Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: NZ's first innings will set tone - Broad

England all-rounder Stuart Broad believes the start of New Zealand's first innings at Lord's will offer the key insight into whether March's three-test stalemate between the two teams can be broken.

Broad's theory is based on how the visiting batsmen adapt to swing bowling which could be accentuated with a more willing Duke ball and expected overcast conditions.

"We haven't panicked too much [after the drawn series in New Zealand] but we didn't move the ball as much as we wanted on slow, placid wickets. If it doesn't swing for us this week we might have a few panic attacks.

"New Zealand weren't swinging it around corners either. But regardless of what they did, we didn't swing the ball enough. That's something we've looked at. We weren't disciplined enough to do it consistently as a unit. We need to build pressure together. If it's cloudy at Lord's it swings and we have the world's best swing bowler in Jimmy Anderson [who sits on 298 test wickets].

We know we can bowl a lot better than we did in New Zealand."

Broad concedes incumbent New Zealand openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford have provoked some specific head-scratching after the pair made centuries in the past series.

"Obviously the usual mantra is to bowl at the top of off or fourth stump to bring the edge into play. We don't need to get too funky.

"The difference is 'two-metre Peter' is capable of hitting the ball through the legside if it drifts anywhere near his stumps. His stats are high for legside scoring. Height can affect how you bowl but it shouldn't.

"Rutherford is also an interesting player since he's come on. I see he got a century against the Lions as well. The first time we played him in a test he got 171 in Dunedin. It takes time to get used to new players. He's capable of turning fourth stump deliveries into width. On flat wickets he can hit good balls for four.

"New Zealand also get more aggressive the further they go down the order. We know they're fighters."

Broad says a variable which might make both sides' task harder is this season's batch of Duke balls. He's questioned their durability.

"The 2013 ball produces a bit of swing early but tends to go out of shape and get soft quickly. It seems to swing more than the 2012 balls but less than the 2011 and 2010 vintages."

In contrast, the New Zealand attack has not taken a full 20 wickets since the end of November when they beat Sri Lanka in Colombo. There have been five tests since, including the third test against England at Eden Park where they took 19 wickets in one of the sport's more compelling draws.

- NZ Herald

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