'Worst series ever': English cricket journalist savages New Zealand pitches

England captain Joe Root showed great concentration to get a double century against New Zealand.
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England captain Joe Root showed great concentration to get a double century against New Zealand.

New Zealand has been accused of preparing pitches that will kill test cricket.

George Dobell, a senior correspondent for ESPN Cricinfo, made the claim as the second test between New Zealand and England in Hamilton appears to be heading towards a draw.

On his Following On podcast, Dobell said that although England had a good day on Monday, with Joe Root getting a double century, the pitch at Seddon Park in Hamilton was poor.

Dobell said pitches like this and the one for the first test in Mount Maunganui are helping to kill this form of the game, as spectators vote with their feet and stay away.

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"They [England] tried to force the pace on a pitch that is poor…if this is an entertainment product then that is a shocking pitch," Dobell said after Monday's play.

"People will say it's old fashioned test cricket, you can't moan about it…well there's no-one here. 

It's been tough going for the bowlers over the last five days in Hamilton.
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It's been tough going for the bowlers over the last five days in Hamilton.

"If we want this sport to be viable, and if you take out the travelling England supporters, there's a couple of dozen people here today.

"That is not sustainable and the reason it's not sustainable is New Zealand is creating these pitches and they'll kill test cricket.

"They get results in the end like at Mt Maunganui…[but] a rock fall can be quite dramatic, it could be good TV, but a thousand years of erosion which caused it isn't good TV and I don't think the end justifies the terribly attritional means.

"I don't think this is conducive to modernity. People aren't watching this."

While Root scored 226 runs in England's innings, it wasn't the prettiest double century to watch as the England captained battled away, show great concentration, rather than flamboyant shots.

George Dobell, who has previously written for the Times, Guardian and Wisden said with the pitches produced in New Zealand, England fans won't bother coming next time.

"They've got five days of gate receipts. Great," Dobell said. 

"I don't know how many people will fly 12,000 miles next time to watch this because it's not good entertainment.

"I've tried not to say it all tour, it's sort of building up to it. Basically, this is the worst series I've ever covered in my career in 20 years.

"You've got to be aware it is an entertainment product. It is so slow and they've got brilliant players on both sides. You just need to give them a canvas on which they can express themselves."

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