To lose the toss and be 350 behind in the first innings, it required something special. —New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson
Superb test victory over England
By Roger Childs
After the disappointment of losing the World Cup to England earlier in the year in controversial fashion, yesterday’s test victory at the Mount is sweet. The Black Caps had to chase a respectable first inning total and at one stage were 127 for 4 with star batsmen Williamson and Ross Taylor back in the pavilion.
However, the middle order dug deep and the team amassed an extraordinary 615 to set up the basis for winning the game on the fifth day.
A number of top quality performances
This was a true team effort and all the players contributed to a greater or lesser extent. Fast bowler Tim Southee, who some argued shouldn’t be picked, took 5-80 in England’s first innings, and fellow paceman Neil Wagner had a double of 3-90 and 5-44.
The turning point in the match was unquestionably the record breaking seventh wicket partnership between wicket-keeper B.J. Watling (206) and all-rounder Mitchell Santner (126). They came together with New Zealand six down for 316, still 37 behind England’s first innings total; 261 runs later, Santner was out and the Black Caps had a lead of over 200.
Earlier in the innings, useful knocks from Williamson 51, Nicholls 41 and de Grandhomme 65 set the platform for Watling’s and Santner’s records. Then Santner grabbed three wickets late on the fourth day to make the task of dismissing England in the final three sessions much easier. Then to provide further evidence of his all-round skills, Santner pulled off a stunning diving catch at cover to dismiss middle order batsman, Ollie Pope on day five.
No time to relax
Historically, New Zealand cricket teams have often followed decisive victories with crushing defeats.
The teams head for Hamilton this weekend to play the second test and the country will be hoping that this time it will be different.