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Wood and Burns steady England after masterclass from New Zealand’s Conway

W

hen Joe Root broke the stumps at the second attempt after an outstanding piece of fielding in the deep by Ollie Pope, England had finally dismissed the debutant Devon Conway.

It had taken a run out to get rid of him for a round 200, more than nine and a half hours into an unforgettable maiden innings that saw him break a slew of records and earned a place on the Lord’s Honours Board. His was the highest score by a debutant in England, and against England anywhere. He is the second Kiwi – and eighth man overall – to score a Test double on debut.

That New Zealand’s overnight 246 for three had become 378 all out represented a victory for England, on a benign surface.

But, given four of those wickets had fallen for three runs in the morning session, and Conway’s 10th wicket partnership with the dashing Neil Wagner had been worth 40, it also felt like an opportunity missed. That sense was heightened given their callow top order had to come up against New Zealand’s excellent, awkward pace attack.

That sense proved prescient, when Kyle Jamieson pinned Dom Sibley in front – his review came very close to saving him – and Zak Crawley drove, feet leaden, at Tim Southee, and was caught behind.

England were 18 for two, the ball was new, the bowlers fresh, and tea was just round the corner. All of which made it a very fine time for their two senior batsmen, Rory Burns and Root, to stand up.

They were still there at stumps, having seen off Southee’s wiles, Jamieson’s bounce and all sorts from Neil Wagner – a sustained spurt of short stuff, as well as a tasty spell of swing in the final half-hour. Colin de Grandhomme is desperately difficult to get away, while Mitchell Santner found enough spin to make Jack Leach envious, too.

Burns has been in fine order for Surrey, making seven scores above fifty this season, including in his last six innings. He did so again here, finding the boundary eight times. Root provided fine support, showing off that trademark late cut. The stand was worth 93 by the time the players walked off at 6.30 with eight overs unbowled.

The partnership settled England, who had started the day in a similarly listless vein as they had finished on Wednesday. Conway and Henry Nicholls had passed 150 and 50 respectively, and taken their stand beyond 150. Everything seemed rather easy.


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