England vs NZ - 1st test report

Sesha Subramanian reports on England's lacklustre start against the Kiwis.

Sesha Subramanian
9th December 2019
Image: @englandcricket (Twitter)
When Stuart Broad came in to bat at number eleven, his words that morning echoed through the minds of many of those listening to the BBC Test Match special - that he didn't just think England could salvage something out of the test, he believed it.

Alas, with 65 runs to win, 21.1 overs to go and with the Kiwis just needing one wicket to wrap it all up, it was more wishful thinking than anything. As it turned out, Broad's batting in the face of Neil Wagner was not even half as strong as his conviction that morning on radio - a full toss onto his pads getting the Englishman out.

Wagner ended the innings with figures of five for 44 and was easily the standout performer for the Kiwis. England's fate was pretty much sealed much before that, however, as they went from 276 for 4 to 353 all out in one morning. While they made some progress by trying to dismantle the Kiwi batting lineup, BJ Watling's eleven-hour long stint which produced 205 helped New Zealand to a mammoth 615 for 9. He was helped in no small part by Mitchell Santner's maiden test century and Collin De Grandhomme's 65. The seventh wicket stand of 261 between Santner and Watling was indeed England's most brutal period. Santner and Grandhomme also came good with the ball and on the field, with the latter twice removing Joe Root for a grand total of 13 runs and the former snapping three wickets as well.

England's new era under Chris Silverwood has now begun with an all-too-familiar tale of an innings defeat akin to the ones they suffered in Barbados, Auckland, Sydney, Perth, Chennai and Mumbai before this. They looked incapable of producing gruelling batting stints or take 20 wickets on flat dirty tracks - both characteristics New Zealand have shown consistently over the last few years.

Jofra Archer, who also tweeted that he faced racial abuse during the first test, struggled with the ball and is clearly still finding his feet at the test level. Despite a late ninth wicket stand by him and Sam Curran for 52 runs, England never looked likely to get a draw out of it and eventually, Wagner drove the final nail into the coffin.

With Trent Boult still out and the fiery Lockie Ferguson likely to make his debut in the second test, more pace could be thrown England's way. They certainly couldn't handle it in the first test. Will the second prove to be different? It remains to be seen.

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