England head coach Trevor Bayliss admitted that he was embarrassed after England collapsed for 58 against New Zealand in the first Test which left him struggling for answers. He has also criticized the batsmen’s footwork and said that they looked a little bit like rabbits in the headlights.
The two-match Test series between New Zealand and England was going to be a challenging one and for the visitors, it was going to be similar to the ones which they get in England. However, on a greenish pitch and a pink ball to play for the first time in New Zealand, Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl and what followed was absolute carnage.
It was one of the most happening 93 minutes of this year. 20.4 overs was all it took for Trent Boult and Tim Southee to bowl England out as the duo wrecked havoc as they used the conditions to great effect and ran through the England batting line-up. They were 27/9 at one stage and were in danger of being bowled out for the lowest-ever first innings total in the history of Test cricket. But, to save the team from blushes, No. 9 batsman Craig Overton top-scored with an attacking 25-ball 33 which helped England go past the 50-run mark.
England’s coach Trevor Bayliss understandably wasn’t pleased with England’s performance and he admitted that he was embarrassed by watching this kind of performance which left him struggling for answers.
“Embarrassed? Certainly, and I probably wasn't the only one in our change room. It's certainly not good enough,” Bayliss was quoted at the press conference after the end of the first day’s play.
The fragility in England’s batting has been talked about a lot in recent times. There have been frequent collapses and the team hasn’t been able to recover from early setbacks. For example, the 2016 Chennai Test against India where England collapsed (losing all ten wickets) in two sessions (2nd and 3rd) on the final day and lost the Test. Or the first Ashes Test in Brisbane where they couldn’t recover from the loss of early wickets and
“We've got to sit down and have a good chat about it. Is it a mental approach? Is it something in our preparation? Are we good enough at working out how to actually play when we do lose one or two early wickets?” the coach added.
“I think it must have been a mental thing. Our feet looked like they had lead in them and we didn't make too many right decisions with our footwork. We certainly got caught behind the crease to fairly fully balls, which allowed the ball to swing. We looked a little bit like rabbits in the headlights. Today we were not just off a little bit, we were off a long way. It just wasn't good enough,” the 55-year old further explained.
A few players like Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman were short of match practice but they played the warm-up games leading to this Test match. The other players like Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, and Moeen Ali have been in New Zealand for more than a month now and they should’ve been in good rhythm. But it was not to be and the coach felt that the practice games lacked intensity and he
“Those practice games, it's always a little bit difficult sometimes. It doesn't matter how hard you try to play the game, there's always that lack of intensity. In that first match we were very rusty, in the second we were much better,” he said.