England coach Trevor Bayliss admitted to being embarrassed by his side’s technical failings against a slightly swinging ball, which resulted in a collapse of such momentum that the team was unable to stop it.
When the scoreboard read 23 for 8, the lowest total in Test history of 26 was under threat, until Craig Overton hauled them over that figure and beyond their own previous lowest in Tests of 45. England were skittled before lunch in 20.4 overs, in scenes reminiscent of their own dismantling of Australia at Trent Bridge in 2015.
Trent Boult, who could barely keep the smile off his face in the post-day press conference, claimed career-best figures of 6 for 32 while Tim Southee bagged four – they were the only two bowlers needed to clean up a feeble England.
“I thought we made a lot of mistakes today with our footwork,” Bayliss said. “The ball was swinging a little bit but when the ball’s full, it’s as simple as it gets, you’ve got to play forward. A lot of our guys were out today from behind the crease to fairly full balls.
“We’ve been on the other side of scores like that and it’s euphoria. This is the opposite. Someone sneezes and the rest of the guys catch a cold don’t they? Everyone was making the same type of mistakes – feet not moving properly, decision making not as it normally is.
“Someone makes a mistake at the top of the order and under pressure sometimes that happens. Unfortunately, today it was our turn. It wasn’t good enough.”
Asked specifically if he was embarrassed by the capitulation, he said: “Certainly, and I probably wasn’t the only one in the England change-room either.”
The slump started in the fifth over when Boult found Alastair Cook’s outside edge, and it didn’t stop. The last-wicket stand of 31 between Overton and James Anderson added more than the other nine combined.
“Not in our wildest dreams did we think we’d win the toss and get them out in the first session. It was good fun,” Boult said. “To not let the foot off the throat and not let the pressure off them. I saw the scoreboard of 23 for 8 at one point, was pretty surreal.”
While Bayliss had pinpointed failings against the swinging ball, the movement had been far from extravagant: for example, analysis by CricViz showed it was less than half the average amount of swing than had been on display during that 2015 Trent Bridge Test.
“We just tried to pitch the ball up,” Boult said. “In all honesty, I don’t think it swung that much. The cliche of it just doing enough is what happened. It was nice to see a couple of nicks carry through but to disturb the woodwork, always a nice feeling as well.”
Boult, who admitted to initially struggling to push the ball as full as he wanted due to the volume of white-ball cricket he has been playing, collected three of wickets by bowling batsmen, with the scalps of Joe Root and Ben Stokes, both beaten by inswingers, providing special satisfaction.
“The ones when you are working towards a plan and it literally happens in front of your eyes is probably the best feeling,” he said. “Very good fun. To see the zinger [bails] light up put a smile on my face and it’s very satisfying.
“But I don’t want to sit here and sound like I’m a magician of any sort. That one [Stokes] probably felt a bit better than the Joe Root one. One of those feelings, one of those days, one of those mornings… Just very cool to be out there.”