England vs New Zealand first Test: New era looks like the old as England fight to survive

Cook and Bell hold firm as two wickets fall cheaply after New Zealand build a three-figure first-innings lead

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The Independent Online

England are fighting to stay alive in the first home Test of the summer after New Zealand took control at Lord's.

This was supposed to be the start of a new era of English cricket but the team showed the same flaws on Saturday as they have since the start of the 2013/14 Ashes series in Australia.

Since that campaign began in Brisbane in October 2013, England have lost eight of 15 completed Tests. New Zealand have won only nine Tests against England in their history yet in the 100th between these sides, they will be confident of reaching double figures and taking a 1-0 lead in the two-match Investec Series.

England will resume their second innings on 74 for two on Sunday, still trailing New Zealand by 60 runs. Both Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance fell cheaply but Alastair Cook, the captain, is still there on 32, with Ian Bell 29 not out.

Ian-Bell.jpg
Ian Bell will resume on 29

England sacked Peter Moores this month yet on this evidence, it will take more than a change of coach to improve results.  Cook’s bowlers did not let him down but chances were missed at crucial times. Bell put down three catches, all of which should have been taken.

Kane Williamson’s 132 provided the bedrock to New Zealand’s innings of 523 while entertaining cameos from BJ Watling and captain Brendon McCullum helped them to a first-innings lead of 134. McCullum scored a typically daring 42 from just 38 balls and his leadership was similarly courageous. In two years, McCullum has lifted this team from eighth to third in the world rankings.

Former New Zealand skipper Jeremy Coney said on BBC Test Match Special: “For years we looked to England for our idea of style, but now, because of the personnel involved, we’re developing our own New Zealand style. They attack and attack and attack. McCullum has been the key figure in that development.”

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