England flaunted ‘Bazball’ on Day 1 of their pink-ball Test against New Zealand, racing to 325-9 declared before dismantling the hosts’ top-order at the Bay Oval on Thursday, February 16.
Quick-fire half-centuries from Ben Duckett (84 off 68) and Harry Brook (89 off 81) helped England decimate the four-man pace attack of New Zealand, who won the toss and elected to field first.
England declared when their ninth wicket fell after 58.2 overs, the second-fastest declaration in Test cricket history in terms of balls faced. The earliest was by Pakistan who reached 130-9 after 44.5 overs on a rain-hit opening day against England at the Lord’s in 1974.
The decision was indeed vindicated as veteran pacer James Anderson sent back Kane Williamson (6) and Henry Nicholls (4) whereas Ollie Robinson removed Tom Latham (1) to leave the hosts reeling at 37-3 by stumps.
After the first day’s play, Brook admitted that England’s early declaration was dictated by the conditions.
“Yes, the gamble paid off,” said Brook. “The best time to bowl is under these lights. You can extract the most amount of swing and seam so why not try and expose their top order to that? It’s the hardest time to bat and we’ve got three of the best bowlers to ever play the game. And thankfully we got three wickets.
“It just happened like that, to be honest. There was no plan at dinner to declare. Me and Foakesy (Ben Foakes) were still batting together and if I hadn’t got out, the plan would’ve been the same. But because I got out the plan changed, and Stokesy said if there are two bowlers in at the same time, give them a couple of overs and we’ll try and utilise the lights.”
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