We expected England to lose. They’re an insipid outfit at the minute. We didn’t expect them to get thrashed though.
And they were thrashed. Getting bowled out for 110 is never too smart, but on this pitch it was jaw-dropping. Don’t let New Zealand’s 177-9 fool you. Runs were the only commodity they were interested in then. They didn’t care how many wickets were falling.
Kyle Mills took 4-7 with the new ball. Mills is a decent bowler – he’d have to be to take out an entire international top order for diddly – but is he THAT good? This was his tenth Test and while he now averages 25.58 with the ball, no fast-medium bowler should get figures like that unless the ball’s swinging a mile or the pitch looks like a cobbled street. Neither of those conditions applied here.
This England side reacts. It doesn’t act. Bowlers can attack with impunity if batsmen aren’t interested in runs, as was the case in both of England’s innings. And if your bowlers are content to wait for mistakes, they’ll not come – batsmen will just accumulate.
England let this match continually drift away from them from the moment they lost the toss. Sometimes you lose the toss. That’s the way it is.
New Zealand are a proper outfit, but they are one of the weaker Test nations. On their recent tour of South Africa, they failed to reach 200 in four Test innings. This was largely thanks to Dale Steyn. There’s a bowler who can inflict his will on the opposition.
Steyn’s recently been doing much the same in Bangladesh. The wickets didn’t suit pace, but he didn’t settle for figures that would be good ‘in the circumstances’. He sets his own standards. England take note. You need spectacular performances to win Tests and you also need them to give you some breathing room in case of a bad day.
If you’re almost always average, it’s only the shortest distance to ‘below average’.
New Zealand v England, first Test at Hamilton – day five
New Zealand 470 (Ross Taylor 120, Jamie How 92, Daniel Vettori 88, Brendon McCullum 51, Ryan Sidebottom 4-90)
England 348 (Paul Collingwood 66, Michael Vaughan 63, Tim Ambrose 55, Jeetan Patel 3-107)
New Zealand 177-9 declared (Stephen Fleming 66, Ryan Sidebottom 6-49, Monty Panesar 3-33)
England 110 all out (Kyle Mills 4-16, Chris Martin 3-33)
New Zealand won by 189 runs