England punished for sloppy start
New Zealand enjoyed a day of dominance in Dunedin as England continued their unwanted habit of starting an away Test series in disappointing fashion.
Andy Flower’s side have suffered an opening-Test defeat on their last three winter tours, recording first-innings scores of less than 200 on each occasion.
Today they were bowled out for just 167 on an easy-paced pitch, having been inserted prior to yesterday’s washout. That total was soon put into context as New Zealand progressed to 131 without loss on the back of an unbeaten 77 from debutant Hamish Rutherford.
While England were not at their best with the ball, greater frustration will be derived from a sloppy batting display that saw a succession of players depart to injudicious strokes.
Bustling left-arm seamer Neil Wagner and spinner Bruce Martin, another player making his Test bow, were the chief beneficiaries with four scalps apiece. The former was on a hat-trick in his first over after accounting for Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen with successive balls.
Jonathan Trott, who contributed 45, was the only batsman to spend any length of time at the crease for the tourists, while Steven Finn and James Anderson shared the highest stand of the innings when adding 47 for the ninth wicket.
That mark was comfortably surpassed by New Zealand’s opening pair, although the recalled Peter Fulton was nowhere near as convincing as his inexperienced partner, who brought up a dashing half-century with a series of cleanly struck drives.
Rutherford, whose father Ken also represented the Black Caps, did survive two chances off Stuart Broad on 52 and 64; Pietersen spilled a relatively simple opportunity in the gully after Broad had put down a sharp chance in his followthrough.
However, the left-hander was otherwise impressive as he took the attack to England’s bowlers in controlled fashion and the giant Fulton also deserves credit for overcoming a lack of fluency en route to 46 not out in a first Test outing since December 2009.
England were quickly forced on to the back foot this morning. Nick Compton played on to Tim Southee for a duck and Cook, after being dropped by Martin at midwicket, was held at point off Wagner’s second delivery following an uncharacteristically loose shot.
Wagner - playing a Test on home soil for the first time - soon had further reason for celebration when Pietersen, caught on the crease, fell plumb lbw first ball to a full inswinger.
Ian Bell made assured progress to 24 before picking out Rutherford, who had just been moved to short extra-cover, and becoming Wagner’s third victim, while Joe Root was caught at third slip playing a non-committal stroke at a Trent Boult delivery he could have left.
After taking lunch on 81 for five, England lost wickets in three successive Martin overs, with Matt Prior, Trott and Broad all offering up straightforward catches from innocuous balls.
Finn and Anderson battled away bravely to extend the innings, but the former was snared by Wagner for a Test-best 20 and Martin finished things off by having England’s number 10 caught at short third man for 23.
Sadly for England, things were to get worse as the day progressed.
Live Text Commentary
5:02am – STUMPS - NZ 131/0; Rutherford 77, Fulton 46 - An awful day for England comes to an end, with Finn’s energetic late burst proving fruitless. The tourists have a mountain to climb if they are to get back into this game.
4:54am - England have only a few minutes to find a wicket that would at least enable them to finish a miserable day on a high. Finn is operating at good pace, but Rutherford and Fulton are holding firm.
4:42am - Jonathan Trott is brought on as England continue their search for a wicket. New Zealand appear to have Neil Wagner padded up as a nightwatchman.
4:38am - Rutherford makes the most of his second let-off with a striking cut off Finn, who has returned for a late-evening burst. The bowler then induces an edge that drops short of Pietersen.
4:27am - DROPPED CHANCE - Things go from bad to worse for England. Kevin Pietersen, who got a first-baller this morning, makes a mess of a relatively straightforward chance at gully to hand Rutherford a second reprieve. Broad was once again the unfortunate bowler.
4:16am - CENTURY PARTNERSHIP - A leg-side single from Rutherford off Panesar takes New Zealand into three figures and they have yet to lose a wicket. The hosts could not have dreamed of a better day.
4:11am - Panesar errs in line and is hammered through cover by Rutherford. He really has punished the bad ball superbly thus far.
4am - Fulton finds a gap at extra-cover off Panesar to pick up four, having been kept quiet for a prolonged period. Drinks are taken for the last time today and England need a sensational final hour.
3:54am - DROPPED CHANCE - It appears there may be one or two technical gremlins at the ground that are preventing the use of DRS for the moment. Nothing is going England’s way out in the middle as Broad puts down the sharpest of return chances offered up by Rutherford. They either stick or they don’t - there was barely any time for the bowler to react.
