England’s Tragedy at Mount Maunganui is charted by Dannie Byrne

Dannie Byrne, Travelling Reporter Extraordinary, provides a Day-by-Day Account of England’s Descent at Mount Maunganui

:

DAY ONE:  New cautious approach by England’s batsmen looks set to pay dividends

The ticket office opened at 9 am for those of us who needed to either collect pre-booked tickets or purchase them from scratch. There were only 12 people ahead of me in the queue yet it took 30 minutes for me to reach the serving counter. It was a pathetic effort by “ticketek” who clearly couldn’t care less whether or not spectators were able to see the first ball of the day. Hundreds were still outside the ground when Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat first. New Zealand cricket might as well give the contract to Book My Show or Events Now as there is no difference in the quality of service provided in India or Tauranga. The Bay Oval became the 120th International Test Venue and the 82nd different ground where I would be able to witness Test Match Cricket.

Sibley’s first ball in the Test arena was a half volley on leg stump and it was duly dispatched to the mid-wicket boundary. Burns helped himself to successive leg side boundaries from Boult’s second over before the batsmen settled down and played out four consecutive maidens. An edge from Burns was caught behind but the half hearted appeal from the Kiwis was turned down by umpire Oxenford and Williamson was not persuaded to call for a review. The score at the drinks interval after an hour was 30 – 0 from 14 overs. I spent five minutes familiarizing myself with the names of the sponsors noting that JSwap were a transport company, Bayleys traded in Real Estate and Craigs were Investment Partners. There were no cement companies much to my disappointment. Dalmia were completely absent and Ultratech, the Engineer’s Choice are clearly not the number one selection in New Zealand.

De Grandhomme replaced Southee and Wagner eventually took over from Boult with Sibley taking two leg side boundaries off the ex-South African’s first over. The 50 partnership came up from 112 balls and things were looking good for England’s new defense minded approach until Sibley was squared up by a good delivery from de Grandhomme and was smartly caught low at slip by Taylor for 22 ( 52 – 2 ). Denly required 21 deliveries to get off the mark and by Lunch England had reached 61 – 1 from 29 overs. During the interval I briefly checked out the available food and discovered only fish and chips, hot dogs, ice cream and coffee behind the terraced area where I was sitting.

Southee returned after the interval appropriately from the Southern End while Wagner continued from the Mount Maunganui End. Denly pulled four boundaries off Wagner from two overs while Southee pitched the ball up at the other end. Burns edged Southee straight between Taylor and Latham in the slips at knee height when on 37. An edge from Denly off Wagner failed to carry to slip. The bowler continued to run in and completed the 29th ten over spell of his Test career, a record that no other modern day fast bowler can come even close to matching. The 50 partnership between Denly and Burns was completed from 122 balls before Burns survived a very close lbw appeal and subsequent review with the umpire’s call on the ball hitting the bails being just enough to save the batsman. Burns brought up his half century from 135 balls with a push through mid-wicket for four. He was then caught behind playing a relatively poor shot to de Grandhomme for 52 ( 113 – 2 ).

Another slow period of consolidation followed for England. Root required 21 deliveries to get off the mark and was caught in the gully by Southee off Wagner to his 22nd ( 120 – 3 ). Stokes could have been run out off a deflected drive from Denly without facing a ball but he survived and tea was taken after 56 overs with the score 121 – 3. Several suggestions have been received for page 5 of my new Bird Spotting book, the best from Fish ( a Chelsea supporter entering into the spirit of things ) who recommends a New Zealand check-in. I’m sure I can get a suitable photograph if I visit a farm somewhere in between the two Tests.

Stokes required 15 deliveries to get off the mark and looked comfortable in the new era of circumspect batting. Denly brought up his half century from 136 balls with a drive to the cover boundary. Santner was eventually given a few overs of spin with only nine overs remaining until the second new ball would become available. A perfectly timed straight six from Denly off Santner completed another 50 partnership this time from 127 deliveries. Stokes played a glorious straight drive off Wagner as the batsmen finally attempted to increase the scoring rate. Santner appeared to be bowling too quick to give the ball a chance to turn but he was unfortunate not to get a wicket when a flick to leg came off Latham’s boot at short leg with Denly on 64. The new ball was taken after 80 overs with the score 198 – 3. Wagner had finished bowling for the day and ended up with figures of 23 – 4 – 77 – 1 from three lengthy spells all from the Mount Maunganui End.

