Matt Potts promises England will continue to ‘throw punches’ at New Zealand after ‘elation’ of wicket on debut

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Debutant Matt Potts has promised England would continue to “throw punches” at New Zealand after a rollercoaster first day on which they surrendered a position of real strength.

England had New Zealand 45 for seven but allowed them to wriggle to 132 all out, then were 92 for two in response, only to lose five wickets for eight runs. They finished the day 132 for seven, 16 behind.

But Potts was confident England could still emerge victorious in a game that is rattling along at unrelenting pace.

“We’re still in a contest to win a game of Test cricket here,” he said. “We’ve got three wickets left in hand, we’re going to attack the day tomorrow and then when we get the opportunity to bowl we’re going to put it in the same areas we’ve put it in today and we’re going to pick them up and hopefully try to win the game.

“I think we’re going to throw our punches. Personally I think it’s very, very entertaining, I think it’s what we all want to see, we want to exchange blows, and they throw us two we’ll throw them four. So we’ll just see what happens.”

Potts was in the thick of the action, taking four for 13 in an outstanding bowling display, then registering a duck in his maiden innings. His first wicket was New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, well caught by Ben Foakes.

“Honestly, I felt very composed before the first ball, and then I bowled a long hop second ball and I was very nervous after that,” he said. “Just focused on putting it in a good area, hitting the pitch hard with a bit of wobble on it, and that ball nipped off a good length, drawing a bit of a false shot, with a nice catch from [Ben] Foakesy.

“I mean, absolute elation. A Test debut at the home of cricket, in the pinnacle format of cricket, and then to get the NZ captain out fifth ball, absolutely over the moon and can’t put into words really how that feels. I know it probably meant an awful lot to me, and an awful lot to my family as well.

“I've wanted to take the same approach as I have done to my Durham cricket. I see no change in the way I'm looking to approach it.

“It's a bit of a bigger stage but I am personally trying to bring the same game plan. That's one of the assets that's got me picked.”

Potts left the field during his 10th over with cramp, at the request of captain Ben Stokes.

“We had them nine down and the calves were barking at me a little bit,” he said. “An eight-over spell, a bit of soft ground and me probably throwing 110, 115 per cent into it without realising. A bit of nerves probably takes its toll on the body.

“It was more of a case of making sure you don't pull anything or do anything stupid. Stokesy kind of took the decision off me and said 'get off the pitch, go rest and we'll get the last wicket'. He said 'you make sure you're ready for the second innings' because that is crucial, that's where the end game is going to be.

“It’s always thinking about the greater good over personal achievement. I could have gone for five. I told Stokesy I could keep on bowling. I am the first person to keep on battling through things at Durham.

“Sometimes the greater good of the team, we have multiple games coming up, a second innings. I’m trying to get myself right and win a Test rather than us be a bowler down because I’ve pulled a calf trying to take five.”

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