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English commentator rips into 'shocking' pitch quality in NZ - 'They'll kill Test cricket'

A senior English cricket analyst has come out firing at the condition of pitches in New Zealand, going as far as to say the "shocking" quality could "kill" Test cricket.

Ben Stokes bats watched by Black Caps wicketkeeper BJ Watling during day five of the first Test match between New Zealand and England at Bay Oval. Source: Getty

CricInfo's George Dobell launched his attack on Kiwi pitches during the Following On podcast, slamming the pitch in Hamilton where the second Test between the Black Caps and England is currently being played.

"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.

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

Dobell's scathing words were also directed at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, which hosted last week's thrilling finish to the first Test between the Black Caps and England.

But Dobell said the exciting end didn't justify the conditions.

"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.

"We love cricket, we do this for a living, we've seen a lot of Test matches…these are very very dry, prosaic days and I don't think they are at all good for the game."

Dobell added the players have done the best with what they've gotten though.

"They couldn't have done more. Both sides. Joe Root's been brilliant but his skills have mainly been denial, discipline, concentration," he said of the double-century scorer.

"Are those things you turn on the TV for…let's not watch Joe Root drive let's watch Joe Root leave the ball and let's watch him nudge another single off his hips.

"That's all you can do on this slag heap of a wicket. It's very, very disappointing and I think it's a short sighted strategy from New Zealand.

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

Lucky for Dobell, the series wraps up today in Hamilton with the Black Caps looking to force at least a draw on the final day to win the overall series.