MOUNT MAUNGANUI, NEW ZEALAND (AFP) – England captain Ben Stokes fired an Ashes warning to Australia after crushing New Zealand by 267 runs in the first Test at Mount Maunganui yesterday, saying his team has got more firepower on the way.
England made it 10 wins from 11 Tests since Stokes was handed the captaincy and Brendon McCullum the coaching reins last year, introducing an attacking revolution that again proved decisive in the day-night Test at the Bay Oval.
Having used aggression and clever pink-ball tactics to get the upper hand, England closed out victory in the first session of day four, dismissing New Zealand for 126 after they resumed at 63-5.
Veteran pace duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson both finished with four second innings wickets as England notched a first win on New Zealand soil in 15 years and took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Broad (4-49) was a menace on Saturday night under lights when he tore through New Zealand’s top order, with all four wickets clean bowled to reduce them to 28-5 in pursuit of 394 for victory.
Long-time new ball partner James Anderson (4-18) became the chief tormentor yesterday, knocking over four tailenders as New Zealand added 63 more runs in 22.3 overs.
Only Daryl Mitchell, unbeaten on 57, put up any resistance after resuming his innings on 13, striking two sixes on his way to a sixth Test half-century.
England tactically dominated the game, batting aggressively and deliberately timing the end of both their innings so New Zealand had to face a new pink ball in lively seam conditions under lights on days one and three.
The visitors will be favourites to beat the struggling Black Caps in the second Test in Wellington before turning their attention to the showdown with Australia in England’s summer.
Stokes suggested he was already excited at the prospect of unleashing England’s fearless approach when they bid to reclaim the Ashes.
The captain said depth had become an England strength, naming three injured players – batsman Jonny Bairstow and pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood – among a group who will be applying pressure on the current squad.
“It’s probably going to end up being a selection nightmare at some point but you’d much rather have that,” Stokes said.