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England lose 14 wickets in a day

England's pink-ball Test planning in disarray after a New Zealand XI skittle tourists' top order twice, while Ben Stokes battles a back injury

England's Test preparations have been rocked by a second-string New Zealand XI in a warm-up match that saw the tourists' batters lose 14 wickets in the one innings.

Batting coach Graham Thorpe was left less than impressed by the tourists' efforts in a two-day practice match at Seddon Park as they prepare for the day-night Test against the Black Caps starting next Thursday in Auckland.

Under the agreed rules of the two-day unofficial match, England would bowl for 90 overs on the first day, then bat for 90 overs the next, regardless of how many wickets fell. The NZ XI made 10-376 in their 90 overs.

But England lost 14 wickets for 319 runs in their alloted overs, with Liam Livingstone – who is unlikely to feature in the two-Test series – top-scoring with 88.

A host of other Test regulars failed, in some cases twice, as they were allowed to bat throughout the day. Skipper Joe Root mustered an unbeaten 50 in his second turn at bat.

Thorpe says it was a valuable experience for his batsmen after the New Zealand XI posted 10-376 on the first day.

"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, although Mark Stoneman and James Vince both failed to impress in two knocks on Thursday.

"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."

The teams are playing a second practice match at Seddon Park on Friday and Saturday, this time with a red ball and more orthodox playing hours.

England's bowlers had better luck in those condtions today, with the first 10 NZ XI wickets falling with 232 on the board. Martin Guptill top scored with 73, but there was scant other resistance.

Stokes has been struggling with a back injury // Getty
Stokes injured his back in the ODI series // Getty

Controversial England allrounder Ben Stokes, who missed the pink ball hit-out with a back niggle, is not bowling on Friday as England spend another 90 overs in the field, but had a net session ahead of a likely stint in the middle tomorrow.

Stokes received an injection in his back and was reported to be responding well, but it remains to be seen if he will be able to play in this warm-up.

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace moved to squash speculation the 26-year-old could play as a batsman only in the first Test, insisting he was on-track to feature with both bat and ball for the day-night match at Eden Park.

"There's plenty of time next week for him to get overs and be ready for the Test match in Auckland," he told Sky Sports.

If he plays, it would be Stokes' first Test appearance since the alleged nightclub fracas that forced him out of England's losing Magellan Ashes campaign in Australia.

Stokes pleaded not guilty in Bristol Crown Court this week to a charge of affray, appearing via video link from New Zealand, and had a court date set for August that will clash with England's Lord's Test against India.