England Skittle New Zealand At Lords

Jimmy Anderson in action as England skittle New Zealand.

England’s latest red-ball reset has gotten off to a flying start with England skittling New Zealand at Lords. Having lost the toss and been put into the field by the Black Caps on what looked like a good day for batting day, it did not take long for Jimmy Anderson to make an impact on his return to the side. Will Young, who has been in fine form for Northants, lasted just two balls with Johnny Bairstow taking a sharp chance off the bowling of Anderson. Tom Latham occupied the crease for longer, but scored just one run before being dismissed.

If New Zealand were relying on Kane Williamson and Devon Conway to rebuild the innings, they were to be disappointed. Stuart Broad got his name in the wicket’s column by removing Conway, who scored a famous double-century at Lords on debut last season but managed just three runs this time, before Matthew Potts took his first wicket in Test cricket to send Kane Williamson back to the sheds. Their seven runs was the lowest total managed by a top four at Lords in history.

Things improved from there for the tourists, but only very marginally. Darryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell hung around for awhile, but never looked particularly comfortable. Both men reached double figures, but New Zealand needed far more if they were to rescue the situation. When both were dismissed, for 13 and 14 respectively, New Zealand were in deep trouble at 36-6. Colin de Grandhomme’s attacking 42* and a quickfire 26 from Tim Southee did at least spare them from a humiliating total, but it is a long way back for the Kiwis now.

England, understandably, were jubilant. It has been a punishing 18 months for this Test team, with the Ashes and the tour of the Caribbean saw English plumb depths not seen in a generation. But their performance on the first morning at Lords has brought renewed optimism and the sense that Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum can combine effectively in their efforts to take England back to the top table of Test cricket.

Being able to call upon the likes of Broad and Anderson will not hurt their chances of course. The pair were magnificent, particularly Anderson, which will raise further questions as to why they were used so sparingly in recent months. They are bowlers of rare skill and whilst they are available, England would do well to make use of them. Potts’ debut, with the Durham seamer taking four wickets, was also most encouraging. The clouds may finally be clearing over England.

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