New Zealand suffered an early blow ahead of the 2nd Test with Kane Williamson testing positive for COVID. Tom Latham stepped up in his place and opened the batting with Will Young after England won the toss and decided to bowl on a greenish pitch. At the end of Day 1, the tourists find themselves in a comfortable position with 318 runs on the board after Daryl Mitchell & Tom Blundell combined for an unbeaten 149-run fifth-wicket partnership.

England could’ve been ahead after the end of the day’s play if not for four missed chances in the slip cordon. We look at a few key moments from Day 1 of the second Test between England and New Zealand.

New Zealand have the upper hand after Day 1 - England Test stats analysis
New Zealand have the upper hand after Day 1

Boundaries galore

Batting first after losing the toss usually means that the batting team focuses more on surviving and negating the first hour or even the entire session. It helps them not concede an early advantage, with conditions already stacked against them. New Zealand did something quite opposite to adopting a cautious approach. 20 boundaries were conceded by England in the first session of play.

The tourists amassed 318 runs on Day 1 and 184 of those came in boundaries (43×4 and 2×6). That is 57.86% of total runs in just boundaries in a single day’s play after being sent in to bat. NZ managed to maintain a healthy run rate throughout the day. Their overall run rate of 3.65 RPO was a result of scoring them at 4.15, 3.48 and 3.42 RPO in the three sessions, respectively. England will need to dry out the boundary scoring opportunities on Day 2 to get a grip in the first inning.

Different surfaces, different lengths

At Lord’s on Day 1, New Zealand had already lost four wickets inside the first 10 overs of the match with just 12 runs on the board. At Trent Bridge, they ended the first ten overs with a score of 25 without losing a wicket. One of the main reasons for this was the lengths bowled by England pacers.

At Lord’s, the average length of the English pacers in the first ten overs was 6.50m. In this innings, the average length was a bit short at 7.01m. The Nottingham pitch might have had more grass on the outside but it is dry underneath. Combine it with conditions not as overcast as at Lord’s, the bowlers didn’t get much assistance off the pitch and in the air.

Broad has had better numbers against left-handers in recent times - England New Zealand Test stats analysis
Broad has had better numbers against left-handers in recent times

This was also reflected in the increased number of boundaries and the scoring areas for New Zealand. Because there wasn’t much assistance, the bowlers kept the length short and were less threatening. When they did pitch it up, they were dealt with positive batting from the Kiwis. 39.39% of the total runs came from the region between point & covers and square-leg & mid-wicket, mostly a result of England pitching the balls full in search of wickets.

Right-arm round

Ever since Andrew Flintoff had huge success bowling round the wicket to left-handed batters, mainly Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist, England have fancied this line of attack. In the first 34 overs of the match, 98% of all the balls bowled by England pacers (all right-handed) were from round the wicket. They were rewarded with three wickets.

Not every right-arm pacer can be effective with this line against left-handed batters. For them to be consistently threatening, they need to have the ability to take the ball away from the batter or even just let it straighten. This line challenges the batters a lot and opens up various modes of dismissals like LBW, caught behind or in slips, bowled, or even caught at covers or mid-wicket.

England will need to come out with better plans and their execution on Day 2 or they could risk conceding a huge first-inning total and play the catch-up game. For New Zealand, they would like to bat for another couple of sessions and build a huge total.