3:45am - FIFTY! Rutherford (65b 8x4 1x6) - The first half-century of the match goes to New Zealand’s debutant opener, who has performed admirably on his Test bow. The Black Caps are already almost halfway to England’s total and there are still 19 overs to come today.
3:38am - It looks as though the victim of Rutherford’s brutal maximum has avoided serious injury, which is a relief after he was struck cleanly on the head.
3:35am - Alastair Cook does indeed bring on Panesar and Rutherford responds with a quite magnificent straight six. Unfortunately the ball landed on an unsuspecting spectator’s head in the crowd. I hope he’s ok as that was a really nasty blow.
3:25am - Fulton is starting to look more comfortable, which is a concern for England. He picks up a fourth boundary with a neat back-foot drive off Anderson and then hooks Broad for four. I imagine it will not be long before we see Monty Panesar.
3:15am - A dry spell for the hosts is ended when Fulton works Broad through midwicket for four. That takes New Zealand past 50 and they will be delighted with their present position.
3am - New Zealand’s openers are progressing in contrasting fashion. The aggressive Rutherford, strong through the off side, has raced to 30 in quick time. Fulton cannot settle, however, and is being hampered by some leaden footwork. Time for a drink.
2:52am - England cannot find a breakthrough, but Finn causes Fulton no end of problems in an over that started with the batsman being struck on the arm by a bouncer.
2:48am - Fulton, known affectionately as ‘two-metre Peter’, struggles to get forward against Finn, a man of similar height. Stuart Broad then replaces Anderson and is immediately edged wide of second slip by Rutherford. That would have been a simple chance had an additional man been stationed in the cordon. Broad completes an encouraging first over.
2:40am - Finn sends a venomous delivery past Rutherford’s edge, but is then off-driven for four. A less controlled stroke from the opener loops past point for another boundary and New Zealand are off to a bit of a flier here.
2:30am - That will help ease Fulton’s nerves. A well-timed push down the ground off Anderson is followed by an elegant clip through midwicket.
2:23am - There continues to be minimal assistance for the seamers, which only highlights how far short of par England’s total was. Rutherford has made a confident start, epitomised by a flowing cover drive off Anderson that flies to the fence. England’s spearhead responds well by denying the left-hander any width.
2:15am - Steven Finn, operating off his shorter run-up, shares the new ball with James Anderson and sees Rutherford squirt a full ball into the ground and high over the slips for four. Fulton looks less than comfortable against Anderson, who is maintaining a good length.
2:07am - England need to respond strongly in the field now. Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford are the openers for New Zealand, the former back after a lengthy absence and his partner on Test debut. Rutherford collects his first runs in the premier form of the game with a powerful drive to the left of mid-on.
1:44am - WICKET! Anderson c Wagner b Martin 23; Eng 167 all out - That’s the end of a pretty awful batting display from England. With only Monty Panesar for company, Anderson aims a booming lofted drive at Martin, only to see a thick edge loop to short third man. Wagner and Martin finish with four wickets apiece, at the cost of 42 and 43 runs respectively, and an early tea will now be taken.
1:38am - WICKET! Finn c Rutherford b Wagner 20; Eng 166/9 - Finn is really throwing the bat now and connects cleanly with a leg-side heave off Neil Wagner to surpass his previous Test best of 19. Alas, his fun is abruptly ended when a top-edged pull provides Hamish Rutherford with his third catch of the innings. That was the highest partnership of the innings.
1:35am - DROPPED CHANCE - A violent swipe from Finn goes through the hands of Brownlie at mid-on and races away for four to take England past 150. Anderson subsequently reverse-sweeps Martin to the third man fence before clubbing the spinner over midwicket to register another boundary. This ninth-wicket stand is now worth 43!
1:30am – Now Finn gets in on the act with a slog-swept four off Martin. A dreadful mix-up between the wickets then leaves Anderson well short of his ground as a throw comes in from mid-off, but the ball misses the stumps.
1:24am – Anderson profits from a thick outside edge past gully off the returning Tim Southee, who then concedes four byes with a wild delivery after the drinks break. Another edge down to third man takes Anderson to 12 and these are handy runs.
