England have lost another Test series in 2019, which brings to a close a difficult 12 months that has seen Joe Root’s side fail to win a series this calendar year. New Zealand were the latest victors over the English securing a 1-0 series win after a draw in Hamilton.
England had looked good with the bat, taking a lead of 101 into the second innings but the New Zealand batsmen, combined with the rain, dampened any hope England had of a series tie.
Captain Kane Williamson made an unbeaten century, as did Ross Taylor for the Black Caps, with the hosts reaching 241-2, with a lead of 140, before the rain began to fall. England’s bowling attack was unable to make any inroads into the opposition, failing to take a single wicket across the 41 overs on day five, but this match always seemed destined for a draw barring something remarkable on the final day.
The visitors did blow two gilt-edge chances to take a wicket but Williamson was dropped, not once, but twice. The first was a difficult chance for stand-in wicketkeeper Ollie Pope, who could not hold on to the ball but the second one was almost unforgivable.
As Jofra Archer bowled a slow delivery, Williamson feathered the ball into the hands of Joe Denly at mid-wicket, but the England batter somehow could not hold onto the simplest of catches. BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew called it "possibly the worst drop in Test history".
This result means that England have not won in New Zealand since 2008 and have gone the entire year without a Test series win for the first time since 1999.
England certainly stuck to their pre-series claim that they would be more patient with the bat in the Second Test but they will have to be more clinical with the ball to gain any real success. The Boxing Day Test against South Africa will certainly provide a good barometer for England’s progress.
Captain Joe Root commented at the conclusion of the series:
"We are a side that wants to learn quite quickly and wants to become quite resilient in these conditions.
"We want to become a much harder side to beat, first and foremost, and then go on and win games. Similarly, we want to make really big totals and put sides under pressure."
His side is next in action in a tour match against a South Africa Invitation XI on December 17th before the Test series begins on Boxing Day.