England took charge halfway through the first Test at Lord’s on Saturday. First,New Zealand were dismissed for 207 to give England a first-innings lead of 25,a significant amount on a tricky,soft pitch. That lead was then boosted from 25 to 205,as Joe Root and Jonathan Trott found runs to help give England 180/6 at stumps.
New Zealand fought back with four wickets in six overs in the last hour,three of them to the tireless Tim Southee,but that joy was offset by injuries to wicketkeeper BJ Watling,who hurt his left knee,and spinner Bruce Martin,who limped off after his 13th over. Neither finished the tea session.
Root,bowled for 71,one shy of his Test best on debut in December,and Trott combined for a stand of 123. Root and Trott came together when New Zealand thought they regained the advantage by removing both openers with the total on 36. Captain Alastair Cook was undone on 21 by Trent Boult for the fourth time in four Tests.
However,Root and Trott,comfortably handled the New Zealand attack. Root’s sixth boundary of eight brought up his second test 50 off 78 balls. His middle stump was clattered by Southee after 120 balls. Southee then bowled Jonny Bairstow for 5,and ousted Matt Prior,who squirted the ball to sub Martin Guptill at square leg. Southee had three wickets in 16 balls and Prior a pair of ducks in the same week he was named England player of the year. Part-time offspinner Williamson took out Trott for 56,after reaching his 15th 50. At the crease were Steven Finn on 6,and Ian Bell was yet to score.
England’s turnaround began with the fifth ball of the day,when McCullum,on 2,came forward and nicked Stuart Broad for a catch behind. He was Broad’s only wicket on Saturday,but it started New Zealand’s slide. Anderson,who took his 300th test wicket on Friday,added two more cheap ones to finish with 5/47,his 13th career five-for,and third at Lord’s. Finn,took 3/21 on Saturday to grab 4/63 and maintain his superb test average on his home ground.
Brief scores: England 232 & 180/6 (J Root 71,J Trott 56; T Southee 3/34); New Zealand 207 (R Taylor 66,Kane Williamson 60; J Anderson 5/47,S Finn 4/63)