England began the Ben Stokes era with a bang, dismissing New Zealand for just 132 on day one of the first LV= Insurance Test at Lord’s.
Led for the first time by the captain-coach pairing of Stokes and Brendon McCullum, with new director of cricket Rob Key also watching on, England enjoyed a glorious start to the international summer at the home of cricket.
Stokes had publicly declared his side were working from “a blank canvas” following a dismal sequence of one victory in 17 attempts and promptly saw all 10 of the tourists’ wickets tumble inside 40 overs.
England’s record wicket-taker, 39-year-old James Anderson, and Durham’s 23-year-old debutant Matthew Potts took four each as the combination of experience and fresh blood paid off in spades. Stuart Broad, returning alongside Anderson at Stokes’ insistence following their controversial dropping in the West Indies, also struck and the skipper wrapped the innings himself by picking up last man Trent Boult.
The only black mark on proceedings came for the luckless Jack Leach, who suffered a concussion early on after an awkward landing in the field. Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson was summoned from Manchester and will make his debut as England’s first ever concussion substitute.
Home openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley then reached 19 without loss before tea to sow the seeds of what should be a significant lead.
Stokes’ first act as the country’s 81st Test captain was to lose the toss, but everything else fell into place as the old firm of Anderson and Broad dominated the opening exchanges.
Both had vowed to win back their places after being axed for the Caribbean trip in March and Anderson took just seven deliveries to show the folly of that decision. Challenging Will Young with just enough swing from a full length, he took the outside edge that zipped through low towards third slip.
Jonny Bairstow leapt into action, diving low to his left to pull off a one-handed stunner. The Yorkshireman juggled the next attempt Anderson sent his way but clung on at the second attempt to see off Tom Latham and make it two for two.
Not to be outdone, Broad was rewarded for a consistently attacking length when Devon Conway – a double centurion on this ground last summer – nicked one through to give Bairstow his third catch in a row.
The early breakthroughs laid an ideal foundation for Potts to take over and made a superb case for the next generation. He struck gold with his fifth delivery in the international arena, with Kiwi captain and star batter Kane Williamson edging low to keeper Ben Foakes to leave his side in disarray at 12 for four.
Williamson is short of form and Potts has been flying in Division Two, but it was still a significant scalp. His first spell stretched to eight impressive overs as he grabbed another two before the lunch break, Daryl Mitchell (13) playing into his own stumps and Tom Blundell (14) losing his off stump to one that nipped back.
The interval came with England rampant at 39 for six, with New Zealand playing a few riskier shots after the restart. That approach allowed them to nudge up beyond three figures, Colin de Grandhomme’s unbeaten 42 and a chancey 26 from Tim Southee helping swell the total, but the hosts remained in control.
Anderson had Kyle Jamieson and Southee caught hooking at fine leg to finish with four for 66, with Potts snaring Ajaz Patel lbw with the first ball of his second spell. He was forced to leave the field with cramp before he could make it onto the Lord’s honours board, with Stokes taking over to bring things to a close.