England looked set to rewrite record books for all the wrong reasons on Thursday had it not been for 31-run partnership between Craig Overton and James Anderson for the 10th wicket. Anderson’s dismissal marked the end of an innings in which England made 58 runs. They were 23/8 at some point and it looked like they might end up being all out for the lowest score in a Test innings. Ironically, New Zealand are the side that hold that dubious record – they were dismissed for 26 by England in 1955. Tim Southee and Trent Boult were the only two bowlers who wielded the pink-ball with Boult taking six wickets for 32 runs, his best figures in Test cricket.
There was considerable positivity around the England batting line-up before the innings. The most obvious one was the return of Ben Stokes. This is the star all-rounder’s first Test match since his suspension for his role in an incident outside a bar back home. Stokes has been a powerhouse for the England batting lineup over the years with a strike rate of 63.77. But, on Thursday, he was just one of the five batsmen who was dismissed for ducks by Boult and Southee.
England’s first wicket came in the form of senior statesman Alastair Cook who was dismissed in the fourth over. Captain Root’s promotion to no.3 was the other positive note for England before the innings started but he faced just six balls before being sent back to the hut for no runs. Just five overs later, England found themselves 18/6 with Dawid Malan, Marcus Stoneman, Stokes and Jonny Bairstow all being dismissed. Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali then fended off a few deliveries before being dismissed themselves. Stuart Broad was then dismissed by a moment of magic from Kane Williamson in the slips.