England and New Zealand drew their opening test of the two-match series after England decided not to chase down 273 for victory. New Zealand had set up the declaration on the final day leaving the hosts a target in a minimum of 75 overs. The match itself was overshadowed by events off the field, rather than on it.
England’s Ollie Robinson– who impressed on his test debut- was suspended from international cricket pending an investigation into racist tweets. These tweets were sent by Robinson in 2012 and 2013 when he was a youngster. The Sussex seamer has now been withdrawn from the squad for the second test starting on Thursday.
England go into opening test of the summer, minus a spinner
England went into the opening test of the summer with a four-man attack and no spinner. The home side gave a debut to Robinson and Gloucestershire wicketkeeper James Bracey.
New Zealand won a good toss and decided to bat. Robinson picked up his maiden test wicket when Tom Lathan played on for 23. Jimmy Anderson struck fourth ball after lunch to remove the Blackcaps captain Kane Williamson.
It wasn’t long before Robinson bagged another wicket when he trapped Ross Taylor leg before for 14. New Zealand rallied with a fourth wicket partnership of 174 between Devon Conway and Henry Nicholls. The stand was ended when Nicholls was out hooking off Mark Wood for 61.
Kiwis collapse thanks to Robinson
From 288 for 3, New Zealand collapsed to 294 for 7 as the kiwis lost four wickets for six runs. It was down to debutant Conway to usher New Zealand to a competitive score of 378 after compiling a magnificent double hundred. Robinson was the pick of the England attack, finishing with figures of 4 for 75.
In reply England lost Dom Sibley for a duck and Zak Crawley for 2 to leave them teetering on 18 for 2. The home side were rescued by a stand of 93 between Joe Root and Rory Burns which took them to the close of play on 111 for 2.
Weather washes out day three
The third day’s play was completely washed out by the weather. Day four started badly for England when Root edged Kyle Jamieson to slip for 42 off the first ball of the day.
England’s fragile an inexperienced middle order were shown up once again when Tim Southee removed Ollie Pope(22),Dan Lawrence(0) and Bracey(0) to leave England wobbling on 140 for 6 as the home side lost three wickets in 21 balls.
Robinson turned provider with the bat to steer England to 203 for 7 before he was out hooking off Southee for 42. The tail wagged for England who were eventually dismissed for 275 with Burns making an excellent 132 before he became another victim for Southee. The experienced Southee finishing with superb figures of 6 for 43.
That man Robinson strikes once again
Robinson struck an early blow to New Zealand’s second innings by removing Conway(23), Williamson(1) and Neil Wagner(10). But the Blackcaps rallied to post a total of 169 for 6 with a declaration on the final day.
England were left 273 to win in a minimum of 75 overs- a fair declaration by the tourists. In truth England decided against going for the target and batted out the rest of the final day in a comfortable position. Root finished with 40 and Sibley a patient knock of 60 not out. With both sides shaking hands at 6.30 on the final day. England closed the day on 170 for 3.
With one test remaining, both sides have everything to play for heading into the final test at Birmingham which will commence on Thursday.