Wellington — Patience and application at the crease was key to New Zealand’s innings and 65-run win over England in the first Test at Bay Oval on Monday, captain Kane Williamson said.
Having declared on 615/9 in their only knock in response to England’s first innings 353, the hosts then bowled the tourists out for 197 in Mt Maunganui.
With Bay Oval hosting its first Test little was known about how the wicket would play and while there were rare occasions when the ball kept low or reared off a length, it was still a good batting surface.
The main difference between the two sides appeared to be patience and decision-making, with New Zealand’s middle order in particular prepared to wait for the right ball to put away and build their innings.
Man-of-the-match BJ Watling, who scored his maiden Test double century with 205 and shared in partnerships with Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner, batted for 667 minutes — longer than either of England’s entire innings.
“His application at the crease and his focus ... he faced nearly 500 deliveries which was an incredible effort,” Williamson said.
“Just the patience to make good decisions for long periods, it was what the team required. But there was a huge amount of heart from that middle order to get us to the 600 mark.
“For them to keep making good decisions and bat for long periods and for 200 overs was an outstanding effort.”
New Zealand kept England in the field for more than 14 hours and by the end of their innings the visitors looked exhausted. The physical toll on their bowlers could be telling with the second match starting at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Friday.
Of greater concern for England captain Joe Root, however, would be the decision-making of his side, with several players getting dismissed by deliveries the New Zealanders would have ignored.
The side also lacks experience, particularly in the batting with Root and Ben Stokes the only players in the top six to have played more than 15 Tests. Root is the only player with a Test average in excess of 40, while Jeet Raval is the only player in New Zealand’s top-seven averaging under 40 and all of the top eight have now scored Test centuries.
The England captain, however, said he felt his side would be able to turn it around quickly.
“I thought we did a lot of good stuff,” Root said. “We just need to do it for longer.
“There are areas we can definitely address. We just have to make sure that we continue to work really hard [because] we have got an opportunity to come back and level things up.”