England struggled 258-7 at stumps on the first day of the second and final Test at Edgbaston on Thursday, before Trent Boult took two wickets in two balls on his return to New Zealand duty. The hosts were 85-3 and 175-6, but opener Rory Burns’ 81 and Dan Lawrence’s unbeaten 67 ensured the Blackcaps didn’t completely dominate. England’s last two wickets so far had added 83 runs, with Ollie Stone (20) and Taylor Mark Wood, an unbeaten 16 off 58 balls, cheering a crowd of some 17,000 after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
The left-arm quick Boult, who missed the drawn series opener at Lord’s last week after family leave, removed Burns and lucky James Bracey, was dismissed on the first ball to follow up his duck on debut at Lord’s . Delivery with a return of 2-60 in 23 overs.
Matt Henry did the early loss as England, who were 72–0, lost three wickets for 13 runs soon after lunch, with captain Joe Root getting dismissed for just four.
The downfall began when Henry caught Dom Sibley behind a swinger for 35 to rest Tim Southee ahead of New Zealand’s appearance in the World Test Championship final against India in Southampton next week.
England went 72-1 to 73-2 as Zak Crawley’s pathetic form continued when he was caught at slip off left-arm pacer Neil Wagner – the only surviving member of New Zealand’s attack from Lord’s.
This was Crowley’s ninth single-figure score in 11 Test innings since scoring an impressive 267 against Pakistan last year.
Henry then took the prized wicket of Root, caught behind a late-moving outswinger.
Root, having won the toss and elected to bat, despite conditions that appeared to favor England’s attacking side, was once again a specialist spinner as well as injured all-rounder Ben Stokes and the rested Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes. was without.
New Zealand had to make three injury-enforced changes, with captain and leading batsman Kane Williamson (elbow), spinner Mitchell Santner (cut finger) and BJ Watling (back pain).
They were replaced by Will Young, Aijaz Patel and Tom Blundell respectively, with Tom Latham captaining the team.
Patel and wicket-keeper Blundell combined after Ollie Pope (19) was caught cutting off the left-arm spinner.
Boult came into action when Burns, again eyeing three points after his century at Lord’s, went on a far-swinger and was caught well into slip by Latham.
Surrey’s left-handed opener faced 187 balls, which included 10 fours.
Burns’ dismissal on the last ball of the 59th over and Boult on the first ball of the 61st over led Bracey to drive on another outswinger, in which Daryl Mitchell – son of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell – hit one at third slip. Brilliant catch. .
Lawrence hit several stylish drives in 75 balls, including eight fours.
Meanwhile, James Anderson’s 162nd appearance saw him become England’s most capped Test player, breaking the record he shared with retired former captain Alastair Cook.
Stone replaces Ollie Robinson, who, after a successful on-field Test debut at Lord’s, was suspended from international cricket following the emergence of historic racist and sexist Twitter posts.
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