New Zealand v England: Tourists win first Test by 267 runs

England bowler James Anderson successfully appeals to lbw
James Anderson conceded four wickets on day four to earn victory for England
England 325-9 Dec (Bach 89, Duckett 84; Wagner 4-82) & 374 (Root 57, Brook 54, Foakes 51)
New Zealand 306 (Blundell 138; Robinson 4-54) & 126 (Anderson 4-18, Broad 4-49)
England won by 257 runs to lead the series 1-0

England quickly secured an impressive 267-run win over New Zealand on day four of the first Test at Mount Maunganui.

Looking for five more wickets to victory, it took Ben Stokes’ side less than a session to take a 1-0 lead in the two Test series.

The New Zealand batting was decimated by Stuart Broad on the third night as the hosts fell to 63-5 in their chase from 394 overnight.

Spinner Jack Leach had caught Michael Bracewell tame in the third over on Sunday before James Anderson ran through the rear to claim 4-18.

Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Southee fell on back-to-back balls and Neil Wagner followed up with Anderson before Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner put up the final stand.

But Anderson switched ends and rolled Tickner, leaving New Zealand 126 all out and Mitchell stranded on 57 not out.

It gives England their first Test win in New Zealand in 15 years and a 10th win in 11 games since Stokes took over as captain early last summer.

It also ended England’s five-game losing streak in day-night Tests and is their first win overseas in a pink ball match.

The second and final Test of the series and England’s last of the winter takes place in Wellington on Friday.

England’s winning habit continues

The superlatives for England’s stunning form – and the way they’ve won their victories – are starting to run thin.

The numbers are spectacular. Since 2010, when a team led by Andrew Strauss were on their way to becoming world number ones, England have won six straight Tests.

For Stokes, this was his 10th win in 12 Tests as captain, including the Test he captained in place of Joe Root in 2020.

Only Lindsay Hassett, who succeeded Don Bradman as Australia captain in 1949, can match Stokes’ speed to 10 Test wins as captain. Michael Vaughan, who played 16 games, was England’s previous fastest.

England say their focus is on pleasure, entertainment and freedom, but they’ve also made winning a habit. They secured a huge margin to win at the Bay Oval despite not being at their best for parts of that game.

Looking back, New Zealand made a mistake by choosing to go first in the draw, a mistake that doomed them to bat twice under light compared to England.

Conversely, England defined the game with their declaration at 325-9 after 58.2 overs on day one – only one other team, Pakistan in 1974, has declared after fewer overs in the first innings of a Test.

Harry Brook and Ben Duckett continued their impressive form with the bat – their batting odds of 96.88 and 87.53 are the highest in Test cricket history among players who have scored at least 500 runs. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes was to prove his reliability again with a crucial half-century in the second innings.

Ollie Robinson demonstrated his skills as a future leader of the English offense with a 4-54 in New Zealand’s first innings, while Broad’s ban under light on the third night was exciting theater in the form of his signature hot streaks.

England could decide to refresh their attack at Wellington as they seek a seventh consecutive win, a feat they have not achieved since 2004.

England rises while New Zealand collapses

While New Zealand’s elite had to apologize for tricky overnight conditions on day three, a sunny afternoon and a good pitch early in day four provided an opportunity for some defiance.

Instead, they showed no fighting spirit in the face of a ruthless and efficient display from England.

Mitchell, resuming on 13, and Bracewell on 25, were the last recognized batting partnership, but Bracewell patted Leach in the middle of the wicket to depart without raising his score, exposing the tail.

Anderson held Kuggeleijn in the front trap and let Southee Fechten slip first. Wagner survived at least 21 balls before he developed a wild drive and was shaken by Foakes.

At 91-9, New Zealand were in danger of being beaten within the hour, only for Tickner, along with Mitchell, to hold England out for 52 minutes.

Broad returned and chased a five-wicket haul, and Mitchell passed fifty before Anderson replaced Leach and splattered Tickner’s stumps.

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