Alec Stewart and Jonathan Trott are confident England will draw the first Test despite their precarious position at stumps on day four.
Alec Stewart is confident England will salvage a draw on day five of the first Test against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui.
Joe Root’s side face an uphill task at Bay Oval after closing day four on 55-3 — albeit that one of those wickets is nightwatchman Jack Leach — to trail the Black Caps by 207 runs.
REPORT | SCORECARD | HOW IT HAPPENED
New Zealand vs England
November 24, 2019, 9:30pm
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Joe Denly (7no) will be joined at the crease by skipper Root in the morning, with Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope and Jos Buttler still to come.
Former England captain Stewart told The Cricket Debate: «I’m saying that England are going to draw this Test match. It’s going to be tough but I have belief in Denly, Root, Stokes and the rest.
Listen to the Cricket Debate below or download here…
«It’s whether can bat 90 overs and save the game and there is no reason why they can’t, with good character, good application and good decision making in the shots.
New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner followed his maiden Test century with the wickets of Rory Burns (31), Dom Sibley (12) and Leach (0) — the latter walking off after being given out caught at short leg when a review would have saved him.
«It will be really disappointing if England lose this Test,» said Surrey director of cricket Stewart. «Santner shouldn’t really hurt you if you have a good game plan.»
5:24 Highlights from day four of the first Test at Mount Maunganui as New Zealand took firm control
New Zealand racked up 615-19 declared — BJ Watling amassing 205 and Santner 126 — as England conceded 600 runs or more for the sixth time in their last 24 Tests away from home.
Stewart says English county pitches are not adequately preparing bowlers for overseas tours.
«The [Kookaburra] ball is a massive factor but it’s also pitches that we play on in England, pitches our bowlers grow up on in club cricket and county cricket,» he added.
1:19 Stewart says bowlers can almost ‘cheat’ on English pitches and that they are not helping prepare bowlers sufficiently for overseas tours.
«You can almost cheat as a bowler in England on some of the surfaces we play on and the times we play the games.
«We play in seamer-friendly conditions and you don’t have to be that accurate or quick as you know the ball will do plenty.
«Darren Stevens is still one of the leading wicket-takers in county cricket, but with the greatest respect to Darren, if you put him on that pitch in New Zealand he will be nowhere near as effective. That’s our problem.»
1:13 Stewart says the fact no England batsman made a century in their first innings against New Zealand was ‘criminal’.
Also up for discussion on The Cricket Debate, in which Alec and host Charles Colvile were joined by former England batsman Jonathan Trott…
— Whether there is concern over the England bowlers’ workload heading into the second Test
— Burns and Sibley’s dismissals on day four, with Stewart defending Burns’ top-edged sweep
— Leach’s ‘selfless’ call not to use DRS — and whether partner Denly should have been more help
— How it was ‘criminal’ that no England batsman reached a hundred in their first innings
Watch day five of the first Test between New Zealand and England, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9.30pm on Saturday.