Blackcaps v England: NZ won't mimic ultra-aggressive 'Bazball' tactics in hunt for test series draw

The Blackcaps won't change their approach - or adopt England's hell-for-leather 'Bazball' gameplan - any time soon, even at 1-0 down heading into the second test.

Since former Blackcaps captain Brendon McCullum took charge of their test side in mid-2022, England have been nigh on unstoppable.

Playing a high-risk, high-reward style of cricket under Ben Stokes' leadership, they have won 10 of 11 tests played, rewriting how the game's purest form can be played.

New Zealand have been on the receiving end of England's change more than any other side, losing 3-0 away in 2022, before dropping the first test of their home series by 267 runs last Sunday.

In fact, the nature of the first-test loss, played at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval, has set alarm bells ringing over how the Blackcaps can turn their own fortunes around, now winless in their last seven tests.

As teams around the world scramble to try and implement a McCullum-Stokes style revolution of their own, New Zealand won't join that queue.

Batter Daryl Mitchell, who scored an unbeaten 57 in the first test loss, insists the team still have the confidence to return to winning ways of their own, as the two-year anniversary of New Zealand's World Test Championship victory nears.

"We'll keep going about cricket in our own way," said Mitchell. "It has worked and it will continue to work for a long time.

"Yes, we want to build pressure for longer periods of time with the ball and that's being tested by the way they're batting, but also, as a batting unit, we came up against some of the best bowlers this game's ever seen.

"We're excited about trying to take them deep and keep trying to put runs on the board as well."

Stuart Broad bowls Tom Blundell.
Stuart Broad bowls Tom Blundell. Photo credit: Getty Images

Mitchell also suggests the nature of that defeat isn't as bad as it appears, with the Blackcaps batters having the worst of the conditions at Bay Oval. 

Despite winning the toss, New Zealand were forced to bat during the difficult twilight period against a pink ball, as England's seamers left the Blackcaps' top order reeling.

All-rounder Michael Bracewell claims the bowling attack adapted to England's approach in the second innings, while Mitchell says New Zealand's plan is worth persevering with.

"For us, it's actually not too far away," he said. "It's about sticking true to who we are as Kiwis and as Blackcaps, and what's worked for us for a number of years now.

"We're missing a couple of small moments at the moment, which is disappointing, but we also know that's also the nature of test cricket that we play - it's not always going to go your way.

"It can be a bloody hard game at times, but we also know we're not too far away."

The Blackcaps hope to bounce back at a ground they've turned into a fortress in their rise to becoming world champions.

New Zealand have won eight of their last 10 tests at Wellington's Basin Reserve, with South Africa the last visiting side to taste success there in 2017.

Playing with a red ball, not a pink one, Mitchell and the Blackcaps look forward to the chance to level the series.

Scott Kuggeleijn bowled against England.
Scott Kuggeleijn bowled against England. Photo credit: Getty Images

"You always want to win test matches for your country and it's disappointing to not get over the line in the last one," said Mitchell. "But also, we're really excited about the next opportunity to come to the Basin Reserve, which by all accounts is sold out for the first few days.

"We know how special this ground is to us, as a group. We're just really looking forward to taking on England on our home turf - with a red ball."

The Blackcaps' second test against England begins Friday at Wellington.