The first day of the second test match at Leeds started a bit late due to drizzle and England who put New Zealand to bat would have been relatively happy picking 8 wickets in 65 over’s of the first day. However the rate at which New Zealand scored their runs ensured that the game was set up nicely for the second day.
Henry and Craig who walked out on the morning of the second day started positively showing plenty of intent to score quick runs. Henry lost his wicket to a beauty from broad and Boult perished trying to score as many as he can and ended the 1st innings at 350. Henry with a run a ball 27 and Boult with a resistant 15 got them to the score and added 54 runs in just over 7 over’s.
Though England will feel they could have done away with the tail a bit quicker, Cook would have taken this score at the start of the game. With that confidence of a good performance with the ball, Cook and Lyth started cautiously but positively giving the New Zealand bowlers no sniff of a wicket. Boult, Southee and Henry were tight in their lines all throughout the session and England finished 54/0 at Lunch.
The impressive work by the pair continued tirelessly as each seemed to gain confidence off of the other and started looking more comfortable on the crease. McCullum then introduced Craig with the hope of giving his pacers a break. England looked more and more comfortable with 163 runs on the board without losing any wicket by Tea on the day.
With the day almost completely belonging to England due to some great determination from the skipper and his partner, New Zealand would have been happy that the game was not taken away completely from the due to the lid on the scoring rate and with the second new ball still to be taken, they had some hope of getting back into the game.
After tea the pair resumed their innings in the similar fashion playing the game at their pace. But Craig who was excellent with his line piled up the pressure on the England skipper before getting the better of him when Cook attempted a sweep shot to straight ball and missed it. Initially Cook was not given out by the on-field umpire but thanks to the DRS, a review by McCullum overturned the decision and Cook had to depart for a well made 75 and England lost their first wicket after an opening partnership of 177.
Meanwhile Lyth who teamed up with Ballance scored a century to take England’s score past the 200 mark. However he lost his wicket to a run out in a moment of indecision at 215 and New Zealand gave them-selves a chance to get back into the game.
In came Bell after Ballance and wanted to be positive but after 80 over’s with England at 236/2 McCullum opted for the new ball and gave it to Trent Boult who delivered straight away. He picked Ballance away with a beautiful in-swinger for 29. And 5 balls later Tim Southee found an edge off of Root’s bat and suddenly the game became wide open with England at 239/4 trailing NZ by 111 runs with 6 wickets in hand.
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Boult found his confidence in this spell and troubled the batsmen all the way through. He was once again rewarded for some persistence when Stokes who was getting into the grove nicked one to Craig at second slip. Still 103 runs away with 5 wickets in hand, England would feel they should have done better.
England ended the day at 253/5, 97 runs behind NZ’s first Innings score with Buttler and Bell still in the grease. With the new ball only 8 over’s old, this game would well be settled by the proceedings tomorrow. Boult who was fabulous finished with figures of 63/2 in 24 over’s but Craig who started the downfall with some precise bowling will be happy with his figures f 38/1 in 22 over’s with 10 maidens.
The match is intriguingly set and a couple of wickets early tomorrow may well see England chasing the leather for the rest of the match but a resistance by the tale will make things even more interesting. So there is lot to be looking forward to for the 3rd days play at Leeds.