New Zealand’s patience ends with crushing defeat of England

Stuart Broad’s side failed to hold out in first Test as they sunk to an innings defeat

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner celebrates after dismissing England’s Stuart Broad to win the the first Test at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Photo: David Gray/Getty Images

New Zealand’s Neil Wagner celebrates after dismissing England’s Stuart Broad to win the the first Test at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. Photo: David Gray/Getty Images

 

First Test, Day Five: New Zealand 615-9 dec (BJ Watling 205, M Santner 126, C de Grandhomme 65, K Williamson 51; S Curran 3-35, M Leach 47, B Stokes 2-26) beat England 197ao (J Denley 35, R Burns 31, J Archer 30; N Wagner 5-19, M Santner 3-40) and 353 (B Stokes 91, J Denly 74, R Burns 52; T Southee 4-88) by an innings and 65 runs.

The final day in Mount Maunganui began with Stuart Broad telling BBC Test Match Special listeners before play that he didn’t just believe England could save the first Test with New Zealand, he expected it.

But come 4.42pm the No 11 was walking out with bat in hand, his side 197 for nine – still 65 runs in arrears with 21.5 overs remaining – and Kane Williamson’s Black Caps hunting the final wicket that would deliver a 1-0 lead in this two-match series, albeit with the captain off the field with a knock.

Broad lasted just one ball as Neil Wagner crashed a full toss into his pads from around the wicket to complete figures of five for 44 from 19 overs. As the umpire’s finger went up, England could start reflecting on an innings defeat to rank alongside similar such reversals in Barbados, Auckland, Perth, Sydney, Mumbai and Chennai during recent times.

For New Zealand it was a winning start to life at their newly-inaugurated ninth Test ground and also their 11th victory in their last 16 on home soil, during which time they have lost just once. It came despite a side injury preventing Trent Boult from bowling on the final day too.

This was a hammering. From the moment England collapsed on the second morning to 353 all out they lost control of the Test and though they made early inroads into New Zealand’s line-up, BJ Watling’s double century gave them their latest brutal lesson in batting and batting and batting some more.

There was collective excellence in New Zealand’s execution, of course. Mitchell Santner’s maiden Test century was one half of the spirit-sapping seventh-wicket stand of 261 from 83.2 overs with Watling. He also picked up three wickets on the fourth evening before a performing a spectacular flying catch to remove Ollie Pope on the final day.

And then there was another all-rounder, Colin de Grandhomme, who combined with Watling for a partnership of 119 in which he made 65 and twice removed Root to make it the Yorkshireman’s worst Test match of two innings – 13 runs in total – since becoming England captain in early 2017 and see his average drop below 40 for the first time in the role.

Root was the first man out on a fifth day that, given the deficit of 207 runs, from 55 for three, didn’t necessarily require simple blocking: runs had a value too. Perhaps it explained a shot that betrayed indecision over whether to attack or defend, meekly prodding a short, wide delivery to gully.

It saw Ben Stokes join Joe Denly at the crease just before drinks – England’s two most assured batsmen in the first innings – and over the course of 26 overs they got through to lunch and into the afternoon session unscathed.

But, as was the case in the first innings, the loss of Stokes precipitated the collapse as the all-rounder, on 28 from 84 balls, tried to cut Tim Southee and chopped on to his stumps. His disgust with himself was evident to all who had taken up the offer of free entry and basked in the sunshine on the grass banks of Bay Oval.

The indefatigable Wagner then took over from Southee mid-afternoon and truly broke England’s spirits with a fiery three-wicket burst. Only Denly could count himself unlucky here, the right-hander shouldered arms to a ball that reared off the surface from around the wicket and was shown to have tickled the glove on review.

Pope’s dismissal for six was galling, slapping a slow full toss to the flying Santner at short cover, but Jos Buttler dutifully made the youngster feel better by leaving Wagner’s first delivery with the second new ball – a pinpoint yorker from around the wicket – and hearing it crash into the base of off stump.

Limping to tea on 161 for eight, the travelling England supporters did get to witness a mini-fightback as Sam Curran (29 from 59 balls) and Jofra Archer put on a sprightly 52 for the ninth wicket. But when the latter holed out on 30 off Wagner, it brought Broad to the crease and soon the more realistic expectations were met.

Another expectation is that, with Boult unlikely to be fit for the second match in Hamilton, a debut awaits for the uncapped and fiery Lockie Ferguson as New Zealand, now with 99 Test wins, go in search of another century. – Guardian

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