England’s new era under captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum started perfectly, with James Anderson and Stuart Broad helping skittle New Zealand in a 4-12 start to the first Test at Lord’s.
But after the veteran pair got things going, Test debutant Matthew Potts took over, getting Kane Williamson (2) caught behind on his fifth ball before clean bowling Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell to leave the Kiwis 6-37.
New Zealand included the recently-arrived Trent Boult in their side as captain Kane Williamson opted to bat.
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But the move quickly looked disastrous with Anderson taking two wickets and allowing just four runs off his first six overs, while Broad was 1-14 off his first six.
With their top four gone barely an hour into the opening day, New Zealand was hoping Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell could steady things before Potts struck twice within half an hour.
However England had some bad news when Jack Leach was withdrawn from the Test due to concussion after a fielding injury.
Left-arm paceman Boult only joined the squad on Monday after playing in last weekend’s Indian Premier League final but was selected by the reigning World Test champions as a member of a pace attack also including Tim Southee and Kyle Jamieson.
“You always consider the options but we’ll have a bat first and try to make use of the pitch first up,” Williamson told BBC Radio after winning the toss.
“Trent Boult is going to play.”
Stokes, speaking before the sun came out over the ‘Home of Cricket’, said: “We were going to bat first but we looked this morning and it’s not the worst toss to lose.
“It’s a bit damp and we’ll see what Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and all our bowlers can do.”
England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, a woeful run that is reflected in the fact they are currently bottom of the World Test Championship table.
They named their side for this first of a three-match series on Wednesday, with veteran quicks Anderson and Broad – England’s two most successful all-time Test bowlers with 1,177 wickets between them – recalled.
The pair were controversially left out of the West Indies tour squad earlier this year.
England also gave a Test debut to in-form fast bowler Potts, a county colleague of Stokes at Durham, amid an injury crisis that had ruled out several seamers including Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Ollie Robinson.
This was England’s first match under their new leadership duo of Stokes and McCullum, himself a former New Zealand captain.
“As a mate I’m interested to see how Brendon McCullum goes as head coach,” said Williamson. “I’m sure he’ll have a process and a big picture he’s working towards.”
All-rounder Stokes took over after Joe Root stood down at the end of a five-year reign that culminated in series losses away to Australia and the West Indies, with a 4-0 Ashes reverse leading to Chris Silverwood being sacked as England coach.
Stokes wore a playing shirt Thursday emblazoned with the name and cap number (564) of Graham Thorpe, the former England batsman.
Thorpe, who won 100 Test caps and lost his job as England’s assistant coach after the Ashes, is currently seriously ill.
“Me wearing the shirt on behalf of me and the England cricket team is support for him, his wife, his kids and family,” said Stokes.
“We all love Thorpey and he means a hell of a lot to us. Everyone is aware that Graham is unfortunately very unwell in hospital at the moment.”
Broadcasters Sky Cricket opened their coverage with a tribute to the late Shane Warne, also naming their commentary box after the Aussie great.
England: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (capt), Ben Foakes (wkt), Matthew Potts, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Will Young, Kane Williamson (capt), Devon Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wkt), Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult
Umpires: Rod Tucker (AUS), Michael Gough (ENG)
TV umpire: Paul Reiffel (AUS)
Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIS)