England v New Zealand Series Review

Latest Events Monday July 25, 2022 By: engage

England v New Zealand Series Review

When play was about to begin at 10:59am on June 2nd, few would have predicted what came to pass at Lord’s, Trent Bridge, and Headingley over the following month. Although there was a keen sense of anticipation around The Home of Cricket, with Ben Stokes and Brendan McCullum still fresh in their new roles as captain and head coach, the past year or so hasn’t exactly suggested that this test team was capable of mixing it with the best in the world. How wrong we all were. Three wins from three matches, all achieved from positions that England of old would have capitulated and collapsed were to follow, and that’s not the least of it.

The beginning of a new era

England began their so-called test reset with a taste of things to come at Lord’s. Joe Root notched up his 10,000-test run as part of a spellbinding 115 not out 4th innings century to secure the win – honourable mention to Ben Foakes who provided the perfect foil for the ex-captain as he steered England to only their second win in their last eleven test matches. Despite Root’s heroics however, this was really a match and wicket for the bowlers to excel, and England’s attack didn’t disappoint with Jimmy Anderson returning to the line-up to take six wickets and Matthew Potts on debut taking a superb seven across both innings as he introduced himself to the England faithful for the first time.

Engage Guests at Lord's Sidebottom, Prior, Small
Engage Guests at Lord’s Sidebottom, Prior, Small

Whilst Lord’s was a brilliant win for an England team starved of both confidence and results of late, and meant England chasing down a total that they had previously baulked at exactly a year earlier against the same opponents, it was about to be topped. Twice. After high first innings totals by both sides, which for England included Ollie Pope hitting a brilliant 145 and yet more runs for Root (176), England were set 299 to win the match. Everything seemed all too familiar when Alex Lees edged one to Blundell off the bowling of Southee to put England at 93-4, and we all thought we knew what was coming. With Jonny Bairstow at the crease though, it’s never that simple. Still needing over 200 runs to win the match, aided by Captain Ben Stokes (75*), Bairstow produced an innings full of shots you’d expect to see in The Hundred or Vitality Blast as he hit 136 off only 92 deliveries, including bringing up his century in only 77 balls to fall agonisingly short of an English record set in 1902. This test match encapsulated the change in mindset that both Stokes and McCullum have looked to instil in this England side, and they weren’t done yet…

To Headingley, the scene of one of England’s greatest days in recent years. Ben Stokes and Jack Leach’s remarkable run chase in the 2019 Ashes series will live long in the memory, and the latter was at it again, but this time with the ball, taking five-for in both innings, and in the process becoming only the third spinner to do so in a test match in England. The other two? Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. However, much like at Trent Bridge, few could keep pace with Jonny Bairstow who stole the show once again, this time on his home ground. At 55-6 in the first innings, England again turned to the in-form Yorkshireman, who, aided by debutant Jamie Overton (97), hit another remarkable century, perhaps even more impressive than his match winning one at Trent Bridge, given the dire situation England found themselves in, with the Kiwis setting a solid 329 all out in their first innings. For the third time in three matches, England would need to produce a 4th innings run chase that would be amongst their ten biggest of all time; and for the third time in three matches, they did so in style. Root and Pope would hit centuries and Bairstow a casual, unbeaten 71 off 44 deliveries to win the match and whitewash the series at a canter.

What’s to come?

With a one-off test against India at Edgbaston, and a three-match series against South Africa at Lord’s, Old Trafford and The Oval to come, there should be plenty more box office action to get stuck into this summer. A new era has dawned on English test cricket, and by all accounts, it looks like it is going to be an exciting one.

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