Didn't start well in favourable conditions - Southee
Tim Southee has blamed New Zealand's insipid new-ball bowling in Wellington on the first day as the major reason why the home side are facing another long stint in the field, after Brendon McCullum had stuck to his pre-match promise of bowling first.
Having sent down 170 overs in the second innings in Dunedin to try and force a victory, they had only two scalps to their credit after another 90 overs of toil. With Jonathan Trott unbeaten on 121 and Kevin Pietersen on 18, another hefty stint in the field will test New Zealand's resolve.
"It was a tough day. I don't think we started particularly well with the new ball in favourable conditions, and the little period after lunch wasn't great either," Southee said. "There was a little in it early and I don't think we used that to our advantage. We were chasing it from there. But between that we showed patches where we managed to dry up [the runs], and if we'd grabbed a couple of wickets, it could have been a different story."
New Zealand's quicks bowled 114 overs between them in the second innings at University Oval, and were given a very gentle time of it between matches with almost no bowling on the warm-up days. After the early success of removing Alastair Cook, there was no further joy for the seamers, and it was left to Bruce Martin, the left-arm spinner, to tie up an end and eventually remove Nick Compton for 100, which ended a second-wicket stand of 210.
Southee added that backing up after long spells in the field was something bowlers had to be prepared for. "It's part of Test cricket and you almost have to enjoy it," he said. "It's tough, but it can be very satisfying when you get the rewards. The bodies have recharged and we are ready to go again. It's a big day tomorrow and it's [all] about enjoying it."
Yet, while England's total of 267 for 2 suggests that there was only one decision a captain should have made at the toss, Jonathan Trott confirmed that they would have likely taken the same approach. "I think we would have done the same. Alastair is probably very lucky, or very happy, that it didn't land on heads."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo