New Zealand v England, 3rd Test, Auckland, 1st day March 22, 2013

Cook's lucky call and England's tough day

Plays of the day from the first day of the Auckland Test between New Zealand and England

Decision of the day

It was only the second time in Alastair Cook's nine Tests as captain that he had to make a decision at the toss. In Nagpur he batted, in Auckland he bowled. Brendon McCullum said he would "probably" have done the same. It was the 23rd time since 2000 that England had put the opposition into bat and their record is good: of the previous 22, they have won 12, drawn eight and lost just two - one of them being Nasser Hussain's infamous "We'll bowl" in Brisbane in 2002.

Top edge of the day

Sixes were never going to be far away in this match and it was a bit of a surprise that it took until the 23rd over to register one. Peter Fulton got the ball rolling, but not in convincing style, as he top-edged a short ball from Stuart Broad that sailed over the keeper for all of the 53 metres it needed to travel to cross the rope. The record for sixes in a Test is 27 between India and Pakistan in Faisalabad from January 2006 where Shahid Afridi and MS Dhoni peppered the boundary. If any ground could break that milestone, it's here.

Challenge of the day

The dimensions of the ground make it a challenge for spinners and it did not take long for Monty Panesar to get a taste of what was ahead. Hamish Rutherford tried to attack him straight away and in Panesar's second over cleared the straight boundary with nothing more than two chip shots, leaving Monty to ponder his lot of the day.

Modest celebration of the day

Having gone to tea on 95, Fulton had plenty of time to ponder reaching his maiden Test century. It did not come easily for him, either, as England started to bowl wide outside off but, finally, from his 203rd delivery he pushed the ball just to the left of mid-on. There was no Compton-style leap of relief and joy, instead a deep breath and an understated salute around the ground. Having waited so long for this, he did not want to get carried away.

The 'it hasn't gone to plan' moment of the day

The sight of Jonathan Trott and Joe Root bowling in tandem during the final session was not quite the white flag from Cook, but it certainly showed the day had not gone to plan. Instead of using the second new ball to try and wrap up the innings, England needed it to try and break the second-wicket pair.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cloudmess on March 23, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    The problem is NZ pitches. They go from one extreme to another - either so heavily weighted in favour of batsmen (= draws) or seam bowlers (= a lottery, drags everyone down to the same level), with never anything in between. It is why they can be tricky to beat at home.

  • LeftBrain on March 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    so is it clear now that England is high on test ranking only due to good batting and a lot of home series.......... thier bowling is ordinary most of the times.

  • on March 22, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Good stuff

  • cloudmess on March 23, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    The problem is NZ pitches. They go from one extreme to another - either so heavily weighted in favour of batsmen (= draws) or seam bowlers (= a lottery, drags everyone down to the same level), with never anything in between. It is why they can be tricky to beat at home.

  • LeftBrain on March 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    so is it clear now that England is high on test ranking only due to good batting and a lot of home series.......... thier bowling is ordinary most of the times.

  • on March 22, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Good stuff

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  • on March 22, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Good stuff

  • LeftBrain on March 22, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    so is it clear now that England is high on test ranking only due to good batting and a lot of home series.......... thier bowling is ordinary most of the times.

  • cloudmess on March 23, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    The problem is NZ pitches. They go from one extreme to another - either so heavily weighted in favour of batsmen (= draws) or seam bowlers (= a lottery, drags everyone down to the same level), with never anything in between. It is why they can be tricky to beat at home.