James Anderson carried England to a rousing 267-run victory over New Zealand in Mount Maunganui as they made it 10 wins from 11 since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum began their revolution of the Test side.
The result was in little doubt as play resumed on the fourth afternoon of this day/night game at Bay Oval, Stuart Broad having ripped the guts out of the top order with an electric four-wicket burst, but with Anderson on song the tourists wrapped it up with minimal fuss.
Anderson took four of the five wickets to fall, shredding the home side’s resistance in the opening session. New Zealand went from 63 for five overnight to 126 all out in exactly 100 minutes, with a last-wicket stand between Daryl Mitchell and Blair Tickner taking up more than half of that time.
In a week that Anderson and Broad became the most prolific partnership in Test history, nipping past Australian greats Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, it was fitting that England’s record wicket-taker took his share of the limelight.
Having ended 2022 with an unprecedented whitewash in Pakistan, England’s first outing of the new year was another resounding success that brought another cluster of milestones in its wake.
Stokes became the fastest ever English captain to oversee 10 victories, getting there in 12 games including a one-off in 2020 while deputising for Joe Root. Michael Vaughan was the previous standard bearer, taking 16 matches to hit double figures. Only Australian Lindsay Hassett, back in the early 1960s, has ever enjoyed such a charmed start to life as a Test leader.
And that is not all. This was also England’s first ever overseas win in a day/night Test, having previously banked five outright thrashings in Auckland, Adelaide (twice), Ahmedabad and Hobart, and a first of any kind in New Zealand for 15 years.
The hunt for victory began almost immediately, Jack Leach drawing the tamest of chips from all-rounder Michael Bracewell in the third over of the day. That shot, easily held by Harry Brook at short midwicket, set the tone a thoroughly flaccid resistance.
Anderson doubled down, striking with the fifth and sixth deliveries of the following order to find himself with two in two. Scott Kuggeleijn was easy prey, propping forward to one that kicked back in and had him lbw straight in front of middle, and home captain Tim Southee nicked to slip to end a regrettable game with a golden duck.
Anderson had ceded centre stage to Broad on the previous evening but rarely misses an opportunity to restate his class. He snapped up a third when Neil Wagner flashed a catch to wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
Broad searched in vain for a deserved fifth wicket as Mitchell, on his way to a solid 57 not out, kept the champagne on ice. In the end it took the return of Anderson to finish things off, claiming four for 18 as he snapped up Tickner.