England’s “Bazball” revolution continued apace on Sunday when the tourists wrapped up a thumping 267-run victory over New Zealand in the first Test on Sunday with the best part of two days to spare at Bay Oval.
It was a first Test victory for England in New Zealand since 2008 and a 10th win in 11 matches since former Black Caps skipper Brendon “Baz” McCullum and Christchurch-born Ben Stokes took over as coach and captain.
The Black caps were perhaps still shellshocked after Stuart Broad’s brilliant spell with the pink ball on Saturday evening and only Daryl Mitchell offered any real resistance as they slumped to 126 all out in the opening session of the fourth day.
“Another great performance,” said Stokes. “Very clinical with the bat and very clinical with the ball. We executed as well as we wanted to. It was entertaining cricket and that’s what we want to do. We’re just trying to put on a show.” Broad (4-49) laboured in vain on Sunday to get his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests, but his strike partner James Anderson (4-18) stepped up to lead the mopping up of the New Zealand tail.
The pair on Saturday supplanted Australia’s Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne as the most prolific Test bowling partnership and now have a combined 1,009 wickets from 113 matches together.
“When you’ve got the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad in your bowling attack, it’s always going to be tough for any side with bat in hand,” Stokes added.
World Test champions New Zealand had resumed on 63-5 with the mammoth task of chasing down 394 for victory, but England quickly resumed their dominance of the previous evening.
Michael Bracewell (25), Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner departed so swiftly that it looked like the victory would be wrapped up inside an hour.
Anderson had dismissed Kuggeleijn for two and New Zealand skipper Southee for a golden duck with successive deliveries but Mitchell fended away the hat-trick ball and proceeded to stall the rout for nearly an hour with an unbeaten 57.
England’s strategy of batting aggressively during the day and doing their best to expose New Zealand’s top order to the vagaries of the evening sessions paid huge dividends.
Stokes declared on 325-9 after England were sent in to bat on day one and although New Zealand responded with a first-innings tally of 306, the tourists always appeared to be in control of the game.
After another “Bazball” onslaught at the start of day three, the England batsmen slowed the pace to extend the innings and ensure New Zealand started their second knock under the floodlights.
England’s 374 gave them a healthy lead but they barely needed it as Broad bowled Devon Conway, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham through the gate in short order before returning to remove first innings centurion Tom Blundell in the same style.
Man of the Match
Promising young England batsman Harry Brook was named Man of the Match for his half centuries in each innings.
“Brooky’s just carried on from his amazing series in Pakistan,” Stokes said. “He’s a fantastic talent and I think he’s going to be a global superstar.” New Zealand have lost or drawn their last five Test series and now need to win the second Test in Wellington, which will start on Friday, to save this series.
“Disappointing, but I think credit to England. They played it strategically very well,” said Southee.
“We were on the receiving end of a couple of night periods that weren’t obviously ideal. We’ve got a couple of days to digest things and look forward to getting back to red ball cricket at the Basin Reserve.”