England’s Joe Root dropped a catch and Zak Crawley let slip another chance as New Zealand reached 195-4 at tea on the opening day of the second test at Trent Bridge on Friday.
England had grabbed back-to-back wickets just before lunch after a strong start by the visitors to what could be a decisive clash in Nottingham. Without COVID-19-struck captain Kane Williamson and put in to bat after losing the toss, a changed New Zealand made the highest opening test stand at the ground since 2005 before both openers departed in the space of two balls.
England captain Ben Stokes provided the breakthrough, taking the ball and having top scorer Will Young (47) caught by a diving Crawley at second slip.
New Zealand had been 84-0 and it was 84-2 when stand-in captain Tom Latham (26) was caught by Matthew Potts off James Anderson at midwicket.
The visitors went in for lunch at a solid 108-2 from 26 overs, a far cry from their 39-6 on a difficult opening day of the first test at Lord’s. Anderson and Stokes each took a pair of wickets, with the captain’s two for 40 coming from 12 overs. New Zealand were 161-3 when Ben Foakes caught Nicholls (30) behind off Stokes and the Black Caps slipped to 169-4 after the wicket keeper repeated the feat with Devon Conway (46) from an Anderson delivery. Crawley dived across Root in a failed bid to catch Nicholls and Root missed an easier offering from Daryl Mitchell, who remained unbeaten on 24, when the batsman was on one.
England, unchanged from the team that won by five wickets at Lord’s, had opted to bowl to make the most of the conditions on an overcast morning. “Generally here the wicket tends to get better as the game goes on, (so it’s) good to get them in early and put some pressure on and get Jimmy (Anderson) and Broady going with the new ball,” said Stokes.
Latham took on the captaincy after Williamson tested positive for COVID-19 and went into isolation on the eve of the match. All-rounder Michael Bracewell was handed his test debut as injured Colin de Grandhomme’s replacement in the middle order while Matt Henry returned in place of Ajaz Patel and Henry Nicholls filled the gap left by Williamson. Latham said he would have also opted to bowl, given the chance. The final test is at Headingley from June 23.