Trent Boult took two wickets in two balls on his return to New Zealand before England battled to be 258-7 at Stumps on day one of the second and final test at Edgbaston on Thursday. The hosts were 85-3 and 175-6, but opener Rory Burns’ 81 and Dan Lawrence’s 67 didn’t allow the Blackcaps to dominate entirely. England’s last two wickets had so far added 83 points, with Olly Stone (20) and Mark Wood 16 not on 58 balls at the end, delighting a crowd of around 17,000 after the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Quick left-arm Boult, who missed last week’s first draw at Lord’s following a period of family leave, struck out Burns and the hapless James Bracey, for a first draw to follow his duck to his debut at Lord’s, successively delivering in a 2-60 comeback in 23 overs.
Matt Henry had done the first damage as England, who were 72-0, lost three wickets for 13 points shortly after lunch, with captain Joe Root missing for just four.
The meltdown began when Henry, in place of Tim Southee at rest before New Zealand’s appearance in next week’s World Trials final against India in Southampton, took on Dom Sibley behind a swinger for 35 years.
England’s 72-1 turned 73-2 as Zak Crawley’s miserable form continued when he was caught in the slips for a left arm pacemaker Neil Wagner – the only surviving member of the Lord’s New Zealand attack.
It was Crawley’s ninth single-digit score in 11 test innings since his stunning 267 against Pakistan last year.
Henry then captured Root’s prized wicket, caught behind a late swinger.
Root had won the draw and struck despite cloudy conditions that seemed to favor an attack from England, once again without a specialist spinner as well as injured all-rounder Ben Stokes and rested Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes.
New Zealand had to make three injury changes, with captain and key batsman Kane Williamson (elbow), spinner Mitchell Santner (finger cut) and BJ Watling (backache) all missing.
Their places were respectively occupied by Will Young, Ajaz Patel and Tom Blundell, with Tom Latham being the team captain.
Patel and wicket keeper Blundell combined when Ollie Pope (19) was caught behind cutting the left arm spinner.
Boult then got into the act when Burns, eyeing triple digits again after his hundred at Lord’s, led a swinger and was caught well by Latham in the slips.
The southpaw opener from Surrey faced 187 balls, 10 of which were fours.
Burns’ exit came on the last ball of the 59th and the first of the 61st saw Boult tempt Bracey to lead to another slender, with Daryl Mitchell – the son of former All Blacks coach John Mitchell – holding an excellent grip on the third glide.
Lawrence hit several stylish shots while compiling a fifty of 75 including eight to four.
Meanwhile, James Anderson’s 162nd appearance saw him become England’s most capped test player, breaking the record he shared with former retired captain Alastair Cook.
Stone replaced Ollie Robinson, who, after a successful debut on the pitch at Lord’s, was suspended from international cricket following the emergence of historical racist and sexist posts on Twitter.
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