England vs New Zealand: Tourists take control of Trent Bridge Test
New Zealand bounced back from defeat at Lord’s by controlling the first day of second Test against England at Trent Bridge.
The Black Caps reached an imposing stumps total of 318 for four, scoring at a healthy run-rate throughout the day as the home attack struggled and chances went begging.
England need quick wickets to drag themselves back into the battle, but Daryl Mitchell (81 not out) and Tom Blundell (67no) have other ideas.
England’s plans derailed by a pint?
There was a comical aside at the start of the evening session, when Mitchell launched Jack Leach for six into the crowd and sent the ball directly into a plastic pint glass. The owner, Susan, was drenched as her cider splashed everywhere but was soon provided with a refill by the New Zealand management.
But, as well as providing a few laughs, the incident may have given New Zealand a leg up. England had been getting the ball to swing appreciably for the first time before the ball got soaked and it seemed to do a little less thereafter. Balls often come off worse when they get smashed into the stands but this was an unexpected wrinkle.
Stuart Broad is never shy about discussing his love of Trent Bridge and spoke in the build-up to this match of his desire to get the fans bouncing at a venue where he once took career-best figures of eight for 15 against Australia. But figures of nought for 74 from 18 are a fair reflection of his struggles. Perhaps it should not be a huge surprise, though, considering the 35-year-old has finished wicketless in three of his last five innings in Nottingham.
England’s new leadership team of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have made a point of demanding bowlers always look for the wicket-taking option. That means inviting the drive, taking risks and leaving gaps in the field to keep the slip cordon full. While that script played out perfectly on day one of the first Test, where New Zealand were bowled out for 132, things went less well here. The gambler’s lengths the home attack produced ended up offering a steady supply of four balls, with 43 boundaries to go with two maximums.
For Mitchell, a second successive century looks entirely possible. Blundell, meanwhile, will be eager to make it to three figures after falling four runs short last time out. For England, only a quick cluster of wickets will do. Keeping New Zealand below 400 looks a stiff ask, but there is a fresh new ball to work with. Where the batting is concerned, it is simply a case of following the opposition’s lead.
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