England v New Zealand: hosts win first test at Lord’s

Let’s hear all your reactions to today’s remarkable result. Whatever your perspective, this was a very fine test match, full of punch and counter-punch, ebb and flow, twists and turns. England fought back – twice – from very difficult positions, and with some panache.

I rather feel for New Zealand, who played very fine cricket for much of the match, and don’t quite feel like deserved losers.

There will be plenty to unpick during the next few days, and one test match result does not mean there is no place for scepticism or proper analysis.

But first we’d like to hear your views, and to give the discussion some shape, here are a few questions for you:

  • Who was your man of the match?
  • What was the turning point for England?
  • How could both England and New Zealand improve for the second test?
  • What, if any, is the wider significance of England winning?
  • What were your favourite/most over-rated/most under-rated aspects of the match?

Very interested to hear your comments – and many thanks.


  • My general thoughts..

    Genuinely fantastic match from start to finish. Both teams deserve lots of credit. Early day still, but as an Eng fan, performance has given me so much optimism for the summer. The fightback, then slowly turning the screw.

    MoM – has to be Stokes. Think the commentary nailed it when they said his first innings batting helped avoid defeat and his second set up for a shot at victory. Cook close second for marshalling the innings and leading from the front. Both such different players, but so effective in tandem.

    Turning point – a number, but for me the key was Cook and Root’s partnership on day four. This was quietly key to see off a still dangerous NZ attack and give Eng a way back into the game before Stokes did his magic.

    Considering a number of batsmen didn’t fire this time (Ballance, Bell, Lyth), some very solid batting scores. Also a good sharing out of the wickets – sounds like Eng’s bowling improved as the game went on after a poor start. Promising that wickets came from a number of places. Wood acquitted himself well and looked dangerous, it was a good call to bring him in. Could cement himself as an important number three bowler.

    Significance in my opinion can’t be overstated. Important win against a dangerous opponent will bring confidence for the summer ahead. Quality opposition require more than one person to perform (e.g. Root previously), and this is what occurred. That for me was the most promising aspect.

  • NZ did play well, but you don’t win matches by “deserving” to win; you win by taking 20 wickets for fewer runs than your opposition can take their 20 wickets.

    Marvellous from Stokes; continued solidity from Root; Cook finally back in form: ace.

    Still worried about our bowling. Wood had a good debut, but Jimmy and Broad often didn’t look at all threatening. The fact that Root got as many wickets as Moeen in the 4th innings says a lot: either Root is a much better spinner than I think he is or Mo just isn’t good enough to be England’s frontline spinner. It didn’t cost us here, but it will in the UAE, I fear.

    But most of all: a win against a Test nation ranked higher than us. Exactly what English cricket needed most.

  • Who was your man of the match?
    Stokes by a distance. Steered us away from defeat and then set up the win. Crucial 2nd innings wickets too.
    What was the turning point for England?
    Root and Stokes partnership in first innings.
    How could both England and New Zealand improve for the second test?
    There is v little time for either side to do much. The England spin option is becoming a big worry but not a short term fix. I sense NZ’s physio is going to be their key man before Friday. NZ back up bowling need to step up too. More red ball familiarity will help their top players.
    What, if any, is the wider significance of England winning?
    The significance will be confidence building and there will be an element of re-connecting with fans. However, I worry media may overplay this.
    What were your favourite/most over-rated/most under-rated aspects of the match?
    Most disappointing part of this test is that this is only a two test series and NZ were undercooked going into the test. A 3 test series between these two sides with appropriate warm ups for NZ would be some spectacle.
    One of my favourite aspects of the match was watching Williamson. A very classy batsman.
    I think he will get plaudits but potentially most under-rated contribution was Wood as a third seamer. He reminds me of Si Jones but they are some big boots to fill.
    Promising start to the summer which was massively needed.

    • I agree with pretty well all of that… except I do wonder if the turning point wasn’t NZ opting to field having won the toss ?
      On a record scoring Lords pitch, batting didn’t look quite as easy on the final day.

      Possibly not, as the difference between the teams (other than preparation) was possibly that England seem to have found a better pair of backup seamers in Wood (some genuine pace !) and Stokes.

      I hope that New Zealand are fully fit for the next test, as anything else would spoil a very evenly poised match.

      • NZ suffered from Craig being poor, Watling’s injury which meant Latham had to go right from keeping to opening, and from Anderson apparently having an injury that heavily restricted how much he could bowl.

        That said, it’ll likely be annoying to England’s bowlers if NZ bats first at Headingly.

  • Man of the match – Got to be Ben Stokes. Momentum shifting innings both times and his capture of Williamson and McCullum in successive balls extinguished any hopes of a NZ win.
    Turning point – Root joining Cook on Sunday morning and steadying the ship after the early loss of Bell. Set things up for Stokes’ onslaught.