Denly was excellently caught one-handed by Watling diving to his right after leaving his bat dangling outside off stump to Southee when on 74 ( 203 – 4 ). Pope bucked the new trend by getting off the mark to his first ball and Stokes quickly completed his 28th Test score of 50 or over from 91 balls. Stokes hit three consecutive boundaries in an over off Boult and when he attempted a fourth he should have been caught at shoulder height by Taylor at slip. Pope settled in quickly to play some lovely shots off his legs to the boundary square of the wicket and if these two batsmen can get going quickly again in the morning England could well go on to post a total in excess of 400. The score at the close of play at 6.21 pm was 241 – 4 from 90 overs. 121 runs were scored in the first two sessions and then a further 120 were added in the third. Thankfully most of us will not need to queue up at the ticket shed again for the rest of the match.

****  ****

DAY TWO: If this is the new era of circumspect batting then someone is having a laugh

The ticket sales area had several more people on hand to assist this morning and they had even set up an additional table just for spectators trying to collect their pre-paid purchases. It was reminiscent of India where the food and chai wallahs often don’t turn up in certain parts of the ground until the third day. There was still only one entrance and long queues were evident at the start of play. Surely the authorities here have had to deal with the same issues when putting on One Day International matches. It might look good on the TV, but no seats, no shade and no organization amounts to a shambles in my book.

Stokes hit the third ball of the morning straight back beyond de Grandhomme as the members of the Barmy Army who had managed to get into the ground belted out a classic version of Jerusalem. Pope was given out lbw playing across his stumps to leg but was reprieved when Stokes called for a review on his behalf. He celebrated by smashing a short ball from Boult to the square leg boundary. When Southee replaced de Grandhomme he received the same treatment. A delicate cut from Stokes to the third man boundary took his score to 89. England were racing towards 300 until Stokes came down the wicket to a wide delivery from Southee and was brilliantly caught by Taylor leaping to his right one-handed at first slip ( 277 – 5 ).

Pope played possibly an even less appropriate shot a few overs later when trying to hit the leather off a wide delivery from Southee and was comfortably caught by Watling behind the stumps ( 286 – 6 ). Curran was lbw to his first delivery trying to play a straight ball to leg and he even wasted a review before leaving the field. Archer survived the hat-trick ball, edged a boundary to third man and was caught at slip to his next delivery ( 295 – 8 ). Only Silverwood presumably knows why he comes in ahead of Leach. This was more like the England of old we are all used to. Four wickets had suddenly fallen, all from terrible injudicious shots in the space of 21 deliveries for the addition of 18 runs. Southee had taken three of the wickets, Boult the other, leaving both bowlers with exactly 255 Test wickets.

Leach pinched a single from his first delivery and almost ran out Buttler in the process. If this was the new era of responsible batting then only Burns, Sibley and Denly had read the script. Leach is a good man to have coming in at number 10 and he helped rescue a difficult situation for England by offering solid support to Buttler. The Lancashire wicket-keeper was content to score in singles for a while before launching Boult wide of the sight screen just before lunch. The players left the field with the score 329 – 8 with 88 runs having been added for the loss of 4 wickets from 26 overs in a highly entertaining session.

Southee deserved 5 wickets as he fully justified his selection ahead of Lockie Ferguson but he was denied his five-fer when Raval dropped Buttler on 34 while running in from the backward point boundary. An excellent 50 partnership was completed from 104 deliveries before Buttler played another inexplicable shot and was caught on the cover boundary by Santner off Wagner ( 349 – 9 ). Broad was bowled off an inside edge and England was all out for 353 from 124 overs. Leach was left stranded on 18 not out from 55 balls. After a quick 10 minute interval Broad and Archer opened the bowling for England against Latham and Raval, both left-handed batsmen. After seven overs the bowlers requested to switch ends and Curran was given an over from the Southern End. Latham was given out lbw to his third delivery despite a faint inside edge that everyone including the batsman appeared to miss ( 18 – 1 ). Archer switched to the Mount End but failed to add accuracy to the menu of menace that he brought to the table. After 11 overs the score was 33 – 1 with Byes the top scorer on 9. There were plenty of sponsors involved in the building trade but unfortunately for Buttler none were offering discounts on step ladders.

