Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


New Zealand beat England by an innings and 65 runs to win first test and fall 1-0 down in two-match series

ENGLAND slumped to a miserable defeat in the First Test when their batsman botched their attempt at a rearguard.

One after the other, they tossed away their wickets to shots that were careless, reckless or plain stupid. New Zealand won by the crushing margin of an innings and 65 runs.

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner (L) celebrates after dismissing England’s Stuart Broad to win the Test match

It made for a nightmare first Test for the combination of new head coach Chris Silverwood and captain Joe Root, whose mission statement is to regain the Ashes in two years time.

England are going to have to improve a heck of a lot if that is going to happen.

From the moment they reached 277-4 early on the second day, England produced some terrible cricket.

They were all out for 353 when they should have scored 450-plus and then allowed New Zealand to pile up the small matter of 615-9 declared.

B.J.Watling made a double century and Mitchell Santner a maiden Test hundred. They displayed the type of discipline and hunger for runs that was lacking from much of Englands effort.

And then came Englands performance on the final day. Even though king of swing Trent Boult was able to bowl just six overs in the innings before leaving the field with a side strain, England could not save the game.

Root said: This was a missed opportunity, to be brutally honest. We had a couple of guys play really well in our first innings but they could have made bigger scores. We need to make 450 and create some scoreboard pressure.

We felt we did some good stuff but we need to do it for longer. Its not going to happen overnight and we know there are definitely areas in which we can get better.

We must not panic because this is not the end of the world but we need to be honest with ourselves.

This type of match has become almost the norm for England overseas. They fail to score enough runs in their first innings, surrender massive totals to the opposition and then crumble in their second innings when there is a match to be saved.

England appeared caught in two minds how to bat as they mounted what they hoped would be a successful rearguard. They opted for blocking with no attempt to wipe off the deficit and make New Zealand bat again.

But then bizarrely nearly all the batsmen got out playing aggressive shots.

On the fourth evening, Rory Burns had perished attempting an unfathomable sweep shot on after Dom Sibleys suffering against left-arm spinner Santner came to an end when he prodded for no apparent reason at a wide ball.

Then nightwatchman Jack Leach was given out caught at short leg even though he did not touch the ball. Leach chose not to review presumably because he wasnt sure.

So England had seven wickets intact entering the final day. On a flat pitch on which New Zealand had accumulated their massive total, that should have been enough batting to secure a draw.

But it wasnt to be. Root departed tamely when he guided a catch to gully – a near carbon-copy of his first innings dismissal. With scores of two and 11, this was Roots least productive match with the bat as captain.

His career average as skipper has now dipped below 40 and there are growing signs that the responsibility of the job is undermining his output. He had a poor Ashes series in the summer, dont forget.

But Root insisted: Im convinced the captaincy is not impacting on my batting in a negative way.

Joe Denly and Ben Stokes stayed together for 26 overs and England were beginning to believe. But Stokes departure prompted a clatter of wickets – just as it had done in the first innings.

The Durham all-rounder dragged onto his stumps attempting to force a ball from Tim Southee off the back foot. It was a poor shot selection in the circumstances and certainly poor execution.

Next, Denly tried to leave a ball from left-arm paceman Neil Wagner, the ball bounced more than Denly thought and brushed his glove on the way through to the wicketkeeper. Denly was initially given not out but a review confirmed his fate. Denly had hung around for 141 balls, scoring 31 runs.

The shots just got worse. Wagner bowled a slow, wide full toss to Ollie Pope, who had to stretch to make contract and Santner – yes, him again – dived and clung onto a superb right-handed catch.

Then Jos Buttler opted to leave the first delivery with the second new ball. Big mistake. The ball from Wagner swung in and clattered into Buttlers off stump.

Sam Curran and Jofra Archer stayed together for 16 overs but then the self-sacrifice continued – Archer was caught on the boundary pulling a short ball from Wagner.

No.11 Stuart was out first ball when he missed a full toss and was lbw. The indefatigable Wagner collected his fifth wicket.

England have plenty to ponder in the next couple of days.