1:09am - An attractive back-foot punch from the Burnley Lara (that’s Anderson for those of you who don’t know) adds two to the total, but it will take something truly remarkable if England are to post any sort of score now.
1am - Steven Finn and James Anderson are scratching around at present. They have been put in an unenviable situation due to the failings of England’s batsmen.
12:50am - WICKET! Broad c Brownlie b Martin 10; Eng 119/8 - The pattern continues. Broad heaves Martin over the leg side for four, prompting a change in field with Dean Brownlie heading out to the deep square-leg boundary. The next ball is whacked straight down his throat. This is painful.
12:44am - Broad is somewhat fortunate to survive an lbw appeal from Martin, who will be thoroughly enjoying this debut. Steven Finn is rapped on the front pad later in the over, but that one looked to be sliding down leg.
12:41am - WICKET! Trott c Boult b Martin 45; Eng 109/7 - And now Trott has departed in soft fashion! A top-edged sweep provides Boult with the simplest of catches at short fine-leg and Martin has two wickets in as many overs.
12:39am – Stuart Broad has joined Trott, who gets away with a rare false stroke outside off against Boult. Far too many batsmen have given their wicket away today I'm afraid.
12:33am - WICKET! Prior c Williamson b Martin 23; Eng 108/6 - Prior’s riposte comes to a hugely disappointing end as he chips a short ball from Martin straight to point. That’s a first Test wicket for the spinner and England are back on the ropes.
12:30am - Prior is counter-attacking with gusto. After angling Boult past the slips for four he then thumps consecutive deliveries through the covers, with the first of those lusty blows taking England into three figures.
12:26am - New Zealand persist with their wide line to Trott, apparently keen not to stray onto the pads of a player who is so strong through the leg side. Another sweetly timed drive off Trent Boult enables Trott to pick up four, but he then sees a thick bottom edge fall short of the slips. Martin remains economical with a third maiden in four overs. However, he is then cracked past point twice in succession by Matt Prior.
12:12am - Bruce Martin continues after lunch under bright blue skies and immediately has a wildly optimistic lbw appeal against Jonathan Trott turned down by umpire Asad Rauf. The left-arm spinner, making his first Test appearance at the age of 32, has an action not too dissimilar to Daniel Vettori.
11:30pm - LUNCH - Eng 81/5; Trott 40, Prior 1 - Martin - no relation to reliable New Zealand seamer and cult batting hero Chris - is given another bowl before the interval. Matt Prior, fresh to the crease, is understandably cautious in playing out a maiden. An accurate over from Boult ends the session and England will be most unhappy with their performance thus far. This appears to be a good surface but several batsmen have departed to loose strokes.
11:19pm - The only positive for England in this session has been the form of Trott, who moves to 39 with another gorgeous drive through the covers. Lunch is a little more than 10 minutes away.
11:11pm - WICKET! Root c Brownlie b Boult 4; Eng 71/5 - There will be no big innings from Root on this occasion. He plays away from his body at a back-of-a-length ball he could have left alone and is held in the slips. England are in all kinds of trouble now.
11:04pm - Joe Root has received deserved praise for the start he has made in international cricket. England need another performance from the youngster now. He squirts one past backward point to get off the mark.
10:55pm - WICKET! Bell c Rutherford b Wagner 24; Eng 64/4 - Bell gets back in the groove with an eye-catching push through extra-cover. However, he falls soon after when driving aerially through the same region at Wagner. Hamish Rutherford was stationed close in and managed to hang on to a sharp chance at the second attempt. That’s a big blow as Bell looked to be in excellent touch.
10:49pm - REVIEW - New Zealand’s plan for Trott clearly involves hanging the ball outside off stump on a regular basis. That doesn’t seem to bother England’s number three too much as he leans into a pleasing drive through the covers off Wagner. A first scare for Bell follows when Southee sees an lbw appeal turned down. The Black Caps call for a review, but there was a healthy inside edge to save the batsman.
10:38pm - There is just the one over for Martin as Southee returns to partner Wagner. Both seamers are guilty of bowling a touch too wide and England are able to advance their score with greater comfort than before. A crunching pulled four from the assured Bell takes the score past 50.
10:25pm – Our first sighting of spin comes with the introduction of Martin, who will probably be feeling much better about his dropped catch after Cook and Pietersen departed in the following over. There is barely any turn for the slow left-armer in his first over, which is hardly surprising this early in the game.