Williamson played a couple of superb effortless back foot punches to the cover boundary and Leach was brought on to bowl the fifteenth over of the innings replacing Archer at the Mount End. Tea was taken with the score 50 – 1 from 17 overs. After the interval Raval survived a close lbw review attempting a sweep to Leach and was fortunate to just clear Archer at mid-on coming down the wicket to the left arm spinner. An edge from Williamson flew between second slip and gully and the 50 partnership was eventually completed from 88 balls with the New Zealand captain contributing 36. Raval appeared restless against Leach and when he attempted the lofted drive once too often he was smartly caught by Denly at mid-wicket when on 19 ( 72 – 2 ). Taylor and Williamson looked comfortable batting together until Taylor exhibited an extraordinary lapse in concentration when pulling a short delivery from Stokes straight to Ollie Pope at deep square leg ( 106 – 3 ).

Nicholls got off the mark to a perfectly timed push through the leg side to the mid-wicket fence. Williamson was content to score in singles off virtually every ball he faced. A cruise liner about the size of a small town was just pulling out of the harbour when Curran was brought on from the Southern End to replace Archer. Leach dropped short at the other end and Nicholls crashed a boundary through the vacant mid-wicket area. Williamson completed his half century from 84 balls with a fortunate edge to third man off Curran and then received a brute of a delivery from the left arm bowler that climbed sharply to hit his glove before looping away towards Stokes at third slip ( 127 – 4 ). The Chelsea supporters were trying to get their revenge at this stage as a group of red-billed gulls mounted a full scale guano attack on the score sheet from a height of 15 metres. Nicholls ducked in to a bouncer from Archer and the sound of ball hitting helmet was deafeningly loud. The batsman recovered to see out the rest of the day and when play ended at 6.32 pm we were three overs short of the requisite number of 90 for the day. The score was 144 – 4 from 51 overs as I made my way to the Mount Mellick Irish Bar to consume some well earned Craft Beer refreshments.

***** *****

DAY THREE: Watling’s eighth Test century puts the home side in a commanding position

I had expected a larger crowd on the Saturday but with only two buses an hour from Tauranga instead of the normal four, it was perhaps a little more challenging for spectators to actually get to the ground. Curran and Broad surprisingly opened the bowling for England and after several maidens Archer was introduced from the Southern End and Stokes from the Mount End. The 50 partnership between Nicholls and Watling having taken a painstaking 168 deliveries was almost inevitably brought up from another four byes courtesy of Archer. In the new era of circumspect batting it was the New Zealand side that was showing all the initiative.

Leach replaced Archer and Nicholls was given out lbw to a ball that appeared to keep low. The batsman called for the DRS and was given another life as the TV replay showed his pad to have been outside the line of off stump when the ball made impact. Root brought himself on at the Mount End and Watling was badly dropped at slip by Stokes when on 31. Nicholls was adjudged to be lbw to Root hit on the back leg and on this occasion there was to be no review ( 197 – 5 ). The next man in was de Grandhomme and he managed a couple of boundaries before Lunch was taken with the score 224 – 5 from 83 overs. 80 runs had been added to the New Zealand total for the loss of only 1 wicket from 32 overs in the morning session.

