New Zealand dominated England on day five of the first test at Mount Maunganui by skittling the tourists for 197 after tea to hand the hosts an impressive win by an innings and 65 runs.
England began the day 53/3, requiring 207 more runs to require New Zealand to even bat again, and started with some promise, having only lost one wicket in the first 41 overs of play.
However, they lost four wickets in the afternoon session with New Zealand’s Neil Wagner claiming three of them in a five-over spell which ripped the guts out of England’s resistance.
It is testament to New Zealand’s efforts as a team that several of their players stood up and made an impact when needed. Their strike bowler Trent Boult, who only bowled one over in the day due to a rib injury, left a hole in their attack which was ably filled by Wagner with figures of 5/44.
England were ultimately bowled out for 197 and Joe Denly top scored with only 35. Man of the match went to New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling after his titanic 11-hour occupation of the crease which resulted in a double century.
England now must travel to Hamilton for the second test in three days time knowing they can only square the two match series. New Zealand’s winning streak at home now extends to 32 months, having not lost a home test since March 2017.
Joe Root’s men will be particularly disappointed with their efforts with the bat and their inability to bat for long periods of time on a surface that offered few demons. Winning the toss and batting first, they only managed 353, a total which turned out to be below par.
New Zealand’s far more patient and tactical approach would do well to be emulated by this England side whose batting has proved far too brittle in nature. England’s knack of losing wickets in clumps occurred in both innings and ultimately cost them this test match.
If England are going to start winning test matches away from home, they will need to post first innings totals above 400 with far more regularity to allow their bowlers the time to bowl opposition out in flatter Southern Hemisphere conditions.
England captain Root said: “We missed an opportunity (in the first innings) if we’re brutally honest with ourselves. We could have done with a score over 450 and using that scoreboard pressure as another fielder.”
With no time really to regroup, similar to Joe Root’s refrain before the series, they simply must find ways to bat for long periods of time if they are to have any chance of squaring this series and head to South Africa with an amount of confidence.
The second test begins on Wednesday night at 10pm UK time.
Image courtesy of Sky Sports via YouTube, with thanks.