|Scorecard:||England v New Zealand|
|Player:||SCJ Broad, MJ Guptill, BJ Watling|
|Event:||New Zealand in England 2015|
DateLine: 31st May 2015
By Andy Jalil at Headingley In association with INVESTEC
New Zealand in complete control of second Test
Leeds – England have been put under great pressure to save the second Test with New Zealand in commanding position at the end of the third day’s play which saw them put on a fine batting display. Leading the way was BJ Watling with an unbeaten fifth Test century from 137 balls and the first New Zealander to play a three-figure innings on this ground. The tourists were 338 for six at stumps and the highest number of runs that England have scored in the fourth innings to win a Test is 332, so there lies a monumental task ahead.
With both first innings having ended on the same total – for the eighth time in Test cricket – New Zealand, the second time around, began with the loss of two early wickets with Stuart Broad doing the damage. He first had Tom Latham held off a ball that came in and cramped him up as he tried to cut and then Kane Williamson edged, playing at a ball away from his body. Both catches were held behind the stumps and the tourists were 23 for two.
A quick scoring stand of 99 in 87 balls followed between Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor with both playing fluent strokes. Taylor got off the mark first ball with a most elegant cover drive but he was dropped on 9 at third slip off James Anderson. It didn’t unsettle him as he and Guptill then took 28 from two overs from Broad and Anderson. Guptill cut Broad for four to take his score to 34 and brought up his 14th Test half century from 47 balls when he lifted Moeen Ali for a straight six.
He was on 61 when Taylor, on 48 scored at the rate of a-run-a-ball, drove Mark Wood uppishly and was held at extra cover. Wood struck again four overs later having Guptill on 70, from 72 balls, edging a chest-high catch to third slip. New Zealand then went on to put themselves in a strong position with a stand of 121 between Brendon McCullum and Watling. McCullum played an uncharacteristically restrained innings of 55 from 98 balls, intent on building a large enough innings total to put pressure on England in the fourth innings.
When he was dismissed, lbw to Wood, his side were 262 for five and Watling, having brought up his 11th Test fifty, was on 70. He continued to show the fine form he has been in this series. Following his two half centuries in the previous Tests he gave another excellent batting display with a fine range of strokes. He added a quick 53 from 42 balls with Luke Ronchi before the latter was held behind for 31. Shortly before the end of play he was joined by Mark Craig who remained not out with 15 and with his batting capability there should be more runs to come.
Earlier, the quick fall of wickets which England experienced in the final session on the second day after their record opening stand, continued on the third morning after resuming on 253 for five. Tim Southee achieved considerable ball movement in the heavy atmosphere that has prevailed for most of this Test match and with the ground wet earlier on the play began 15 minutes later, pushing lunch and tea later accordingly.
Southee accounted for the first three wickets that fell, taking the three for 6 in a spell of 17 balls. He had Ian Bell edge to second slip and Jos Buttler to first slip with balls that moved away. Moeen Ali also went to a ball that drifted away as he edged to third slip. It had England down to 267 for eight.
That was followed by some enterprising strokes during the partnerships for the last two wickets which added 83 valuable runs from 89 balls. Broad, who was dropped a couple of times, the first time on 9, went on to hit 46 from 38 balls. It included five fours and one of two sixes in the innings which he lifted over square leg off Matt Henry who, ten runs later, bowled him to wrap up the innings on 350, the same total as England’s.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)