The temperature had risen to 27 degrees but it was almost unbearable with no shade and no breeze. The crowd were again allowed on to the field to examine the wicket from behind a roped off area but on this occasion the Public Address announcer at least had the grace not to ask us to return to our seats before play resumed as he had on previous days. There were of course no seats to return to and today we were simply asked to return to the viewing areas. The new ball was taken immediately after the interval with Curran running in from the Southern End. Watling completed his half century from 149 deliveries just before the first log train of the day appeared in front of the salt works on the far side of the ground. Pine trees were being exported to Japan in their thousands and the pile of unwanted salt by-product next to the three silos was getting bigger by the day. One genius on the bus coming to the ground was overheard by the Chairman commenting to his mate that he didn’t understand why the snow didn’t melt in this part of the world.

The 50 partnership between de Grandhomme and Watling required 118 deliveries and the scoring rate was at least slowly creeping up. Archer took over from Curran and de Grandhomme stepped back to a short delivery to pull the ball behind square for a six. He completed an excellent half century from only 73 balls and then appeared to go to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. England used up their final review on an lbw shout against Watling and the ball was shown to be going over the top of the stumps. A sweep from Watling to the fine leg boundary brought up the first 100 partnership of the match from 193 balls with de Grandhomme having contributed 61. Curran replaced Leach and de Grandhomme smashed the first delivery towards gully. Burns managed to get a hand to the ball but had to leave the field immediately for some urgent repairs. Miraculously the wind suddenly changed direction and the breeze was welcomed by everyone on the western side of the ground. Leach returned to the attack after Broad was given a spell but no-one was able to force a break through. At Tea the score was 316 – 5 from 110 overs. 92 runs had been added in the afternoon session with no wickets falling from 27 overs.

Stokes first ball after Tea was wide outside off stump and de Grandhomme hit it towards gully where Sibley pulled off an outstanding one-handed catch diving low to his right ( 316 – 6 ). The England lead at this stage had been reduced to only 37. Root brought himself on to bowl and Santner hit a six over long-on to where the Barmy Army was congregated. Burns was still off the field having his hand glued back together and Curran was given a bowl from the Mount End. A flick to the fine leg boundary from Watling brought the scores level with New Zealand taking 9 fewer deliveries to reach 353. A drive through extra cover took Watling to 98 and after a couple of quick singles he was able to celebrate his eighth Test century from 251 balls including 12 boundaries. He became the first New Zealand wicket-keeper to score centuries in consecutive Test matches following his 105 not out at the P Sara Oval in August. Only three wicket-keepers have scored more Test centuries while also keeping wicket – Adam Gilchrist, Andy Flower and Les Ames.

The 50 partnership between Watling and Santner was completed from 95 balls. Watling was given out lbw to a slower ball from Archer but was hastily reprieved following a review when an inside edge was detected. The England bowlers toiled away without taking any more wickets. The score at stumps was 394 – 6 from 141 overs. 250 runs had been added in the day for the loss of only 2 wickets. If this is really the beginning of a new era of responsible batting in Test matches then New Zealand are already streets ahead of their English opponents. The overall lead for New Zealand was 41 at the close of play with four first innings wickets in hand and the likes of Wagner, Southee and Boult still to come to the party.

****  ****

DAY FOUR:  Watling and Santner take the game away from England

The PA announcer takes great pride each morning informing the spectators of the names of the 22 players who will be participating in the game. I have no idea why this happens as it is the same names every day and more or less the same people who have to listen to it. Most of us are fully aware that there are no substitutes allowed apart from situations where a player has been sconned by a bouncer and advised by a Doctor to rest for the foreseeable future. Archer and Broad opened the bowling for England on the fourth morning and decided to pitch the ball up despite Santner clearly being in all sorts of trouble to short pitched deliveries the previous evening. There was only one scoring shot in the first seven overs. In the eighth over Santner deliberately edged Broad over the slip cordon to bring up the New Zealand 400. Curran replaced Archer after five consecutive maidens from the fast bowler. A large plume of black smoke appeared from behind the salt works. It may have been a signal to allow Pope to bowl as presumably he would have as much chance of getting a wicket as any of the recognised bowlers.

