Innings: England 58 (Boult 6-32, Southee 4-25) v New Zealand
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
In any conditions, facing swing bowling has its challenges. Against a swing bowler with pace, accuracy and mastery over his craft, that task gets exponentially harder. Trent Boult is usually in the mid-130kmph range, but his nagging precision gives batsmen lesser time to react. He is also a smart bowler, often using the width of the crease and angles, to set up batsmen. He used all those characteristics, not to set England up, but to blow them away for 58, their sixth-lowest Test total.
First up, after a relatively solid start, was Alastair Cook. Boult, using the width of the crease and enough lateral movement, found Cook’s outside edge, the catch taken comfortably at second slip. Then, Joe Root, having moved to No. 3 after leaving out James Vince after a sub-par Ashes, was bowled through a massive gap between bat and pad. Boult’s late movement accounted for England’s best Test batsmen. With the ball still moving, in the air and off the pitch, against two bowlers on the top of their game, did the rest even have a chance?
Dawid Malan was next, similarly undone by Boult’s angle and late away swing, the only difference being a thinner edge was taken by the wicketkeeper BJ Watling, diving in front of first slip. Ben Stokes, returning to Tests after six months, was intent on seeing Boult’s spell out.
More to folllow…