying cry and play was under way 75 minutes later.
Asked if there was undue pressure put on the ground staff, and umpires Steve Davis and Marais Erasmus, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said: “I don’t know, what do you think? I wasn’t here when that was going on so I’ll sit on the fence on that one.”
McCullum wasn’t using the rushed buildup as an excuse, though.
“It’s pretty obvious that England were a lot more enthusiastic to get out there than what we were. I’m sure if England were in our position they’d think the same and if we were in their position I’d be looking to get out there as soon as possible.”
It is understood Hesson was also unhappy that play continued in very poor light late on day four with Ross Taylor and Dean Brownlie fighting hard.
Still, New Zealand were keeping their powder dry publicly after being comprehensively outplayed.
Home captain Alastair Cook had copped some criticism for not enforcing the follow-on, with New Zealand 180 behind, and for batting too long to set the tourists a mammoth 468 to win with rain threatening.
“I think the result vindicates the decision. There is no doubt about that all,” Cook said.
“To win by 250 runs is a good win and in just effectively over three days cricket. It was an outstanding performance and we went up a level from Lord’s in terms of all aspects of our play. Tactically we thought the wicket was only going to get worse.
“We batted because we wanted to bat New Zealand out of the game. They have shown over these five games how tough they are. We were 1-0 up in the series and we did not want to give them a sniff in the series because wins don’t come round very easily or very often. We wanted to be able to dictate terms and make it as tough on them as possible.”
England off-spinner Graeme Swann was named man of the match for his figures of 10-132.
Both coaches nominated their player of the series from the opposition, which went to New Zealand paceman Tim Southee and England batsman Joe Root.
- Fairfax Media
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