The spectators based in Tauranga were gradually arriving at the ground half an hour after the start of play. Many had been caught out on Saturday evening when the last bus left Mount Maunganui at 6.23 pm. In some parts of the world people have come to expect additional transport to be available on Saturday evenings. In Mount Maunganui the opposite happens and the buses stop running a couple of hours before the sun even sets. Several cricket supporters were forced to return to the pubs along Maunganui Road the previous evening in order to find a means of contacting taxis to take them to Tauranga, Katikati and Bethlehem. Is it any wonder then that the attendance level was below what had been expected when there is virtually no transport available to assist people getting to and from the ground? No-one was expecting things to improve today with it being a Sunday.

The supporters who arrived late arguably didn’t miss a lot as only 19 runs were added in the first hour from 16 overs. Leach and Root were brought on to bowl after the drinks interval and the 100 partnership was completed from 294 balls. Santner eventually completed his third Test half century from 170 balls. Curran took the third new ball with the score 428 – 6 from 163 overs. Stokes was given a couple of overs before Archer was thrown the ball. A drive through the covers from Watling took his score to 143, his best in Test matches to date. When the lunch interval arrived New Zealand had reached 452 – 6 from 171 overs. Only 58 runs had been added in the session with no wickets falling from 30 overs. At this stage the Black Caps had an overall lead of 99 runs.

Watling completed his 150 from the first delivery he faced after the interval. Two overs later he leant back deliberately to hit Archer over the slips for a six. The 150 partnership was brought up from391 balls. Santner took three boundaries off an over from Broad and the 7th wicket partnership beat the previous record for a New Zealand pair against England. The innings was more than two days long at this stage. Leach returned from the Southern End and Santner hit a drive through the covers to equal his previous best Test score of 73 against Bangladesh in 2017 in Wellington. Santner hit Leach for a straight six. Another huge six brought up the New Zealand 500. Stokes sent down another five wides from a single delivery and umpire Dharmasena checked to see if it could be worth six. The 200 partnership was completed from 450 deliveries with both batsmen contributing exactly 91.

This was the fifth time New Zealand had scored 500 against England in a Test match and on each occasion to date they have failed to go on to register a victory. Santner hit another straight six to take his score to 97. He completed his maiden Test century from 252 balls including 4 sixes and 8 fours. The partnership extended beyond 225 the previous highest for the 7th wicket by New Zealand against all opposition. Santner hit Curran for another six and Root replaced Stokes. The runs were flying off the bat at this stage with 50 added from just 5 overs. The 250 partnership came up from 489 balls. It couldn’t last forever and Santner was eventually caught by Pope at long-on off Curran for 126 ( 577 – 7 ). The partnership had lasted exactly 500 balls. Watling completed his double century shortly afterwards from 460 deliveries including a six and 23 fours. Tea was taken with the score 590 – 7 from 198 overs. The session had produced 138 runs from 27 overs for the loss of only one wicket. The overall lead had climbed to 237.

Leach bowled the first over after tea and Southee picked up a nine iron and hit the ball over long-off for six. He was caught and bowled by Leach later in the same over ( 598 – 8 ). Watling was then caught behind off Archer for 205 his marathon innings lasting for 668 minutes ( 603 – 9 ). Wagner hit Leach into the crowd at deep mid-wicket and the declaration finally came with the score 615 – 9 from 201 overs. It was New Zealand’s highest score against England in Tests. The 21 wides recorded had equaled the previous record set by the West Indies against Australia in Bridgetown in 2008. On this occasion the record should have been smashed wide open as most of the 22 byes shown on the scorecard should have been called as wides against Archer by the umpires. There were no fewer than 54 extras in the innings total of 615 and that was with the umpires only noticing two no-balls.

England came out for their second innings with Latham keeping wicket for New Zealand and Watling off the field presumably being treated for exhaustion. The game was delayed as members of the grounds staff were called upon to deal with a crack on the pitch that had destabilized the off stump at the Southern End. A period of banging the soil with a hammer followed just as the seagulls began the daily 5 pm guano attack on the Western Terrace. The lady beside me was hit twice in a minute and the Oasis song that I have renamed Champagne Super Over was blasted out over the PA system. The game resumed and an edge from Burns failed to carry to de Grandhomme at second slip. The all-rounder, originally from Zimbabwe was then brought on to bowl and another edge from Burns dropped half a metre in front of Latham behind the stumps. Santner was brought on to bowl the 12th over of the innings from the Southern End.

