New Zealand v England: first Test – live | Cricket

Key events

4th over: England 23-1 (Duckett 16, Pope 0) Wagner overpitches to Duckett, who returns it with interest through mid-on. That’s Duckett’s third boundary, and it was Wagner’s third no-ball as well. He’s not bowling well, and a scruffy over ends with him spearing one down the leg side.

3rd over: England 18-1 (Duckett 12, Pope 0) Ollie Pope offers no stroke to his first ball, an inswinger that doesn’t miss off stump by all that much. A fair enough leave, but a tight one.

WICKET! England 18-1 (Crawley c Bracewell b Southee 4)

Zak Crawley is put out of his misery. Not for the first time, Tim Southee was just too good for him there. Crawley was beaten by the previous ball, trying to drive, and attempted to negate the swing by walking down the track.

It didn’t work: he edged low to third slip, just like in the opening over, but this time Bracewell took a smart two-handed catch.

2nd over: England 17-0 (Crawley 4, Duckett 11) Wagner hardly ever takes the new ball – I think this is only the fifth time in 115 innings – but if he can bowl deliveries like that to the right-hander he’ll be a threat.

Swing or no swing, England are on the attack. Crawley inside-edges wide of leg stump for a single, then Duckett hits consecutive boundaries – an efficent tuck off the pads followed by a hearty slap clout through the covers. The next ball is cut for three more. Duckett has 11 from four balls, in swinging conditions, on the first morning of a Test series.

Crawley is bowled by a no-ball! It was Wagner’s first delivery of the game, a classic inswinger to the right-hander, but replays showed he had overstepped.

1st over: England 3-0 (Crawley 3, Duckett 0) Crawley is beaten, driving at a Southee outswinger, and then clips a single through mid-on. An interesting start, with some encouraging movement for New Zealand.

“Evenin’,” writes my old Guardian colleague Paul Cockburn, who took the inspired decision to move to New Zealand back in the late 2000s. “There’s pessimism in these parts that the Black Caps are off their peak – certainly results have been poor. I’ll be at the Basin expecting a fireworks display.

“Right now, though, I think we are grateful (and amazed) that there can be cricket anywhere on the North Island after the last week. Looking forward to this first hour or so.”

0.2 overs: England 2-0 (Crawley 2, Duckett 0) Crawley is dropped second ball! He walked down the track to Southee – second ball of the series – and edged an outswinger to the right of third slip, where the diving Bracewell put down a sharp chance.

There’s a brief delay because of a problem with the sightscreen, which is currently black rather than white.

The players are ready for action. The New Zealand captain Tim Southee has a pink ball in his hand, and Zak Crawley in his sights.

“Morning Rob,” writes Showbizguru. “My two openers, Gin and Tonic, had a good evening session. But I’ve brought in a nightwatchman, Glen Morangie, to see me through to lunch.”

If you’re bringing in a nightwatchman for the morning session, I’d suggest these particular openers have done an exceedingly good job.

Okay, I’m off to get a coffee, so I’ll see you in a bit for the first session. If you’re going to stay up all night, it might as well be to watch England bat. One way or another, it’ll not be dull.

The teams

New Zealand Latham, Conway, Williamson, Nicholls, Mitchell, Blundell (wk), Bracewell, Kuggeleijn, Southee (c), Wagner, Tickner.

England Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes (c), Foakes (wk), Robinson, Leach, Broad, Anderson.

New Zealand win the toss and bowl

Tim Southee says it looks like a pretty good pitch, “as it always is here”, so I guess he wants to get ahead of the game while there is a bit of juice in the pitch. He confirms that Scott Kuggeleijn and Blair Tickner, a couple of experienced seamers, will make their Test debuts.

Ben Stokes doesn’t seem too perturbed. “It was good to lose the toss because I didn’t know what to do!”

Bucket list department

England named their team a couple of days ago – of course they did – with two changes from the final Test in Pakistan. Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad replace Mark Wood and Rehan Ahmed.

England Crawley, Duckett, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes (c), Foakes (wk), Robinson, Leach, Broad, Anderson.

The New Zealand XI will be confirmed any minute now. We know they are without the injured Kyle Jamieson, a huge blow, and that their bowling attack is likely to include a couple of debutants.

This is a really nice read on how a boy called Brendon became a visionary called Baz.

Mount Maunganui avoided the worst of Cyclone Gabrielle, and it looks like the game will start on time (1am GMT, 2pm local). Thunderstorms are forecast for later today, at least according to Jackie Aprile, so it might be a stop-start day.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first Test between New Zealand and England in Mount Maunganui. Yep, Bazball is coming home. The latest assignment for England’s Test cricket revolutionaries is a two-match series in New Zealand, the birthplace of their coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes. Their first challenge is to navigate the unique rhythms of a day-night Test, and to get blood (aka 20 wickets) out of a pink ball.

We don’t yet know whether Bazball is a moment in time or something more epochal, so for now we might as well just enjoy the unprecedented sensation of England being the most exciting Test team in the world.

Like the white-ball revolution of 2015, it all started against New Zealand. England won 3-0 last summer, though New Zealand were competitive in all three games before being smashed to smithereens in the final act. They are still a fine side, even if they haven’t always shown it since winning the World Test Championship.

They are without players for all kinds of reasons – retirement, injury, franchise contacts, parenthood, something else I’ve forgotten – and their team for this game will include only five or six of the XI that beat India in that WTC final 18 months ago. They also have a newish captain in Tim Southee.

New Zealand’s Test record since that glorious day in Hampshire is P11 W2 D4 L5, although most of those games were overseas. They haven’t lost a series at home since 2016-17, so we shouldn’t underestimate the size of the task ahead for England.

Even so, they start the series as favourites. England’s epiphanistas have won nine Tests out of ten under the new-age captaincy of Stokes, their best run since the giddy year of 2004. Then, as now, all roads led to one thing: the Ashes.