That was completely unexpected. New Zealand without Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori and a side with a new-ish captain and coach are trouncing England. England were red hot favourites to take the series 3-0. The Kiwis are weaker than they have been for a couple of decades on paper, at least in the premier form of the game. Only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are weaker currently when it comes to the red ball contests. Instead, England lost the 4 day warm up match defending over 300 in the 4th innings in Queenstown, have lost one of the best spinners in the world through a serious injury concern and have comprehensively been outplayed on the opening day of the series with New Zealand approaching parity with 2 well-set batsmen on 50s and 10 wickets in tact having bowled out England in 55 overs earlier in the day at the University Oval.
This is even more remarkable than Pakistan dominating in the UAE and England winning in India with issues in the dressing room coming into the series and after heavy defeats in the UAE and Sri Lanka against spin in the same year raising many doubts about England's ability to counter spin or turning surfaces.
It was only a few months ago when it was being said that New Zealand Cricket was rapidly falling away and were at their lowest point imaginable. Surely England will bounce back, however for New Zealand to win a test against them will be monumental for both them and the cricketing world in a series that was expected to be heavily one sided. New Zealand are on track to build a match winning lead assuming they don't have a dramatic collapse.
England are on the back-foot and will have to play out of their skins to avoid a defeat here.
New Zealand have easily won each of the 3 sessions on day 2.
This test match is an effective trial for the case of pushing for 4 day tests and getting the over-rate up in order to achieve it.
However, that can only work in certain parts of the world where the action is more eventful in terms of wicket-taking and where the light is good enough for a full day's play to get enough RESULTS.
But with day night test matches now permitted assuming the boards agree, perhaps we could see more of it and it is a more realistic initiative.
Worst opening day England have had to a series - Agnew