New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell laments the "small moments" that were lost during the first Test in Mount Maunganui but maintains that there is no difference between his squad and England.
England will look to clinch the series against New Zealand when the second Test commences in Wellington on February 25.
England continue their red-hot run of form under skipper Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum's leadership, as top knock by Harry Brook, Ben Duckett and clinical bowling by veteran pace duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad helped the side clinch their first Test win on New Zealand soil for the first time in almost 15 years, defeating Kiwis by 267 runs at Mount Maunganui on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in two-match series.
"If you looked into that third innings, I think we had them six down for 230-240 - I'm not sure of the exact numbers - but if we had taken a couple of quick wickets, the game could have been a lot different," ESPNcricinfo quoted Mitchell as saying after arriving in Wellington for the second Test.
"So, for us, it's actually not too far away. It's sticking true to who we are as Kiwis and Blackcaps, and what's worked for us for a number of years now. Yeah, we are missing a couple of small moments now, which is disappointing, but we also know that's the nature of Test cricket, and it's not always going to go your way, and it can be a bloody hard game at times. But we also know we are not too far away," he added.
One of those small moments was when New Zealand let England escape with 374 runs in their second innings after they had fallen to 237 for 6. When the reverse sweep caught Joe Root for the second time in the Test at the start of day three's tea, England's innings could go out of hand. However, Ben Foakes' calm half-century and quick cameos from skipper Ben Stokes and No. 9 Ollie Robinson propelled England to that point.
Under the Mount Maunganui floodlights, Stuart Broad then destroyed New Zealand's top order, thereby putting the hosts' pursuit of 394 runs in the fourth inning out of reach.
New Zealand head coach Gary Stead, bemoaned his team's inability to deliver the sucker punch during that phase of play, which altered the tone and pace of the match.
"I thought there were times through this Test we did that really, really well. I think in that second innings when they were 230  for 6, if we could've bowled them out in the next hour, then we bat [for] a good period of time in the daylight as well with the softer ball. They are the little variables that affected us in this Test match, but looking forward to the challenge that's ahead because we know that's a big challenge," Stead said.
Kiwis suffered a big blow ahead of the Wellington Test, with Kyle Jamieson ruled out for at least "three to four months" after undergoing back surgery this week. Jamieson was originally supposed to make his return to the national side in the first pink-ball Test against England.
"They [England] are obviously playing very, very good cricket. I think they've won 10-11 of their last 12 Tests, and they're on a bit of a roll and playing with some real confidence. I don't think it's unfair to say we're probably lacking a little bit of that confidence at the moment because you don't get the results," Stead said.
"But I can assure you that the faith is still with the group of these guys. We believe that these are our best cricketers, and we're going to put everything behind them to make sure we can go out there in Wellington and really some throw punches back at England as well," the New Zealand head coach said. (ANI)