10:17pm - It is starting to warm up a touch in Dunedin as England aim to dig their way out of trouble. Trott punishes Wagner for over-pitching with off-side strokes for four and three, either side of being beaten by one that was not there to be driven. Drinks are then taken. This is an extended morning session due to yesterday’s rain.
10:04pm - A much-needed boundary arrives as Bell clips a wayward Southee delivery down to fine-leg. An effortless cover-drive results in four more two balls later.
9:55pm - Ian Bell sees off the hat-trick ball, but faces a big rebuilding job now alongside Warwickshire team-mate Trott. That double-strike has unsurprisingly boosted the spirits of the fielding team.
9:47pm - WICKET! Pietersen lbw Wagner 0; Eng 18/3 - I take it all back about England being relatively happy with their start. Pietersen completely misjudges the length of the first ball he faces and is trapped plumb in front by a full inswinger. Wagner is on a hat-trick and Cook’s men are 18 for three!
9:46pm - WICKET! Cook c Rutherford b Wagner 10; Eng 18/2 - Cook fails to take advantage of his reprieve and cuts a wide delivery from Neil Wagner straight to point. That was an uncharacteristically loose stroke from England’s captain and leaves the team in a spot of bother.
9:41pm - DROPPED CHANCE - The previously untroubled Cook plays and misses at Boult before receiving a huge let-off. A loose clip to midwicket presents Bruce Martin with a chance, but the debutant fails to hang on when diving to his right. He really should have taken that, and if there is one man you don’t want to drop...
9:39pm – England may have lost an early wicket, but they will surely be otherwise encouraged by the opening exchanges. There has not been too much to excite the bowlers and you would expect batting to become easier as the shine wears off the ball. For now, progress is slow and steady for Cook and Trott.
9:28pm - Southee finds a better line to Trott and some late away movement off the seam leaves the right-hander playing at fresh air. Trott responds well, pushing gently down the ground for three before driving Boult behind square on the off side for his first boundary.
9:18pm - Compton will be bitterly disappointed with that; it was a pretty unfortunate dismissal in all honesty. Southee fails to make Jonathan Trott play in the remainder of his second over and Cook then punches Trent Boult through the covers for four with a lovely back-foot stroke.
9:09pm - WICKET! Compton b Southee 0; Eng 5/1 - Oh dear; this is not the start England wanted. Nick Compton plays defensively at a fairly innocuous delivery from Southee, but the ball ricochets off the bottom of his bat and into off stump. There was little in the way of lateral movement there - maybe Compton was undone by a lack of bounce.
9:04pm - It’s pretty blustery out in the middle as Tim Southee sends down the first over of the match. Alastair Cook starts watchfully before clipping Southee's sixth ball through square-leg for three to get England up and running.
8:58pm - Right then; time for some cricket at last! And if you're wondering how England's players passed the time yesterday, take a look at the photo to the right of this text...
8:55pm - Without a ball having been bowled yet, what do we know about the pitch at the University Oval? It is expected to be on the slow side but looks a good track, so if England can come through the first session relatively unscathed they should be confident of posting a healthy total. Had the toss taken place this morning I do not think McCullum would have inserted the tourists. Mind you, Alastair Cook said he would have batted anyhow.
8:49pm - The inclusion of Martin means New Zealand have three left-armers in their attack, with seamers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner the others. Tim Southee fills the fourth frontline bowling slot and the Black Caps will be determined to pick up early wickets after McCullum called correctly 24 hours ago. Yesterday’s rain means the follow-on can be enforced with a lead of 150 in this match, rather than 200, but that topic will be a long way from England’s mind at present. They will simply be looking to start well.
8:38pm - We will be starting half an hour early - at 9pm GMT - for the remainder of the Test due to the opening-day washout. England are without Graeme Swann after the off-spinner was ruled out of the entire rubber with a recurrence of his elbow trouble, so Monty Panesar is their frontline slow bowler. New Zealand have two debutants in opener Hamish Rutherford and veteran spinner Bruce Martin.
8:30pm - Hello and welcome to take two in Dunedin. New Zealand and England were unable to get their Test series under way yesterday, with the exception of a toss won by Brendon McCullum, but the weather has improved for the second day. With overhead conditions very different to the previous morning, England may be quite happy that they were invited to bat.