First Test: England made to suffer for careless early batting choices

 

Dunedin

England's top order was swept aside as the first Test finally began last night. They were in utter disarray by lunch, teetering on 81 for 5 which made a nonsense of the relative status of the teams in the world rankings.

Before the first hour of the series was out the tourists had lost three wickets including both openers, Nick Compton and their captain, Alastair Cook, as well as Kevin Pietersen to his first ball.

An apparently solid rebuilding operation was halted in its tracks when Ian Bell was removed by another piece of careless batting. Joe Root was next to depart and his dismissal was hardly blameless.

England seemed badly affected by the moving ball, treating it as a stranger although the conditions were of the kind they routinely come across at home. Three of the wickets fell to Neil Wagner, a late call-up to the squad, who is playing his first Test match at home.

The initial overs were always bound to be a difficult proposition. The sky was overcast, the pitch had been sweating under covers for 24 hours since the opening day of the series was washed out.

There was some seam movement, albeit on the slow side, which was given extra assistance by a sequence of shots poor in both conception and execution. It left the tourists with a great deal of unnecessary recovery work to do and the unheralded Kiwis with the most rewarding of starts.

Compton was the first to depart to the 14th ball of the match. He played an indeterminate push at Tim Southee which rebounded on to his stumps from the bottom of the bat. If it was unfortunate, it was also the upshot of uncertainty against the seaming ball.

When Cook was dropped by the debutant, Bruce Martin on nine, flicking off his legs, that seemed to be a reprieve for which New Zealand would be made to pay dearly. Astonishingly, having played one loose shot Cook then played another, cutting a wide short ball from Wagner at shoulder height to point.

Pietersen's entry was greeted with the usual air of expectation. But he received a ball of full length, which swung excruciatingly late into his pads, exactly the sort of delivery no batsman wants first ball. He was slightly late on the shot as well and the decision was an easy one for the umpire, Asad Rauf, to make.

Due diligence and application were required for England to overcome these early setbacks, which Bell and Jonathan Trott seemed to be providing. Bell played several handsome strokes including one extra cover drive for four which was exceptional even by his standards of beauty.

It was certainly of a loftier vintage than the cover drive which led to his dismissal shortly after he had survived a review of an lbw appeal. Inexplicably he hit the ball loosely in the air for Hamish Rutherford to take the catch at the second attempt. Bell had good cause to shake his head.

Root had hardly had time to settle despite one boundary to third man before he parried at a rising ball outside off stump. Dean Brownlie took the catch at third slip. Root might have been wiser to leave the ball alone.

Trott surveyed the wreckage of the early part of the innings with his usual combination of fussing at the crease and calm nudging. He was 40no by the break with Matt Prior having scored a single and if it was the type of pitch on which batsmen never felt truly in at least he had given himself the best chance of survival.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home