The first Test between England and New Zealand finally quickened in pace a little before lunch on day two as eight wickets fell for 47 runs - with England all out for 232 and New Zealand losing both openers cheaply - and Ross Taylor hit a fluent half-century.
James Anderson didn’t need long at the start of the New Zealand first innings to become the fourth Englishman to take 300 Test wickets. He joins Ian Botham (383), Bob Willis (325) and Fred Trueman (307) in reaching the milestone.
Wicket number 299 was Hamish Rutherford in the first over. The left-hander was squared up by a ball that moved away and succeeded in edging a catch to Alastair Cook at first slip. Peter Fulton became number 300 in Anderson’s fourth over when a trademark away swinger took the outside edge on its way to his good friend Graeme Swann at second slip.
At that stage New Zealand were seven for two and thoughts of England’s late-innings collapse were quickly fading. However, the tourists had the right men in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor at the crease. Williamson played the anchor to Taylor’s aggression and the pair put on 93.
Williamson played in the manner that most of England’s batsmen had done and was watchful, but in Taylor, he had a man who finally seemed to have tamed the conditions. Taylor struck 13 fours during his 72-ball stay and allowed thoughts to wander to just what England could have managed yesterday had they had the flamboyance of Pietersen to temper their reticence. He was eventually plumb in front to a straight ball from Anderson but not before he had shown England what they were missing on day one.
Williamson was joined briefly by Dean Brownlie and the pair added a further 47 before Brownlie was the victim of a good review from England. Originally given not out, the decision was referred and the ball was shown to be striking leg-stump full on. That gave Steven Finn an overdue wicket. The Middlesex man hadn’t had the best of days up until that point and was probably guilty of being a little too short in his length.
Brendon McCullum then came out as the light faded and faced 17 deliveries, scoring just one run. That wasn’t through lack of effort and he looked a little frenetic as he repeatedly hit shots at fielders or defended with intent. Nonetheless, he survived as umpires Steve Davis and Aleem Dar decided that the floodlights that had been on all day to brighten the London gloom were suddenly insufficient to illuminate Jonathan Trott’s 70mph offerings. And so, New Zealand went to stumps with the upper hand on 153 for four - a deficit of only 79 runs. Williamson - who had been dropped by Prior earlier in his innings and was wrongly given not out after a caught behind appeal later - is unbeaten on 44 and now looks set to bat for the summer. He has already scored more than any of England’s batsmen managed.
They collapsed from 192 for four to be all out for 232 in the first half of the day as Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow made it five of the top six to fall between 31 and 41. Root and Bairstow looked to be building a good platform for a score of 300 but Tim Southee was rewarded for his efforts yesterday by benefiting from a leg glance from Root that found the gloves of BJ Watling.
That ended another impressive innings from Root - whose younger brother Billy was employed as a substitute fielder by England later in the day - and hopes of a late-order revival led by England’s Player of the Year Matt Prior were quickly scotched when he was trapped in front first ball by Southee. Stuart Broad then played round a straight one from Neil Wagner, while Bairstow was last man out, giving a return catch to Southee as he attempted to up the tempo.
© Cricket World 2013
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