New Zealand response puts England in trouble after bright morning of new era | England v New Zealand 2022
Ben Stokes has packed his 30 years on this planet so much that his first outing as England’s permanent Test captain starting at breakneck speed and featuring more action than a Hollywood blockbuster, should probably come as no surprise. .
And it’s not like we weren’t warned either. When Rob Key decided Brendon McCullum was the perfect head coach to team up with Stokes, the director of men’s cricket told people to ‘buck up and get ready to race’. An opening day of 17 wickets and 248 runs played to the buzz of Lord’s, initially dominated by the hosts but with New Zealand fighting back in the final session, certainly lived up to that billing.
Indeed, in the end it was the tourists who came out on top, atoning for a rusty performance in which they were rolled for 132 in 40 overs by cutting England to 116 for seven from 36 in response. Zak Crawley had played a princely 43 to fall in the last soaring drive of his burgeoning Test career, while Alex Lees dug in for 25. But otherwise it was a string of low scores as Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult went wild.
That surprising late slump of seven for 41 had simply continued the gripping mood of a first innings in which returning Jimmy Anderson and impressive debutant Matt Potts took four wickets apiece, Jonny Bairstow had three great catches and the game s stopped at 23 overs so the ground could cheer Shane Warne’s life. There was also a bad fall on the boundary rope that forced poor Jack Leach to be substituted in his first home Test in two years with concussion symptoms.
While this latest incident meant Matt Parkinson had to hit the motorway from Manchester to make an unexpected Test debut, arriving at 5.30pm with his side at bat it might be best to head back to the start. Stokes came out for the draw alongside Kane Williamson, avoiding the captain’s blazer; instead, he chose to wear a Test jersey with Graham Thorpe’s name and cap number on the back, a touching tribute to the team’s former batting coach who remains critically ill in hospital.
Williamson called correctly but things went south for the visiting skipper afterwards, with the world champions living up to pre-series fears over their readiness as they collapsed to 12-for-four in the 10th and 39 six at lunch. As good as the Home of Cricket menu may have been – a choice of lamb rump or grilled halibut for the players on that first day – we suspect it could probably have been better for the visitors.
But New Zealand is so phlegmatic that it may have managed to rationalize it all. After all, they had met two stellar operators in Anderson and Stuart Broad, veterans desperate to prove a point after the absurdity of their absence from the Caribbean tour, as well as the cricket county form horse in the eyed Potts flint. And as it turned out later, there was quite a bit of supply for tailors.
Anderson and Broad certainly hit a rich pace with the new ball, the pair playing the lengths Joe Root still demanded during the final days of his captaincy to vaporize New Zealand’s best order. Anderson was also up and running in just his second, Will Young poetically falling on a man who turns 40 next month after outswinging an outswinger to the cord and Bairstow grabbing a one-handed dive to his left.
Bairstow’s follow-up in round five was no less spectacular, rebounding by diving on his own initial fumble after Tom Latham’s drive on Anderson. The Yorkshireman’s third was at least less stressful with Devon Conway, a double centurion on his debut at this ground 12 months ago, struggling with Broad’s angle around the wicket and presenting a simple low grip.
Rarely could Potts have wished for a better position to enter the fray on the first change, or a more dreamlike start to his career afterwards. Rushing from Nursery End, his fifth ball escaped Williamson, varied the edge and handed Ben Foakes his first home run. Happy Days for young Pottsy, if you will.
The 23-year-old from Sunderland has certainly offered a point of difference to the big two, despite moving at a similar pace. He hit the splice hard at the back of a length in the main part – this method requiring Daryl Mitchell to cut his stumps to make it 27 for five – with the most complete delivery of the sucker which represented Tom Blundell, played without offering a shot, and tailender Ajaz Patel lbw in the afternoon.
Anderson bouncing off Jamieson and Southee in between meant he and Potts were vying for the honors roll. But in the end, a dose of cramp forced the youngster off the field two balls into his 10th, with Stokes taking over and claiming Boult’s final wicket. So far so good for the New England captain.
In case of strains, however, the all-rounder was reflecting on the same issues that dominated the winter and forced the regime change in England. Although Boult and Southee squandered the new ball, the introduction of the giant Jamieson changed the complexion of events: he took advantage of Crawley’s latest lapse in judgment, teased a tame punch from Ollie Pope on seven and allowed his colleagues to pile in.
Among them was Colin de Grandhomme, who after carving out a helpful 42 with the bat ended Root’s first innings via a slash cut on the third slide. It was the first of five wickets to fall for just eight runs, with Southee trapping lbw Lees and taking off Stokes with an outswinger, and Boult then knocking down Bairstow and Potts with Foakes looking on the non-striking side.
After a promising start to the era, England had given in somewhat.