England is looking to improve after their recent 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. Photo: England Cricket on Twitter

Wellington – England head coach Trevor Bayliss has said his players were like “rabbits in the headlights” as they were dismissed for 58 in a dismal batting performance in the first test against New Zealand yesterday.

England, looking to improve after their recent 4-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia, got off to a very poor start on the opening day of the Auckland test as they struggled against seamers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

The duo picked up all 10 England wickets in the first 90 minutes of play before New Zealand captain Kane Williamson guided the hosts to 175-3 for a lead of 117 runs at stumps.

“We certainly did not bat very well this morning. They bowled extremely well but we batted extremely poorly,” Bayliss said.

“I think it must have been a mental thing, our feet looked like they had lead in them. We didn’t make too many right decisions with our footwork. We got caught behind the crease to fairly full balls, which allows the ball to swing and then we were nowhere. It looked a little bit like we were rabbits in the headlights.”

Williamson had earlier won the toss and opted to bowl with the pink ball in the first day-night test in New Zealand, but Bayliss said the conditions had little to do with the visitors’ capitulation.

“There were good conditions this morning.

“A bit of green grass on the wicket but nothing out of the ordinary that you would not expect for the first day of a test,” Bayliss added. “Today we were off it, not just a little bit, but a long way and we were not good enough.”

Boult finished with a career-best 6/32 after he had ripped the top off England’s batting with 4/9 from his first six overs. Southee finished with 4/25.

While England’s fans buried their heads in their hands and voiced their frustration over social media, it could have been much worse had bowler Craig Overton not produced a counter-attacking 33 not out.

After slumping to 23/8, Overton hit a boundary to push his side past the lowest score in test history - the 26 scored by New Zealand against England at Eden Park in 1955.

Overton then ensured they surpassed their own lowest score - the 45 they limped to against Australia in Sydney in 1887.