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Sunday, July 15, 2018

BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme spearhead New Zealand fightback

De Grandhomme was out for 72, his third Test half century, and Watling went on to his 14th and was 77 not out when bad light stopped play about five overs short of scheduled stumps.

By: AP | Updated: March 31, 2018 12:20:46 pm
BJ Watling New Zealand’s BJ Watling celebrates his 50. (Source: Reuters)

New Zealand’s lower-order batsmen prospered while the top order failed as England took the upper hand Saturday on the second day of the second cricket Test.

New Zealand slumped to 36-5 in its first innings with all of its recognized batsmen dismissed before wicketkeeper B.J. Watling and allrounder Colin de Grandhomme combined in a record partnership for New Zealand against England of 142 for the sixth wicket.

De Grandhomme was out for 72, his third Test half century, and Watling went on to his 14th and was 77 not out when bad light stopped play about five overs short of scheduled stumps.

New Zealand was 192-6 and still 115 runs short of England’s first-innings total of 307.

“The plan was to bat as hard as we can and try to get through, because they bowl good areas and bowl pretty well up front, so it was always going to be hard,” de Grandhomme said.

“That’s the hardest I’ve had to bat at this stage of my Test career. But it was good to have B.J. at the other end and see how he goes about his work. He made it easier for me.”

Earlier, England’s flagging first innings was saved by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow who made 101, his fifth Test century, and rallied the tail to share partnerships of 95 with Mark Wood (52) for the eighth wicket and 47 for with debuting Jack Leach (16) for the ninth.

Bairstow then took four catches behind the stumps to accelerate the decay of New Zealand’s first innings. He caught openers Jeet Raval (5) and Tom Latham (0) off Stuart Broad and James Anderson respectively as New Zealand slumped to 17-4.

He then caught captain Kane Williamson for 22 off Anderson and left New Zealand five wickets down with 36 runs on the board and in desperate straits.

After Watling and de Grandhomme batted New Zealand away from disaster, Bairstow caught de Grandhomme from Broad’s bowling to ensure England retained the upper hand at stumps.

The day was one of the best England has enjoyed in Tests in Australia and New Zealand this summer. Anderson and Broad, who were criticized for their form in the Ashes Test series in Australia, looked more like their old selves as the new ball swung and they took apart the New Zealand top order.

Broad finished the day with 4-38 and Anderson with 2-43, less than his efforts deserved.

All-rounder Ben Stokes also returned to the bowling crease after a back injury, sending down three overs before stumps and giving England more cause for satisfaction.

New Zealand quickly ended England’s first innings at the start of the day. Bairstow resumed at 97 not out and went on to his century with three singles, reaching the mark from 164 balls.

He was the last man out, giving Trent Boult his fourth wicket of the innings. Tim Southee took 6-62 and Boult 4-47 as the New Zealand new-ball pair claimed all 10 England wickets as they did in the first innings of the first Test at Auckland won by the home side.

The pitch at Hagley Oval proved lively when the ball was new and there was some dew in the air. Broad and Anderson explited that in their best joint opening spell for some time, sending New Zealand tumbling to 17-4 before lunch.

Broad dismissed Tom Latham (0), Ross Taylor (2) and first Test century-maker Henry Nicholls (0) while Anderson removed Jeet Raval (5), then made the major breakthrough when he captured Williamson’s wicket immediately after lunch.

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