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Anderson, Leach rattle New Zealand

James Anderson has picked three wickets

James Anderson and Jack Leach dented a groggy New Zealand further as they picked four more wickets between them to leave the home side six down at the end of the second session on Day 2. Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell batted cautiously for the sixth-wicket stand, before the former fell in the final over before Tea. With that wicket, New Zealand were down to 96 for 6, trailing England by a mammoth 339 runs.

The Lunch break came as a respite for the home side as they went in at 12 for 2, but when play resumed, the No.1 Test bowler was gunning for more. James Anderson struck for the third time in the innings early in the second session with a peach to Will Young – a length ball on off that straightened a touch and took a faint nick to Ben Foakes. Like England, New Zealand too were down to 21 for 3 and were crying out for a Brook-Root-like stand to keep pace with England in the second Test.

Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls put up a gritty stand until the drinks break in the second session. But the new-found stability was shattered on the first ball after the brief intermission as Latham attempted a reverse sweep and the ball lobbed up to the first slip. The on-field umpire ruled in the fielding side’s favour but Latham reviewed the call as he reckoned the ball went off his arm-guard. After multiple replays, third umpire Aleem Dar felt that in one frame the ball appeared to brush the edge of his glove and retained the onfield decision, much to the chagrin of Latham who shook his head in dismay on his way back. He exited for a 76-ball 35.

England ramped up the pressure on the New Zealand batters via Ollie Robinson’s dry spell where he consistently bowled at good length and attacked the stumps, albeit without the desired result. Nicholls found an outlet against Leach, hitting him for two fours in an over through deep square leg. New batter Daryl Mitchell got off the mark with a drive down the ground against the offspinner. But Leach continued to do the damage, though the latest one was self-inflicted by Nicholls. The left-hander attempted a reverse sweep and made a mess of it, as the ball lobbed up off the edge and Ollie Pope took a diving one-handed catch at forward short leg.

Mitchell scored a four off the first ball he scored but forged a cautious stand with Tom Blundell for the sixth wicket. The pair came very close to taking the side to Tea break without further damage but Mitchell was dismissed in the final over of the session. He became Leach’s third wicket of the innings, courtesy an exceptional show of reflexes from Pope at silly point, as he dived forward and took a one-handed catch after a forward defence from Mitchell lobbed up in front of him.

Earlier in the day, England went about batting like they usually do even as New Zealand made early inroads. The home side picked four wickets in the first hour, denying Harry Brook a maiden double ton and sending back captain Ben Stokes, first Test centurion Ben Foakes as well as Stuart Broad. However, England still made progress via Joe Root, who took on the mantle of being audacious after Brook’s exit. The former skipper played ramp shots and reverse ramp shots en route to his 150, right after which Stokes declared at 435 for 8.

Brief Scores: England 435/8 decl. (Harry Brook 186, Joe Root 153*; Matt Henry 4-100, Michael Bracewell 2-54) lead New Zealand 96/6 (Tom Latham 35; Jack Leach 3-28, James Anderson 3-37) by 339 runs

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