England’s first match against New Zealand did not go according to plan. Appearing in their first Test since the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia, England sunk to 27-9 before being bowled out in 20.4 overs at Eden Park in Auckland on Thursday.
It was an overall dismal performance and marked the sixth lowest total in England cricket history (58). The record for lowest total, set way back in 1887 against Australia, is 45.
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Coach Trevor Bayliss was generally unimpressed with the way his team played. He said, “We were nowhere near good enough. New Zealand bowled well but we batted equally badly. It was like deer in the headlights. Someone sneezes and everyone caught a cold today.”
The performance actually improved as the match progressed. At one point in the early stages, England looked primed to post the lowest Test total their history, a dubious record that has lasted over 131 years. Craig Overton saved the team from that embarrassment, however, finishing with an unbeaten 33. Opener Mark Stoneman (11) was the only other England player in double figures.
A record five English batsmen made ducks, while left arm seamer, Trent Boult took 6-32 for New Zealand. His new-ball partner, Tim Southee took 3-25.
Bayliss noted that the team played better as the match went on, but it still wasn’t close to good enough. He said, “The ball was pitched up and swinging and we were caught behind the crease for a lot of dismissals. Trying to get forward and negate the swing would have been the way to go.”
Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls struck centuries to build an insurmountable leaf for the hosts as they wrapped up an innings victory. Stuart Broad additionally claimed his 400th wicket. England became only the fifth side ever to be bowled out in the first session of a Test.
BBC cricket analyst Jonathan Agnew said that the blame lies with those at the top of English cricket. He said, “You have to look at the lack of preparation. This is rusty. Alastair Cook was out lambing on his farm a few weeks ago. Don’t blame the conditions. Don’t blame the pink ball. There were a lot of mistakes made by England’s batsmen.”
He added that the players lacked much enthusiasm. Agnew said, “Nearly all the batsmen are walking after playing a shot. These are technical errors. It’s loose cricket.”