Mon, 02 Aug 2021

Devon Conway, anatomy of another successful innings

ESPNCricInfo
12 Jun 2021, 05:43 GMT+10

England endure home discomfort as New Zealand raise the required standard

Devon Conway and Will Young make it New Zealand's day

Things could have been very different. On 22, Conway had edged a low chance to second slip which was scooped up by Crawley, but stood his ground, waiting for a definitive verdict. Richard Kettleborough gave a soft signal of 'not out' as he referred the decision to Michael Gough, the third umpire, who found no hard evidence that a mistake had been made. It was "Schrödinger's catch - out and not out simultaneously," Daniel Norcross suggested on Test Match Special.Broad was visibly exasperated, and pundits queued up to criticise the soft-signal protocols, which has already been scrapped in the IPL and will soon be up for debate at ICC level. Jason Holder, the former West Indies captain, tweeted, "How much longer will the soft signal cloud the game?" but in the case of marginal slip catches leaving the decision solely to the third umpire is no silver bullet: issues of foreshortening mean that they are destined to be unclear and contentious regardless.Conway's only obvious deficiency has been a proclivity to play a fraction outside the line of the ball, bringing chop-ons via the inside edge into play. At Lord's, he inside-edged 25 times against seamers - including once onto his stumps in the second innings - compared to only one outside edge, according to CricViz's data, and the figures were six and three respectively today. He has also had limited exposure to top-quality spin bowling, and will be tested by R Ashwin in the World Test Championship final next week.Conway was supported ably by Will Young, who gritted things out for just over six hours before inside-edging Dan Lawrence's whirly offspin to short leg via his pad immediately before the close. He was dropped on 7, Root shelling a straightforward catch at first slip as Olly Stone induced an outside edge, and had to cling on for dear life during a probing burst from Broad and Anderson after tea, but he appears to be reaping the benefits of an early-season stint with Durham in which he hit two County Championship hundreds.Young's success presents a selection dilemma ahead of the WTC final, with Kane Williamson due to return after resting his sore left elbow and New Zealand certain to go in with five bowling options, including an allrounder at No. 7. One batter will be squeezed out and while Ross Taylor has been in a tough run of form over the last 18 months, he survived a characteristically anxious start and reached the close unbeaten on 46 to further his case for retention. Assuming a clean bill of health, that leaves Young as the favourite to miss out despite his 82 - providing further illustration of New Zealand's new-found strength in depth.Devon ConwayWill YoungNew ZealandEnglandEngland vs New ZealandNew Zealand in England

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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