England humiliated as New Zealand dismiss them for 58 runs in 1 hour 34 minutes on day one

Chris Stocks
The Independent

The good news for England is that there is rain forecast for much of the remaining four days of this first Test against New Zealand.

But the bad news is surely not even that can save them from an ignominious defeat after they were dismissed for just 58 inside the first session at Eden Park.

Joe Root’s team were blown away in 94 minutes as they registered their country’s sixth-lowest total in 141 years of Test cricket.

Even the official England cricket Twitter account admitted: “We’ve had a shocker.”

Cook was the first man to depart but he was soon joined by the rest of his teammates (Getty)
Cook was the first man to depart but he was soon joined by the rest of his teammates (Getty)

Given they were 27 for nine at one stage, things could have been even worse. England’s lowest Test total is still the 45 they managed against Australia at Sydney in 1887.

Yet the fact that unwanted record still stands is only down to a plucky unbeaten 33 from Craig Overton, who scored more than half of his team’s runs from No9 after only being picked here after Ben Stokes’ bad back meant he was selected as a specialist batsman in his first Test in six months.

Trent Boult was England’s chief destroyer, the left-arm seamer taking a career-best 6-32. He was supported by Tim Southee, whose return of 4-25 meant New Zealand’s new-ball pair became only the eighth in history to bowl unchanged throughout an entire Test innings.

Root was the first of five ducks (Getty)
Root was the first of five ducks (Getty)

To think what Boult and Southee might have achieved with the pink ball under lights in this day-night Test doesn’t bear thinking about for England. What happened in broad daylight was gruesome enough.

Stokes had missed England’s 4-0 Ashes humbling in Australia earlier this winter thanks to the legal issues that will see him face trial for affray in August.

England's worst innings

45 v Australia, Sydney 1887

Australia won the toss and opted to field in the first Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with Charlie Turner (15 for six) and JJ Ferris (27 for four) working their way through the tourists in 35.3 four-ball overs. England went on to win the Test by 13 runs.

46 v West Indies, Port of Spain 1994

England needed 193 in their second innings to beat the Windies in the third Test, but Curtly Ambrose had other ideas. A 10-over spell yielded six England wickets for 24 runs, with Alec Stewart the only tourist to record double figures.

51 v West Indies, Kingston 2009

The Windies had a 74-run lead after the first innings in the First Test but skittled England to avoid having to bat again. Jerome Taylor took a five-for, costing only 11 runs. England found themselves on 26 for seven after 20 overs as Andrew Flintoff top scored with 24.

52 v Australia, The Oval 1948

The worst England innings score on home turf came in 1948 against Australia in a Test where Donald Bradman went for a duck which reduced his Test average to 99.94. Australia were 3-0 up in the Ashes going into the Oval Test but Leonard Hutton stood strong while his team-mates fell one by one.

53 v Australia, Lord's 1888

The first Ashes Test in 1888 has three entries in the lowest 50 Test innings scores of all time, led by a first innings flop by the home side. Chasing a 116 set by Australia, England fell to 22 for six and 26 for seven before recovering as Johnny Briggs was the last man to fall on 17.

This two-Test series against New Zealand, with the talismanic all-rounder restored to the squad, was meant to herald a fresh start for this team after a chastening Ashes tour.

But this humiliation surpassed anything England endured in Australia.

After the hosts reached the close on 175 for three in reply, home captain Kane Williamson, unbeaten on 91, closing in on a New Zealand-record 18th Test century, England look destined for a ninth defeat in 11 away matches.

They have not won overseas since beating Bangladesh in Chittagong in October 2016 and have just one away series success since 2012.

Something needs to change. Quite what, though, remains to be seen – after all Root is just a year into his captaincy and needs time to stamp his mark on this team.

For all the talk of lack of preparation – England had just a pair of two-day warm-up matches ahead of this series – there can be no excuses for a batting performance that can only be described as pathetic. That’s actually not fair – pitiful, feeble, wretched and lamentable would also be accurate.

Not even the sight of Stuart Broad taking his 400th Test wicket in the final session could sugar coat this day for England as the hosts ended it with a lead of 117.

Broad had taken his 300th Test wicket during that spell of 8-15 in the Trent Bridge Ashes Test of 2015 when Australia were rolled for 60 inside the first session. And we thought that was bad.

Perhaps the happiest member of England’s squad was James Vince, dropped for this match after a poor Ashes series.

That saw Root forced to move up to his unfavoured position of No3. But he could do little about the ball from Boult that swung in and hit his off-stump.

Boult helped himself to six wickets (Getty)
Boult helped himself to six wickets (Getty)

That came after Alastair Cook was caught second slip to a full delivery from Boult. England were 6 for two and neither batsman could really be blamed.

Boult was in the middle of a spell that was perhaps the best England had faced all winter.

The pressure applied to England, though, was also producing naïve, feeble strokeplay.

Woakes was one of Boult's six victims (Getty)
Woakes was one of Boult's six victims (Getty)

Dawid Malan, excellent during the Ashes, edged behind after being squared up by Boult before opener Mark Stoneman, on 11, did the same to Southee.

England’s total of 18 for four soon became 18 for six when Stokes and Bairstow, guilty of a poor shot that gave Southee a return catch, both fell.

The tourists were pushed to the brink of that record low score when Woakes was bowled by Boult, who now had five wickets, and Moeen Ali’s miserable Test winter continued as he was bowled by a full Southee delivery.

Southee cleaned up the rest including the wickets of Bairstow, Ali and Broad (Getty)
Southee cleaned up the rest including the wickets of Bairstow, Ali and Broad (Getty)

Broad was the victim of a brilliant catch by Williamson at gully off Southee as England lost their ninth wicket still 19 runs shy of their lowest Test score. He was also the fifth duck of the innings, equalling an England record.

Overton at least ensured total humiliation was avoided before James Anderson fended Boult to point to wrap-up the innings.

England’s day was summed up early in New Zealand’s reply when sub fielder Liam Livingstone missed a chance to run out Tom Latham and Root dropped Raval on two to keep Broad waiting for his 400th wicket.

Broad's 400th Test wicket was the sole bright spot of a dark day for the tourists (Getty)
Broad's 400th Test wicket was the sole bright spot of a dark day for the tourists (Getty)

New Zealand went into tea on 88 for one but England at least fought back in the final session, Latham chipping to midwicket to finally get Broad to his landmark and Anderson dismissing Ross Taylor for 20.

They thought they had Williamson, too, on 64, Woakes convinced he had got a hand to Taylor’s return shot with the New Zealand captain out of his ground when the ball ricocheted into the stumps.

Replays proved inconclusive, though, and Williamson survived, to end the day nine runs short of a record-breaking century.

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