The 2nd Test match between England and New Zealand started a bit late than the scheduled time, because of the rain. England won the toss and Captain Cook decided to ball first. England played an unchanged side and New Zealand had to do a force change, with Luke Ronchi making way for Corey Anderson, who was ruled out of the match due to injury.
England got the best possible start and the man to give that was the ever reliant James Anderson. He removed Martin Guptil and that was one of the biggest moment in his career as he’s become first English cricketer to take 400 wickets in tests. Kane Williamson also returned in the same over. Guptil was looking out of sorts, even failing to put bat on ball. Kane Williamson got a gem of a delivery, swinging away and taking the edge. Both Williamson and Guptil went for a duck.
In the process, James Anderson joined the elite club of bowlers who have picked up 400 or plus wickets. He is the first English cricketer to do so.
Latham and Ross Taylor then provided some resistance before Taylor was dismissed for 20 by Stuart Broad. Brendon McCullum walked in then and went bang right from the word go. Such a contrast to his previous innings where he went for a duck on his first ball, but this time around he whacked Stuart Broad for a six of the first delivery he faced.
McCullum, in his brief stay ensured that runs come quick and fast. Dancing down the track and lofting them over or pulling the bowlers was the way McCullum played. HE scored 41 runs in just 28 balls before being dismissed by Ben Stokes, caught at mid-off.
Next walked in DJ Watling, who passed the fitness test before the match to be able to play in the match, though just as a batsman only. He looked good but could not make it count before being dismissed by Wood. In the mean time, Latham had scored his half century, riding on his luck.
Next came in Luke Ronchi and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise for New Zealand. A player who got into the XI only because Corey Anderson wasn’t fit for this match, was turning the match in favour of New Zealand. He was playing the way he knows the best. Hit the ball if it’s there to be, no matter who the bowler is.
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It paid off as he scored a half century of just 34 balls on debut.
Soon after his half century, Latham was dismissed by Broad, caught at slip. Ronchi did hit some more blows after that before being dismissed by Broad. Tim Southee followed soon. At the end of the day, New Zealand were placed at 297 runs for the loss of 8 wickets, with Craig and Henry at the crease.
Among the bowlers, Anderson was superb with the new ball but wasn’t given a go with the old one. He picked up 2 wickets and Wood also picked up 2 wickets. Broad was expensive, leaking runs at almost 6 runs per over but made it up by picking 3 crucial wickets. Stokes picked 1 and Moeen Ali was wicket less.