England v New Zealand, 1st Investec Test, Lord's, 1st day May 16, 2013

New Zealand straitjacket England on slow day


England 160 for 4 (Trott 39, Boult 2-29) v New Zealand
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Although the scoreboard only read four wickets, New Zealand could be highly satisfied with the opening day of the series at Lord's having restricted England to a run-rate of two-an-over. Each of the top four bedded in before being chipped out by a supremely accurate bowling attack who were again led astutely by their proactive captain.

It is fair to say that Brendon McCullum would have swapped one of the wickets today for that final scalp in Auckland six weeks ago, but New Zealand know the importance of backing up their performance at home with a strong showing overseas and they have ensured that England will not be sitting too comfortably overnight.

Trent Boult claimed two key scalps in the afternoon session, due reward for high-class, crafty swing bowling. Alastair Cook, who had problems against him and Neil Wagner in New Zealand, pushed at one side off stump and Jonathan Trott - shaping to play a significant innings on a ground where he averages over 70 - was brilliantly caught low at third slip five minutes before tea.

Trott's dismissal will have left one New Zealander feeling especially relieved; Bruce Martin had given him a life before he got off the mark when he spilled a return catch. It meant that Joe Root, who had never played at Lord's, emerged for his first home Test innings in a tricky situation five minutes before a break but was as assured as any of the England batsman while compiling a jaunty 25 during the final session before rain lopped off the last 10 overs.

Three down would have been a solid enough - if unspectacular - day for England but the removal of Ian Bell, 10 balls before the second new ball became available, ensured New Zealand could end the day the happier side. Bell had produced a display of considerable self-restraint before being drawn into pushing at a ball (his 133rd) angled across him. It was a poor shot at a poor time, but nothing less than Wagner deserved for pounding in on a fairly unforgiving surface.

Although the sun shone for the opening day of the international summer, batting was not a simple prospect. But both captains got their wish at the toss with McCullum saying he would have bowled. Firstly there was swing, the subject of much debate in the build-up, then there was a pitch on the sluggish side that made timing the ball difficult and an outfield - relayed over the winter following the Olympic Archery - which deflated value for shots on a ground where the ball normally races away. A tally of 15 boundaries in 80 overs was testament to that.

Spin, historically, does not play a major role in May Tests but there were signs that it could have an influential role in this match. Martin, who only had his place confirmed on the morning of the game when New Zealand resisted the temptation of an all-seam attack, tweaked his first ball past Nick Compton's edge which was just enough to plant a few doubts.

But it could not really explain Compton's dismissal when, completely out of character to the rest of his innings, he advanced down the pitch to try and drive over cover but only succeeded in toe-ending a catch to point. The shot came on the back of four consecutive maidens with England finding it difficult to rotate the strike. Martin should have made it two successes before lunch but shelled the chance, chest-height to his right, when Trott drove a fraction early.

The rare early boundaries that did come went to Cook - a clip and a cut - but he had to work hard to survive Tim Southee's opening spell from the Pavilion End. Southee and Boult found consistent swing and though it was not always on target it was enough to keep the batsmen wary. After lunch it was Boult's turn to harass Cook, the movement enough to make him unsure what to play and what to leave, and he found the outside edge which was superbly held by BJ Watling having realised the ball would not have carried to first slip.

Following his reprieve, Trott produced some of the best timing on show as he flicked strongly off his pads whenever the bowlers drifted and also drove strongly through the off side. Unlike overseas, where the Kookaburra ball will stop swinging after about 20 overs, the Dukes offers encouragement for much longer and Boult, brought back for a burst before tea, made one jag across Trott which, although he tried to play with soft hands, just carried to Brownlie. In New Zealand, Brownlie had a 50-50 series in the slips but this was a cracking grab.

Amid the blocking and leaving there was the occasional gem; Bell's cover drive off Wagner was a particular highlight while Root, playing with a little more intent that others, took a rare boundary off Martin with a strong sweep. When a heavy shower arrived Root was with his Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow. They are the future of England's batting. This will be a good test of their credentials.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on May 17, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    @GurSinghgur on (May 16, 2013, 19:57 GMT) You talk about how dull it all is but then you go out of your way to comment on it

  • John on May 17, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    @Ken Fawcetton (May 16, 2013, 22:44 GMT) Ironic that you should say about England fans whinging etc when you read your post

  • gurudev on May 17, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    Hands up all those who thought, indeed some said, that 160-4 on the first dismal day could be a decent foundation for England's day 2. Good enough bowling, dreary scratch 'n' scrape batting. And so it went on, and here we are 209-8 by lunchtime.

    And there's no point saying "Ah but this is test cricket, not that IPL rubbish"--which, by the way Erebus 26 and NZcricketfan1, I've never watched. Forget the IPL, this test has so far been mostly second-rate cricket by test standards, and mostly dull second-rate at that.

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    its new newzeland nice way to start a test series

  • Mike on May 17, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    Joe Root is promising youngster but way too overrated by the English. There are better youngsters than him like Umar Akmal and Nasir Hossain. Gotta feel for the fans in the stadium with so many maidens and hardly any boundaries.

  • Paul on May 17, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    If this is what New Zealands rag tag medium pace attack can reduce the English team to imagine what Australia's fire breathing pace attack will do? Pattison, Starc, Harris and Siddle at 145kph+ swinging the Dukes ball around, not to mention Bird and hopefully, a fit Pat Cummins= a battered, bruised and busted England team, circa 74-75. England have a canny swing bowler in Jimmy Anderson and a good spinner in Swann as well as two very inconsistent pace bowlers in Finn and Broad. Cook,Trott and Bell better play out of their skins to win this ashes series!!

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Why is it that New Zealand bowlers such as Trent Bolt as considered to be medium-fast when bowling speeds are well over 80 mph? It seems that any inexperienced young bowler is considered as slower than a bowler who has been around for longer but bowls no faster.

  • Andrew on May 17, 2013, 8:13 GMT

    @JG2704 on (May 17, 2013, 7:27 GMT) - IMO, 4/160 off 80 overs, if NZ get to 2/160 off 50. The beauty of Tests, is that it takes a 2nd innings to put the 1st in perspective. All that aside, I can't remember a tougher day of Test cricket for England in May? @Jono Makim - I agree, stuffed if I know who is on top, but a good start by NZ tomorrow & things COULD get ugly real quick for England, that is the biggest negative about a slow r/rate. Theoretically, losing 4 wickets in 80 overs no big deal when applying a run rate of 3+ rpo, 4/250 isn't too bad. I have a gut feeling, that with the sluggishness of the pitch, McCullum MIGHT have a big (& fast scoring), innings in him.

  • gurinder on May 17, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    @ kaindrazer-- agree to u . everybody these days want good value for their time. who in their right mind wud spoil their whole day to see such sedate cricket. old folk sure have that much time but not the youth these days. youth want some action not 1950's sedate cricket melodrama. hope we see better cricket from english team in future matches as this match is in nz grip. anything below 250 by england wud be 1-0 nz at end of day 5.

  • kai on May 17, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    Yet another column where people equate watching Test cricket to being intellectually superior. That is hilarious. Watching some sport doesn't make you an intellectual. Most people just don't have enough time which is why they prefer IPL over Test cricket which is perfectly normal. Those who are blessed with more time on their hands can enjoy their Test matches.