ICC (International Cricket Council)

Shell-shocked England narrowly avoid humiliation of lowest ever test tally ... thanks to tail-ender

Bowler Craig Overton spares English blushes as tourists collapse to 58 all out in first test in Auckland

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 10:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 12:09pm

A destructive six-wicket haul by Trent Boult left England in tatters during a first innings that lasted just 20.4 overs in the opening session of the first test in Auckland on Thursday.

At 23 for eight, England threatened New Zealand’s most unwanted record of the lowest ever test score, 26, before they recovered to be all out for 58.

At 27 for nine, England’s lowest test innings of 45 – against Australia in 1887 – was also in jeopardy.

But Craig Overton lashed out at the end to finish unbeaten on 33 to lift England to their sixth lowest total in test cricket history.

Boult cleaned out the top order and had figures of five for nine after his first seven overs before finishing with six for 32.

His new-ball partner Tim Southee took four wickets for 25.

The pitch for the first day-night test in New Zealand has a slight green tinge, but not enough to concern the batsmen.

Instead they were undone by precision swing and seam bowling that started in the fifth over when Alastair Cook prodded at a full-length Boult delivery that moved away and was caught at second slip by Tom Latham for five.

It started a steady flow of batsmen going to and from the crease.

Captain Joe Root, batting at number three to allow for the inclusion of Overton as an extra bowler, lasted six balls before he was bowled by Boult for a duck.

Boult also accounted for Dawid Malan for two, Ben Stokes – who faced eight deliveries on his return to test cricket – for a duck, Chris Woakes (5) and James Anderson (1).

Southee ensured the carnage continued with the wickets of Mark Stoneman when on 11, plus Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad who were each dismissed without scoring.

A masterclass from Kiwi bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee put a woeful England to the sword and if it wasn’t for bowler Craig Overton, it could have been far, far worse for the tourists.

The lowest test total in history was under threat for a while – New Zealand were bowled out for 26 by England at this ground in 1955 and they looked set to turn the tables until Overton, at number nine, came out swinging.