BIRMINGHAM: Fast bowler Matt Henry removed both England openers before tea on the third day to leave New Zealand in command of the second and final Test at Edgbaston on Saturday.
England had slumped to 18-2 at tea in their second innings, still 67 runs behind New Zealand’s first innings 388.
Henry, one of an exceptional six New Zealand changes to the side that drew the first Test at Lord’s, had figures of 2-7 in three overs.
He struck with just the second ball of England’s innings when he had in-form opener Rory Burns well caught in the slips by stand-in skipper Tom Latham for a duck.
New Zealand’s close-catching, far superior to that of England this series, also accounted for Dom Sibley, who fell to Henry for 10 after being well-taken in the cordon by Daryl Mitchell.
England have not lost a home Test series in seven years.
But they now looked to captain and star batsman Joe Root to set New Zealand a stiff chase in order to preserve that record.
Earlier, Stuart Broad took an impressive 4-48 in 23.1 overs but New Zealand still led by 85 runs on first innings.
Three Blackcaps batsmen — Will Young, Devon Conway and Ross Taylor— all fell in the 80s.
And the last-wicket duo of Ajaz Patel (20) and Trent Boult (12 not out) added a useful 21 before Patel was lbw on review to Broad.
New Zealand resumed on 229-3, a deficit of 74, after Young had fallen for 82 to part-time off-spinner Dan Lawrence off the last ball of Friday’s play.
Taylor, was 46 not out after opener Conway had followed his stunning 200 on debut at Lord’s with 80.
The experienced Taylor completed just his second fifty in 15 Test innings when he swept Lawrence for four, his seventh boundary in 101 balls faced.
It was an encouraging sign for ahead of New Zealand’s appearance in next week’s inaugural World Test Championship final against India at Southampton.
Taylor, however, should have gone for 68 but a miscued hook off veteran paceman Broad was dropped by substitute fielder Sam Billings at fine leg.
His attacking innings ended when he edged fast bowler Olly Stone to wicket-keeper James Bracey.
But Bracey’s joy turned to despair three balls later when the relatively novice gloveman dropped new batsman Tom Blundell, on nought, after failing to hang to a low one-handed chance off Stone as he dived to his right.
Bracey, who conceded 13 byes, saw a see-saw match continue when he caught Henry Nicholls (21) down the legside off Mark Wood a ball after the fast bowler had hit the batsman on the helmet with a bouncer.
James Anderson has set a new England appearance record of 162 Tests this match, surpassing the tally he had shared with retired former captain Alastair Cook.
Already Test cricket’s leading paceman, Anderson had his lone success of the innings when he bowled Neil Wagner for a duck — his 617th wicket at this level greeted by a huge roar from a typically raucous crowd.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 303 (R.J. Burns 81, D.W. Lawrence 81 not out, M.A. Wood 41; T.A. Boult 4-85, M.J. Henry 3-78).
NEW ZEALAND (1st Innings, overnight 229-3):
T.W.M. Latham lbw b Broad 6
D.P. Conway c Crawley b Broad 80
W.A. Young c Pope b Lawrence 82
L.R.P. Taylor c Bracey b Stone 80
H.M. Nicholls c Bracey b Wood 21
T.A. Blundell c Root b Broad 34
D.J. Mitchell c Crawley b Stone 6
N. Wagner b Anderson 6
M.J. Henry lbw b Wood 12
A.Y. Patel lbw b Broad 22
T.A. Boult not out ac12
EXTRAS (B-13, LB-21, NB-1) 35
TOTAL (all out, 119.1 overs) 388
FALL OF WKTS: 1-15, 2-137, 3-229, 4-292, 5-312, 6-335, 7-336, 8-353, 9-361.
BOWLING: Anderson 29-9-68-1; Broad
23.1-8-48-4 (1nb); Wood 25-3-85-2; Stone
24-5-92-0; Root 15-3-45-0; Lawrence 3-0-16-1.
ENGLAND (2nd Innings):
R.J. Burns c Latham b Henry 0
D.P. Sibley c Mitchell b Henry 8
Z. Crawley not out 10
J.E. Root not out 0
Total (for two wkts, 6 six overs) 18
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-17.
BOWLING (to-date): Henry 3-1-7-2; Boult 3-0-11-0.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2021