After losing the toss and being put into bat, Ben Duckett was the pick of the England batsman as he looked in supreme touch, effortlessly scoring eighty-four from sixty-eight balls. The highly anticipated innings of new star, Harry Brook, also did not disappoint as he played in typically aggressive fashion, crashing eighty-nine and unfortunate to not bring up three figures. The first day was dominated, though, by England’s declaration at 325-9 and off just 58.2 overs. This declaration was the second earliest in test match history and perfectly summed up the direction that Ben Stokes is taking his team. Unsurprisingly, it paid dividends as the evergreen James Anderson operated superbly with the pink ball and the Black Caps were left reeling at 37-3 at the close of day one.
Day two saw Tom Blundell continue his sparkling form as he continued to haunt Stokes’ bowlers. The wicketkeeper made a gutsy and brilliant century as his middle order fell away around him. Ollie Robinson was the pick of the bowlers, taking four wickets with the pink ball, whilst Anderson claimed three. The game did sit finely poised, though, as Devon Conway’s seventy-seven and Scott Kuggeleijn’s brave innings at the end placed the hosts just nineteen runs short of England’s first innings total.
With the game on a knife-edge as the sides entered the third innings, England were a collapse away from handing the game to New Zealand. Brendon McCullum’s side seem to have left those bad habits in the past, though. The tourist’s ability to put together two competitive totals across the test match played a huge role in securing such a heavy victory and by posting 374, England’s middle order had surely batted the Black Caps out of the game. Joe Root endured a timely return to form as he tidily scored fifty-seven, whilst yet another half-century for Brook was further boosted by valuable runs scored by Ben Foakes and Robinson down the order.
Then came the hour of the ‘Nighthawk’. As New Zealand looked to negotiate the first hour of their run chase in the dark atmosphere that the day-night test brings, Stuart Broad, a humorous and often self-deprecating figure with the bat, was no joke with the ball as the veteran seamer ripped through the New Zealand top order. In doing so, leaving them 28-5 and completely out of the game. Broad’s magic spell, one of many in an England shirt, saw him clean bowl Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Blundell to send the Barmy Army into raptures late on day three. Broad and Anderson, the pair that became the most successful bowling pair in test match history, overtaking Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, tore New Zealand apart on what was a futile run chase on day four. Four wickets each for both bowlers and only a hard-fought fifty-seven not out scored by Daryl Mitchell stood in their way. The hosts were bowled out for 126, with rampant England securing the first test by 267 runs.