NZ top order cruise to 303 2, just 87 runs behind England after 2 days of 1st test at Lord’s

By Foster Niumata


LONDON _ New Zealand’s top order rode an easy pitch and some luck to finish only 87 runs behind England after bowling out the host for 389 on the second day of the first test at Lord’s on Friday.

A century opening stand by Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, followed by another century partnership between No. 3 Kane Williamson and No. 4 Ross Taylor, three of whom scored half-centuries, ensured New Zealand rubbed out the intimidation factor of England’s total.

In fact, with the luxury of a deep batting lineup, and wicketkeeper BJ Watling receiving extended rest for his badly bruised right knee, New Zealand was in position to think of a decent first-innings lead.

Williamson was 92 not out, closing in on his 10th test century, and Taylor on 47 in leading New Zealand to stumps on 303-2.

While the second day wasn’t as riveting as the first, the Kiwis turned the table on England with batting that was focused and fast-paced, dishing back what England gave them on day one.

Guptill showed why he was playing his first test since New Zealand’s last tour here two years ago. The Cricket World Cup leading run-scorer hit a double century in the English county championship and 150 in a warmup match. Latham didn’t feature in the World Cup, but the established opener playing his 11th test was happy to be a rock while Guptill attacked.

They both had lives. Guptill was on 24 when he was caught at first slip, but video replay showed newcomer Mark Wood overstepped. After lunch, Latham was dropped on 21, his edge off Ben Stokes flying through Ian Bell’s hands at second slip.

The openers made England pay, hitting some streaky boundaries and finding slim gaps, but plowing on, becoming bolder at scoring an average four an over.

Their century partnership, the third highest by New Zealand openers in England, came in the 29th over.

The pitch gave England’s spirited bowling attack little tolerance for error. Even in ideal conditions for swing, when it clouded over in the morning, James Anderson couldn’t find any with the new ball. England’s record wicket-taker finished the day without a wicket, and figures of 16-4-46-0.

Stuart Broad was gifted a wicket by Guptill, and Wood’s sling-shot right arm brought the heat, but was unlucky.

Spinner Moeen Ali broke the spell cast by New Zealand, on 148 without loss. He was introduced after 32 overs of fast bowling, and struck in his second over. Latham missed trying to work the leg side and was trapped for 59 off 98 balls, including 10 boundaries.

Two balls later, Guptill went after a widish Broad delivery and sent it straight to cover, where Gary Ballance stretched for a good, two-handed catch.

Guptill, who’d scored 100 over his previous 11 test innings, departed for 70 off 115 balls, eight going to the boundary and one over it.

New Zealand almost lost a third batsman on 148 when Taylor survived a good shout on his first ball faced. Still without a run, he was almost run out but Broad’s underhand throw missed the wickets.

After that drama, Taylor and Williamson settled before tea, and restarted New Zealand’s innings.

Williamson was assured and all class, falling into test mode immediately without any hint he’s been playing Twenty20s and ODIs for five months.

Taylor, scratching for form all year, not surprisingly struggled for timing early on, and survived a video review on 20 after his front leg was hit by Anderson.

With time, they got into a groove, and were slightly quicker than the openers in reaching their century, off 157 balls compared to 174.

By stumps, they shared 155 runs together.

Earlier, New Zealand finished off England in less than an hour. England started the day on 354-7, and added only 35. Ali was out soon after reaching his 50, and fast bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry finished with four wickets each.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *