England were unable to negotiate batting out the final day against New Zealand as a series of injudicious strokes saw the tourists hammered by an innings and 65 runs at Mount Maunganui.
Neil Wagner’s five for 44 included two wickets in as many balls to bring an abrupt conclusion to proceedings as the Black Caps took a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, but a number of England batsmen were culpable in their own downfall.
With seven wickets in hand and needing to bat out the day to guarantee the series stayed level heading to Hamilton later this week, England captain Joe Root and deputy Ben Stokes were among those out to puzzling shot selections.
England’s heavy loss on a sluggish pitch – albeit one that offered turn and bounce out of the footholes for Mitch Santner, who took three for 53 – was all the more galling given Trent Boult was only able to send down one over on Monday because of a rib injury that leaves him doubtful for the second Test.
But the hosts found their opponents in charitable mood as the only batsman to last more than 100 balls was Joe Denly, who received scant support elsewhere in his 35 from 142 deliveries as England were all out for 197.
A draw had seemed distinctly remote once they had lurched from 121 for four to 138 for eight before tea and there were still 21.4 overs remaining when Stuart Broad was the last man out for a golden duck in the final session.
Why would you want to win a Test that isnât part of the Test championship ...... !!! 😜😜😜😜😜 #NZvENG— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 25, 2019
Ashes 2005-winning captain Michael Vaughan makes the point that England can console themselves that this two-match series against the Kiwis is outside the remit of the World Test Championship.
There’s nothing to stress us out too much and we don’t just believe we can save this game, we expect toStuart Broad
Having been kept in the field for 201 overs, bowling 33 of them himself, Broad can perhaps be pardoned for being so bullish about England’s prospects before the start of play on day five. Penny for his thoughts as he walked out to bat in the final session, though.
Of the last 8 times England have batted first in a Test and made 350+ they have now lost 4 by an innings:— Andrew Samson (@AWSStats) November 25, 2019
v Ind Mumbai 2016
v Ind Chennai 2016
v Aus Perth 2017
v NZ Mount Maunganui 2019
England have struggled with the bat on the road for some time.
Any local fans who took up New Zealand’s hospitality for free admission were treated as the hosts claimed their 11th win in their last 16 home Tests.
New Zealand’s left-arm enforcer Wagner showed he is not just a one-trick pony who bangs it into the surface. Having just taken the new ball, and coming round the wicket, Wagner fired in a hooping in-swinger that Jos Buttler left alone to his cost as the delivery clattered into the base of leg stump.
November 28: New Zealand v England, day one of the second Test at Hamilton. The tourists have barely any time to lick their wounds as they go in search of levelling the series later this week.