New Zealand built on test debutant Devon Conway’s chanceless double-hundred by taking two early England wickets before Rory Burns and Joe Root mounted a recovery on Day 2 of the first test at Lord’s on Thursday.
Replying to New Zealand’s first-innings total of 378 that was anchored by Conway’s 347-ball 200, England reached stumps on 111-2 with Burns unbeaten on 59 and Root on 42 not out, their partnership up to 93.
It was England’s day at the home of cricket, with Root’s team gaining a foothold in the match after an opening day dominated by the New Zealanders.
But it was also another special day for Conway, who resumed on 136 and stayed patient and composed as wickets fell regularly at the other end to eventually become just the second New Zealand batsman to score a double hundred on Test debut.
He reached the milestone with a pull for six and took his helmet off to receive the acclaim of the 25% capacity crowd at Lord’s, where his name will be on the storied venue’s Honours Board.
Conway didn’t face another ball as, in the very next over, he came up just short of the crease as he sprinted back to the non-striker’s end for a second run. He was the last man out, leaving No. 11 Neil Wagner on 25 not out off 21 balls _ potentially valuable runs at the end of the innings.
Conway, a South African-born opener, was given a standing ovation as he walked back to the pavilion, having made the highest score by a batsman on test debut in England. He broke a 125-year-old record held by former England player K.S. Ranjitsinhji, who scored 154 in Manchester in 1896.
Earlier, the dismissal of Henry Nicholls for 61 triggered the Black Caps’ collapse from 288-3 to 319-8, which included a six-over spell by Mark Wood where the paceman took three wickets for seven runs.
“We said yesterday that although we only picked up three wickets, we never let them get away,“ England batting coach Graham Thorpe said. “We knew if we made inroads today, we could come back in.
“To bowl New Zealand out from where we were at the start of the day, we’re really pleased.”
Ollie Robinson, another player making his test debut, had England’s best bowling figures of 4-75. After stumps on Wednesday, the paceman was close to tears as he apologized for a string of sexist and racist messages that he posted on Twitter from 2012-14 and which resurfaced over social media while the game was being played.
“Yesterday was a hard day, it tested his personality and character,“ Thorpe said. “How he responded today, we were really pleased. We have to support him as a player in our team and we were really happy with the way he performed.”
Burns justified his recall, having been dropped for the final two tests in India last winter, with an encouraging knock in which he batted fluidly after a nervy start.
He and Root came together on 18-2 after Dom Sibley was trapped lbw to Kyle Jamieson and Zak Crawley got the faintest edge to a heave off Tim Southee, with New Zealand’s probing seamers finding early movement.
Root was severely tested by the exacting length of Colin de Grandhomme, who had one rising delivery that thudded into the same right hand the England captain had taken a blow to earlier in the week in training. Root received some treatment and wrung his arm out a couple of times in the moments afterward but he settled back down to his task.
Burns and Root showed caution in the final overs of the day to ensure they will resume their stand on Friday.