Daily Express


- From Dean Wilson in Mount Maunganui

ENGLAND’S Test woes away from home appear to require as much remedial work as their one-day cricket did four years ago – and it is the same nation that has provided the lesson.

New Zealand brutally humbled England in Wellington back in 2015 and they have done so again here, albeit in the most contrastin­g of styles.

The Kiwis get it. The Indians get it. The Aussies get it. But when it comes to England and the challenge of five-day Test cricket, they are not fit for purpose.

Captain Joe Root, head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles have repeatedly talked of their ambition of winning in Australia in two years.

But before they can even begin to dream about a podium moment like that enjoyed by Eoin Morgan at the World Cup this year, there has to be an acceptance their resources may be so ill-equipped for the task two years might not be long enough to fix the problem.

On the face of it, day four at the Bay Oval was all about the batting success of BJ Watling, who broke countless records to become the first Kiwi wicketkeep­er to score a double hundred and the first keeper to do so against England.

A maiden Test ton for Mitchell Santner was another nail in the coffin as the Blackcaps racked up 615-9 declared. That might make it appear that England’s bowling is the problem, but it is only a small part of the story.

The truth is that another punishing day in the field, in which their bowlers actually toiled pretty well in the circumstan­ces, came on the back of their failure to bat their opposition out of the game when they had the chance.

Six times England have conceded more than 600 runs away from home in the past four years and on each one of those occasions they have batted first.

Sometimes they have scored 300 plus and sometimes 400 plus, but only once, in South Africa, have they enjoyed a first-innings lead. That tells you they are not batting for long enough, and that their opponents have better skills with the ball and better applicatio­n with the bat.

Before this game, Root and Silverwood were talking about big first-innings runs with 400 as the benchmark. That is not enough. They should have scored more than 400 – but would still have been left well behind by Watling and Santner’s patient accumulati­on.

The real worry for England is whether they have the players who can produce that kind of dogged, selfless approach and whether the county game is preparing players for what is required at this level.

“It’s a big learning point for us,” admitted England’s wicketkeep­er Jos Buttler. “You look at the top sides around the world on flat wickets, they get very, very big scores and bat for a very, very long time. It’s an understand­ing of just what that is, and being adaptable and able to do it.”

Top sides bat for a long time and get big scores

 ?? Picture: DAVID GRAY ?? WAT A PLAYER BJ Watling crashes another boundary and, below, celebrates double ton
Picture: DAVID GRAY WAT A PLAYER BJ Watling crashes another boundary and, below, celebrates double ton

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