Assistant coach Paul Collingwood admitted England’s bid to usher in a new era remained “a work in progress” after New Zealand took control on day two of the Lord’s Test.
An unbroken 180-point position between Black Caps pair Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell was worth more than either team’s first-innings total, leaving the tourists holding all the cards as they moved up 56 for four to 236 with no further loss.
The duo will resume with their side sitting on a nice 227-point lead and in sight of twin centuries – Mitchell just three short, Blundell needing 10.
Unless England can get out of trouble quickly on Saturday, it will be hard to avoid defeat in the first game of Ben Stokes’ captaincy reign.
It would be a frustrating way for Stokes and new head coach Brendon McCullum to start their tenure in charge of a side that have only tasted victory once in the last 17 games, but Collingwood insisted that an early bump in the road would be no cause for alarm. .
“We know things are not going to change overnight. It will take time for the team to play the way we want them to play. Obviously it’s a work in progress,” he said.
“Brendon is a glass half full type of man. He’ll stay calm, he won’t change his values and beliefs just because of a round, that’s for sure, and neither will Ben.
“We came out of that first day every night, both teams got pretty much exactly the same scoreline. It’s disappointing that we didn’t take the lead and create a big lead, but if you hang on there for the rest of the game, it’s not good. This game is not beyond our reach yet.
Collingwood, a T20 World Cup-winning captain with England in his day, also saw signs of encouragement from Stokes as he tried to stave off a breakthrough that never happened.
“From our point of view we have tried everything, and you can see in Ben that we have a proactive captain who is ready to try different things,” he added.
One of the weapons at his disposal was the leg rotation of Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson, who was brought in from Manchester to replace concussion victim Jack Leach.
Parkinson made a long-awaited debut after two years on the sidelines, but failed to create any real danger for the resolute Mitchell and Blundell over the course of 14 overs. With only a slight rotation offered, he struggled to force errors from two set players and will be eager to make his mark on day three.
“I’m sure it was a big shock for him, he was in his garden on Thursday afternoon,” he said.
“He gets a phone call, rushes to London, gets his cap from Jeetan Patel and goes straight there. There wasn’t much assistance there, but what you can see is a pretty accurate leg thrower and I’m sure he’s thrilled with the experience.
Blundell has his sights set on a third Test century after 182 balls of hard work alongside Mitchell, but insisted helping the team was a bigger priority than any personal goals.
“We have a job to do for the team and then the milestones take care of themselves,” he said.
“It would mean a lot, but there is a long way to go in this game. It was a tough situation to be in (at 56 for four) but me and Daryl showed intention and on those kind of wickets, if you show that intention the points will come.
“We just talked about trying to build a partnership and we ended the day pretty well.”