    Improvements – I think NZ will naturally improve having got this Test under their belt, especially those who came late from IPL. There spinner is crap as well.
    As for England, our spin options look thin. Ali is better than I thought he was but isnt reliable enough to hold an end down for long periods.
    Wider significance – Positive cricket at last. Long may it continue. I really hope England dont revert back to the attritional stuff. I for one am warming to certain members of this team.

    I enjoyed Root, Stokes and Wood’s games in particular. They look like they are enjoying being out there. Bell for instance sometimes looks like he is at work. Nice to see Cook back in form. I think batting the day Sunday will have been a big thing for him as will getting the 10 wickets today. No wondering what might have been.

  • One of the better adverts for Test cricket after a while. Something about playing at Lord’s seems to bring out the best in the teams.

    MOTM: Cannot disagree with Ben Stokes but if not for his 3 crucial wickets in the 2nd innings, I would have picked Root. He saved the batting twice with good partnerships with Stokes and then Cook.

    Defining moment has to be the Stokes 100. If not for that, New Zealand might have had a smaller target to chase. Then again Buttler might have been able to accomplish half of what Stokes did. It reminded England and their fans what the team is capable of if an individual is allowed to fire to his potential. More than Williamson’s wicket for England, Root’s wicket for New Zealand was what gave back England the control in both innings as mentioned above in my 2nd choice for MOTM.

    Underrated: Trent Boult. 4fer in the 1st innings and a 5fer in the 2nd innings plus he cleaned up the tail when it looked like Broad might just be getting back into form. Also Mark Wood. Although everyone had already seen Matt Henry perform on the international stage in the SF vs SA, Mark Wood was a refreshing change to the otherwise overawed debutants that England have had in the past 2 years at least. He brought his personality to the field and wasn’t afraid to simply let the pace do the talking. But as a reminder, please do not screw him up like Plunkett, Finn and Rankin. He needs to settle down and do things his way.

    Also underrated is how Broad bowled. 6 wickets and at least in the 2nd innings seemed to look like he might actually start liking batting again. Signs of the old Broad to come maybe.

    Overrated: Nothing much really. Jimmy Anderson and the focus on his 400th wicket didn’t take the attention away from Root’s batting, Cook’s batting and even Stokes’ all-round performance. Think the onus now needs to shift from Cook the batsman to Bell the batsman. He’s been on a lean run since his remarkable Ashes series and now with Cook also scoring runs and looking to get back into form, Bell needs to pull his socks up. Ballance is looking shaky but where will you find a new no.3 & 4 right before the Ashes?

    Also don’t get me wrong. Nothing to take away from England in this win but Cook the captain was massively supported by good bowling from Broad, Wood and then Stokes plus good batting from Buttler, Root and Stokes as well. He still doesn’t look like the best man for the job though but he seems to be the best of the worst. Certainly do not want Bell to be captain (what might that do to his batting) and Root is just too fresh and new to take that burden on. Broad isn’t exactly a better choice also what with his T20 captaincy not sticking and Anderson doesn’t even figure in the picture.

    Favourites: This was a brilliant Test match and there are a few. Mark Wood’s horse celebration after taking a catch; Root’s salute to Stokes after the latter got to his 100; Stokes’ wicket of Brendon McCullum; Jimmy’s wicket of Guptill in the 2nd innings which began the 2nd innings in brilliant fashion compared to how NZ began their first innings with a 140 odd run opening partnership. Overall, there seemed to be an air of confidence and happiness about the team when they were fielding and even when they were batting. Maybe the new coach coming in needs to be someone who can keep up that spirit. They seemed to genuinely enjoy their cricket. Even the debutants Adam Lyth and Wood weren’t fazed by the glory and aura of playing at Lord’s which might be saying something also.

  • I think the NZ batting line up must feel they let England in right at the last minute.

    Williamson must be gutted about his dismissal, surely? He’d seen a load of deliveries with away movement go past him. He’d already fenced unwisely at a few that over, and then he tried to force one he could easily have left. If he’d survived another 10 overs you’d have thought NZ would surely have held out.

    Stokes showed yesterday that a burst of attacking form with the bat can put you in a position to win a test match, and suddenly this morning with pressure and the crowd on their side England looked like a real test match attack again.

    And for me that’s big news, because this is exactly the sort of cricket they seemed to have forgotten how to play. It’s not spreadsheet cricket, each player a cog in the machine, diligently fulfilling his appointed role as if playing a pure team sport. It’s cricket where an individual grabs the game by the scruff of the neck and attacks, full blooded, not because the laptop says it’s time for quick runs, but because he senses that the opportunity is there, and because it’s the sort of cricket that he grew up dreaming of playing.

    For me, England’s coaches in the last few years have loomed all over England’s performances like Darth Vader’s helmet in a Star Wars poster.

