An allout batting assault from Blackcaps captain Tim Southee has been unable to stave off the follow-on, as his team desperately try to prevent an innings defeat in the second test against England at Wellington.
Taking a leaf out of the ‘Bazball’ philosophy that has helped the tourists smother New Zealand during this series, Southee smashed 73 runs off 49 balls – including six sixes and five fours – to get his side within a sniff of respectability, but they fell 26 runs short of their immediate target and were asked to try again on day three at the Basin Reserve.
Openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway reached lunch relatively unscathed, steering the home side to 40 without loss. At the same stage of the first innings, they had already lost Conway, Kane Williamson and Will Young.
Beginning the day at 138/7, the Blackcaps were still 297 runs short of England’s opening effort, with Southee on 23 and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell 25. The skipper had already shown his intent and continued where he left off in the morning session.
He and Blundell put on 98 runs for the eighth wicket, with Southee clearing the boundary three times in one Jack Leach over, before lobbing an infield catch to Zak Crawley, off Stuart Broad’s bowling.
The dismissal left him four runs off his highest test score of 77 not out off 40 balls in his debut against England as a teenager in 2008.
Blundell followed seven runs later, caught by Leach, off Broad, then Matt Henry became the last to fall, unable to keep a short ball from Broad down and caught by Jimmy Anderson.
Latham and Conway did not always look comfortable in the pre-lunch period, but showed the starch that has been too often missing from the Blackcaps’ batting efforts in this series.
England 435/8d NZ 209 (Southee 73, Blundell 38, Latham 35; Broad 4/61) & 40/0 (Latham 27no)
England lead by 186 at lunch
More to come