Buttler and Cook can't prevent Kiwi battering
One country in this two-Test series is all ready and equipped to take on Australia. If only it were England.
They could hardly have played more wretchedly than they did in losing the second Test by 199 runs, with all but two of their guns misfiring on day five. If England play the same way in the opening Ashes Test at Cardiff on July 8, they will be routed.
Allowances have to be made for the inconsistency inherent in a young team, but the willingness to fight is common to young and old - and this England team, confronted with the brilliant strategy of Brendon McCullum, did not fight like a team that is going to win back the Ashes.
England lost eight wickets before New Zealand took the second new ball, and survived for only 91.5 overs in their second innings, so that 19.1 overs remained. All their propaganda about going for a win was blown away by the fierce wind, along with a lot more rubbish.
Never have New Zealand had a match-winning pair of world-class spinners, until this game. Or that is what England made Mark Craig and Kane Williamson resemble as they took six wickets for 88, so that Trent Boult and Tim Southee had to take only three between them.
Alastair Cook and Jos Buttler were the two England batsmen who did not advertise their wickets on eBay. Cook reached 9,000 Test runs, the youngest of the 13 to do so, and hung on until the 58th over, trying to inspire someone to follow his example.
Buttler entered in the 44th over and was hit several times but padded up to Craig before the last hour could be called, which left England in fifth place in the world rankings.
Adam Lyth did enough to seal his Ashes place as opener, but while it is asking too much of anyone to leave the ball as well as Cook does, now he is reborn, Lyth has to tighten his defence. He will receive many a ball in the Ashes, from the Mitchells Johnson and Starc, like the one he played at from Trent Boult.
No major alteration is required with Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root. They simply have to go back to their counties and find some form before the next test from Down Under arrives. (© Daily Telegraph, London)