The left arm spinner immediately appeared to get the ball to grip and turn off the pitch away from Sibley’s outstretched bat. He played and missed a few times and Watling returned to wicket-keeping duties during the drinks interval. Admission was to be free on the fifth day according to an announcement over the PA system and a potential disaster involving hundreds of people standing in ridiculous queues in the morning would thankfully be avoided. Santner bowled to Sibley and an inside edge came off Watling’s thigh and crashed to the ground. An outside edge a few deliveries later was caught and the first wicket had gone down with the score on 48. The Barmy Army was singing the Jesse Ryder song to the tune of Delilah as Santner continued to torment the batsmen. Burns was dropped by Southee low to his right at short mid wicket. There were only three overs left in the day when Burns attempted a sweep to Santner and was easily caught by de Grandhomme at square leg when the ball went straight up in the air off a top edge ( 53 – 2 ). Leach came out as Night Watchman and tried his best to play out the last few deliveries with six fielders crowded around the bat.

With only two balls left in the day Leach was given out caught off a mixture of glove and pad by Bruce Oxenford off Santner. Leach conferred with Denly and they declined the opportunity to call for a review. The radio commentators saw no evidence of the ball hitting the glove. Play was called off for the day with the score 55 – 3 from 27.4 overs and England looking to be in desperate trouble. Not only had Santner had his best ever day with the bat, his previous best bowling figures had been 16 – 2 – 60 – 3 against India in Kolkata in September 2016. In this innings to date he has 8.4 – 4 – 6 – 3 against his name. Imagine scoring your first ever double century and not even being considered for the Player of the Match Award. With one day left to play in this Test England require a further 207 runs just to make New Zealand have to bat again.

DAY FIVE: England’s batting implodes again as Wagner leads the New Zealand charge with 5– 4 to win the Test”

The corporate hospitality tent was thrown open to general admission on the fifth morning and a group of around 100 supporters immediately grabbed the available white plastic seats and positioned themselves in the shade with a good view of the pitch and the scoreboard. I was the fifth to arrive and I spent a good ten minutes making sure my seat was placed exactly where I wanted to sit. Imagine standing on a train for 4 hours and finally getting a seat for the last 20 minutes of your journey. The relief to be finally able to sit in the shade was immense. Entry had been free which was a little unusual given that everyone would have happily donated a few dollars to a worthwhile local charity. The lack of planning and sensible decision making has been unfortunate throughout this Test match and one can only hope New Zealand Cricket will have learned something and that shaded areas will be provided for future matches, a few shuttle buses will be laid on, tickets made available to be collected a day or two before the start of play and so on.

New Zealands Neil Wagner (R) celebrates the wicket of Englands Jos Buttler (L) during the fifth day of the first cricket test between England and New Zealand at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on November 25, 2019. (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 25: Neil Wagner of New Zealand celebrates bowling Joss Buttler of England during day five of the first Test match between New Zealand and England at Bay Oval on November 25, 2019 in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Root played himself in before stepping back to hit a short delivery from Santner to the fence at backward point. The spinner was bowling with five fielders crowded around the bat keenly awaiting a bat-pad chance or an over-zealous prod to leg. Denly played a lofted drive to de Grandhomme and was fortunate not to be caught in the covers when the ball came off the leading edge. The spidercam was back in action after receiving counselling on day four after being traumatised following repeated attacks from groups of red-billed gulls on the first three days. The gulls immediately spotted it and spidercam retreated to its web behind the commentary box. Root was presumably oblivious to all this or perhaps he was distracted as he somehow managed to tamely hit a short wide delivery from de Grandhomme straight to Latham in the gully ( 69 – 4 ). At the drinks interval only 15 runs had been added in the first hour for the loss of one wicket from 16.2 overs. Although runs were not essential for England at this point they could be useful later in the day if New Zealand were required to bat a second time to chase down a small total with time running out. Hence trying to score at two or two and a half runs an over might be more appropriate than not trying to score at all.

