England's batting so far behind, says Rob Key after first Test defeat
"We've got to start expecting a lot more. We have struggled with the bat for a long time now, not just in the Ashes"
Last Updated: 27/03/18 5:54am
England's batting is "so far behind where they need to be", says Rob Key, following their innings-and-49-run defeat to New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland.
England were bowled out for 320 in their second innings to fall to defeat on the final day, but the damage was done in the first innings when they were embarrassed out for just 58, in 20.4 overs.
Much has been made of the team's lack of preparation prior to the first Test - just two two-day warm-up games - but Key says England's batting has been under par for a long time and they need to step up and make a big score.
"We've got to start expecting a lot more," Key told Sky Sports. "We have struggled with the bat for a long time now, not just in the Ashes.
"I can't remember the last time when the England bowlers had scoreboard pressure, something to bowl at.
"We showed a stat on day one that this England team score 400 half the amount of times that Andrew Strauss' team did when he was captain and led the team to No 1 in the world.
"Yes, Trent Boult and Tim Southee bowled well and yes, England were rusty, but we need to start batting much better.
"Ben Stokes showed it's not all about preparation. He has played less cricket than anyone, yet he could find a way to score fifty in the second innings.
"That's what England have missed over the last few months, certainly in the Ashes. That kind of fight. This game would have been over a lot quicker had it not been for Stokes."
Along with Stokes - Joe Root and Chris Woakes also managed fifty in England's second innings - but Key says England continue to be too reliant on the same players for scores.
"We are no further along with this batting line-up than we were in the Ashes," added Key. "We're still so reliant on Root and Alastair Cook scoring runs.
"Root is a lad that even if he gets a hundred, he is still not happy with himself. He is always going to strive for more. But we've got to be very careful that we don't lower the bar for the rest of England's batsmen.
"I know it is very early days for him but, Dawid Malan, for example - he has looked a very good player, but he is only averaging 30 in Test match cricket, not 40, not 45.
"England are so far behind where they need to be at the moment."
Watch the second Test between New Zealand and England from 10pm, Thursday on Sky Sports Cricket.
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