But after being bowled out for a pathetic 167 on day two the second best team in world cricket were behind the game from the very start.
Truth is England were lucky the pitch had even less life than than the Atacama desert otherwise Cook's men could have been rather embarrassed.
A flat pitch saw centuries for the openers and 50s for Finn and Trott meaning England head to Wellington only really worrying about Kevin Pietersen's batting form.
Bowling wise Anderson and Finn look sharp and Broad is coming back to form. A little more help from the pitch will see Panesar be more of a threat in the second test.
But the first test once again showed England's biggest failing as a team at the moment, starting a series too slowly.
India late last year, South Africa last summer and Sri Lanka the winter before saw England turn up late and lose the first test.
The historic Ashes winning trip down under also saw England rolled over for 279 on day one. But hey, we'll forget that because of the rather good cricket that followed eh?
This is not a critical piece, England a very good cricket team and the efforts in the second innings showed the very capable batsmen in their midst.
But the challenge for team director Andy Flower and captain Cook is to get the team firing from the first ball on day one of the first test, not fighting back in the second test or hanging on in the first.
England were complacent in this test, they believed the hype that the Kiwis were in disarray - sacked the captain, coach not very well liked et al.
I have no doubt they will take the test series 2-0 and probably do the same when New Zealand make the long journey here in May.
But if England are still in their beds come day one of the Ashes in July you can be certain Michael Clarke's band of brothers will take full advantage.
Time to wake up and smell the leather a bit earlier chaps!