Stokes waited 25 balls to get off the mark and was almost bowled by Santner when a delivery kept so low it almost rolled along the ground. Boult replaced Santner at the Southern End and clearly looked troubled by something. He left the field at the over with a right side strain and played no further part in the match. Santner returned and several deliveries continued to misbehave. Stokes managed to survive and Kane Williamson even brought himself on to bowl an over just before lunch. The England batsmen had made it to lunch with only one casualty from 31.2 overs and had added 43 runs to bring the total to 98 – 4. During the interval I discovered some excellent real berry ice cream which was so superior to the flavourless Mr Whippy variety I had endured for the first four days as to make you weep. This was not something I could blame New Zealand Cricket for. It was just that the particular stall selling good quality ice cream was located on the far side of the ground and I had been too wasted by the sun on previous days to make the journey across the car park to the area behind the commentary boxes.

Southee was brought on from the Mount End after lunch and Stokes crashed a short ball over the slips for a boundary. The 50 partnership between Stokes and Denly came up from 144 balls. Stokes was then unfortunate when a thick inside edge to a ball he should have left deflected back onto his stumps ( 121 – 5 ). An edge from Denly bounced just in front of Taylor at slip. Wagner was steaming in at this stage and a well pitched up delivery lifted sharply and came off Denly’s glove before being caught by behind the stumps by Watling. Dharmasena had ruled not out initially but the decision was quickly over-turned following a New Zealand review ( 128 – 6 ). Denly had at least resisted for over three and a half hours for his 35 runs. Pope played a ridiculous shot while stretching to reach a harmless full toss wide outside of stump that he tamely hit to Santner in the covers ( 133 – 7 ). The new ball was taken as soon as it was available and Wagner ran in wide of the return crease to knock back Buttler’s off stump with the first ball using the new cherry. The England wicket-keeper didn’t even offer a shot. The mid-innings collapse on the first occasion had been poor but the batting this time around was simply suicidal ( 138 – 8 ).

Archer survived a huge lbw shout to his first delivery and Curran was given out by Kumar Dharmasena lbw to Wagner off a huge inside edge. Curran immediately called for the review and once again Dharmasena was left looking a little foolish, to put it mildly. Like great cricketers sometimes umpires also need to be asked to attend the pre-retirement course. Santner returned from the Southern End and again Curran was given out lbw. The batsman called for a review once more and this time umpire Oxenford had missed the no-ball. Curran and Archer survived until Tea when the score was 161 – 8 from 86 overs. 63 runs had been added in the afternoon session for the loss of 4 wickets from 27 overs.

After the resumption Archer edged Santner wide of slip for a boundary. A few balls later, Archer was hit on the pad by a delivery that kept very low. The New Zealand captain called for a review and Archer survived on the umpire’s call with the ball just hitting the side of leg stump. The 50 partnership was completed from 64 balls. Williamson had to leave the field at this point with a recurrence of his hip injury and Ross Taylor took charge of the home side. The game quickly reached its conclusion when Archer pulled a short delivery from Wagner straight to one of the substitutes Matt Henry at deep fine leg ( 197 – 9 ) and Broad was lbw playing across the line to a full toss to the very next ball. Wagner had finished with figures of 5 – 44 and New Zealand had won the Test Match by an innings and 65 runs. Watling was named Player of the Match for his double century after Santner had failed to add to his three wickets overnight. To lose by an innings after winning the toss and electing to bat in perfect batting conditions is a huge slap in the face for England and their supposedly new adaptation towards circumspect batting. Given that the New Zealand bowling attack was effectively one man short with Boult carrying an injury the omens do not look good for the following week in Hamilton. Henry or possibly Lockie Ferguson will step up for the Black Caps and for England it might be an opportunity to rest Stuart Broad and see how Saqib Mahmood shapes up while possibly allowing Rory Burns to rest his injured hand to give a debut to Zak Crawley with Denly again asked to open the batting.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dannie Byrne, English cricket, New Zealand cricket, tower of strength

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s