England collapse offers New Zealand front running

England proved old habits die hard as an all too familiar batting collapse gave New Zealand a foothold on day two of the first cricket Test in Mount Maunganui.

The tourists’ patient strategy on the opening day was squandered as the relative comfort of 277 for four became 295 for eight and eventually 353 all out after Jos Buttler and Jack Leach added 52 for the ninth wicket.

Sam Curran made inroads into New Zealand’s line-up with only his third ball, when Tom Latham peculiarly chose not to review the lbw decision against him although Hot Spot showed an inside edge onto his front pad.

Kane Williamson looked utterly unflustered in reaching 23 not out to lead New Zealand to 50 for one at tea.

Curran’s medium-fast pace may be the key on a slow Bay Oval surface where Kiwi pair Colin De Grandhomme and Tim Southee prospered – with the latter taking three wickets and a slip catch as England lost four wickets in 21 balls on the second morning.

England’s top-order had shown considerable restraint in reaching 241 for four on day one but the middle order were unable to build on the foundation as a succession of wickets fell.

Ben Stokes took to batting outside his crease as well as coming down the pitch to meet the ball, yet the more purposeful tactic led to his downfall on 91 as he chased a wide ball from Southee and edged into the cordon.

Ross Taylor atoned for dropping the all-rounder on 63 on day one with a sensational one-handed catch at first slip.

Ollie Pope had earlier successfully reviewed an lbw decision given against him on 18 but he fell for 29 after being tempted into flashing hard at one that swung gently away from him and nicking to wicketkeeper BJ Watling.

New Zealand England Cricket
New Zealand England Cricket

Southee had his second wicket in two balls when an in-swinger rapped Sam Curran on the pads and a review showed the ball would have clattered into middle and leg.

Archer survived the hat-trick ball but Southee could not be kept out of the action, taking a fine catch at slip after Trent Boult had found Archer’s outside edge.

Leach got off the mark with a quick single that would have had Buttler run out had Henry Nicholls hit the stumps from the off-side.

However, the English pair soaked up the initial pressure from the Kiwis and, moments before lunch, Buttler planted Boult straight down the ground for a towering six.

Buttler hogged the strike on the resumption but as he looked to move the score along he was dropped on 34 by Jeet Raval running to cover.

Kane Williamson looked utterly unflustered in reaching 23 not out at tea (Nigel French/PA)
Kane Williamson looked utterly unflustered in reaching 23 not out at tea (Nigel French/PA)

Mitch Santner proved a more reliable pair of hands at deep backward point in the next over as England’s wicketkeeper perished for 43.

Broad was peppered by the short ball from Wagner and then dragged on to his stumps when New Zealand’s left-arm enforcer went fuller and ended England’s innings.

Broad bowled three innocuous maidens while Archer was unable to hit 90mph in his opening three-over burst before making way for Curran, who made the breakthrough with his third delivery by trapping Latham in front.

Latham walked off, obviously oblivious to his inside edge and perhaps fooled by his bat brushing his pad before making contact with the ball.

While Williamson looked comfortable, Raval was fortunate he was not bowled after a Leach delivery hit his thigh pad and clipped leg stump, only for the bails to stay in place.