New Zealand v England – Story of the match
England’s bid for another famous stalemate fell short at Eden Park
Ben Stokes’ brave and admirable defiance was in vain as England subsided by an innings and 49 runs against New Zealand for a 10th away Test defeat in their last 12 attempts.
Joe Root’s men had scant chance of recovering from the moment they were bowled out for 58 at Eden Park in Auckland in only 20.4 overs of the first session in this pink-ball series opener.
Almost two days of rain gave them a glimmer of keeping the Black Caps at bay for an improbable stalemate – but after their captain fell to what became the last ball of day four, hopes gradually dwindled on the way to 320 all out in the 127th over of the 146 Kane Williamson’s declaration challenged them to bat out.
No way back from 58 all out
A humbling day first day in Auckland. Scorecard: http://ms.spr.ly/6186r0veGPosted by England Cricket on Thursday, March 22, 2018
Two days of rain gave England hope to cling to for a while – and thankfully, they fared significantly better second time round. But without fail, teams who score 58 or fewer in their first innings go on to lose Test matches. There was the odd twist and turn on this occasion before the inevitable outcome.
Tweet of the day
After that lovely catch from Williamson we see Moeen Ali enter the fray.— Test Match Special (@bbctms) March 26, 2018
Can he be the hero England need? 💪
trail by 183
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#NZvsENG #bbccricket pic.twitter.com/cV0XMzZPwj
Err … no. Test Match Special posed the same question about a succession of batsmen, but none could quite answer the call.
Give Stokes his due
It was in vain, but Stokes’ bid for survival – batting entirely against his adventurous instincts – was highly laudable. In his first Test since last September, when he was man-of-the-match in a series-sealing win over the West Indies, England’s high-profile Ashes absentee was runless – along with four others – in a hapless first innings. He was unable to bowl too because of a stiff back which returned towards the end of his rearguard effort, but still demonstrated why England prize his mere presence.
Stat of the day
Three wickets each for Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Todd Astle in the final innings. Boult finishing with match figures of 9-99. Card | https://t.co/MiIfpeaU9o #NZvENG 📷 = @PhotosportNZ pic.twitter.com/Fk3ww2nFAl— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) March 26, 2018
98 – A mountain of overs at New Zealand’s disposal to take seven wickets. In the end, it was plenty.
England have three days, including one travelling to the South Island, to dust themselves down in time to hit back in the second and final Test in Christchurch.