    Maybe it’s just coincidence that they have suddenly flourished in the absence of a micromanaging Flower / Moores type figure in the dressing room. Maybe it isn’t, though.

    • And for me that’s big news, because this is exactly the sort of cricket they seemed to have forgotten how to play. It’s not spreadsheet cricket, each player a cog in the machine, diligently fulfilling his appointed role as if playing a pure team sport. It’s cricket where an individual grabs the game by the scruff of the neck and attacks, full blooded, not because the laptop says it’s time for quick runs, but because he senses that the opportunity is there, and because it’s the sort of cricket that he grew up dreaming of playing.

      Very well put, that’s it exactly. And it doesn’t half cheer you up!

  • George Dobell:

    “It was all so typically un-English. Instead of determination, we had destruction. Instead of patience, we had passion. And instead of percentage cricket we had bull’s-eyes and jackpots.”


  • Excellent test match and well done to England and Cook (in batting at least – captaincy is hard to judge from following it online). I do think NZ made it harder for themselves by bowling first – if England were 30/4 chasing 400+ it may have been a very different result, but we will never know. It was a gamble and that is how McCullum plays.

  • I was in the crowd yesterday. Whilst the overall mood was extremely optimistic and happy with the performance of a number of individuals (Stokes, Root, Wood, Moeen, Butler, and Cook for his second innings batting), there were still concerns – Anderson and Broad bowled well for about 4 overs each and then looked toothless – and the captaincy in the final two sessions was an absolute disgrace and almost snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. Refusing to bowl a spinner, and instead insisting on a tactic of bowling ridiculously high bouncers for an entire session was utterly insane – if you were actively trying to avoid taking wickets, this would be a pretty good plan. There were a lot of “resign, Cook!” murmurings from the crowd.

    Lets not count our chickens, NZ basically gave this one away.

    • There was limited turn and Mo as yet doesn’t have the control to beat people with flight. He was going at 6 an over and didn’t look like taking a wicket so he was taken off – that’s good captaincy when you’ve only got 75 overs to bowl a side out.. He gave Root a go and he came up with a wicket.

      As for New Zealand giving it away, I can’t think of many loose shots. Guptill got a beauty, Latham got a full swinging one first up, Taylor got a decent ball (he possibly could have done better), Stokes worked over Williamson and then bowled a cracker at McCullum, Watling got a snorter that he could only glove. That’s the top 6 wickets, down to good aggressive bowling.

      The most pleasing thing was that they were in tough situations at 30-4 and fought back, NZ were 400-3 and they kept them to a lead of 130, they were 25 for 2 second innings and held out on Saturday night, then played well Sunday morning after Bell went first over. Every time NZ looked like they were taking control, England fought back.

      • Going at 6 an over? So what? The run rate was inconsequential, all that mattered was wickets. The two spinners generated more chances in 6 overs of bowling than Broad and Anderson did in the entire afternoon session.

        Williamson threw it away, trying to force a backfoot drive to a short ball outside off that he should have been leaving.

        Taylor slogged across the line at a straight half volley.

        Southee chipped his first ball straight back.

        and as for Boult… uppercutting a tame bouncer with 9.3 overs left to save the match…

        • He was going at 6 an over because Anderson was playing him easily – that was the reason to take him off – he got hit for 3 fours in an over in which he bowled 3 full tosses and a long hop and was taken off. It wasn’t the run rate – it was because he wasn’t bowling very well. If it was a raging turner, then it would be worth keeping him on, but it wasn’t.

          After a short 6 over burst with Broad and Anderson after tea, his two senior bowlers, he brought Root and Wood who both got him wickets, he then brought on Stokes and Ali who both got him wickets in their first overs. Southee mistimed a drive, but he’s a number 9 / 10 batsman – it’s what they do. Similarly Boult – number 11s play crap shots.

          Taylor got beaten – he has a well-documented tendency to play round his front pad, so full and straight is the way to go to him early. As for Williamson, of course he could have left it, but he had just faced two absolute snorters – give credit to fast, aggressive bowling drawing out a less than judicious shot.

          There’s a determination to continue this narrative that Cook is crap at captaining, even when he does well. Whether or not you agreed with which bowler he put on when, the key thing was that he didn’t let the game drift at all, which has been his worst fault in the past. And at the end of the day, they bowled a decent side out in under 70 overs on a pitch that wasn’t a 5th day minefield, which is an excellent result worthy of praise rather than sniping.

  • What a great test, 4 days of absorbing entertaining cricket from two improving sides climaxing with a gripping final day.

    Great to come out on top, (deservedly) but New Zealand also deserve much credit. It felt like England won the crucial moments rather than ever dominating match session after session.

    ‘Proper analysis’ concludes reason for cautious optimism. Tougher tests await of course, but given many had built up New Zealand as a superior opponent (based possibly on their ODI form), this was a good win and one to savour.


copywriter copywriting