England v New Zealand Tests - Men's
Kiwis celebrate as Cook says England 'can't handle pressure'
As New Zealand celebrate the perfect warm-up for their World Test Championship push, criticism of England's performance continues with Alastair Cook weighing in on the Edgbaston thrashing
14 June 2021, 07:18 AM AEST
New Zealand's stand-in captain Tom Latham is celebrating being part of a first series win in England for 22 years, hailing a "fantastic achievement" for his side.
The Black Caps are on their way to the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton next week in great heart, having replaced their next opponents on top of the International Cricket Council rankings after their emphatic eight-wicket win at Edgbaston.
And while winning the format's inaugural showpiece is New Zealand's real priority, joining the classes of 1986 and 1999 in defeating England on their own soil is a memorable prize in itself.
Latham, stepping into the shoes of regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is nursing an elbow injury, said: "It's a fantastic achievement from the group and I think it's important that we celebrate with each other.
"It's well documented that '99 was the last time we'd won here.
"We have been here a couple of times in recent years and haven't quite got the rewards.
"I certainly remember staying up late, watching teams come over to England and playing Test cricket at Lord's and these iconic grounds.
"So for us to come here and put a performance on the board that was true to us was really important. I thought we did that really well over the four days and got our rewards at the end.
"We did really well over the two Test matches and now that we've ticked them off, it's important that our focus shifts to India in a couple of days."
Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root, who'd watched his side throw away a seven-year unbeaten streak at home with an abject batting display, insisted it was not the time to hit the panic button.
"We have all underperformed this week. It would be the wrong time to start panicking and rip up all the hard work we have done for such a long period of time," he said.
"It's been a frustrating and disappointing performance and I don't think we've given a fair account of ourselves.
"We've been outplayed in all three departments and particularly the batting. We have to be honest, front up to that and learn some hard lessons."
Root's predecessor Sir Alastair Cook made some stinging comments during his commentary stint on BBC Radio's Test Match Special.
He told listeners: "From what I've seen of this batting line-up, when the pressure comes on, the intensity of Test cricket, the scrutiny of it, they can't handle it.
"When the pressure comes they are not handling the mental pressure that you need to do. It is a massive area of concern for me."