Blackcaps v England: New Zealand 'lacking confidence' heading into must-win test at Wellington

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead says his team are lacking confidence after their comprehensive defeat in the first test against England, but staff back the players to turn things around in the final match in Wellington.

A depleted New Zealand were beaten by 267 runs at Mt Maunganui with the best part of two days to spare, outplayed with bat, ball and in the field.

They sufferered their first loss to England on home soil since 2008 and their fourth in succession against Ben Stokes' team, after being swept in the three-match series on tour last year.

"They're on a roll and playing with some real confidence," a mournful-looking Stead said of England. "I don't think it's unfair to say we are probably lacking a little bit of that confidence at the moment, because you don't get the results, but I can assure you, the faith is still with this group of guys.

"We believe these are our best cricketers, and we are going to put everything behind them to make sure we can go out there in Wellington and really, I guess, throw some punches back at England as well."

Despite an injury to Kyle Jamieson and the absence of fast bowler Matt Henry for the birth of his first child, selectors snubbed former pace spearhead Trent Boult for opting out of his national contract and picked two debutant quicks instead.

All the bowlers came in for punishment from England's aggressive batting, with Neil Wagner especially roughed up, as he conceded more than eight runs an over in the second innings.

Henry is available for the second test at Basin Reserve, starting Friday, in a boost for the hosts, but there was again no SOS sent out to Boult, as selectors stick to picking contracted players.

Stead is pleased with how debutants Scott Kuggeleijn and Blair Tickner played at Mt Maunganui.

"They kept coming hard," he said. "They kept stepping back up once they'd been hit and came back hard again.

"That's what we're about as a team, as well. We don't claim to be the best team in the world or anything like that." 


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