‘Terrible’: English humiliation shredded
After scoring his maiden Test century and snaring three wickets, New Zealand's Mitch Santner pulled off one of the most remarkable catches seen at Mount Maunganui.
During the second innings of England's loss to New Zealand, Ollie Pope had lasted 24 deliveries at the crease when he drove Neil Wagner's low full toss towards the covers.
With four wickets still needed for victory, Santner pounced on the opportunity, leaping to his weaker side and holding onto an instant classic.
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Pope departed, New Zealand celebrated and social media exploded, many dubbing Santner's catch "Supermanesque".
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson praised Santner after the match.
"The talent's always been there … in his own mind, to spend so much time at the crease (and) to come away with his first Test hundred along with BJ Watling's first double was a magnificent contribution," Williamson said.
While New Zealand celebrated the victory, the English media quickly savaged the Poms.
ESPN Cricinfo writer George Dobell said BJ Watling's innings had "crushed" England's hopes but was easily the toughest on the side.
"Some say that, when Watling's innings began, the lava dome that is Mount Maunganui had not yet been formed and moa still grazed happily around the boundary edge," Dobell wrote.
"He had also raised - perhaps reprised would be a more appropriate word - some serious questions about England's game in such conditions … Truly, there have been more competitive seal clubbings."
The Guardian's Ali Martin said the same but in just four words.
"It was a hammering," Martin wrote.
The Telegraph writer Scyld Berry wrote what England's batsmen "lacked above all was character."
Cricinfo writer Daniel Brettig was "amazed" at England's go-slow tactics as they shut up shop completely in the hope of defending itself to a draw.
"Frankly amazed that England made no attempt to reduce New Zealand's lead as part of their strategy to try to get a draw," Brettig wrote on Twitter.
"Williamson and NZ bowlers being under absolutely no scoreboard pressure has given them so many more overs to try to bowl England out.
"Buttler's dismissal is just the perfect metaphor for this whole sorry episode. Tactically so terrible from England that it warrants a change of captain."
The second Test match in Hamilton starts on Friday.
HAPLESS ENGLAND CRUMBLE IN NZ
Neil Wagner delivered the decisive blows as New Zealand crushed England by an innings and 65 runs with an hour to spare in the first Test at Mount Maunganui.
Wagner proved too good for the tourists' middle and lower order, finishing with 5-44 on Monday as New Zealand put the icing on a dominant final three days.
England were knocked over for 197 just before the final drinks break at Bay Oval on Monday, never threatening the 262 they needed to make the hosts bat again.
Four wickets in the space of 11.3 overs midway through the middle session swung momentum, undoing some belligerent batting earlier in the day when England resumed at 3-55.
I guess England can excuse themselves by saying this wasn't actually a Test match for championship points, but that's about it #NZvENG— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) November 25, 2019
Wagner, a proven performer in the second innings of Tests on Kiwi soil, claimed three of those scalps and then wrapped up the match when removing tailenders Jofra Archer (30) and Stuart Broad with successive deliveries. Sam Curran was unbeaten on 29.
The damage was done after lunch on a pitch playing tricks, although the surface wasn't entirely to blame for England's middle order meltdown.
Tim Southee ended a gritty stand between Joe Denly (35) and Ben Stokes (28) which lasted 26 overs after the cheap dismissal of out-of-form skipper Joe Root. Stokes was unfortunate to play on, the ball clipping a bail, removing the man regarded as most likely to deny New Zealand victory.
Extra bounce from Wagner feathered Denly's glove before he also removed Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler, the latter inexplicably shouldering arms to end a scoreless 18-ball knock.
Root was caught tamely at gully off Colin de Grandhomme in the only morning breakthrough as the visitors crawled to 4/98.
New Zealand's hopes took a blow when paceman Trent Boult was forced out of the Test with a side injury, having bowled just one over.
Mitchell Santner, who claimed three late wickets on Sunday, bowled virtually unchanged through the day but without success, despite his left-arm spin causing problems.
It was a memorable and fighting victory for New Zealand, set up by their exceptional response of 9/615 after England posted 353.
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling's 205 and a maiden Test century to Santner (126) squeezed the life from the visitors, who will face an inquisition ahead of the second Test in Hamilton from Friday.
England captain Joe Root was fairly blunt about the team's performance during a post-match interview.
"We missed an opportunity (in the first innings) if we're brutally honest with ourselves. Could have done with a score over 450, and using that scoreboard pressure as another fielder," Root said.
"We did a lot of good stuff, we just need to do it for longer - it's not going to happen overnight. It ended up being a good wicket over the course of five days … unfortunately, that first innings is what's cost us.
"We have to be honest with ourselves, not panic … the guys are putting in a lot of hard work behind the scenes. We've got an opportunity to level things up."
- with AAP
This could only be better if he was about to crash in the pool https://t.co/o6GJZLlG2m— Dan Smith (@feastofdan) November 25, 2019
Really looking forward to Australia's Test series against New Zealand. But England... they had a poor game, really poor. #NZvEng— Rick Eyre on cricket (@rickeyrecricket) November 25, 2019