Matt Henry, Neil Wagner and Ajaz Patel have bowled New Zealand to the brink of a stunning test series win over England. Source / Spark Sport
England’s defeat against New Zealand has been described as “excruciating” by one former player.
And home fans were said to be laughing at the English side as they plummeted to defeat in Birmingham, and a first home series loss since 2014.
The world test championship final next week between New Zealand and India hardly rated a mention in much of the English analysis even though the game is being held in Southampton.
Jonathan Agnew, the BBC cricket correspondent and former England bowler, described New Zealand as “disciplined, energized and confident”.
He said the loss of England’s unbeaten home run made it “one of the worst results I’ve seen in a long time”.
“To win the toss on that pitch, bat first, then nearly lose by an innings is excruciating,” Agnew wrote.
“England had no energy, which we saw when they were presented with the opportunity of a run chase in the drawn first test at Lord’s.
“It is no coincidence they have turned in such a performance at Edgbaston after that final-day trudge in the series opener, because of the mindset they are in at the moment – negative, timid and defensive.”
Agnew also attacked England’s policy of not picking a full strength side.
The Guardian’s Ali Martin wrote about “the guffaws…as the final wicket of a sorry England batting performance fell”.
“Trent Boult zipped the first ball of the day across Olly Stone, kissed the edge of a shy bat and the few thousand who had taken their seats instinctively chose wry mirth over misery. If you don’t laugh you cry.”
In the same paper, Andy Bull said New Zealand’s previous series-clinching victory at the Oval in 1999 saw captain Nasser Hussain abused by the crowd.
The abuse included lines such as “what a load of rubbish” and “we’re shit and we know we are”.
Bull wrote: “The moods was a little more forgiving this time, not because England were any better – they weren’t – but because the opposition were.
“In ’99 the result dropped England to the bottom of the world rankings. This time it pushed New Zealand to the top of them.”
In reference to the world final, Bull said “England find themselves in the awkward position of being the third-best team in their own country.”
“They have just been thrashed by a team who were missing their captain and star batsman, Kane Williamson, their wicketkeeper, BJ Watling, and their senior bowler, Tim Southee.
“In essence, they have been beaten by a Second XI from a country who have barely a quarter as many professional players, run by a board with a turnover around an eighth of what the England and Wales Cricket board rakes in.
“They are not the only ones who could benefit from studying the way they are doing things in New Zealand.
“After the match (Tom) Latham summed up New Zealand’s approach as ‘keep it simple’, ‘guys trying to perform their roles as best they can and always putting the team first’, and ‘trying to go out there and play a brand of cricket that we’re proud of as Kiwis’.
“There is something refreshingly straightforward about it all. Play straight, play late, understand who you are and what you’re trying to do, worry about the game in front of you.
“In comparison English cricket seems over complicated.”