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Liam Livingstone impresses with bat in flawed England innings

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Liam Livingstone remains unlikely to figure in the first Test against New Zealand, but he has made an instant contribution to the series by delivering a “kick up the backside” for his team-mates.

Uncapped Livingstone was the only batsman to do himself justice on the final day of the pink-ball warm-up match at Seddon Park, hitting 88 in an otherwise flawed England performance as Joe Root’s team lost 14 wickets for 319 runs.

Livingstone was a saving grace in his first match in whites for his country, scoring freely but without undue risk against a New Zealand XI – while several more established Test batsmen registered far fewer runs despite the luxury of having two innings.

The second instalment of this warm-up fixture for next week’s first Test was designated for England to bat throughout, in response to their hosts’ 376 for 10 – irrespective of how many wickets might fall.

Batting coach Graham Thorpe conceded that the majority were disappointed with their performance as only Livingstone, with his 13 fours and a six from 113 balls, and Joe Root – who mustered an unbeaten 50 at his second attempt, after being lbw for a single first time round – could feel remotely satisfied.

“The first two sessions were indifferent for us, but it was about getting the guys up to speed and making them aware they’ve got a Test next week,” Thorpe told Sky Sports.

“It’s the challenge of a short Test tour.

“A few of them will be disappointed they didn’t spend longer at the crease, but Liam Livingstone played very well.”

Thorpe confirmed Livingstone is still a long shot to make his Test debut in Auckland, or Christchurch.

New Zealand XI v England - Tour Match

“He’s not in the potential starting XI,” he added.

“But he’s shown the head coach what he’s capable of, and that’s what you want.

“His innings is also a kick up the backside for the other players.”

Livingstone took his opportunity with assurance and fluency – then played a shot or two in his post-match interview too, revealing England’s instructions were to approach the match as if it were a Test but admitting they did not manage to do that.

“It was a bit of a tough day really,” said the 24-year-old Lancashire captain.

New Zealand XI v England - Tour Match

“Because this is quite a short series, we were taking this as the first Test match and play it as though it was a Test … use your gameplans as though you were playing in that first Test of a three-game series.

“That was how I approached it.”

When he was asked if the same was achieved by others, he said: “No, I don’t think it was.

“But a few of us have got what we wanted out of the day.

“Obviously a few boys have still got another two days to go – so I hope they can get what they need from those.”

New Zealand XI v England - Tour Match

As for his own short-term ambitions here, he is not about to get ahead of himself.

“It’s the first time I’ve been involved with the group and I’m trying to impress a few people, score a few runs and see what happens,” he added.

“I’m trying to keep an open mind – open eyes, open ears and learn off the best players in the world – which is what we’ve got in our dressing room.”

After his first lesson, however, it was a case of the masters needing to learn quickly from their pupil in time for next week.

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Topics:
England cricket
Cricket
Joe Root
New Zealand cricket

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