Extreme pace unsettles most batsmen and many get just as twitchy against probing slow bowlers whose weapons are flight and guile.

The Ashes series has painted those issues in bright colours for England after heavy successive losses against the pace of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and the off-spinning craft of Nathan Lyon.

Relentless inquiries from that group have gnawed at the technique of England's batsmen and eaten into their belief as their judgment and footwork has betrayed that anxiety. Prodding strokes and hesitant movements on unfamiliar pitches is no recipe for success against such a concentrated attack.

Alastair Cook and Joe Root have developed strong records in the top-order against most sides but have been unable to find that flow against an Aussie attack which has all the experience to exploit their home conditions and offers no let-up.


Serious pace from both ends with troubling bounce and movement off the track or the mix of speed from one end and spin from Lyon at the other with his drift, spin, change of pace and attacking fields has been too potent for the Poms.

On this side of the Ditch, New Zealand through the stamina and exertion of Neil Wagner began New Zealand's chokehold against an uncertain Windies at the Basin Reserve which after superb knocks from Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Blundell and Ross Taylor, ended in an innings victory in Wellington.

A fightback came in patches from the tourists and their top four all made starts but in the end they succumbed to time and their clumsy first innings.

The New Zealand attack was economical without quite the cutting edge as they worked through 106 overs to get the tourists out again.

Without new dad Tim Southee, New Zealand opted for a safe bowling group who did not leak too many runs and preyed on a Windies lineup who eyed the strip and their hosts with too much suspicion.

The Windies played better in their second dig and should take more conviction into today's second test at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Had New Zealand taken the brave step of starting speedster Lockie Ferguson and leggie Ish Sodhi, the odds would have changed. Ferguson is in the squad but his midweek action for Auckland tells you he won't start and Sodhi remains on the outer.

New Zealand is wedded to a pace trio of Southee, Trent Boult and Wagner with backup from Matt Henry, the medium-pace probe from de Grandhomme and left-arm spin from Mitchell Santner.

It's a selection made with a wary eye on economy rates and bolstering the batting list.

Rib-rattling pace from Ferguson and the inquiring spin from Sodhi sit more in the exotic choice departments for the New Zealand selectors, they fit into the riskier style of the game rather than the standard type of bowling New Zealand favours to stay in the five-day scraps.

Ferguson and Sodhi take wickets but can also leak runs and that equation makes the selectors twitchy. It shouldn't.

New Zealand have enough batting strength to make the play, why not back that up with a bowling group to stir the pot?