The first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s was drawn with a last-day wicket. Dom Sibley, the Sussex batsman, took match figures of 4-43 as New Zealand were bowled out for 455.
England and the Black Caps made it a test match draw on a placid Lord’s ground that was at times so slow it threatened to turn into a procession.
|New Zealand 378 (Conway 200) and 169-6 Dec (Robinson 3-26).
|England 275 (Burns 132, Southey 6-43) and 170-3 (Sibley 60*, Routt 40).
|The match ended in a draw; the score of the two-Test series is 0:0.
England were not tempted to play catch-up on the final day of the New Zealand game, batting hard and drawing the first Test at Lord’s. New Zealand’s stand of 169-6 at lunch left a tempting prospect for England to reach 273 for 75 us. However, the target was never reached and England opted for a safety-focused approach, led by an alert Dom Sibley, who hit 60 runs off 207 balls. England reached 170-3 to level the score with five wickets to go. The second and final test of the series at Edgbaston begins on Thursday.
To follow or not to follow?
The statement from New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson late in the morning, when his team scored five runs, should tempt England into a pursuit that could lead to a collapse. Perhaps a breezy attempt at a remarkable victory would be a fitting end to England’s first home Test since 2019 for a sunny afternoon at Lord’s. However, it is understandable that England opted for caution given the inexperience of the team, the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, the quality of the opposition and the poor condition of the pitch. New Zealand were leading this Test, but their chances of victory were seriously jeopardised when the third day of play was cancelled due to rain. Some would say England should have chased better, but instead they chose to stay level in the decisive game of the series.
Questions after a difficult week in England
This has been a frustrating week for England, for one reason in particular. Rookie Ollie Robinson’s historically racist and sexist tweets were in direct contradiction to the anti-discrimination message the home team proclaimed on the first morning. Robinson impressed in the field, taking seven wickets and scoring 42 runs, but his actions in 2012 and 2013 cast doubt on his immediate international future. Many young batsmen will go to Edgbaston to score runs. Zach Crowley, after his two balls in the first inning, did the same in the second, again directing a hit to Tim Southee. Dan Lawrence and rookie James Bracey failed to score in their only innings, and Ollie Pope’s performance was hardly enough to secure him a permanent place in the team. At least Sibley ended his run of six consecutive single-digit scores, albeit slowly. England must also decide whether to field a specialist spinner at Edgbaston after opting for a four-man attack and ruling out Jack Leach at Lord’s.
Sibley holds firm after breakthrough New Zealand
Trailing 62-2, New Zealand immediately showed what they can do, including a six-point attack from Ross Taylor on Robinson. The rain led to an early lunch and a surprise announcement, but England didn’t bite. After his century in the first innings, left fielder Rory Burns worried about an irregular bounce outside his off-stump and promoted Neil Wagner to second base. When Crawley fell, New Zealand had a chance with almost 43 ounces left. By this time, Sibley is already rooted. He groped and hit and played the ball only when absolutely necessary. Ruth was a little more proactive, but there came a time when the crowd began to utter ironic cries whenever one of them showed signs of aggression. Wagner, who caught Root at 40 pounds, pushed New Zealand further forward, leaving Pope to join Sibley in the growing darkness.
Was England right to stop the prosecution?
England captain Joe Root told Sport: On any other surface, he would have been a very juicy target. A root was pulled. But the way the keeper behaved, especially against the new ball, was difficult. It would have been nice to see something after the 20 goal mark, but unfortunately that was not the case. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on the special Test match: We were also expecting a lively afternoon. We found that there were still some inconsistencies on the surface. We had glimpses, but not regularly enough, and they gradually faded. There is no doubt that the English camp would love to have a really solid base to try and make it from. It’s always a delicate balance on the last day.
England resisted the temptation of a final-day chase against New Zealand, doggedly batting through to secure a draw in the first Test at Lord’s.
New Zealand’s lunchtime declaration on 169-6 left the tantalising prospect of England chasing 273 in 75 overs.
However, the target was never seriously pursued, with England instead opting for a safety-first approach led by Dom Sibley’s vigilant unbeaten 60 from 207 balls.
England had reached 170-3 when a draw was agreed with five overs remaining.
The second and final Test of the series at Edgbaston begins on Thursday.
To chase or not to chase?
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson’s declaration at the end of a morning when his side bumped along at five runs an over was designed to entice England into a chase that could bring about their downfall.
Perhaps a carefree attempt at a remarkable win would have been a fitting conclusion to England’s first home Test in front of spectators since 2019 on a sun-drenched afternoon at Lord’s.
However, it is understandable that England opted for caution given the inexperience of their team, the absence of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, the quality of the opposition and the deterioration of the pitch.
This has been a Test where New Zealand have held the upper hand, with their chance of winning severely hampered by the loss of the third day to rain.
Some will argue that England should have made a better fist of the chase, but they instead chose to be on level terms going into the series decider.
Questions after England’s difficult week
This has been an uncomfortable week for England for one major reason.
Historical tweets of a racist and sexist nature from debutant Ollie Robinson were a direct contradiction to a message of anti-discrimination the home side displayed on the first morning.
On the field, Robinson was impressive in taking seven wickets and scoring 42 runs, but his actions in 2012 and 2013 leave his immediate international future in doubt.
Plenty of young batsmen will go to Edgbaston in need of a score. Zak Crawley followed his two in the first innings with the same in the second, again aiming a loose drive at Tim Southee.
Dan Lawrence and debutant James Bracey failed to score in their only innings, while Ollie Pope’s cameos are hardly enough to guarantee a long-term place.
At least Sibley ended his run of six successive single-figure scores in Tests, albeit in turgid fashion.
England also have to decide if they want to field a specialist spinner at Edgbaston after the selection of a four-man pace attack and the omission of Jack Leach at Lord’s.
Sibley digs in after New Zealand burst
From 62-2 overnight, New Zealand immediately showed their intent, with Ross Taylor’s sweep for six off Robinson a particular highlight.
Rain brought an early lunch and with it the surprise declaration, but there was never an indication England would take the bait.
After his first-innings century, left-hander Rory Burns was troubled by uneven bounce outside his off stump and edged Neil Wagner to second slip. When Crawley fell, New Zealand had an opportunity with almost 43 overs remaining.
By this point, Sibley was digging in. He prodded and poked, only playing at the ball when absolutely necessary.
Root was marginally more enterprising, yet there arrived a point when the crowd erupted into ironic cheers when either man showed signs of aggression.
Wagner trapping Root for 40 lbw encouraged New Zealand to press on, leaving Pope to accompany Sibley in the gathering gloom.
Were England right to turn down chase?
England captain Joe Root told Sport: “On another surface it would have been a very juicy target. The carrot was dangled.
“But the way the wicket was behaving, especially against the new ball, was difficult. It would have been nice to see after the 20-over mark if we could have a sniff at it, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson on Test Match Special: “We were also looking forward to a lively afternoon.
“We thought there’d be a few more inconsistencies out of the surface. We saw glimpses but didn’t see it regularly enough, and it just sort of fizzled out a bit.
“No doubt the England camp would have wanted to get a really strong base to have a crack at that. it’s always a fine balance on the last day.”