Daryl Mitchell, a New Zealand all-rounder, laments the “little moments” that eluded his squad in the first Test at Mount Maunganui, but says there is no gap between his team and England.
Mitchell said after arriving in Wellington for the second Test, “if we had taken a couple of quick wickets, the game could have been very different.” “If you looked at their third innings, I believe we had them six down for 230-240 – I’m not sure of the exact numbers – but if we had taken a couple of quick wickets, the game could have been very different,” Mitchell said.
So, it is not too far away for us. It is staying loyal to who we are as Kiwis and Blackcaps, as well as what has worked for us for many years. Yes, we are missing a few minor moments today, which is unfortunate, but we also recognise that this is the nature of Test cricket, when things don’t always go your way and the game can be extremely difficult at times. But, we are aware that we are not too far away.”
One of those small moments was New Zealand allowing England get away to 374 in their second innings after they were 237 for 6. Joe Root’s dismissal to the reverse sweep for the second time in the match at the stroke of tea on the third day threatened to send England’s innings into a tailspin. But a composed half-century from Ben Foakes, and swift cameos from captain Ben Stokes and No. 9 Ollie Robinson powered England that far.
Stuart Broad then decimated New Zealand’s top order beneath the floodlights of Mount Maunganui, putting the fourth-innings chase of 394 firmly out of reach for the hosts.
Gary Stead, coach of New Zealand, criticised his team’s inability to throw a sucker-punch during that sequence of play, which altered the game’s atmosphere and speed.
“I thought there were times through this Test we did that really, really well,” Stead said. “If we could have bowled them out in the following hour when they were 230  for 6 in their second innings, then we could have batted for a considerable amount of time in daylight with the softer ball.” They are the factors that damaged us in this Test match, but we are looking forward to the next challenge because we know it will be difficult.”
Kyle Jamieson was ruled out for another three to four months due to a suspected recurrence of his back injury, dealing a major blow to New Zealand prior to the Wellington Test. They have also resisted the temptation to recall Trent Boult, who has returned his New Zealand central contract, and Stead is certain that the present squad will rebound against England.
Stead stated, “They [England] are obviously playing very, very good cricket.” I believe they’ve won ten or eleven of their past twelve Tests, and they’re playing with great confidence. I do not believe it is unreasonable to state that we are currently lacking a little bit of confidence due to the lack of outcomes.
“But, I can guarantee you that this group of men maintains their religion.” We think that these are our finest cricketers, and we’re going to put everything behind them to ensure that we can go to Wellington and give England a run for its money.”
“There is always a large audience at The Basin, and seeing them play cricket against England is always thrilling”
Matt Henry anticipates his return to action.
But, New Zealand will be bolstered by the return of Matt Henry, who has rejoined the team a week after his partner Holly gave birth to their baby. Henry will replace either Scott Kuggeleijn or Blair Tickner in the starting lineup for the Basin Reserve.
Henry is now an experienced bowler in international cricket, according to Mitchell. “It’s awesome that he has just had the birth of his little girl, and I know he’ll be excited to come and join this group and hopefully take some wickets, which will be awesome. And I’m sure he’ll be quite proud to accomplish that with his daughter watching on television.
“Matty is also my domestic teammate at Canterbury, so having him in this group is always a pleasure. He is a determined competitor who will continue to run for you and complete the task. Looking forward to his return. I believe we will all perform our duties and observe the outcome.”
Reserve seamer Jacob Duffy and legspinner Ish Sodhi have been dropped from the Test team for this week’s resumption of the four-day Plunket Shield competition.
Henry anticipated “bringing it” to England in Wellington.
This season, Henry has taken the most wickets in the Plunket Shield, with 23 in three games at an average of 11. Nevertheless, an injury prevented him from playing in ODIs in Pakistan and India. Henry is eager to return to action in front of a sold-out crowd at the Basin Reserve after being deemed fit.
Henry stated that the injury, a torn knee, was not ideal. The last few weeks have been somewhat of a rehabilitation. But it has been good; kind of ones of those ones where you look forward to playing some cricket. There is no better location than the Basin.
“Generally well-supported in Wellington. It’s astounding to hear that the Basin was sold out for the first three days, and playing against England… The brand of cricket they have been playing is also enjoyable to observe. It’s been interesting to watch them play in their first game, and I’m sure everyone has learned a lot from it. I’m looking forward to facing them on Friday.”
The forecast for the opening day in Wellington calls for showers and gusty gusts, which might be disruptive.
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