Sun | Sep 23, 2018

New Zealand in control

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates scoring a century during the third day of the first Test match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, yesterday. Williamson made 132.


England slimmed New Zealand's first-innings lead to 60 at a cost of two wickets by the close of day three in the first cricket Test at Lord's yesterday.

England were 74-2 in their second innings, with Alastair Cook (32 not out) and Ian Bell (29 not out) settled after the side wobbled again at 25-2.

The Kiwis were all out for 523 shortly after tea, for a lead of 134, but if they strolled on mowed grass on Friday, they hacked through head-high weeds yesterday.

Nobody personified New Zealand's grind and England's frustration better than Kane Williamson who made 132.

After he made his 10th Test hundred in 148 balls, most of it on Friday while the sun shone and the pickings were good, it took him 114 balls to add 32.

He had to batten down, almost beg for scoring shots, as clouds came over and turned the conditions in the bowlers' favour. England seamers Stuart Broad and Mark Wood menaced, and Ben Stokes was luckless.

Williamson gave them ulcers. On 106, an edge off James Anderson dropped short of first slip. On 108, he survived a run-out chance. On 112, he survived a video appeal by England, given not out to a ball by Wood pitching on leg stump. On 120, he was put down by Ian Bell off Stokes, and on 122, another edge off Wood dropped in front of first slip.

Yet, he made his score keep ticking over, while losing teammates.

He and Taylor resumed in the morning with only three overs before the second new ball, and used them for milestones. In consecutive balls, Williamson got to his ton, then Taylor reached his 50. Struggling for form, Taylor had taken three hours, but in conditions he liked. It was his third half-century in three consecutive tests against England in England.


McCullum's spark


It also marked only the second time, and first in 50 years, the New Zealand top four in an innings all scored 50-plus.

Taylor, on 62, gloved a ball down the leg side off Broad, ending a partnership at 337 that extended New Zealand's dominance after the openers both fell on 148 the day before. Taylor and Williamson shared 189 runs, the second best stand of their 38 test partnerships.

Captain Brendon McCullum sparked up the Lord's gloom with a quick-fire 42 off 38 balls before giving England debutant Wood his first Test wicket.

Rain prompted a slightly early lunch, and delayed the restart for an hour. All-rounder Corey Anderson fell going down the leg side off Wood, whose spell either side of lunch produced 12-2-22-2.

Williamson was finally dismissed by off-spinner Moeen Ali, who was touching the second new ball for the first time after nearly 40 overs. Williamson was pouched by Gary Ballance at backward short leg, after 262 balls.

In the same over, Ali took out Mark Craig lbw without scoring.