England rebuild after Mitchell powers New Zealand to 553

Ollie Pope and Alex Lees helped England to a steady start, taking them to 90/1 at the end of Day 2, after New Zealand posted 553 on the back of a fantastic 190 from Daryl Mitchell.

Scores: 1st innings: NZ – 553, ENG – 90/1, trail by 463 runs

It’s those two again!

England bowlers have probably grown tired of the sight of Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell batting together. In both the games so far, just when it looked like the hosts were about to get an upper hand, the pair proved to be a stubborn roadblock in their way.

Mitchell (overnight 81 *) and Blundell (overnight 67 *) continued where they left off yesterday and continued to frustrate the England bowlers. The boundaries flowed from the bat with regularity. Mitchell got to his century soon, his second in as many matches, as New Zealand pushed past 350.

A few overs later, Blundell brought up two milestones of his own – going past 1000 Test runs as well as his third Test hundred. In the meantime, Mitchell switched gears and launched into the England bowlers, taking their partnership past 200.

Leach ends the marathon partnership

Jack Leach brought some respite for England as Blundell charged and miscued the ball to mid-on. This was Leach’s first wicket at home in exactly 1000 days, his last one of him coming against Australia in the 2019 Ashes in September 2019.

That was the lone positive for England in the first session where New Zealand added 94 runs and strengthened their hold on the game.

The Black Caps’ domination continued after the break as well with the first two overs of the second session fetching 26 runs. Michael Bracewell looked to attack from the get-go while Mitchell was smashing big ones with ease against Leach. In no time, he reached 150 – a milestone he had never achieved before in Test cricket.

Rain halts Kiwis’ charge but not for long

In the first 13.2 overs of the session, New Zealand added 69 more runs, going at more than five runs an over. Just as they threatened to take the game away completely, the rain break came at a perfect time for England, forcing players off the ground in a hurry for an early tea.

Upon their return, the two batters took their time to get their eye in and showed very little aggression. Bracewell was just a run away from his fifty on Test debut when James Anderson struck to break the partnership for 91.

Mitchell kept losing partners as he edged closer to a double ton. Despite Trent Boult’s resistance at No. 11, Mitchell was the last man out when Matthew Potts got his wicket for 190. New Zealand ended up posting a mammoth 553, their highest total on English soil.

Steady start for England

It did not take New Zealand long to effect a breakthrough as Boult struck in the second over to send back Crawley for 4. With the hosts 6/1, New Zealand had a good chance to drive home their advantage but failed to take control. Alex Lees was dropped on 12 by Mitchell at first slip and took full advantage of it by playing some brilliant shots. His partner Ollie Pope too continued undisturbed, even striking Matt Henry for 16 runs in one over. Another chance went begging when neither the keeper nor the first slip fielder reacted to an edge from Pope, which raced away to the boundary.

Pope soon brought up a fantastic fifty as the second-wicket partnership extended to 84 with England ending the day on 90/1, trailing by 463 runs.

Stat Attack: Trent Boult has now equalled the record for the most number of runs for an No.11 batter in Tests. He has 623 runs in 69 matches

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