In 20 overs on the first day of the first test at Eden Park, England were bundled out for 58, their sixth lowest score in test cricket. Craig Overton, one of England’s more promising players top scored with 33, the next best was Mark Stoneman who made 11. England at one stage were 18-6 on a morning that was absolute carnage and with surely New Zealand one nil up with one to play. To further rub salt into England and Trevor Bayliss’ wounds, Kane Williamson serenely made his way to the brink of another test century and made batting look easy.
New Zealand series was a chance of redemption for England
Prior to the series, England retained faith with a number of the squad that had failed to fire in Australia, particularly Messrs. Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Moeen Ali. The New Zealand series was seen as a chance of redemption for England before they head into the English summer and with a lot of points to prove. Having watched England capitulate in quite spectacular style this morning, one wonders what preparations have been taking place on and off the field to get ready for this series. Based on this morning’s action, it looks like England’s batters have taken the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, two seasoned and quality test match bowlers, for granted.
Technical problems continue to blight England’s batting
What we saw during the Ashes series goes hand in hand with what was played out in Auckland today. England look short of confidence and that includes the captain Joe Root. The batters looked uncertain and hesitant with their techniques on a track, which did not seam sideways as initially expected. The bigger issue around England’s selection and player resources also looked glaringly obvious. Bayliss and Root do not look like they know what their first XI is and with key players like Moeen Ali and Alistair Cook out of form. The technical deficiencies that belittled England’s batsmen against Australia’s fearsome pace tri of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Pat Cummins still very much exists with Trent Boult and Tim Southee expertly exploiting the conditions. Boult and Southee may not have the zip and pace of the Australian fast bowlers, but they hit the right lengths time and time again and England could not deal with it.
England careers on the line if fight back does not materialize
The wider ramifications on the impact that this first day has had on English cricket and test match cricket in particular will be known in the next couple of days. England must fight back in what is looking like a losing cause in this first test match. Kane Williamson is looking ominous and with Auckland’s weather set to provide ideal seaming conditions, it is not going to get any easier for England when they go into bat for their second innings. Frankly on this evidence, England look shot, are technically lacking in their batting skills and it is going to take something very special from a number of individuals to come out of this series all square.
How ironic it is to see Kevin Pietersen retire this week after a wonderful career all be it controversial at times. How England could have done with some of his magic on the first day.