So England’s brave new world in test match cricket was upon us and what a venue to start it at Mount Maunganui. With the weather set fair throughout Joe Root under blue skies won the toss and elected to bat and announced the same team he unveiled the previous day. For New Zealand they stuck with the experienced bowling attack of Boult, Southee and Wagner.
England’s pre-game mantra was that they were going to try and bring a different approach to this form of the game. Instead of the focus being on how quickly they could score it would instead be how long they could bat for in the hope that this would prepare them to regain The Ashes in two years.
A new opening partnership in Burns and Sibley got England underway and for the former he appeared to be taking off from where he finished in the Ashes. At the other end Sibley showed the cricketing world his legside game by flicking his first ball in international cricket for four. Eventually though the kiwi bowlers worked him out by hiding the ball outside his off-stump and Sibley was out for 22 on debut.
The teams went to lunch with England having just nicked the opening session however after the break New Zealand came out with some better plans and were prepared to pitch the ball up. Burns was caught behind after being worked over by Wagner and captain Root soon followed after deflecting the ball to 2nd slip.
England’s new mindset was definitely in action as they went to tea with just 120 on the board. The introduction of the spinner Santner allowed Denly to free his arms as he planted him for the first six of the innings. Frustratingly Denly a couple of over later was caught behind from the bowling of Southee for 74 as another opportunity for an international hundred was blown.
With the new ball in sight Stokes put his foot down and began to unveil his full repertoire of strokes as he finished unbeaten with 67. This wasn’t completely without luck though as Stokes who had already hit Boult with the new ball for three fours was dropped attempting to go for the fourth, will New Zealand live to regret that tomorrow. Ollie Pope on his return to the test team looked equally unfazed as he pulled Southee to the boundary a couple of times towards the end of the day.
Overall England will feel they just about edged the opening day due to being only four wickets down. Tomorrow the opportunity beckons to put together a really big first innings score and put the hosts under pressure when they come to bat. The local commentators believe tomorrow may well end up being the best day for batting as the pitch should quicken up compared with the fairly slow nature it was today.
|R J Burns||c Watling b de Grandhomme||52||138||6||0|
|D P Sibley||c Taylor b de Grandhomme||22||63||4||0|
|J L Denly||c Watling b Southee||74||181||8||1|
|J E Root||c Southee b Wagner||2||22||0||0|
|B A Stokes||67||114||9||0|
|O J D Pope||18||23||4||0|
|Extras||1b 4lb 0 1nb||6|
|Total||for 4||241||90.0 overs|
|T A Boult||22||6||61||0|
|T G Southee||21||6||46||1|
|C de Grandhomme||19||5||28||2|
|M J Santner||5||0||24||0|