The two-match Test series between England and New Zealand ended with the Englishmen thwarting the unpredictable weather to claim a 2-0 win, which means they will head into the Ashes series high on confidence. England’s impressive victory was built on the back of a solid all-round showing while New Zealand’s constant batting collapses led to their downfall, and also undid the hard work done by their bowlers to keep them alive in the series. Here’s a look at some players who shone for England, and a few who let Kiwis down.
Stuart Broad: The English paceman picked up 12 wickets in the series, seven of them coming in one innings at Lord’s. His exceptional bowling performance saw the Kiwis collapsing to 68 all out in their second innings at Lord’s, chasing 239. Thanks to Broad’s heroics, England won the first Test inside four days.
Joe Root: The impressive youngster was the most consistent batsman from England’s side in the short series. His 71 in the second innings of the Lord’s Test gave the home side’s bowlers a decent target to defend. Further, his century in the first innings at Headingley aided England in recovering from a precarious start, and also set up the team’s victory.
Graeme Swann: England’s premier spinner did not have much to do as Lord’s as Broad ran through the Kiwi batting line-up, but he was at his very best at Headingley. Swann bamboozled the ungainly New Zealand batsmen in both innings of the Test – picking up 4 for 42 in the first essay and 6 for 90 in the second to lead England to another series win.
Among the others in the English side, James Anderson and skipper Alastair Cook also played their part. While Anderson grabbed seven scalps in the game at Lord’s, Cook made a superlative 130 at Headingley to end the series on a high.
Brendon McCullum: The Kiwi skipper had a forgettable series to say the least. In the four innings he played in the two Tests, he registered poor scores of 2,8,20 and 1, being dismissed by Broad on all four occasions. Considering that he was leading the side, the Kiwis expected a lot better from him. In short, McCullum failed to lead by example.
Peter Fulton: New Zealand’s opener had an equally forgettable series as his skipper. He was dismissed for 2 and 1 in the opening Test, which meant the Kiwis were immediately on the backfoot. His performance was only slightly better in the second Test, in which he registered disappointing scores of 28 and 5.
Kane Williamson: The youngster began the series on a promising note, compiling a patient 60 in the first innings and Lord’s, but after that just fell away. His subsequent scores in the series were 6,13 and 3. New Zealand needed a better effort from him, considering he is now a reasonably experienced batsman.
Martin Guptill: He’s soon developing a reputation of performing only against weaker sides. Guptill played in the second Test, and managed only 1 and 3.
--By A Cricket Analyst