England endured one of its most potentially embarrassing days in its Test cricket history on Thursday when it was dismissed for 58 in barely 90 minutes on the first day of the first Test against New Zealand. It was saved from more grave humiliation by tailender Craig Overton. At stumps at Eden Park, captain Kane Williamson had easily outscored England on his own, reaching 91 as New Zealand progressed cautiously to 175/3 and a lead of 117.
Trent Boult took a career-best 6/32 and Tim Southee 4/25 in the first day-night Test played in New Zealand to jointly bowl out England in 20.4 overs and to become the first New Zealanders to bowl unchanged throughout an entire Test innings.
"It was a good start to the match, nice to get the ball swinging around a bit and see a couple of knicks go through as they did," Boult said. "To do it together with Tim Southee was very satisfying."
Had it not been for Overton, surprisingly included as a bowler and No. 10 batsman, England might have suffered an even more historic humiliation on Thursday. It was 23/8 and facing the prospect of recording the lowest-ever score in Test history before Overton made an unbeaten 33 — scoring more than all of his teammates combined — to steer it to 58.
Overton first ensured England avoided being bowled out for less than 26, which remains the lowest score in the history of Test cricket and which was recorded by New Zealand against England on Eden Park 63 years ago almost to the day. It happened on March 25, 1955, and England narrowly avoided a timely but embarrassing commemoration.
Overton also guided England past 45, its lowest score in a Test match, recorded in 1887 in its pioneering series against Australia. England's score on Thursday was its sixth-lowest since that trend-setting total 131 years ago and its lowest against New Zealand.
It passed 26 with a four by Overton off Boult and 45 with a six by Overton from Boult. Overton's partnership of 31 for the last wicket with James Anderson, who scored one, produced more runs than every other partnership of the innings combined.
England's opening bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, two of the best swing bowlers in the history of test cricket, weren't able to match the movement achieved by the New Zealanders.
Broad captured the wicket of New Zealand opener Tom Latham for 26 to become the 15th bowler in Test history, and the second Englishman, to take 400 wickets in tests.
The England bowlers couldn't hit the full length which made Boult and Southee so effective and the New Zealand batsman used their feet well, were less crease-bound.
Williamson had a scare at 64 when bowler Chris Woakes flung out a hand at a ball hit back down the pitch by Ross Taylor. Woakes claimed to have deflected the ball onto Williamson's stumps at the non-striker's end but replays were inconclusive and the run-out was disallowed.
Earlier, England's collapse progressed at pace after the dismissal of opener Alastair Cook in the fifth over and captain Joe Root two overs later. The first and second wickets fell with the total 6, the fourth, fifth and sixth at 18 and the seventh and eight at 23, leaving England in danger of recording the lowest-ever total in Test cricket.
The ninth wicket went down at 27 but Overton and Anderson (1) put on 31 for the last wicket, scoring more than all other partnerships in the innings combined.