New Zealand v England: Alastair Cook admits concern at poor starts

New Zealand v England: Alastair Cook admits his concern at his side’s poor starts after tourists battle back to secure a draw

Alastair Cook admits he is concerned at his side’s poor starts after England fought back to secure a draw in the first Test in Dunedin.

England’s batsmen were bundled out for 167 in in just 55 overs on the second day – the fourth time in a row they have failed to pass 200 in the first innings of the opening Test of a tour.

“It is a concern,” said captain Cook. “I’m not quite sure we know the reason for it.

“I thought we did well to claw it back but in the bigger picture we need to start better than that.”

“You can give credit to New Zealand and the way they bowled and put us under pressure, but the bottom line is we played a lot of soft shots and gifted them our wickets,” added Cook.

“I think it was more a mental thing if we’re being perfectly honest but what was encouraging was that we managed to put it behind us and do a very good job.”

Centuries from Cook and Nick Compton, and a defiant half-century from overnight nightwatchman Steven Finn, helped the tourists secure a comfortable draw in the end.

“We showed some good fighting spirit,” said Cook. “That’s twice we’ve had to bat to save a game recently – in Nagpur[to secure a 2-1 victory over India] and then here – and we can take a lot from the way we went about it.”

“It was great for Compton to get his first [Test] hundred and I’m not sure we knew that Steven Finn had that in him.”

“I think a few of us have been bribing him with crates of wine and will be in debt to him for a while.”

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