Ben Stokes, James Anderson puncture promising start by New Zealand

Lunch New Zealand 108 for 2 (Nicholls 14*, Conway 10*) vs England

Ben Stokes and James Anderson punctured a promising start by New Zealand on the first morning of the second Test at Trent Bridge after Will Young and Tom Latham looked to be forging a solid opening stand.

Young struck nine fours but fell three runs shy of a half-century as he and Latham put on 84 runs together before both fell in successive deliveries. Henry Nicholls and Devon Conway navigated the visitors’ path to lunch without further loss, unbeaten on 14 and 10 respectively with the score 108 for 2.

Stuart Broad switched to Radcliffe Road end after his first four overs and Young pulled his slightly slower third ball for four in front of square leg with disdain. Young struck two more fours off Broad before too long as he and Latham settled in comfortably with the ball presenting little movement through the air or off the seam early but bouncing appreciably.

Stokes allayed concerns over his ability to bowl, raised when he showed some discomfort in his side while training on Wednesday, bringing himself on in the 19th over as England sought a breakthrough. He opened with a loose delivery outside off stump which Young punished to the boundary through point and which turned out to be the first of two front-foot no-balls for Stokes in the over.

Jack Leach followed Stokes into the attack, having recovered from the concussion he suffered while fielding on the opening day of the first Test at Lord’s to hold his place in the side. But it was Stokes who made inroads in his second over.

Having conceded two more boundaries to Young on the drive, the second misfielded by Leach in the covers, Stokes bowled a tight off-stump line and got the ball to kick onto the splice of Young’s bat with Zak Crawley collecting a good, low catch at second slip.

Prior to that, the only real shot at an appeal from England had been a hopeful lbw shout by Matthew Potts when Latham was on 25 but Stokes declined to ask for a review, indicating he thought it was going over the stumps and replays suggested he was right.

But Potts came to the fore with a sharp catch at midwicket to despatch Latham, who slapped a short ball straight to the fielder at pace as soon as Anderson returned to the attack. All of a sudden, New Zealand had lost two wickets in two balls, changing the complexion of the morning.

Stokes prompted a hearty appeal for lbw with Conway yet to score but again the ball appeared to be going over and the England skipper decided against reviewing.

After losing the toss, Latham – standing in as captain for Kane Williamson, who tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the match – said he would have liked to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch which he said looked dry underneath.

Willamson’s absence, and that of Colin de Grandhomme who injured his foot while bowling in the first Test and was ruled out of the series, forced two team changes for New Zealand, who also left out left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel. They brought in Nicholls, back from a calf injury followed by a bout of Covid-19, and added Matt Henry in a four-pronged seam attack, with Michael Bracewell, the left-handed batter who also provides an off-spin option, making his Test debut.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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