LONDON: A 72-run partnership for the unbroken fifth wicket between Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell helped New Zealand stretch its lead over England to 119 runs at tea on the second day – Friday – of the first Test match at Lord’s.
New Zealand was 128 for four in the second innings at the end of the afternoon session, having been bundled out for 132 in the first essay. No.5 Mitchell (43 not out) struck five boundaries in a formidable batting display, which came as a relief to the ‘Black Caps’, which crumbled against the England fast bowlers in the first innings.
After wickets tumbled on the opening day and the first session on Day Two, there was a sense of calm in the afternoon as New Zealand lost just one and finally found a firm batting partnership. The reigning world Test champion, which was 38 for three at lunch, lost No.4 Devon Conway (13) in the 23rd over of the second innings after the returning Stuart Broad strangled him down legside.
Conway’s departure brought an end to his 9.3 over-partnership with Mitchell, which looked promising. Mitchell, nonetheless, combined well with wicketkeeper-batter Blundell (39 not out) as the visitor kept the Test evenly poised with three days remaining.
Mitchell and Blundell’s sturdy partnership forced new captain Ben Stokes to introduce spin as Matthew Parkinson, brought in as a concussion replacement for Jack Leach, bowled in the longest format for England for the first time. Earlier in the day, the home team, which began on its overnight score of 116 for seven, was bowled out for 141.
BRIEF SCORES (AT TEA):
New Zealand 132 & 128/4 in 43 overs (D Mitchell 43*, T Blundell 39*) vs England (1st innings) 141 in 42.5 overs (Z Crawley 43, T Southee 4/55, T Boult 3/21)