Matthew Potts promised England would continue to “throw punches” after 17 wickets fell on a remarkable opening day of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s on Thursday.
The Durham quick, given a Test debut after an injury crisis ruled out several fast bowlers, had a day to remember as he outshone England greats James Anderson and Stuart Broad by taking 4-13 as New Zealand were skittled out for just 132.
But Ben Stokes’ first day as England captain since succeeding Joe Root ended with the hosts 116-7 at stumps.
No wonder the 23-year-old Potts, out for a second-ball duck during England’s latest collapse, told reporters: “Yes, it was a rollercoaster.
“We’ve come to entertain, that’s our first and foremost thing. We’re still in a contest to win a game of Test cricket,” he added with England searching for just their second victory in 18 matches at this level.
“I think we’re going to throw our punches. We want to exchange blows, and if they throw us two we’ll throw them four.”
But as boxing purists will confirm, there are times when a solid defence is required as well.
Nevertheless, Potts’ enthusiasm was understandable given his return against the reigning Test world champions which included removing New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson with just his fifth ball of the day.
“I’ve been chomping at the bit ready to go, I’ve been waiting to pull the top on and do the best job I can,” he said.
England made a sound start to their reply, with Zak Crawley making a fluent 43 before he was caught behind off Kyle Jamieson.
The opener’s exit left England 59-1 and sparked a collapse that saw seven wickets lost for just 41 runs on a blameless pitch in sunny conditions ideal for batting.
“I think it was a good fightback,” said towering paceman Jamieson, who at stumps has figures of 2-20 in seven overs. “We’re back in the game.”
New Zealand had Colin de Grandhomme to thank for reaching three figures, with the all-rounder making an innings top-score of 42*.
That appeared to show the benefit that all-rounder de Grandhomme had gained from playing for county club Surrey this season, whereas several of his teammates only had two warm-up matches at most to adjust to English conditions.
But Jamieson (27) refused to blame a lack of preparation for New Zealand’s lowly total, saying: “I think we’re as good as we could be going into this Test.”
“Hopefully when we get a chance to bat again we can bat for a little bit longer than we did today,” he added. “We want to fight hard in that second innings, to try and build a lead and give ourselves something to bowl at.”
© Agence France-Presse