England approach praised by bowling coach despite difficult opening day


Bowling coach Jon Lewis insisted England remained committed to their attacking approach despite New Zealand enjoying a dominant start to the second LV= Insurance Test at Trent Bridge.

Having been sent in to bat, a touring side missing captain and anchor Kane Williamson due to Covid-19 produced a fine team effort to post 318 for four.

England had hoped to get on the front foot and recreate the flurry of wickets that saw the tourists bowled out for 132 on day one of the series opener, but were unable to create consistent pressure.

Stuart Broad reacts after the bail sails through the slip cordon
Stuart Broad reacts after the bail sails through the slip cordon (Mike Egerton/PA)

The seamers continued to deliver full lengths in pursuit of edges, but a total of 43 fours and two sixes suggest the proactive method preached by captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum might have been misplaced at times.

There were also missed chances, with three drops and one refusal in the slips allowing the pressure to ease.

But Lewis was strident in his assessment of his side’s efforts.

“The most important thing about the decision at the toss is that it was the aggressive play,” he said.

Ben Stokes celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Henry Nicholls
Ben Stokes celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We were coming out to bowl New Zealand out. We put them into bat and tried to make an aggressive play after (winning) last week. Unfortunately we missed a couple of chances but that’s cricket.

“You can always bowl a slightly different length. But we are choosing, at the moment, to take the aggressive option and be courageous in what we do. At times in games, with bat or ball, you’ll see times where it doesn’t go our way but I liked the areas the guys bowled.

“It was a really honest day’s work. I thought there was threat all day, the boys went past the bat and caught the edge of the bat. We could have easily bowled them out for 250 and be sat now in a very different position.”

Each of New Zealand’s top six contributed to what was a striking collective effort, with top billing shared by Daryl Mitchell (81no) and Tom Blundell (67no) as they scored their second century partnership in as many innings.

Devon Conway also impressed with a punchy 46 and his appraisal of New Zealand’s approach echoed England’s attacking mantra.

“We set about trying to be more aggressive and have that positive mindset with intent to score,” he said.

“That was something we lacked at times in the first Test and we are reaping those rewards after day one. It looked a bit green on top this morning so we would have probably bowled first too, but it was not thinking too much about the surface.

“They bowled quite full and asked questions of us, but that provided us with scoring opportunities.”