England swiftly wrap up an impressive 267-run victory over New Zealand on the fourth day of the first Test in Mount Maunganui.
|England 325-9 dec (Brook 89, Duckett 84; Wagner 4-82) & 374 (Root 57, Brook 54, Foakes 51)|
|New Zealand 306 (Blundell 138; Robinson 4-54) & 126 (Anderson 4-18, Broad 4-49)|
|England won by 257 runs, lead series 1-0|
Seeking five more wickets to win, Ben Stokes’ side needed less than a session to go 1-0 up in the two-Test series.
The New Zealand batting had been decimated by Stuart Broad on the third evening, the hosts reduced to 63-5 overnight in their chase of 394.
Spinner Jack Leach had Michael Bracewell tamely caught in the third over on Sunday, before James Anderson ran through the tail to claim 4-18.
Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Southee fell in successive balls and Neil Wagner slashed Anderson behind before some last-wicket resistance from Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner.
Anderson switched ends and bowled Tickner, leaving New Zealand 126 all out and Mitchell stranded on 57 not out.
It gives England their first Test win in New Zealand for 15 years and a 10th win in 11 matches since Stokes took over as captain at the beginning of last summer.
In addition, it ends England’s five-match losing streak in day-night Tests and is their first overseas win in a pink-ball match.
The second and final Test of the series, and England’s last of the winter, is in Wellington, beginning on Friday (Thursday 22:00 GMT).
England’s winning habit rolls on
Superlatives for England’s stunning form – and the manner in which they have earned their wins – are starting to run thin.
The numbers are spectacular. Not since 2010, when a team led by Andrew Strauss was on the way to becoming number one in the world, have England won six Tests in a row.
For Stokes, this was his 10th victory in 12 Tests as captain, including the one he led in place of Joe Root in 2020.
Only Lindsay Hassett, who succeeded Don Bradman as Australia captain in 1949, can match Stokes’ speed to 10 Test wins as captain. Michael Vaughan, who took 16 matches, was England’s previous quickest to the mark.
England say their focus is on enjoyment, entertainment and freedom, but they have also turned winning into a habit. They have secured a huge margin of victory at the Bay Oval despite not being at their best for parts of this match.
In retrospect, New Zealand made a mistake by choosing to field first at the toss, an error that condemned them to batting twice under lights in comparison to England’s once.
Conversely, it can be said England shaped the game with their declaration at 325-9 after 58.2 overs on the first day – only one other team, Pakistan in 1974, have declared after fewer overs in the first innings of a Test.
Harry Brook and Ben Duckett continued their impressive form with the bat – their strike-rates of 96.88 and 87.53 are the highest in the history of Test cricket among players who have scored at least 500 runs. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes once again should his dependability with a crucial half-century in the second innings.
Ollie Robinson demonstrated his credentials as a future leader of the England attack with 4-54 in New Zealand’s first innings, while Broad’s spell under lights on the third evening, in the mould of his trademark hot streaks, was thrilling theatre.
England may opt to freshen up their attack in Wellington, when they will aim for a seventh successive win, a feat they have not achieved since 2004.
England surge as New Zealand crumble
While New Zealand’s top order had the excuse of the difficult night-time conditions on day three, a sunny afternoon and a good pitch at the beginning of day four offered the opportunity for some defiance.
Instead, they showed no stomach for the fight in the face of a ruthless and efficient display from England.
Mitchell, resuming on 13, and Bracewell, on 25, were the last recognised batting partnership, but Bracewell patted Leach to mid-wicket to depart without adding to his score and exposed the tail.
Anderson trapped Kuggeleijn in front then had Southee fencing to first slip. Wagner at least survived 21 balls before he unfurled a wild drive and was pouched by Foakes.
At 91-9, New Zealand were in danger of being beaten inside the first hour, only for Tickner to join Mitchell in holding up England for 52 minutes.
Broad returned, hunting a five-wicket haul, and Mitchell passed fifty, before Anderson replaced Leach and splattered Tickner’s stumps.
‘Some of the most fun I have had’ – reaction
Player of the match, England batter Harry Brook: “We all contributed extremely well, especially the bowlers on a fairly docile pitch in the first innings with the sun out.
“I stuck to my strengths and kept on trying to whack it. The way we have been playing over the last eight or nine months is about trying to put as much pressure on the bowler as we can and trying to hit them off where they are bowling.
“It is some of the most fun I have had. Every time I bat I’m really excited to go out and do whatever I want.”
New Zealand captain Tim Southee: “Disappointing but credit to England, strategically they played it pretty well.
“You look back in hindsight but we made the decision to bowl first thinking it was the right one. The way they batted put them in a position to declare that night.
“The decision was right if we could’ve bowled a little bit better on the first day.”
England captain Ben Stokes: “Another great performance – we were very clinical with the bat and very clinical with the ball.
“The most pleasing thing was whatever New Zealand threw at us with the ball we managed to react. It was entertaining cricket. Even though we came away with the result, entertaining is what we want to do.”
“It is tough for anyone when Jimmy and Broady have the new ball talking like they did.”
“Brooky is just carrying on from his amazing series in Pakistan. He is a fantastic talent. He will go on to be a global superstar.”