After England won the first Test but lost the second in a captivating one-run defeat, we rate the tourists’ players at 10…
Ben Duckett – 7
First test: 84 out of 68 balls, 25 out of 27 balls
Second test: 9 out of 21 balls, 33 out of 43 balls
Before England left for New Zealand, there were doubts as to whether Duckett would be able to continue the form he showed during the 3–0 win over Pakistan in extremely friendly batting conditions on this tour.
But the left-hander has proved himself a more than capable Test opener in those two matches, as he built on a strong display at the end of last year.
The only disappointment will be that he did not make first-innings highs at Mount Maunganui, where he hit 84 from just 68 balls, including 14 fours.
Zak Crawley – 5
First Test: 2 out of 12 balls, 28 out of 39 balls
Second Test: 2 of 12 balls, 24 of 30 balls
The team player with the most question marks looming over him after this series as Crawley once again struggled to assert himself at the top of England’s standings.
His highest score of 28 on this tour came in the second innings of the first Test as England triumphed by 267 runs while he was dismissed by double figures.
Manager Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes have shown faith in Crawley up to this point and it is likely they will remain determined to help the 25-year-old fully unlock the talent he has shown to glimpse at Test level.
New Zealand beat England by one run – match summary
England: Dec 435-8 (Brook 186, Root 153 on; Southee 5-24), 256 (Root 95; Wagner 4-62).
New Zealand: (f/o) 209 (Southee 73; Broad 4-61), 483 (Williamson 132, Blundell 90, Latham 81, Conway 61, Mitchell 54; Leach 5-157).
Ollie Pope – 7
First Test 42 of 65 balls, 49 of 46 balls
Second test 10 out of 6, 14 out of 27 balls
A hit-and-miss tour of sorts for England’s No. 3 batsman, who made good starts in both innings in the first Test but barely troubled the Chasers in the second.
His 49 as England galloped to a convincing victory at Mount Maunganui came off just 46 balls and included five fours and three sixes, showing how he fits into the team’s attacking philosophy.
However, he was unable to replicate this in the second Test after being dismissed for low scores, but he proved his worth in the team as a close defender with some spectacular catches.
Joe Root – 9
First Test 14 of 22 balls, 57 of 62 balls
Second test 153 out of 224, 95 out of 113 balls
Second test 1-29 of 12 overs
Having relinquished the captaincy last year, Root continues to show why he is regarded as one of the greatest players in Test cricket history with some stellar displays in both matches of this series.
A brilliant 153 not out to help England recover in the first innings of the second Test, followed by a swift 95 in a second innings defeat, with a fine half-century to help set up victory in the first match against New Zealand.
Indeed, Root finished as England’s second highest scorer in the series, with a total of 319 and an average of 106.33.
List of test matches won by a team following on
1894: Sydney – England beat Australia by 10 runs.
1981: Headingley – England beat Australia by 18 runs.
2002: Sydney – India beat Australia by 171 runs.
2023: Wellington – New Zealand beat England by one run.
Harry Brook – 9
First Test 89 of 81 balls, 54 of 41 balls
Second test 186 off 176, 0 off 0
Second test 1-25 of 8 overs
Undoubtedly one of the most exciting players in any form of cricket today, Brook was named player of the series for most impressive contributions with the bat in both Tests.
Having scored a half-century in both innings of the first, his 186 from just 176 balls in the first innings of the second Test was a blistering display that featured 24 fours and five sixes.
Although he was run out without facing a ball through no fault of his own in the second innings at Wellington, Brook still finished as England’s highest scorer in New Zealand with 329. He also claimed his first Test wicket when he dismissed Kane Williamson in the second innings of the second Test.
Ben Stokes – 7
First Test 19 of 28 balls, 31 of 33 balls
Second test 27 out of 28, 33 out of 116 balls
Second test 0-16 two overs
Hampered by a knee injury that proved particularly apparent during the batting during the second innings as England sought victory in Wellington, Stokes was not at his best with bat or ball in this series.
His four innings brought 110 runs at an average of 27.50 as the captain restricted himself to bowling just nine overs in both matches.
There will be some critics questioning the decision to enforce the Wellington run as well after New Zealand eventually triumphed by one run, though he is likely to pay little heed to them given the extraordinary success the team otherwise enjoyed. away in his reign.
Ben Foakes – 7
First Test 38 of 56 balls, 51 of 80 balls
Second test 0 out of 5, 35 out of 57 balls
No doubt the debate will be intense over whether Foakes should remain in the team when Jonny Bairstow returns from injury, but the wicket-keeper is proving to be a sure presence.
He recorded six dismissals behind stumps during the two-match series against New Zealand and gave Stokes and McCullum a lot to consider when it comes to their wicket-keeping options.
Foakes is also a useful lower-order batsman, although he only made half a century, which came in the first Test.
Ollie Robinson – 7
First Test 4-54 from 19 overs, 1-34 from eight overs
Second Test 0-31 from 12 overs, 1-84 from 28 overs
First Test 15 without 11 balls, 39 without 48 balls
Second test 18 of 29 balls, 2 of 15 balls
Robinson did not kick off in the first innings of the first Test, where he took four wickets, but bowled economically in both games.
He was unfortunate not to take any more wickets in the second Test particularly, which would have been fair reward for how well he bowled otherwise.
The 29-year-old has firmly put his name in contention for this summer’s home Tests against Ireland and Australia, with Mark Wood and Jofra Archer hoping to be available again.
Stuart Broad – 8
First Test 1-72 from 17 overs, 4-49 from 15 overs
Second Test 4-61 of 14.2 overs, 1-29 of 24 overs
Second Test 14 of 17 balls, 11 of 9 balls
One of three England players to finish with 10 wickets during this tour, it’s hard to believe that just a year ago there were questions about whether his international career was over.
At 36, however, Broad continues to form a dangerous opening partnership with James Anderson and was in particularly devastating form during the second innings of the first Test when England triumphed.
He followed those four wickets with another four in the first innings of the second Test in Wellington, although ultimately it was New Zealand who came out on top in that game.
James Anderson – 8
First Test 3-36 from 16.5 overs, 4-18 from 10.3 overs
Second Test 3-37 from 10 overs, 0-77 from 27 overs
Second test 4 out of 6 balls (second innings)
The other half of England’s new ball partnership played so well during the first Test, taking game figures of 7-54, that he returned to number one in the world test rankings for bowlers.
The second Test was not as fruitful, but the 40-year-old still finished the series with 10 wickets to his name at an average of 16.80 and an economy rate of 2.61 runs per over.
He and Broad now hold the record for the most effective bowling partnership in Test history too, with over 1,000 wickets between them.
Jack Leach – 8
First Test 18-over 1-84, 11-over 1-25
Second Test 3-80 from 17 overs, 5-157 from 61.3 overs
Second test 5 out of 6 balls, 1 out of 31 balls
The left-arm spinner is a player who seems to constantly have his place on the team called into question, but time and time again proves his worth on the side.
Leach bowled particularly effectively in a losing effort in the second Test, taking game figures of 8-237, including a five for in New Zealand’s second innings.
In total he claimed 10 wickets in the two matches with an economy rate of 3.21 runs per over of the team-record 107.3 overs he bowled in those Tests.
What is the next?
The England white ball team is currently in Bangladesh for a tour comprising three one-day internationals and three T20 internationals, and starts March 1. England’s next test match is against Ireland at Lord’s, starting Thursday, June 1st.