Williamson hails 'perfect storm' as New Zealand overcome England & rain

Arnold Nichols
March 27, 2018

Joe Root's men, who fell to a 10th away Test defeat in their last 12 attempts, had scant chance of recovering from the moment they were bowled out for 58 in only 20.4 overs of the first session in this pink-ball series opener.

But after facing 188 deliveries for a patient 66, Stokes lost his composure in the midst of a Wagner barrage and clipped a bouncer to Tim Southee at point. "It was a brilliant match for our team in all departments". It is hard to get back into a Test match after such a poor start and we have to learn some lessons quickly. "The boys put the ball in the flawless area. and the way the boys built those partnerships with the bat was very pleasing".

Rain on days two and three threatened to ruin a seemingly inevitable procession for the Black Caps, who built a lead of 369 - declaring on 427-8 thanks to a New Zealand record 18th Test century for Williamson and an unbeaten Henry Nicholls hundred. But Stokes's 66 was the best England could produce in two turns at bat.

It was another case of England undoing some much-improved work in their second innings, and a third instance in succession too of a hammer-blow wicket falling to the final ball of a session - this time leaving Woakes with only the tail for company for a further 31.3 scheduled overs. In the post match conference Joe Root knocked down questions about ball being doctored during the Ashes series.

"We stood up and showed some resolve (in the second innings) and they continued to put us under pressure and you have to give them credit".

But Bairstow could not take advantage and pulled a long hop from Astle to mid-wicket, where Kane Williamson held a leaping catch.

"I thought we got that today from the guys". "If you go back to that first England innings. that was a great start for us". We were always fighting our way back into the game, but the character the guys showed today, I think, was a step forward - and we simply need to be better when we get to Christchurch.

"There's a lot of emotion knocking around now, it's still very raw", he said when asked if changes were likely.

However, as the session reached its conclusion, the composure Stokes had displayed for much as his innings began to dissipate - a tough innings taking its toll after such a long spell away from Test cricket.

The final wicket came in the next over, James Anderson (1) hitting Astle straight to mid off to spark exuberant New Zealand celebrations.

But the tireless Wagner and unheralded Astle shared the last few wickets to regain the ascendancy for New Zealand.

Paceman Neil Wagner's short-pitched tactics proved effective again as he dismissed both Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, who had each scored defiant half-centuries and threatened to save the match for the visitors.

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