Black Caps should be lauded


Brendon McCullum's side drew a high-quality test series 1-1, lost a stunning one-day battle 3-2 and went down in the only Twenty20 international, making friends all along the way for the brand of cricket they played and their attitude.

They also single-handedly dragged their opponents into a new era.

England, reeling from a dismal World Cup campaign and a disappointing 1-1 test series draw in West Indies, simply had to hit the ground running in the first test at Lord's with the Ashes series looming.

An hour into the match, they had slumped to 30 for four and the doom-mongers were poised.

But a brilliant counter-attack from Joe Root and Ben Stokes changed the game around and captain Alastair Cook's gutsy second innings century set up a superb England victory.

New Zealand, however, fought back in the second test in Leeds and BJ Watling's fine hundred backed up by superb bowling and catching sealed a well-deserved draw in the series.

New Zealand, World Cup runners-up, started the one-dayers as strong favourites against a side who had failed to get past the first round in the global tournament.

But England had a new mind-set and the shackles were off.

Sparking centuries by Root and Jos Buttler powered them to 408 for nine in the first game in Birmingham.

New Zealand could not respond but through the immaculate batting of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor they won the next two high-scoring matches.

More fireworks from Williamson and Taylor inspired new Zealand to 349 for seven in the fourth game in Nottingham, only for Root and Eoin Morgan to compile superb centuries to lift England to their target with six overs to spare.

With the series dead-locked, England appeared to revert to type in the decider.

Chasing a revised target of 192 following rain disruption, the hosts slumped to 45 for five and a New Zealand series win looked inevitable.

But Jonny Bairstow, replacing the injured Buttler, conjured 83 not out off 60 balls to seal an unlikely victory.

England proved too strong in the one-off Twenty20 international but McCullum was happy with his side who are far too good to be given only a two-match test series by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“I think overall we have played very well on this tour and we have introduced some new faces since the World Cup and installed them in,” he told the BBC.

“I think that the England team will be very exciting if they stay true to that style that they showed today and through the rest of the series.

“They reminded us that we need to keep on our game.” – Reuters

Original source: Black Caps should be lauded