Kiwis stroll to comfortable series win

The spectre of woeful batting plagues Joe Root’s men once more

Captain Joe Root in action during the two match series against New Zealand

England’s cricketing summer got off to a disappointing start as they stumbled to a 1–0 series defeat to New Zealand.

It was England’s first series defeat on home soil since 2014 and New Zealand’s first in England in over 20 years. The manner of the defeat, with the India series looming and an Ashes winter on the horizon, should be of great concern to the England hierarchy.

Lightweight batting performances let the hosts down, but it’s important not to take anything away from the New Zealand performances. Debutante Devon Conway shone in the first test at Lords. His double ton had all the hallmarks of a man who had played test cricket for years; he looks set to be a big player amongst a very talented batting lineup.

The form of the English and New Zealand batting lineups could not be more different. The English top order experienced a mixed bag through the series, with the stand out being Rory Burns. The Surrey opener scored over 300 runs in the series including 132 in the first innings at Lords.

In this innings Dom Sibley fell for a seven ball duck. He redeemed himself to an extent with a hard fought unbeaten 60 to guide England to what was a rain affected draw at the home of cricket.

The draw at Lord’s, if it went the full length, would most likely have resulted in a defeat for England. Other than Burns’ century, only four other players made it to double figures and four departed without troubling the scorers.

Once again, it was the batsmen who undid the good work of the bowlers at Edgbaston. Stuart Broad led the line in the first innings to restrict the visitors to a lead of 85.

England’s response started badly and got worse. Bundled out for 122, the only contribution of interest came from Mark Wood who hit a quick fire 29.

It was an easy victory for the visitors and it was concerning the way that England crumbled once again.

Did England underestimate their visitors? This would have been a hugely unprofessional way to approach the match, and one which I don’t believe happened.

New Zealand are a world class side and they came to England full of confidence. Luckily for them, they have the ability to back it up.

They move to the top spot in the test rankings, and judging by their tour of England they will be the side to beat in the longest format of the game.

If you include all five matches down under, England have ten more test matches this year. India will be keen to build on their thumping series back in March, and the Australian fast bowlers will be surely licking their lips at the prospect of facing out of sorts English batsmen in the winter.

England’s lineup should at least look partially different for the start of the India series. As a huge year of test cricket moves to its half way point, England are faltering.

The mini series against New Zealand was always going to be tough, but England’s performances were, on the whole, very disappointing.